He sleeps like any firefighter
or ex-serviceman, using sex as his
opiate to quench PTSD. Yes, he’ll
be floored for hours, oblivious to
all but his own amorphous dreams
from Lethe. After his fill of pleasure,
he can fall into oblivion like any
pre-adolescent. A god of iron reduced
to a flaccid sack of organs, almost
naked & caught in the light-trap of my
female gaze zoned in on him. He who
was mandated a license to kill, now
dead to the elements, his fervid
senses deregulated, & all but
demobilised by our act of coitus.
And me: Queen of Love who transcends
amorous dalliance. She who sublimates
erotica each time, who apotheosizes
beyond these bed-posts of myrtle
into a garden-paradise of her own
sensibility. She who is sensitized
to a higher love, who levitates
her paramours, gifts them pleasure
beyond their respective orgasms.
Do not de-mystify my illuminatio coitu.
Reduce not my rite to mere biology.
Abandon yourself with a sensitive body &
mind. Be attentive, even as you succumb.
Not many have seen Armageddon,
not many have lived through the
infernal freeze-frames: the fire,
blood & anguish of my wars.
To be the last warrior standing
because snipers have picked off
all the members of your platoon
one by piteous one, is to be worthy
of some kind of remuneration.
Troy was my training-ground,
body-strewn Thermopylae my
place of higher learning. Have
since done my work in Palestine
& the fields of Kosovo. At Shiloh,
Agincourt & Passchendaele, I dug
in my oiled jackboot & issued
forth my bellowing commands.
Have earned my erotic goddess, & this
prolonged stupor beneath the myrtle
boughs. Too hot for Vulcan to handle,
for only a soldier can truly satisfy Venus.
And so she availed her well-endowed
body to me &, of course, I complied.
Discipline in the wars permits me
a certain license during peacetime.
Wake me up in time for the next war.
Otherwise, satiated, let me snore.
Impish, crammed full of chutzpah, so
we gatecrash the post-coital scene.
Grab his lance, helmet, breastplate
& sword for our gamesmanship &
innuendo, eternally arsing around.
We fart our raspberries through a conch
one of us uncovered in a frolic on
the beach, but sluggish, arrogant Mars
is dead to our irreverence. He’s
shagged out & deserving only
of a demobilization warrant.
Venus, meanwhile, looks detached
& indifferent. Later we’ll fantasize
the contours of her breasts & thighs,
doodle pornographic graffito. Get high.
In the vested name
of the Vespucci family,
we make our appearance
haloing the god of war.
For Sandro’s painting
invokes his patrons &
Simonetta far more
than Ovid or Homer.
La vespa’s more than
an heraldic motif
or vintage scooter
buzzing around Florence.
Without our golden
chevrons, the paint
Sandro uses would run
dry. Venus’ aurora
would vanish for good,
the god of war exhaust
into pusillanimity. Art’s
indebted to patronage.
We have our strong hive,
this city-state to build.
Sandro paints Simonetta
& we’re all enriched,
ennobled as citizenry.
We will awake Mars
when it’s time for war.
Otherwise, let’s relax
in this earthly paradise
Sandro’s Venus provides.
Love supplants the sword,
the State lifts up the individual.
We vibrate, loudly converse
close to his ear-canal, but
there’s no chance he’ll wake.
Our dynasty will perpetuate.
Mark Wilson has previously published four poetry collections: Quartet For the End of Time (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011), Passio(Editions du Zaporogue, 2013), The Angel of History (Leaky Boot Press, 2013) and Illuminations (Leaky Boot Press, 2016). He is also the author of a verse-drama, One Eucalyptus Seed, about the arrest and incarceration of Ezra Pound after World War Two. His poemsand articles have appeared in: The Black Herald, The Shop, 3:AM Magazine, International Times, The Fiend, Epignosis Quarterly, Dodging the Rain, The Ekphrastic Review and Le Zaporogue.
Bewitching at Jacob’s Well
The water dazzles, its rippling fingers a swirl
of blues and greens enticing the unaware
to plunge into coolness--
a pool that beckons and repulses,
tethers me to the rocks.
The locals say its lacy limestone reaches
toward the centre of the earth,
conceals an invisible maze of caves,
devious alcoves to greet and keep
those answering the Sirens’ call.
They say somewhere in its unknown depths
are watery graves. I shiver as clouds block
the sun’s dizzying rays,
and wrap my body in my arms.
