Archives for posts with tag: Art

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A Taste of the Real World
By Adjoa Wiredu

The floor was slicked with oil. Two, three, four times and the team still slid around the slippery varnish in the back kitchen; my mop did not make a difference. It was hot. In the middle of the summer months when it started off bright and the days ended muggy and stale. I wore a uniform; a stiff blue shirt, dark trousers, and a cap with a large yellow “M” on the front. That was the summer I finally got a job after the euphoria that came with the end of my GCSEs.

In three months, I learned about shifts; what it meant to be sleep-working the early- and the horror of late-night closing. I learned about timers for filet-o-fish and fries and the only rule to remember: listen out for the beep. I learned customer service; the magical smile to open up each sale and the toothy grins saved for complaints. I learned about true exhaustion; dosing off on the bus ride home and the effort it would take to move my jelly-like legs once I got off.

After my second pay-slip, I realised I wouldn’t last. On my days off I applied for other jobs motivated by the memory of smells that would waft out of the female toilets. I only had to think of the number of times I cleared the tables and re-cleared the tables; moped the floors and re-moped the floors to know I wouldn’t last. Even then, I knew that the greasy tables and the greasy floors would stay that way long after I left.

IMAGE: “Hamburger” by Andy Warhol (1985).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adjoa Wiredu is a Masters student at the University of Kent on an inter-disciplinary writing degree entitled The Contemporary. She has an interest in social issues and the arts. Her work is focused on the development of writing and curating. Her first paid job was with Mcdonalds, where she grew up very quickly and learned a lot about people and the world of work. Visit her at marigoldroadblog.com and theearththedirt.wordpress.com.

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Umbrella Lost
by Katherine Edgren

My open umbrella dries damply on the floor
recalling another circled, portable protector:
collapsible with hinged ribs
big enough for a garrulous giant
rakish handle at a
                         rakish angle
gift from my young son, bought with a wad
that burned a hole in his pocket
on a World’s Fair vacation with indulgent Grandparents
in a city I can’t even remember
it was so long ago.

Dear, darling Doris and I were
plotting over pancakes at a local hole.
Sleep mustn’t yet have abandoned my muzzy head,
because I

               ***LOST*** the umbrella.

(The sky must have stopped its dripping and when I left,
I forgot my capacious canopy. Later
I went back to search where it never was
–even in the trunk of Doris’ car—)

GONE GONE GONE —
like a diamond down the drain
eluding, evading, escaping without me,
wings flapping an unseen farewell.

Something so precious,
LOST,
***and losing it the first time I used it***

Part of me has to believe
someone stole it (shhhhhhh)

Even now on dreary days,
I find myself watching for the waving of my prized parasol
over the heads of strangers-thieves-parasites.
( Um-brella Sun-brella Un-brella)

Thus paranoia planted its hairy beet-root
and began its expansion deep and wide.
I still mourn my lost brolly, my umbrolly,
my parapluie, my bumbershoot.

IMAGE: “Still Life with Peaches and Umbrella” by Andre Denoyer de Segonzac (1884-1974).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I wrote this piece in an on-line class on metaphor taught by Jennifer Burd, as a part of the Loft Literary Center. It’s all true.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In 2017
Katherine Edgren
’s book of poetry, The Grain Beneath the Gloss, will be published by Finishing Line Press, where her previous two chapbooks: Long Division (2014) and Transports (2009) were also published. Her poems have appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Birmingham Poetry Reviiew, and Barbaric Yawp, among others. She was born in 1950 and is a retired social worker who lives in Dexter, Michigan, with her husband and her dog. Visit her at kkedgren.wordpress.com.

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The Gold Amulet
by Pallabi Roy

It was not just a pricey yellow metal
that still berates my soul
for not holding on to it.
It was rather to me an empyrean that housed
an angel sent by you, Ma,
to ward off all the evils around me.

I deplore losing it,
not for its elegant and antique design,
but your prayers etched on its surface,
not for the sparkles and glitters,
but your blessings shining through it.
I could not treasure it, Ma!
When it hanged around my neck
like a buckler in a war.

Ma, it was a legacy of love
bequeathed to you by Grandma
that you had hoped to live on.
But it could not cling to my heart
like I always did to its.

