Anonymity, by Carol Alexander
For a day or so, this was everything to me,
foregrounding her who would be basic to me as breath,
the turquoise of the traveling coat, tawny summer skin.
See the cobalt gentled in the tree trunk like bamboo.
I may have botched the picture in keeping to the literal,
the blue column parallel to the tree, but I know this woman's path,
the waiting to be carried away with her round valise and hat,
very far away from dull Saint-Amand-Montrond.
Or maybe from a dry village somewhere in North Africa;
she is so like a woman I saw rising like a column from the sand.
My careless muse possesses, beyond her beauty, so very little.
It's August and the turning of the leaves is well begun;
see how the yellow sheds light on a wall where small figures wait.
But she, she is on her way to Paris to live among the lindens,
the cold reflection of the Seine, in a house with an iron grille.
I will help her across the street, love and neglect her, wed.
At midnight I'll take up a brush, repaint the station roof white.
Carol Alexander's poetry appears in various anthologies including the ekphrastic 2017 Resurrection of a Sunflower (Pski's Porch Publishing),Broken Circles (Cave Moon Press), Through a Distant Lens (Write Wing Publishing) and Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Vol. 1.Her work can be found in numerous print and online journals such as Bluestem, Caesura, Canary, Chiron Review, The Common, Matter, Poetrybay, San Pedro River Review, Split Rock Review, The New Verse News, Soundings East and forthcoming in The High Window, Southern Humanities Review, J Journal and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook BRIDAL VEIL FALLS (Flutter Press). HABITAT LOST, Alexander's first full-length collection of poems, is available from Cave Moon Press and Amazon (2017).
What Remains, by Melanie Figg
I lost my shame in his studio, I felt the last of it ease away.
His constant staring made me lighter, gave me a sort of peace. They
always said I’d be forgiven on the other side. I expected halos, or a
list that would be torn in half then burned. Not those hands with
flecks of colour (my colour). Not that steady gaze. I know I made him
uncomfortable: cold as I was and staring back. I would hear him
awake at night, startled to see me still lying on the table. Strange to
enter his dreams that way. I never meant to, never meant to walk
these marble halls, to have stayed so long. Some people stop and
look as closely as he did, a sort of memorizing. I thought death
would be a place where no one saw me anymore. But I am
This painting is a posthumous mourning portrait, and the boy is rumoured to haunt the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where the painting hangs.
Melanie Figg is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. Her chapbook, Hurry, Love, was printed in standard and fine art editions with paper artist Doug Abbott (Fuori Editions). She has won many awards for her poetry including grants from the McKnight and Jerome Foundations and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. With an MFA in Poetry, her poems, essays and reviews have been published in dozens of literary journals including The Iowa Review, LIT, Colorado Review and others. She curates Literary Art Tours in DC galleries (aWashington Post Editor’s Pick), and teaches and coaches writers in community art centers and privately. www.melaniefigg.net
Chosen, by Devon Balwit
The Jew is green. No one could make him
more bilious. He is green beyond metaphor,
beyond envy. This Jew is the green of a child’s
crayon, of bubble-trees and dinosaurs, of print
on the cheap. Fringed by fiery forelocks,
a beard like flame, his green wearies him.
He wants it off, but he has been chosen.
One eye droops; the other glares like Jonah’s
from beneath his bean vine. The green Jew
holds his hand as if it pained him, as if
it were a yad for the text on which he rests.
Even without looking, he can imagine
what it says, that God is not done with him,
that the shtetls will soon empty of all but salt.
Devon Balwit writes in Portland, OR. She has five chapbooks out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements(Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); and The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry). More of her individual poems can be found here as well as in The Cincinnati Review, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, The Inflectionist; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Noble Gas Quarterly; Muse A/Journal, and more.
(Untitled) Fallen Angel
Sarah Law is a poet and tutor living in London, UK. She has published five poetry collections, the latest of which, Ink’s Wish, was shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards in 2014. She’s interested in artistic representations of angels, among other things. Follow her on Twitter @DrSarahLaw
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Cracking-Up Under Writer’s Block
It’s 6:50 AM. On the floor
of my tiny bathroom, I sit
constructing a 3D egg
from a gazillion, miniature
paper triangles. Add
two more rows.
A sorry state of affairs.