Darkness bubbles up
from some uncharted source.
I step back from the rim, force my eyes
to rest on the peaceful face
of a distant, mesquite-covered hill,
to break the iron hold
of the mesmerizing water,
its treacherous colour--
so I can breathe.
Read more of Sandi's ekphrastic works here.
Larry Garmezy’s photographs chronicle what he finds visually and intellectually intriguing in the natural world. Understanding the physical processes that create patterns in nature allows him to capture unusual impressions and abstractions of the visual landscape. The common thread across his work is the effect created by the distortion of light, color, and shape created either by ripples in a spring, surface tension around a floating leaf, the convoluted fracturing of a cliff face, or the impurities in a 400-year-old pane of glass.
Sandi Stromberg’s poetry has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and for 2020 Best of the Net. She is a dedicated contributor to The Ekphrastic Review and recently contributed a Throwback Thursday (May 22). In 2021, the Review awarded her a Fantastic Ekphrastic Award for her contributions to the genre. Her poetry has appeared in many small journals and anthologies, including San Pedro River Review, The Ocotillo Review, Houston Chronicle-San Antonio Express-News, Words & Art, Visual Verse, Weaving the Terrain, Enchantment of the Ordinary, and in Dutch in the Netherlands in Brabant Cultureel and Dichtersbankje (the Poet’s Bench).
Looking down: we are all of us looking
down, intent on finding a clue to break
the code of silence, stirred only by the night
-breeze from a passing train, pulling
at the blind. Unseen by him, she notes
the letter falling to the carpet, the soft drop
of his shoulders as he reads, the
space between them growing into
the silent green tufts, washing over
the white walls. She files it away
with her feelings.
Louise Longson lives in rural West Oxfordshire. She is published by One Hand Clapping, Fly on the Wall, Dreich, Nymphs, The Ekphrastic Review and Reach. A qualified psychotherapist specialising in trauma and enduring mental health issues, she is currently working to support those distressed by loneliness and social isolation. Recently, she has finally cleared enough of her own head-space to pursue her writing in earnest. Twitter @LouisePoetical
The peaks were barely seen that night—they hid
Among a sea of aster-painted clouds.
The skies were filled with stars that shone like pearls
Strewn on the shoals of treasure-laden isles.
The sage and pupil journeyed on, although
Beholding neither earthly fields below
Nor mountaintops rearing their jagged crests
Into the time-exempted floods above.
“But how are we to make our way, or know
In which directions we should choose to go?”
Questioned the student as he waded through
The unshorn clouds that whirled about their waists.
“How can we find our way out of this world
Master—it seems a tenfold mystery.”
The sage continued through the cloudy flood,
Though he could neither see his feet below
Nor catch sight of the craggy trails that formed
The stair on which they made their slow ascent.
The sage solemnly paused before the clouds--
“There’s only one way to find out,” he said.
“Besides, all that we know are mysteries.”
Like clouds, the sage and pupil drifted on.
David Gosselin is a poet, translator, and linguist based in Montreal. He is the founder of The Chained Muse poetry website and the founder of the New Lyre Podcast. His first collection of poems is entitled Modern Dreams
We're so excited about next Saturday- August 28th.
Come meet Alexis Rhone Fancher, the queen of the literary erotic! She will share her experiences as a writer, read some ekphrastic works, and answer your questions about how to make your love and hate poems (and stories) sizzle.
We will do some sexy ekphrastic writing exercises as well!
The new challenge is up!
Every two weeks, we feature a new work of art as inspiration for your poetry or flash fiction. Selected entries are published a week after deadline.
Click here or on image above for details.
Join us! All are welcome.
“Georgia O’Keeffe is over-rated,” I overhear the museum patron behind me say, and I cannot help but internally agree
Yet she catches my eye, not once but a multiplicity of times
But I garner the courage to approach her, to marvel at all she has laid bare for me to see
My breath catches as I recognize that she has bloomed under my sybaritic gaze
Plump and timid her long white petals curve and fold sensually, harboring a hypnotic power
They spread invitingly, revealing gossamer mouths of blue veins absorbing sensation
My fingers slowly trace the paper-thin fronds to the pod where the rush of blood infuses life
Each layer more alluring, I seek the elixir, the nectar within
My face buries in the field of colour overcome by the taste of the fleshy pulp hidden within the flower
Exotic, captivating, her feelings overlap with mine and I cannot tell us apart
Our secrets have mingled and we are tangled pistils, without stamens to get in our way
I seek her centre, where the fragrance is strongest and I can drown in the vibes
Waves of her consciousness blossom with each new response and I am now helpless under her spell
The moment that germinated with a gentle painting has now culminated in a momentous monsoon of floral spasms
My flower arches her slender back then as if a storm had come and passed she sinks into the bed and sighs.
