We browse the coffee shops and market stalls
beneath the tired, horizon-tilted gaze
of a giant, standing silently above
Our Glorious Dead, and Honour, Gratitude, Praise.
Beyond those words, what did the sculptor mean?
That we should read the dates and names, and know
they’d stood unbowed, and that their sacrifice
has leached into the soil in which we’ve grown?
That we too should be ready to be called?
Or stand so close we feel the webbing’s weave
and bear the rifle, knapsack, bayonet
and pouches’ weight, see what this soldier sees
and saw – and ask what he might want to say?
“You barely see the plinth you hurry by,
eyes to the ground, and once a year place flowers
for a past in which I may have died,
while I, my future finished, look ahead.
But, cast in bronze, I’m cursed: I have no tongue;
I don’t know you; I never knew this town;
I see, but can’t reveal, what’s still to come.”
Phil lives in Kent in the UK. He works as an advisor on peacebuilding and international development. His first full collection Poetry After Auschwitz was published by Sentinel in 2020. Hedgehog Poetry Press published This Quieter Shore, a micro-pamphlet, in 2019, and will publish a full collection Watching the Moon Landing in 2021. Some of his published work can be found on his website www.philvernon.net/category/poetry.
On November 27, 2021, TER editor will be speaking about ekphrastic writing at the Great Flash Throwdown online.
There are multiple all day flash fiction conferences throughout the winter. If you haven't done the online Flash Fiction Festival, don't miss out! Sponsored by Bath Flash Fiction Award and Ad Hoc Fiction, and organized by the amazing Jude Higgins, these events feature an array of literary luminaries, great readings, publishing tips, panel discussions, interviews, writing exercises, and more. There is even yoga stretching for writers to make the computer haul bearable.
The flash fiction days are a lot of fun, a great learning experience, and a chance to meet writers online.
We are very excited about introducing flash writers to the joys of ekphrastic writing!
Monologue of the Creamed Camel
How shall I not love the humans, nomads
that snap-shutter the Western Cordillera with a third eye?
They say the world is peeling off like whatever wallpaper is.
All I know is their sprawl is dead center
now in the grasslands. They dig for their brushes
and cigarettes to honor us, riding with noble abandon,
not so sharp-edged. We appear ready to hump
in two directions without groan.
Why would God allow them to follow us?
We love bearing their loads in transport
forty million years later since our ancestors
were bored in South Dakota like rabbits.
Could our Creator in her tipped joyfulness
match this grace as we ponder the Marfa Lights?
You will never capture my face so well as the guard hair,
the fat-laden bumps, and the serene proudness, headed
for the corners of earth’s splendor.
John Milkereit lives in Houston and has completed a M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the Rainier Writing Workshop. His work has appeared in various literary journals including San Pedro River Review, The Orchard Street Press, and The Ocotillo Review. Lamar University Press published his last collection of poems entitled Drive the World in a Taxicab. He is a 2021 Pushcart nominee.
Join us this Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 pm EST for an ekphrastic writing workshop with moon-themed artworks!
The moon has been an intriguing subject throughout art history. We will look at and discuss a selection of artworks and let them inspire poetry and short stories.
Our workshops so far have been lively, creative, productive, and fun.
This is our second theme-specific workshop and we hope to have more!
The new challenge prompt has been posted! Check out the rules here, or click on the image above.
Song of Violet
Another grey day, dreams begin to slow down, our
limbs become heavy as old leather suitcases.
Light falls, has nowhere else to go. Where it touches
shadows grow, spreading petals of darkness.
If time could pause, even for a moment, this would be it.
Strangers passing, we ignore each other, deny
at heart we’re the same, clothed in blank stares, frozen feelings,
clutching in our hands a fragile parcel of self.
