The smell of salt water and damp soil marbleize the calm pools, bend the neck bone and I fall into a dense wind, a weightlessness, a whistle that deteriorates smoothly like the matted hair of sunbeams, disc-like, on my cheeks. No grit, no trauma, only a lifeless warm wave, a wound of islands like pleasant gashes in the flat flesh of the sea. Caw to the swaying limbs at dusk, a coolness meeting a silence. Caw to the mist drops whispering onto our silk arms. Caw to the crumbling rocks beneath our toes; a family that tears the body into lines we cannot hear. Somewhere there is a metal railing and a concrete slab and a cackling bird’s talon plays a toy piano. Somewhere here is the curvature of the earth like a smile in the palm of my hand.
The ocean is a fist colliding with the burn hot sand.
Birds tearing down the edge of a rushing wind.
Birds sliding down the sweet slope of a mountain.
It’s cool to the south away from the sun today underneath the still tall trees. And as the whipping winds eat away at the earth and fling debris into the water, as the whipping winds lift and flick droplets of water onto our sun slammed faces, I am flat and empty. Not in a bad way, but the bird, I hear its beak ripping from its face. The feathers disintegrate and rain down from somewhere violent.
Did it lift that fish from the waves? Is that the sound of suffocating?
Can we dive into the nearby pond now?
Bryan Edenfield was born in Arizona but has lived in Seattle since 2007. He is the co-founder and director of the literary arts organization, Babel/Salvage. He also hosts and curates the Glossophonic Showcase, which airs live on Hollow Earth Radio semi-regularly, and co-hosts and co-curates the Ogopogo Performance Series at the Pocket Theater.
He has a degree in philosophy and history and works at an art museum, so don't worry.
The red counterpane
sets off the white cat
with the orange eyes.
I have a cat with those
eyes and orange striping
through his white fur.
He gives measured looks,
just like this cat.
The woman with her blue
book and cool blue eyes
looks like me, or rather,
her expression is mine
when I get interrupted
The white cat on the red
counterpane doesn’t purr;
nor does mine.
But I can’t go. Her
blank-faced blue book
I must ask the question
What are you reading?
Tricia Marcella Cimera
Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader and lover of words. Look for her work in these diverse places and elsewhere: The Buddhist Poetry Review, Foliate Oak, Fox Adoption, Hedgerow, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Jellyfish Whispers, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, Stepping Stones and Yellow Chair Review. Her poem “The Swear Poem” is included in the Chicago Poetry Press/Journal of Modern Poetry’s Poetry of Protest edition (JOMP 19). Tricia believes there’s no place like her own backyard and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois/in a town called St. Charles/by a river named Fox.
It is true that I have sketched for their amusement and mine, the idiosyncrasies of fourteen of my friends ... The Enigma I will not explain – its ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed ... Through and over the whole set [of variations] another and larger theme ‘goes,’ but is not played ...
– Edward Elgar, 1899
The letter in which he said this is lost
and the fourteen friends are all dead
so they can’t tell us what it meant
even if they knew in the first place.
There remain only the ghost-hunters
tracing spectral counterpoints
which weave in and out of variations,
walk through walls: counterpoints
like Auld Lang Syne, the Dies Irae,
Farewell and Adieu to You,
My Fair Spanish Ladies,
and Elgar’s own Black Knight
with its identical intervals: pairs
of falling thirds divided by rising
fourth as the chorus sings
“He beholds his children die” –
as if shared by all true friendships,
weaving in and out of variations,
is an unheard Elgarian unconscious,
an enigmatic farewell and adieu,
a dark saying of grief.
Jonathan Taylor's books include the novels "Melissa" (Salt, 2015) and "Entertaining Strangers" (Salt, 2012), the memoir "Take Me Home" (Granta, 2007), and the poetry collection "Musicolepsy" (Shoestring, 2013). He is Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk.
Dora Responds to Picasso’s “Portrait of Dora Maar Sitting”
Pablo knew me so well – how
my body always disappointed me
with its soft edges, how I hated
being round as this world
but so small. My breasts
always agree with each other,
holding less mystery than even
this equatorial waist
which has never proved
inviting enough to filter beaches
into being. And my dull hair
is not thick as any great thought –
the kind that barely fits in your head
no matter its shape. My eyes
I had always loved; but now
I see what I was missing:
the new right one’s perfect circle
is wide enough to see
the end of everything
and fear has become
a distant memory
because I’ve found
the diamond of my left eye
is hard enough to cut
through reality itself
is all that remains.
Robert Wynne earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. A former co-editor of Cider Press Review, he has published 6 chapbooks, and 3 full-length books of poetry, the most recent being “Self-Portrait as Odysseus,” published in 2011 by Tebot Bach Press. He’s won numerous prizes, and his poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies throughout North America. He lives in Burleson, TX with his wife and 2 rambunctious dogs. His online home is www.rwynne.com.
The Paris Commune
(Inspired by Maximillien Luce’s A Street in Paris)
I. A Paris Street (27 May 1871)
On another day of smoke-sick pigeons,
she knew roads were lines of power
made into roads. She knew roads must,
at times, be blockaded, while one
stands perpendicular to flying bullets.
