Archives for posts with tag: Art

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Bouncing Between Beds with Song
by Marjorie Maddox

“Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height…” Mary Poppins

See the magnolia bursting
with what could be and the blue-grey
two-story shy beside it? There,
go in now, up the stairs and back too many years

into what could be, into the blue-grey
and stair-stepping into the long hallway of age,
go in now, staring full-face all the many years
that separate adult’s bed from child’s dream.

Two-stepping down the long hallway of age,
here where you cannot stand still—
between adult’s bed and child’s dream—
this is where you learned to fly.

There is a time you cannot stand still,
a time to leap from the blue-grey hall.
This is where your voice learned to fly
bursting from throat through song, through story,

each time leaping from the blue-grey hall,
“up, up into the atmosphere” of movies,
bursting from throat through song, through story,
“up, up where the air is clear,” Mary Poppins humming.

“Up, Up”—the atmosphere expanding as you moved
into each new sphere, past flying the kite, past the kite itself,
“up, up, where the air is clear,” beyond Mary Poppins. Humming
yourself into belief, away from the world below

into each new sphere, past flying the kite, past the kite itself,
into the more real sky, the universe itself, all that was waiting
of yourself. What you believed flew away from the world below
with loud singing past the rooftops and soot-filled chimneys

into the more real sky, the universe itself, all that was waiting.
Dashing down the long hallway, you bounce on one bed, then the other
with loud singing, past the rooftops and soot-filled chimneys,
past the Mary Poppins stories— childhood

dashed. Down the long hallway, past the beds, the other
self waits. There are always two stories. There
the blue-grey of what was. Over there,
what could be, every magnolia bursting.

Previously published in SWWIM, The Orchards Poetry Review, and How to Write a Form Poem, ed. Tania Runyan (T. S. Poetry Press 2020).

PAINTING: Magnolias by Lolame.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Here is  a link to an interview about writing this particular poem:

Maddox Author Photo photo credit Melania Rae

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 13 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize), Begin with a Question (Paraclete, International Book Award Winner), and Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts) — an ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); four children’s and YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist International Book Awards), A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry; I’m Feeling Blue, Too! (a 2021 NCTE Notable Poetry Book), and Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems , Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor). In the Museum of My Daughter’s Mind, based on her daughter’s paintings (www.hafer.work), + works by other artists, is forthcoming in 2023 (Shanti Arts). Visit her at  marjoriemaddox.com.

Author photo by Melania Rae. 

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Gilt
by Katrin Talbot

Where I’m staying,
you can’t see neighbours,
just piñons, mountains and
the distant shimmer of
a city below in the evenings

Here, expansive solitude,
song of high desert finches,
ravens ripping through
the soundscape,
a gentle breeze cooling
you in the shade

So where do you put
the surprise of a
whinny next door?
A simple and astonishing
declaration of
corporeality

After the startle,
this equine delineation,
worthy of
a gilded frame,
hung in memory’s
grand hall

PAINTING: Blue Horse by Franz Marc (1911).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I spend quite a bit of time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as photographer for the International Shakespeare Center-Santa Fe, where my daughter is the artistic director. Every visit yields new experiences, poems, memories. This poem is from an unforgettable first morning at the gorgeous house my daughter was housesitting last summer. All I could see in my poetry head was a frame around the moment.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Australian-born Katrin Talbot’s collection The Waiting Room of the Imperfect Alibis was published by Kelsay Books in October 2022. Her collection The Devil Orders A Latte is forthcoming from Fernwood Press,. Her seven chapbooks include The Blind Lifeguard and Freeze-Dried Love (Finishing Line Press), Attached: Poetry of Suffix, The Little Red Poem, and noun’d, verb (dancing girl press), and St. Cecilia’s Daze (Parallel Press). Wrong Number is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She has two Pushcart Prize nominations and quite a few chickens. Visit her at katrintalbot.com.

MacCulloch 2
A Day’s Journey, Thanksgiving 1960
by Jone Rush MacCulloch

Dad shines the 1958 Gold Chevy and fills it with gas
Mom ushers us into the car, brother behind Dad,
me behind her, my fingers petting the interior cloth
fuzzy like my stuffed bear of the same color.

