Archives for category: Looks Like Me Ekphrastic Poetry Series

Thank you to the 23 authors who participated in our LOOKS LIKE ME Ekphrastic Poetry Series, which ran from November 24 – December 4, 2015. Many readers have told us that this was their favorite series so far. Awesome work. Our thanks to…

Sandra Anfang (California)
Ruth Bavetta (California)
Michele Hyatt-Blankman (Maryland)
Jackie Chou (California)
Tricia Marcella Cimera (Illinois)
Paul Fericano (California)
Jennifer Finstrom (Illinois)
Q. Gibson (Ohio)
Vijaya Gowrisankar (India)
Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike (New York)
Jennifer G. Knoblock (Illinois)
Jennifer Lagier (California)
Alexander Limarev (Russia)
James Penha (Indonesia)
Venetia Peterson (Canada)
Patrick T. Reardon (Illinois)
Jeannie E. Roberts (Wisconsin)
Kerfe Roig (New York)
Donna JT Smith (Maine)
Susan Beall Summers (Texas)
Jari Thymian (South Dakota)
Mercedes Webb-Pullman (New Zealand)
Lynn White (Wales)

LimarevDavid by Michelangelo

Three poetic texts about time, beauty, but not only…
by Alexander Limarev

Part One
(Epigraph Included)

          So God created man in his own image,
           in the image of God created he him;
           male and female created he them.
                    The Holy Bible. Genesis 1:27 (King James Version)

          And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
           and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
           and man became a living soul.
                    The Holy Bible. Genesis 2:7 (King James Version)

God created man in one day.
In the image of God He created him.
We can only guess,
How aesthetically perfect
Was that man, created by God,
Before his fall, I mean.
In the Old Testament, Genesis, Chapter 1, there is a verse:

31 And God saw every thing that he had made,
and, behold, it was very good.
And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

We believe it.
And there is nothing to be added.

As for the time, we must note,
That astronomical time of the Old Testament,
Especially concerning creation of visible world,
Does not correspond to modern time.
To sum it up:
Dust of the ground,
One day,
Perfect man.

Part Two

Times not that old.
The very beginning of XVI century.
Renaissance. Florence.
Michelangelo Buonarroti begins and,
In about four years,
Finishes his “David”.
Marble sculpture of King David of the Old Testament,
Believed to be a culmination of human genius.
To sum it up:
Four years,
Marble copy of man.

Part Three

In this case it is all too plain and trivial.
Though there is, without any doubt,
Some private pathos of this event,
Mystery of impregnation, mystery of birth,
Joy of fatherhood, joy of motherhood and stuff.
Just like it is today.
But still.
Second half of XX century.
The USSR, already not Russia.
A big industrial city…
(there can be further details to infinity).
But let’s be brief…
A boy is born in a natural way,
As hundreds of billions of men before him,
Descendants of those, Old Testament Adam and Eve,
Expelled from the Garden of Eden.
To sum it up:
A couple of heterogeneous humans,
In a natural way,
Nine months,
Not David,

Facts only, nothing personal.

PHOTO: The author in 1978.

STATUE: “David” by Michelangelo (1501–1504).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexander Limarev is a freelance artist, mail art artist, poet, and curator from Russia who has participated in more than 400 international projects and exhibitions. His artworks are part of private and museum collections in 58 countries. His artworks as well as poetry have been featured in various online publications including TIME FOR A VISPO, EXPOESIA VISUAL EXPERIMENTAL #9, #10, #11, #12, THE NEW POST-LITERATE: A GALLERY OF ASEMIC WRITING, BAA:BE:L, NOTHING AND INSIGHT, FOFFOF, SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION LANGUAGE IMAGE LAB, FOOOM, POEZINE, DEGU A JOURNAL OF SIGNS #1, EXIXTERE, ffoOom #2, CHERNOVIK #27, THE WHITE RAVEN #11, UNDERGROUNDBOOKS.ORG, ŎŎŏŏŏ #1, BOEK861, TIP OF THE KNIFE #15, #17, #20, #24, BUKOWSKI ON WRY (Silver Birch Press), BUKOWSKI ERASURE POETRY ANTHOLOGY (Silver Birch Press), SELF-PORTRAIT POETRY COLLECTION (Silver Birch Press), KIOSKO (libera, skeptika, transkultura) #7, #8,MICROLIT #7, #8, METAZEN, BLACKBIRD #11, ZOOMOOZOPHONE REVIEW #1, #2, #3, #4, M58, ICONIC LIT, and SIMULACRO8.