Then abruptly, a force knocks
the glasses from her eyes. A sudden,
sharp pain steals the day’s adrenaline.
Everything becomes a mistake, everyone
becomes a stranger rather than
enemy or friend. She forgets the mission
that charged her fate, until the smell
of urine brings back the street she lies in.
A dog keeps silent in the alley
as she closes her eyes and her limbs
fail at feeling.
II. The Cemetery of Père-Lachaise (28 May 1871 to present)
Algae and bones remain while
the years grow vines within the gates
outside the city where she last
remembers another’s eyes above her.
Her hometown stops by her gravestone.
They remember her as a child,
before she went away. They raised her
while her mother worked the Paris
nightclubs that remain nearby. The smell
of summer quickly turns to winter.
Again, she misses the feeling of living
through the cold. It takes a half
a centery of paratactic events before
Einstein frets about spooky action at a
distance, reacting to small progress
made by the dim world seeing the whole
tapestry entangling ghosts and quantum
physics. She tries to forget about
separate concepts like forever and places
like the city of light or the times she
wore red lipstick. She’s reminded
the entropic blending of things is her
friend, but can’t forget about the one
who brandished an eagle amulet before
saying to her, you know we fight not for
power but for liberty, equality and fraternity--
almost and slowly, she thinks
Joe Hess received his MA in Poetry from Miami University and his MFA from Ashland University. You can find his work in Marathon Literary Review; appearing soon in Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective, as well as the upcoming anthology by Shabda Press entitled Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands.
A Thin Line
What is it for this white woman
to sit in a cushy seat looking at a screen
to become prickly uncomfortable
watching images of some of her kind
doing violence to others
who are her kind
but not the same skin colour?
I hold my partner’s hand
after credits close
as if the end
gives permission to make white quiet
I go home, pace. Sleepless.
I search the web for images to give voice
for broken noises in my body.
Drinking coffee I find Kiefer’s sculpture
“Breaking the Vessels”
his take on the tree of life.
Three tiers of books
of invisible words in a precarious balance
fragile, gray papers
between glass sheets, some angled
to the ground, shatter
like spirits that move in and out of me.
I find Kiefer’s painting, “Athanor.”
A figure lying on the earth
looks up at the vastness
of the night sky,
of the thinnest line of light
from chest to starry heavens.
Catharine Jones is both an artist and a poet. She is actively engaged in workshops and writing groups including Rhino Forum, Serious Play with Alice Goerge, and Iowa Writers' Workshop. She has been published in Poetry Cram and The Journal of Modern Poetry, and a professional journal "Psychological Perspectives."
The Collages of Richard Leach
Ekphrastic Review: How essential is text to your collage work?
Richard Leach: Very essential! Parts of words, even single letters, can add to the composition. A few legible words in a phrase are often what makes a piece feel finished to me. The phrase may be understandable but taken far out of context, or it may be nonsense - either can do. The collage is a small airplane going down the runway, and when the text is added, it lifts off!
ER: In what ways does poetry inform your visual work?
RL: I'm a poet as well as a visual artist. For me the two forms complement each other. When I'm writing poetry I'm trying to be understood - to be clear even when the poem is surreal. When I make collages I work much more intuitively, and I'm not trying to make the work understandable in the same way that poetry is.
ER: What about the combination of words and images do you find intriguing?
RL: Something I like about the combination of words and images is that by putting them together I can make a piece that feels like it almost but doesn't quite make sense - like what the piece means is on the tip of your tongue but you can't say it!
ER: Who are a few of your favourite artists and poets?
RL: One of my very favourite collage artists is Fred Free of Brookline, Massachusetts. I discovered his work online seven or eight years ago and didn't get it at first. But the longer I looked at it the more I did get it, and I came to like it immensely and find it inspirational. Robert Motherwell is a 20th century favourite. A favorite poet who was also a visual artist is Kenneth Patchen. I have spent a lot of time with E.E. Cummings and Langston Hughes. I read a lot of current poetry in journals and books and like a lot of it. Tony Hoagland when he is at his best is very good. Mark Strand, who died in 2014, was great. I just discovered and began reading Naomi Shihab Nye last year. And I think Bob Dylan's lyrics, from when he began writing through the present day, are outstanding poetry.
Visit Richard Leach at www.richardleach.deviantart.com.
In the Place Where We Are Always Alone
We stare out the window into winter’s
blood, where the river’s surface smokes
with cloud and snow. It runs through
us all, secretly foaming downhill from
forest to sea. Every day it churns
and boils, tearing the tenuous banks,
crushing white rock into sand.
Here we are always alone, cast back
on ourselves, wanderers dismissed
from a gleaming hall.
Even in our loneliness, we sometimes
see into its streaming heart, our eyes
turned inward, ears attuned to currents
and the quick movements of fish.
Turtles crawl slowly through frozen
rushes and fibrous reeds. Midnight now,
and the sky burns violet, another river
to hold us in this silent place.
Its music can only be the song of detritus
and farewell. How it runs from us,
as if daylight would drain from our veins
and darkness disgorge us into ice and wind and storm.
Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press) and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press). His new chapbook, The Li Bo Poems, is forthcoming from Flutter Press.
The Ekphrastic Review
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