Mom lights a cigarette; this is the sign
our trip will be longer than to the grocery store.
A few puffs and she hands it to Dad.
Brother starts a foot fight with me. He doesn’t win.

After the palm tree lined streets of Rancho Cucamonga
the road turns into a snake winding through
San Bernardino Mountain Pass, the up and down
makes my stomach feel like a roller coaster.

I need to go potty. Dad raises his eyebrows
in the rearview mirror, slows and pulls over.
The car door provides little privacy
as vehicles whoosh by in a hurry.

The dustiness of sage takes over
the acrid tobacco smell. The spiky heads
of Joshua trees appear, signaling
we are almost there, the “white castle.”

The car slows turning onto the gravel driveway,
eucalyptus and castor trees nod welcome.
Uncle lumbers out to greet us with hugs.
Auntie is busy ricing the potatoes.

Bone china and good silver grace the table.
The blessing said as the mantle clock chimes.
The grownups catch up. I ask for a second helping
of cauliflower-bleu-cheese-tomato casserole.

After dinner, after pumpkin pie, and clearing the dishes,
I rock back and forth on the porch swing. Brother looks for lizards.
Soon we pile into the car, and wave goodbyes
until the starlit fairy lights debut on the black damask sky.

© 2022 Jone Rush Macculloch

ARTWORK: “Visiting the Relatives” by Jone  Rush MacCulloch (mixed media: family photos, collage, painted papers, and paint).

Adelanto Thanksgiving

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My great aunt and uncle lived with their daughter in the high desert of California. Our holidays consisted of them coming to us or us traveling to them as my grandmothers and other cousins lived on the East Coast. I loved the “white castle” house that really was a just masonry building common for the area. Memory is funny.  In my mind’s eye of memory, they had eucalyptus trees and castor bean trees but were they? Visiting my extended family was always a treat (especially the cauliflower-bleu-cheese-tomato soup casserole, a Thanksgiving must-have this dish — my brother would disagree, though).

PHOTO: The house where the author and her family enjoyed Thanksgiving Day in the California desert.

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RECIPE FOR CAULIFLOWER-BLEU-CHEESE-TOMATO CASSEROLE

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a guess-and-by-golly recipe. I only have the ingredients, not exact amounts. My great aunt never had a recipe written down.

Ingredients:
1 Cauliflower head
1 Can of tomato soup
1 Can of water
About 8 ounces of bleu cheese, or to taste

Directions
1) Set oven at 350 degrees.
2) Steam the cauliflower until almost tender.
3) Drain cauliflower and put into a casserole dish.
4) Sprinkle in the bleu cheese.
5) Mix together the soup and water. Pour over the cauliflower and bleu cheese.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until the soup and cheese are bubbly.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jone Rush MacCulloch’s poems have been included in several children’s collections such as Imperfect II (History House Publishers, 2022), Things We Do (Pomelo Books, 2021), Hop To It (Pomelo Books 2020) — winner of the Kids’ Book Choice Award for Best Books of Facts. Her haiku and photography are also found in New Bridges: a haiku anthology edited by Jacob Slazer. She’s  been published in the Haiku Society of America’s publications, VoiceCatcher, as well as The Poeming Pigeon. In August 2022, she won two awards for poetry at the Oregon State Fair. She still loves traveling the world, most recently to Ireland and Scotland. When not writing, you can find her reading, creating mixed media, or with her camera in hand. Visit her at jonerushmacculloch.com.

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A Phone Call
by Anne Born

I remember the hushed phone call.
My study-abroad daughter calling me in New York
From Gallery 12 at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Mom. There’s a tour guide here.
He’s very proud.
He’s telling people that this painting here
Is the greatest painting in the world,
By the greatest artist in the world.
Is it?

And that this museum is
The greatest museum on the world.
Is it?

I thought for a moment.
Yes.
That painting, Velázquez’s Las Meninas.
It is absolutely the greatest painting in the world.

What about the museum?
Am I in the greatest museum in the world?

I thought for a moment.
Yes.

I have been to the Louvre, the Met, the Art Institute,
All of the Smithsonian, the British Museum, the Uffizi.
Yes.
It is the greatest museum in the world.

Thanks, mom.
I love you.
I love you too.