SmithSmith vanDongen
This Girl
by Donna JT Smith

I wore a hat –
And that was that –
Not of a child
But grownup styled;
Eldest of four,
First out the door,
This girl of serious face.

A quiet child –
I wasn’t wild –
No waves to make,
No rafters shake;
Yet in my head
I often shed
This girl of serious face.

Under chapeau,
My thoughts aglow
Of hows and whys,
And butterflies,
Of deepest seas,
A shadow’s tease,
This girl of serious face.

Beware when grown;
Hat-free, hair-blown,
I’d toss my cover,
Embrace my lover,
Sing loud my song
And say “so long”
To this girl of serious face.

PHOTOGRAPH: I’m in the back row right, behind my sister on Easter, 1962, in Maine.

PAINTING: “Jeune fille au chapeau fleuri”  by Kees van Dongen (1907-09).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna JT Smith has written many poems and a good portion of them may be found on her blog: Mainely Write ( Retired after many years of teaching in the elementary schools, she now finds more time to focus on her writing, to dabble in watercolors, and maybe sing a little more freely, where she lives quite comfortably with her amazing husband, their foolish Yellow Lab, and a talkative cat on the coast of Maine.

by Q. Gibson
Brown sugar skin bathed in mahogany undercurrents; sepia shadows lay           nigh.
Corkscrew kinks atop pundit reasoning. Spout fat and full of merciful            peace.
Eyes that have seen blaze turned to honeysuckle; nostrils flared from            whiffs of
Pungent war. Fragments of bone and blood compose symphonies of            russet melodies.
Shoulders lay bare for crying eyes. Curvature cuts the silhouette full            force,
Leaving behind sterling scabs. Illustrious glow, virtuous grace; ever            blooming.

PAINTING: “Diva Blue” from Frank Morrison‘s Soul Sista Collection.

PHOTO: Photo of the author, taken via iPhone (2011).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I like to create words according to imagery and memory of specific visuals. I love Frank Morrison’s recreation of the African American women and people through truthful imagery and moments in time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Q. Gibson is a photographer and young writer of poetry and prose. She is a graduate of the University of Toledo and currently lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. Q is also mother to a two-year-old son named Jonah, and is currently working on her first self-published book.

Artwork for PenhaPenha
Head and Doll
by James Penha

I may be modern. I
may be more head
than body now, my
pigment pitted and
pared, my
square jaw
cubed, my
visage kinked
to complement my
smirk, my
irony, my
ness, but I
am with you
totem, you
silent shaman,
you god of our
jungle, our
islands, our

ARTWORK: Photograph by James Penha of “Head and Doll” (1907) by Pablo Picasso exhibited in tandem at Picasso Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, September 2015.

PHOTO: James Penha and his wooden doll from the island of Borneo photographed at their home outside Jakarta, Indonesia, October 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On holiday in my hometown, I was drawn to MoMA’s historic Picasso Sculpture exhibition, where I found myself looking at my own Head in a glass case containing as well a Doll eerily resembling the ancient megaliths one finds half buried all over the islands of my adopted home of Indonesia and so like the totems carved for centuries by the natives of the archipelago.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. Snakes and Angels, a collection of his adaptations of classic Indonesian folk tales, won the 2009 Cervena Barva Press fiction chapbook contest; No Bones to Carry, a volume of his poetry, earned the 2007 New Sins Press Editors’ Choice Award. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry.

Chou1the scream
The Scream
by Jackie Chou

Why does the man on The Scream scream?
Because he is afraid of heights
I know, because I am afraid of heights
And I know exactly what happened on that painting

I never walk on bridges
Because I am afraid they would collapse
And I would fall
Into the frigid blue water
Or the highway
And that would be the end of me

One day a friend
Convinced me to take the bridge
To the local library
I didn’t want her to know my phobia
So went along with her
Only this one time, I thought
I will be courageous

But I freaked out
When I got to the top
And looked down at the river
And the highway
I covered my ears
To muffle the sound of cars
Below the bridge, and screamed
I cannot go any further
Somebody help me

I think that’s what happened
To the man on the painting

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written in the Emerging Urban Poetry Workshop.

PAINTING: “The Scream” by Edvard Munch (1893).