Against mindful slippage,
I imagine how this incredible
talent of egg architecture
will prove handy at our local
mental health facility
where free-range chickens
in white coats, cluck
themselves into a conundrum
at the discovery
of a perfectly crafted, bright
white egg, nestled
between the psychotropic
meds soon to be distributed
to those of us who have always known
which came first.
Tammy Daniel was selected as one of the New Voices of 2015 by The Writers Place in Kansas City, Mo. Her work has appeared in I-70Review, Touch: The Journal of Healing, The Ekphrastic Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Red River Review, Rusty Truck, andInk, Sweat and Tears.
Urgency, by Ben Atwood
Stopped by a red light, the driver—whose mother, at the library book sale (which had been over for almost thirty minutes), breathed her last goodbyes, drowning beneath the weight of crisis—inched forward, reluctant at first, then with less caution, emboldened by the stillness of the other drivers. A second driver, turning right on green, noticed the driver, hesitated, signaled, and turned. The driver too hesitated. Then, a white car—like a gentle bolt—joined with the driver’s car at corners and spun the driver ninety degrees. Car wounded but not incapacitated, the driver yelled, Whaasshole! The other driver, who had every reason to yell the same, instead thought, Cha-ching!
Ben Atwood is a writer and gardener in Albany, NY.
Martha Jane Canary Reflects
I explored my sins wide open
the way the plains exposed themselves
to white men, and me, almost
one of them in rough cut
buckskin and breeches, mustang panting
between my thighs. But not quite
man enough to hold at a distance
their stares, hands, breath
on my face in Deadwood's
dark. I let them raid me
the way we crashed through
camps, torched teepees, broke
the sacred, and stole flesh for show.
By the time you came, Bill, the unbridled
sun had blistered my face saddle brown.
Rough wind had uncovered
my thirst as endless as Montana
sky when I rode beside my father,
before I understood the slice
of my knife deep in skin, singe
of gunpowder in my lungs, lost
lives behind me, a gaping stab
left by wild things I caught
but could not tame.
Stacy Boe Miller
Stacy Boe Miller is an artist, mother, and second year poetry candidate in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Idaho. Her most recent work can be found in Mary Jane's Farm Magazine, The Pacific Northwest Inlander, and Mothers Always Write, where an essay of hers was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Marginalia, by David Jibson
I picture her as the curly-haired girl
in the left foreground of Norman Rockwell's
Freedom From Want.
I met her at a used book store
on a rainy afternoon, the original owner
of The Pocket Book of Robert Frost Poems.
Beatrice was the name written
on the inside front cover of the paperback
which had cost her 35 cents,
a book edited by Louis Untermeyer
with annotations by Beatrice
added in pencil in the margins,
beginning on page sixteen with The Pasture
where Beatrice wrote,
“I love to rake leaves”.
She skipped over Home Burial,
perhaps worried by the darkness of Mr. Frost’s theme.
On page forty-seven, Ghost House, Beatrice notes
how she loved the image of the ruined fence
and I thought to myself,
“so do I, Beatrice.”
A Patch of Old Snow appealed to Beatrice.
She gave it a glowing review.
“I love this poem,” she wrote,“but I hate litter.”
Finally, of Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,
all Beatrice had to say was,
"I really wish I could have a horse.”
David Jibson grew up in western Michigan near the dunes and shores of Lake Michigan and now lives in Ann Arbor. He is retired from a 35-year career in Social Work, most recently with a Hospice agency. He is a member of the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle and co-editor of the literary and visual arts magazine, Third Wednesday.
The Tie That Binds
I’m searching for something
we can all recognize,
something that connects us.
I don’t know--maybe it’s a sight,
like the Milky Way
on a clear new moon night
or a high note from heaven or
maybe an aroma. Whatever it is,
I think it’s something
we experience simply by
being human. Then again,
maybe it’s not sensory.
This began with the senses
but now I’m thinking big. Like
maybe it’s something intangible.
I’m getting lost in the vastness
and also in abstractions
like “heart” and “soul” and “spirit”
as if my mind has gone off
in space with ideas
flying around like planets
that have escaped their orbits,
or maybe shooting stars.
It’s all supremely slippery
with nothing to grab on to.
Have you ever felt that way?
I don’t know.
Maybe it’s that feeling
we get, lost in our thoughts,
in an infinite universe of ideas--
maybe that’s the tie that binds,
maybe that’s what we all
have in common.
This poem was written for the Surprise Challenge, ekphrastic poetry about Magritte paintings.
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