Dane Lyn (they/them) is a queer, educator, poet, and glitter enthusiast with an MFA from Lindenwood University. Find them in Southern California with their partner, playing music too loud, constructing blanket forts, caring for their menagerie of teens, snakes, lizards, dogs, rabbits, and cats, and ridding their shoes of beach sand. Dane’s work can be seen in Gnashing Teeth, Closed Eye Open, Anti-Heroin Chic and Nymph Publication, links to which are all at DaneLyn.net
The Dark Inside the Light
There is dark inside the light.
The crows are storm-black eye-brows.
Their wings fly as frowns across the roiling-yellow Wheatfield.
Are they flying towards a new horizon?
Or are they winging away from the inescapable
In the troubled sky, the Prussian blue
as your urgent brush-strokes quickened
an apocalypse of thoughts.
The blue-light clouds are two clenched fists &
the line of wheat and cataclysm.
these unknown threats knuckle towards
The twig-thin wheat! Your thumb, index and middle fingers
propelled the brush across the canvas in
short, sharp movements
as if dipping a twig in a pot
of chrome or
as if visions moved you across the
dome of turmoil.
Are these your dreams’ screams & squalls?
Or are you painting a utopia
*Seventeen days after van Gogh completed Wheatfield with Crows, he shot himself in the same field.
Peter Mitchell is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Conspiracy of Skin (Ginninderra Press, 2018) & The Scarlet Moment (Picaro Press, 2009). Living in Bundjalung Country (Lismore, NSW), he writes poetry, memoir, short fiction, essays & literary criticism. Conspiracy of Skin was awarded a Highly Commended in the prestigious 2019 Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry & his poetry has appeared in Verity La, The Blue Nib (Ireland) & Soft Blow (Singapore), among others. His first full poetry collection, The Loam of Memory seeks a publisher. His website is www.petermitchellwriter.com.au.
after Augusta Savage
how a face is rendered so:
fingers melded to stubborn earth,
shaped with the tender trust of
memory, the impress of a crumpled
hat, the gloss of youthful skin, eyes
sprightly, lips parted ever so slightly,
the quick shock of presence. at
times without a folded collar: hair
high, taut over a widow’s peak, the
curvature of nose and eyebrow, firmness
in the cheeks, the groove above a stoic
mouth, the sturdy contours of collarbones,
naked, not nude. their faces, austere,
worthy of unvarnished
attention, unencumbered by the
muck of phrenology, the few that
breathe in polished bronze, the others
swept in frailer dust, their guiding hands
as tenacious and tender as clay
allows them to be.
Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Ee Tiang Hong, Md Mukul Hossine, and Ocean Vuong.
The Ekphrastic Review has made our nominations for this year's Best of the Net Anthology with Sundress Publications.
Best of the Net was created to honour excellence in online literature. Nominations are for work published from July 2020 through the end of June 2021.
We are most grateful for help choosing this year's nominees from Alarie Tennille, our prize nomination consultant. Alarie is a longtime contributor, occasional guest editor, and judge for our Women Artists contest. Her most recent book is 3 A.M. at the Museum. We cannot thank you enough for your hard work and loving attention.
Without further adieu, congratulations to our ten nominees, in alphabetic order.
Please read their works and share it on social media!
Best of the Net Nominees
Standing Tall – Shelly Blankman
Threadbare, by Diane Durant
Dorothea Lange’s Man Beside Wheelbarrow, by Brian Kates
A Crown for Ida O’Keeffe, by Jean L. Kreiling
Horse and Train, by Lisa McCabe
Wheat Field with Crows, by Pamela Porter
Checkered Floor, by Sandi Stromberg
Because the Living May Be Worth Something, Too, by Brendan Todt
Return from the Woods, by Nan Wigington
On the Road Between Their Houses, by Francine Witte
The Ekphrastic Review
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