PHOTOGRAPH: Taken at Pico Rivera Gardens (a residential care facility) on October 8, 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Chou has been writing poetry since high school, winning the Lincoln High School junior class poetry contest with the poem “Vanity Gate,” and went on to study Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. After graduating in 1997, Chou continued to write as a hobby. In 2012, Chou joined the Emerging Urban Poetry Workshop at the Santa Catalina Branch Library in Pasadena. Chou’s poetry has been published in the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, the Alta Dena Poetry Review, Spectrum, Dryland Literary Magazine, and Angel City Review Literary Magazine. 

The Reader
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

On Will Barnet’s “Woman Reading,” 1970

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
while reading.
It says,
Go away.
The white cat on the red
counterpane doesn’t purr;
nor does mine.
It says,
Go away.
But I can’t go. Her
blank-faced blue book
fascinates me.
I must ask the question
The Reader

What are you reading?

PAINTING: “Woman Reading” by Will Barnet (1970).

PHOTOGRAPH: The author reading Patti Smith’s fantastic book M Train, 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote my poem from the perspective of gazing at a Reader and being a Reader. Some of Will Barnet’s elegant paintings reside within the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, one of my favorite museums in the world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader — who wants to not be interrupted while reading ever — and lover of words. Her work is, or will be, in these diverse journals: the Buddhist Poetry Review, Foliate Oak, Hedgerow, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Prairie Light Review, Reverie Fair, Silver Birch Press, Stepping Stones, and Yellow Chair Review. Tricia volunteers, believes strongly in the ideology of Think Globally, Act Locally and wants you to Support Local Art because it’s important. Tricia resides with her husband and family of animals in Illinois/in a town called St. Charles/by a river named Fox.

fragonard paintingSummers bio photo
A Young Girl Reading
by Susan Beall Summers

This portrait hung crooked in our house.
My mother’s image of me:
a pretty girl, round cheeks,
long brown hair,
a reader, dreamer, solitary child,
all true…

Substitute shorts and a torn t-shirt,
take out the ribbons,
let my hair hang in wild tangles,
for God’s sake, no Ruffles!
Place me under a tree,
keep the book,
add a cat.

PAINTING: “A Young Girl Reading” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1770).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I never realized how most images of girls, especially famous paintings, show them as demure, beautiful, well-groomed, dressed in beautiful gowns, with ribbons in long, perfectly styled hair. I was not that kind of girl.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Beall Summers is an active Austin poet, and member of Austin Poetry Society and Writer’s League of Texas. She is also a ghostwriter and editor, and frequently hosts Texas Nafas Poetry Show on Channel Austin. Her poems appear in Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku and Haiga, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review, Harbinger Asylum, Small Canyons Anthology, Di-Verse-City, and others. Visit the author at

That white spot
by Patrick T. Reardon

We share that white spot on the tip of our large noses.
We share that inward gaze.
We look worn, eroded.

The questions buzz along the edges of my screen.
Your paintings have no answers.

Word after word, brush stroke after brush stroke.

What else to do?

PAINTING: “Self-Portrait with Two Circles,” by Rembrandt van Rijn, painted around 1660 when Rembrandt was in his mid-50s.

PHOTOGRAPH: Patrick T. Reardon in the early 1990s when he was in his early 40s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always been fascinated by Rembrandt’s self-portraits, especially his eyes. So I isolated his eyes, and saw how they looked next to my eyes. And wrote.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, who is no Rembrandt, has been writing for publications for more than 50 years.

rembrandt paintingPeterson
She Dreamt of Rebellion
by Venetia Peterson

She dreamt of rebellion that night;
the screaming flames, the silent smoke.
Her morning resonated with echoes.
She went from cup to cup,
thought to scrambling thought.
Then meditated on what
could be gained in a “faithful marriage.”

My expectations are scribbled
on used envelopes and in my digital notebook
where schedules demand unburdened time.
To care for others chaffs against dreams.
In a spare thought I wonder.
Did she do the laundry?
Did she brush her own hair?

What rhymes with never?
I mediate on what was lost.

To see the world after disillusionment
takes knowledge and disbelief.
The grace of a day has become
a gamblers throw: a trick of moments,
a calculated choice, a fated chance.
I look towards the age of frailty and wisdom.
You are captured in youth and mystery dressed in pearls.

I send myself an Email asking: “Have our dreams made us fools or rebels?”

PAINTING: “Portrait of a Lady with a Lapdog” by Rembrandt van Rijn (c. 1662).

PHOTO: The author.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There are turning points in our lives. This poem expresses the chance or choice taken, and the lingering questions as we face the results in our defining moments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Protecting a gang of sparrows from the neighbor’s yellow cat can be exhausting. In between, Venetia manages to write poetry and short stories in Toronto, Canada