That gold amulet
broke up with me,
and taught me a lesson.
Losing is not about ruing when it is gone,
it is about cherishing when it is our own.

IMAGE: “Public Pool for Daytime Swimming” by Joyce Kozloff (1984).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The subject of the poem is a gold amulet, passed on from many generations of my mother’s family. I lost it during an aquatic meet in my college days. When it was with me, I considered it just a piece of jewelry. Only after losing the amulet did I realize how much I should have valued it to keep the good luck flowing in.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Based in New Delhi, India, Pallabi Roy is a technical communicator by profession and a creative writer by passion. She has penned numerous flash fictions and poems in English and Assamese, and her work has appeared in The Assam Tribune, Prantik, The Sentinel, and other publications. When she veers from her writing schedule, she is either traveling through water (a former competitive swimmer!) or trekking through some hills in North India.

PHOTO: The author during a recent trekking trip to Ooty, Tamil Nadu.

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My Stupid Lost Necklace
by Susan W. Goldstein

I lose things. Quite often. I have this terrible habit of throwing possessions into any old drawer that I pass by. It drives my husband crazy, because nothing is ever in the same place twice. And it can be extremely annoying. For example, I knew that I had been holding the car keys before breakfast: how could they be missing now, a mere 20 minutes later? This adds a degree of stress to my life that I really fail to enjoy. I become obsessed, a crazy woman tearing the house apart until I remember that I had stuffed the keys into my pocket. But let’s not dwell on that.

The following items are currently Missing in Action: a pearl and Austrian crystal necklace; a favorite blouse; a special photo of my sons. This really bothers me. I would say that the house is inhabited by a playful poltergeist, but we have moved at least three times while these items remained missing. Unless ghosts move with you?

I had a special event and wanted to wear the necklace, mentioned above. I was determined to find it, so I upended my jewelry box; I emptied my underwear drawer (like I said: I put things in the strangest places); I inspected the house inch by inch. I could not find it anywhere. Finally, I had no choice but to drive to the mall to find a replacement. I reached into my glove compartment for my GPS and . . . in a flash, remembered that three years ago, I had taken the necklace and thrown it in said glove compartment because it was too heavy on my neck. And there it was, a tangled jumble just waiting to be found! My stupid necklace.

IMAGE: “Jeanne Hebuterne with Necklace” by Amedeo Modigliani (1917).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The words “lost” and “found” conjure up my peripatetic set of car keys, which I am constantly misplacing. My husband has gotten used to my hysterical outbursts when yet another prized possession goes missing. And then he is the recipient of the requisite apology for my bad behavior, after the prized possession is found. I know, I know: I should follow his advice and put things back where I found them. But that is just too easy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susan W. Goldstein
 has relocated over 15 times in her lifetime; it is False News that she is in the Witness Protection Program. She has, however, found paradise in Delray Beach, Florida, with her husband and his dog (when said dog pukes on the carpet) and her dog (when said dog is being cute). She was first published in Silver Birch Press (!!!), followed by Mothers Always Write, Mamalode, JustBe Parenting, Lunch Ticket and, soon, Parent Co. Follow her blog at very-seriously.com.

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Curiosity
by Roslyn Ross

Lost that grey kitten,
eyes like stars and
fur in silken clouds
of love, damp-nosed
and curious, so very
curious –

Found, that grey kitten,
eyes clouded, fur limp,
body curled in death,
sighing from the final
bite of the snake, as it
defended its babies
from curiosity

IMAGE: “A Kind of Cat” by Paul Klee (1937).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We live on a farm and in summer, the brown snakes are common and kittens are as ever, much too curious. We have lost three kittens in the past two years.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roslyn Ross has been writing poetry since she was a child. She was born in Australia and has lived around the world for three decades, but is now settled in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

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Sammy
by Neil Creighton

The Indian Pacific from Perth
has arrived on Platform 2.

We poured from the train.
The platform surged with people.
Baggage handlers scurried around.
Grey day. Spiteful rain. Cold wind.

Better check on your dog, son.

Sammy was in a dog-cage in the baggage car.
He was eight. I was sixteen.
His puppy self had lain in my arms.
Together we paddled the glittering lake,
he in the front, alert, mouth open, excited.
He loped alongside my bicycle.
He bounded comically through high grass.
He lay at my feet in the evening.
He was my brother and my friend.

