The Industrial Age
to abandon church art,
paint what they want,
meeting initial resistance
from an ignorant public
conditioned to portraits,
depiction of saints.
Renoir, Picasso, Warhol,
once scorned, reviled,
became old masters
secure in art history,
hot items at auctions
where works they gave away
for practically nothing
sell at record prices
to the vulgar applause
of tasteless audiences.
This poem is from the not-yet-published poetry collection, Desperate Seeker.
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theatre director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theatre. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing). Perceptions, Displays, Fault Lines and Tremors will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.
Reflection on a Portrait
It’s been a decade since
I photographed a different sky.
I picture the hand-held Rolleiflex
next to her stomach; their candid
progeny of war. The obscenity,
a pyrrhic victory developing
inside her own darkening room.
Light that by keen error
revealed a negative gloom,
showed black a blinding flash –
anecdote, curious heritage –
now curls about me, a question
on its lips. A view offers me entrance,
yet warns me. Hunter, what will
you find out there? What do you
want to capture? I have no answer,
on the right side of the frame;
feelings shuttered, hidden.
Yet I know that something open
begs us to go through, though its
limits also beg to be mended
and cannot, no more than
a dune can be rebuilt from sand
the wind has taken. No more than
ashes scattered in a herb garden
can be found again. I remember
shots, speed, still confusion,
rounds, clicks in the crowded town,
blank faces and shamed-faced beauty,
fading rooms of glory. Heinous
conditions; hell’s dramatic shadow.
The times when I wound on, quickly.
Lee Nash lives in France and freelances as an editorial designer for a UK publisher. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in print and online journals in the UK, the US and France including The French Literary Review, The Dawntreader, The Lake, Inksweatandtears, Orbis, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Interpreter's House, The World Haiku Review, Black Poppy Review and Silver Birch Press. You can find a selection of Lee’s poems at leenashpoetry.com.
Nude in the Bath
Fragments of light, floor tiles,
the bare outline of a towel.
Like Charlene who’s being divorced
and can’t sell her art, giant squares
of flowers and tropical birds
in kindergarten hot pink and neon green,
and she is angry.
She had everything: a stockbroker
husband who bought her an SUV to haul
those canvases to galleries, and every morning
she woke to a studio he designed for her
bordered by windows that framed
chlorophyll greenery and the spiciness
of pink peonies and pool chlorine.
No one ever knows what really happens.
Drop the curtain, it’s dark in there.
In the painting, the woman’s belly is wrinkled,
her breasts a Mediterranean blue.
A small red streak blurs on the tub’s edge,
and the water, it fractures left, right and centre,
Laurel S. Peterson is a Professor of English at Norwalk Community College. Her work has been published in The Distillery, Freshwater, Pinyon, SLAB, Slant, Saranac Review, Texas Review, and others. She has published two poetry chapbooks, That’s the Way the Music Sounds, from Finishing Line Press (2009) and Talking to the Mirror from The Last Automat Press (2010). She also co-edited a collection of essays on women’s justice titled (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience (2009). Her mystery novel, Shadow Notes, will be released by Barking Rain Press in March 2016.
posing against the window
of the rec room on the psych ward.
with crimson petals
signifying Valentine’s Day.
Floating in air,
a dichotomy set amid the
the cold, concrete building
across the street.
Mundane pinks and greys,
A heart swathed in melancholy,
broken in two,
by the perception
of a bitter and pitiless world.
A painting with an inscription to me
carved into my heart with a palette knife.
Cathy Bennett is a Toronto based writer and visual artist. Her background includes copywriting and editorial feature writing, primarily for travel and art publications. She writes short stories, poetry and is currently working on a memoir/art book about her life with the late artist John Molnar. She also loves to paint en plein air.
The Ekphrastic Review
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