My sweet girl had picked up and gone
To an art museum,
And she was standing in front of the greatest painting by the greatest artist in the greatest museum in the world
And she thought to call me.
That’s what I remember.

PAINTING:  Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez (1656), Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

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 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Memory is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s the small details you think about and not the event itself. You should think about the time you went to Paris or Rome and saw cathedrals and cafes and galleries, but all you think about is that you ran out of toothpaste, got on the wrong train, or brought the wrong shoes. Here, the call did force me to assess what I knew about museums and paintings and artists, but the real story to me was that, in the moment, she wanted to know what I thought too. It’s a marvelous thing when your children experience the places you love.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I took this photo at the Prado — when the guard wasn’t looking. I love watching people take in the art. (Gallery 12, Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain. Photo credit: Anne Born, August 17, 2022.)

BORN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Born is an award-winning author and photographer based in Michigan. A published poet, essayist, and travel writer, she is currently collaborating on a short documentary film about her book on one of the great cathedrals in Spain, If You Stand Here: A Pilgrim’s Tour of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Her photographs of the Camino de Santiago and views of New York are available on Redbubble (@nilesite), and her books can be ordered from Amazon, or your favorite independent bookseller.

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Balloon Moon
by Mary Ellen Talley

We have just walked out of Safeway
where the bakery worker
gave some leftover balloons
to my granddaughter, Taylor –
that is, of course, besides
the usual free cookie.

Oh, the shock as my granddaughter
enters her car seat
and ribbons of the balloon bouquet
slip off her small wrist.
Five balloons leap from the car
and quickly rise skyward
past houses and trees.
I know Taylor’s joy
will become sobs of grief
if I don’t turn this moment around.
I ask what little girl
might live on the moon tonight,
and perhaps she has been hoping for balloons.
Taylor says the girl’s name is Angie
and she will have her birthday party tomorrow.
I think I see Taylor’s imagination
ascend toward the waning gibbous glow
as the pastel balloons grow distant
far from this Seattle parking lot
into the moonlit sky.

IMAGE: Girl with Balloon by Banksy (2002). The image first appeared under the Waterloo Bridge in London during 2002 with the caption, “There is Always Hope.”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote the first draft of this poem in 2012. Today as I revise the poem, my granddaughter is turning 14 years old. Back then, I was relieved and elated that we found a way to continue a pleasant overnight visit. I will give this poem to my granddaughter as a birthday gift. The memory remains close to my heart.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Ellen Talley’s recent poems have been published in Raven Chronicles, Banshee, What Rough Beast, Flatbush Review, and Ekphrastic Review as well as in the anthologies, Chrysanthemum and Ice Cream Poems. Her poems have received three Pushcart nominations and her chapbook, Postcards from the Lilac City, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020.

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Under the Ironing Machine
by Robbi Nester

All morning, my mother sits
before this rectangular monstrosity,
feeding it sheets damp from the washer.
I squat underneath, skinny knees
hugging my sides. The warm cotton
billows, becomes a tent where I sit
with my books and sketch pad,
singing to myself. The sun finds me,
and I feel all this will last forever,
even after the smooth sheets lie folded
into squares in the basket, and my mother
stands at the counter, kneading raw egg
into hamburger, offering me a bit
on the tip of one finger. Even after
the sun sags beneath the sill and
the moon opens her round silver eye.

This poem appears in the author’s collection Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019).

PAINTING: Woman Ironing by Edgar Degas (1869).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Most people have probably never seen the kind of enormous industrial pressing machine I am describing here. To my knowledge, they weren’t even that common, at the time, in the late 50s/early 60s, but this machine took up a sizable portion of the kitchen in the Philadelphia rowhouse where I grew up. My mother used it to iron large objects, like sheets, as well as shirts and slacks. It made an ideal playhouse.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and moved to Southern California in 1980 for graduate school. She has been here ever since. The author of four published books of poetry and as many as-yet-unpublished ones, she is an elected member of the Academy of American Poets, editor of three anthologies, and curator of two poetry series. Her poetry and reviews have appeared widely.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo, taken by my friend Jane Rosenberg LaForge, records a summer memory from last year–eating Italian ice in Southern California, a rare finding.