There’s a dog loose on the tracks.

I barely heard that announcement
as I wandered down to the baggage car.
I’d checked on him on each stop.
Now I’d take him to our new home.

I’ve come for my dog.

Jeez, mate, sorry, he’s gone,
We tried to get him out of his cage.
He held back and slipped his collar
and he bolted.

I ran through the crowd, searching the tracks,
calling and whistling again and again.
No dog loped up happily to lick my hand.

Finally I stopped.
He was gone,
3,400 kilometres from his home,
running in a strange city
full of noise and trams and cars and trains,
increasingly desperate, hungry, alone.

The day was cloudy, cold and wet.
I reached for my sunglasses
To hide my grief, though tears flowed freely.

Sammy, my dear friend,
don’t run too far.
Find someone to take you in.
Let them love you like I do.

In a sad huddle, my family waited.
I walked past them towards the platform steps.
They seemed so very far away.

IMAGE: “Boy with a Dog” by Pablo Picasso (1905).

Creighton for Sammy

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have always loved dogs, and although my father was in the Royal Australian Air Force and we led a gypsy life, criss-crossing the Australian continent, my dog always came with us. My poem recounts what happened when we travelled from Perth to Melbourne one cold, wet day.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My dogs, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Eliza Bennet (Darcy and Lizzie).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work often reflects strong interest in social justice. His recent publications include Poetry Quarterly, Autumn Sky Daily, Praxis mag online,  Rat’s Ass Review, and Verse-Virtual, where he is a contributing editor. He blogs at windofflowers.blogspot.com.au.

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Life on the high wire
By Connor Mura

With the snap of a single thread, I begin to see small rosewood drops sprinkling across the ground
My handcrafted Buddhist prayer beads flutter from my wrist
A gift from my love
Strewn across the shimmer of rain topped cement
Without a Farwell, Forlorn fragments of my faith fall through the cracks
Riding a waterfall over the point of no return.
In the coming days I found myself joining those little red marbles.
Shattered and scattered, caught out in the stony rain
Wounded by the loss of the very love that offered me that prayer.
As I fought for high ground in a battle with addiction,
          And questioned the world, the only answer I could find;
I had lost my marbles.

IMAGE: “Red Circle on Black” by Jiro Yoshihara (1965).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connor Mura is a writer out of western New York, currently enrolled in college. Mura’s influences Bukowski and Robert Frost, yet most of his work is heavily influenced though his experiences Being an impoverished homeless youth suffering with mental illness as well as a troubling past. With no former publications, Connor Mura is a stranger to the literary world and hopes to connect with the outcasts of his generation.

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Kolmer’s Gulch
by Tania Pryputniewicz

Down the cragged, nettled incline
past two crosses for the drowned,

our children scale pocked rocks.
I’m at forty-nine seconds: scanning

kelp threaded waves for the black thumb
of your hood, remembering Fiji:

swimming hand in hand, the time-slowed
undulations of sea cucumbers, pale tan,

rolling their octagonal lanterns
across the miniature ribs of the sand.

But this is the cold Pacific, an overcast day,
zero visibility according to the pair

of retreating divers you pass in the surf.
Our son straddles a feeder stream, flings

strands of algae and one unlucky
minnow into his sister’s hair. You

surface. I breathe. Then lose
you again, like I do daily to the needs

of them: the youngest cries up, our
son’s lost a shoe, our daughter begs

to bring her dead minnow home.
I just want you, hurtling crown first

towards the silver lid of the sea
you must open to live, kicking in,

the three rust-red half-helmets
of abalone suctioned to your chest.

AUTHOR’S IMAGE CAPTION: Drawing of Kolmer’s Gulch by the late artist Mike Trask (father of the best man at our wedding). I paid for this drawing using the first dollars I’d ever earned from a poem.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem back when we lived in Northern California just after coming home from one of my husband’s ritual trips to dive for abalone at Kolmer’s Gulch near Fort Ross in 2007. Before we had our children, I accompanied him several times out into the sea. It was far more difficult to stand on the shore and wait for him to surface than it was risking the unruly jade swell and brisk water temperatures to shadow him through the kelp and down to the sea floor.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tania Pryputniewicz, author of November Butterfly (Saddle Road Press, 2014), is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Tania’s poems are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Nimrod International Journal, Prime Number Magazine, and Whale Road Review. She teaches a monthly themed poetry workshop at San Diego Writers, Ink and lives in Coronado, California. Her online home is taniapryputniewicz.com.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is of my youngest son, Nikolas and me in our wetsuits overlooking the sea.