Colin Pink lives in London, England. He writes fiction, plays and poetry. He has published three collections of poetry: Acrobats of Sound (2016), The Ventriloquist Dummy’s Lament (2019) and Typicity (2021). Colin Pink - D & W PUBLISHING - BOOKS, PAMPHLETS AND POEMS (dempseyandwindle.com)
Egon handed him a scalpel. It had a slender grip, a sharp blade that slid upward. He thought about people in horror films, fates at the hands of a monster. How many lives could be saved with this scalpel? How many girl-eating goblins gutted, dragon-toothed piranhas slashed, brain-starved zombies decapitated? He wondered. Carve out your collarbones, Egon told him. He drew one smooth arch in the air. Like this, Egon said. But he knew it would take more than one cut. That night, facing the mirror, he took off his shirt. He placed the scalpel on his shoulders and slanted it inward, away from his neck. He moved the blade in then out, ending a breath away from his sternum. The severed skin looked nearly egg-like, lower flaps bloated with yolk. Red dots stained skin like seeds from a gashed pomegranate, little cracked milk teeth. He faced his reflection, jutting his torso open. He could see the cabinet from the mirror, the bottom of a spinning music box. The tiles started to sog under him. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. From his window he could see the cutting board on the table with slabs of a fish carcass dangling from rope. The belly had shrunk to half its size, molding the fat and sangria flavour. So much to lose, he marveled. He slit up the other collarbone, his hand more practiced, the cuts smoother. He looked through the hollow of his collarbones again. This time, through the hollow, he could see the entire music box. It sputtered out a small note. He withdrew the scalpel and slipped it back inside the cabinet. The hollow seemed to be getting bigger as blood trickled out. How much blood can the body lose before it fails? He wanted to ask Egon. But Egon had left already, as he always did. He arched his head downwards and fitted his index finger between his collarbones. Neither his finger nor his knuckles touched the wounds; the hollow was not even as wide as the scalpel blade. But he felt like he could be chewed into the opening, spit back out, find himself no different from when he started. He faced his reflection again. From the depths of the mirror, he could only see the hollow in place of a human, the mouth shaped like a black hole.
Christina Pan's short stories and poems appear or are forthcoming in Vagabond City Lit, Eunoia Review, and Interstellar Literary Review. She lives in NYC.
Moon-themed artwork from early to modern times, curated for your ekphrastic writing practice.
Click on image above to purchase the ebook.
Or come to our moon-themed ekphrastic writing workshop on Sunday afternoon!
Our two hour online ekphrastic workshops have been marvellous. This is our second themed workshop- the first was Writing Sex with the incredible Alexis Rhone Fancher. This time, we will look at the moon in art history and do some intriguing writing exercises together. Join us!
Another fantastic TERcets Podcast episode is up with our host Brian A. Salmons.
Click on image above to listen in on Spotify. Brian features Alexis Rhone Fancher, Susan McLean, and Abbi Flint this time, each reading their own work.
A lot of work goes into making this podcast and we cannot thank Brian enough. Please help get the word out about this ekphrastic podcast by sharing on Twitter, Facebook, etc- let's get more ears on the work of these writers!
Listen to all of the TERcets podcasts here.
Read an interview with Brian about making the podcast, here.
Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson
“When we are stuck, most of us look for a way out in the work of others.”
from Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, by Lee Smolin
Strip way the Malmsey and lye, the theatric
alarm tripped by the Dark, warm ghosts of mace
and tobacco and breath, the urge to grimace
at the laid back cadaver whose public
demise lives on as Brooding’s centerpiece--
and we’re left with another way to think:
See for yourself. What is real is the work
we do with our eyes, Prying’s rude science.
As if to say Behold the beholders,
Rembrandt paints us, not unlike you, without
a clue, giddy-eyed as to what matters
most: Doctor Tulp’s cold forceps or is it
Vesalius at Kindt’s cold feet or—over
there—the unseen who sees a work of art?
This poem was originally published in Ekphrasis.
Shelley Benaroya is founding director and teaching artist for the Writing Center for Creative Aging (https://writingcenterforcreativeaging.com/), launched in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in all the sins, Burningwood Literary Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, Letters Journal, The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, Thirteenth Moon, and elsewhere. In 2017, she received the Ekphrasis Prize and a Pushcart Prize nomination.
The Ekphrastic Review
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