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Birthstone
by Elizabeth Kerper

In some stories the loss of the ruby ring
would bring the whole thing down in shards,
hammer to a mirror, the hero unable to summon
the wish-granter or placate the monster, the Beast
dying alone in his garden long before anyone
could make it through the enchanted wood,
but in your apartment there is just the losing
and the looking, then moving the bed, pressing
one eye at a time to the gap where the floorboards
warped years ago, where the ring must surely
have fallen. Then giving up, collapsing

on the bed, unmoored in the center of the room,
feet on your pillow, head toward the window, watching
snow like dark static against the orange street light.
Then resignation, then calm, as if you have finally
mastered the magic trick your father tried to teach you
as a girl, how to transform a bed into a boat and the dark
into a placid ocean instead of a tide pool teeming
with every species of fear. Tonight you feel the people

who lived in this space before you the way you felt ghosts
then and surely you are not the first to lose something here.
Imagine the ring nestled in the quicksilver chain of a vanished
bracelet or against the jagged blade of already-replaced keys,
surely you walk barefoot every day above so much
searched for, then abandoned. Now you think
of the women of your family who wore the ring before you,
now you think of the girl who will come to you someday,
daughter or great-niece, promised this sign of the month
of her birth, how she will hold out her hands and how you
will have nothing to give her except your own.

IMAGE: “The Ring” by John William Godward (1898).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: While this poem written about the period of time in which I was convinced that my ring was gone for good, that did not turn out be its actual fate—a month after I dropped and lost it, my mother visited me and spotted it in my bookshelf, snagged on the back row of some books shelved two-deep. Moral of the story: nothing is ever really lost unless your mom can’t find it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Elizabeth Kerper
 
lives in Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a BA in English literature. Her work has appeared in the Nancy Drew Anthology from Silver Birch Press, as well as in Eclectica, NEAT, Midwestern Gothic, and No Assholes Literary Magazine, where she is a contributing editor.

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The Lost Bright-Yellow
by Marion Deutsche Cohen

She has fallen asleep reading. When she wakes up the book is no longer
there.
Has it dropped through the mattress? Did she leave it in her dream?
It’s bright yellow, as bright as a light bulb.
It literally can’t be missed.

It’s not in the washer
Not in the dryer
Not in the sink
Not in the bookcase.

She can order another copy.
But she can’t order another Intermediate Value Theorem
The one that says an object can’t get from one place to another
without going in between.

What did she do in her sleep? Take it outside the house? Leave it on
somebody’s doorstep? Throw it in a public trash can?
It’s too big for her purse.
Too big for her jewelry case.
Too big for the medicine cabinet.

She guesses she’ll have to get used to the new rules.
There just might be a god.
And there just might be no science.

Her husband remembers that she fell asleep reading.
And he’s getting worried, too.

SOURCE: “Lost Bright-Yellow”  appeared in the author’s chapbook, Sizes Only Slightly Distinct (Green Fuse Press).

IMAGE : “Woman Reading,” sculpture by Pablo Picasso (1953).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The “she” is actually me. I altered it because I wanted to include it in the chapbook, “Sizes Only Slightly Distinct”, which consisted of what I call “poetic parables without morals”. Other than that, that poem is totally true. (I found the book two days later, fallen to the foot of the bed.)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marion Deutsche Cohen
’s latest poetry books are Truth and Beauty (WordTech Editions – about the interaction among students and teacher in her course, Mathematics in Literature, which she developed at Arcadia University) and  Closer to Dying (WordTech Editions).  and What I’m Wearing Today (dancing girl press – about thrift-shopping!). Her books total 27, including two memoirs about spousal chronic illness and including Crossing the Equal Sign (Plain View Press – about the experience of mathematics). She teaches math and writing at Arcadia University.  She was recently featured in an interview at renpowell.com, and at svjlit.com. Her website is marioncohen.net.