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Earth Speaks: An Oratorio
by Joanie HF Zosike

1. Recitativo—Earth

“Our last chance to tackle the climate catastrophe.”
Ugh.
“How to heal the earth.”
Argh.
“Our fight for the planet.”
Grrrr.
Expressions like these curdle my molten lava.
They make me want to smash my surface with a mallet!
Instead of wreaking havoc, I sing:

2. Chorus of Fig Trees and Farmers

She fell in love with her
landlord Sam, a generous man.
They were agrarian lovers
who worked on the land.

Fig tree gave the woman
a root and branch of itself.
She dropped seeds in the ground.
Her patch of earth grew to sky.

It grew fiercer, too.
how its green fig eye spread
greater than a mountain.
Woman held her head high.

Fig twitched its leaves and
shook-shaukelt-secoué
Shekere shekere IH! IH!
Ritual dance pounded Earth.

Well! Earth is in no mood
for bucolic solutions.
She doesn’t approve of naïve
resolutions. She needs more.

Earth seeks a new directive.
She’s maintaining her orbit
but must gain cooperation from
those who have injured her.

3. Duet: Earth and Human

EARTH: What makes you think you can save me?
HUMAN: I was born from the dust of your dust.
                I will prove that in me you can trust.
EARTH: What gives you this terrible power?
HUMAN: I’m your owner, your tamer, your plougher.
EARTH: You’ve never owned me and you never will.
HUMAN: What if I take you to dinner, pay the bill?
EARTH: All right, enough with the rhyming!
                We have to get down to the real nitty-gritty.
                You keep talking about a fight for “the planet.”
                Meaning me. Must it always be a fight?
HUMAN: That’s right, I can’t abandon you after I’ve done you such harm.
                And I swear, I did so out of innocence.
                I never meant to hurt you.
                I just didn’t know.
EARTH: So you’re saying you were ignorant?
HUMAN: Just like Eve fell prey to the snake’s manipulation,
                I fell under the spell of my own self-adulation.
EARTH: There you go, rhyming again. The editor specifically said…
HUMAN: Sorry, I have to reread the guidelines.
                What I mean to say is, I owe you a good old-fashioned healing.
EARTH: Get your grimy hands off me, infant.
                You think the only way to accomplish anything is by force.
                I’ve lost patience with your battle cries and wars!
HUMAN: Don’t go all semantic on me, Ma.
EARTH: It’s not just wrong words, you think wrong thoughts.
                Perhaps you should ask ME what I need.
HUMAN: Okay, what do you need?

4. Earth Aria

EARTH: Sprinkle me gently.
                Don’t grizzle my grit so that soil drains down the hillsides
                You are so sloppy, child, throwing your trash this way and that.
                You’ve burned away the ozone so you can’t go out without a                 hat.
                You’ve charred the forests and mountainsides, disgraced every                 place
                you’ve trod across the land in your mania to leave your mark.
                You’ve suckled the blood from my rivers, my streams.
                Cast your plastics, spit my oil into the ocean’s crust
                Put a flag on the moon! Good grief!
                I ask you now to press your face into mine.
                Sing to me ancient songs. Place your ear to the ground,
                hear the whispers from the bedchambers of my bowels.
                I’m built like a brick house, organic and mineral.
                Trees are my bones, don’t break them.
                We’re made of the same stuff—I’m just a little more round.

5. Glorious Hallelujah!

HUMAN: And bigger.
EARTH:  And don’t you forget it!
HUMAN: Are you saying I’m star stuff, too?
EARTH:  More than you know.
HUMAN: Is my human body—
EARTH: The same as my celestial body.
HUMAN: I’ve always dreamt that I could talk with you, Mother Earth.
EARTH: I’ve dreamed about that too, honey.
                Yearned for the chance to make myself clear to you.
                Too bad I had to shout to get your attention.
HUMAN: You are kind of scary these days.
EARTH: I’ve always been scary. But I’m always benign.
HUMAN: Can I learn to think like a celestial body?
EARTH: Perhaps. If you really try.
HUMAN: I must fly away to distance stars to save the human race!
EARTH: What, to terraform and make the same mistakes all over again?
                You’re just not a one-trial learner, are you?
HUMAN: I guess not. But how do I learn to fix—tackle—heal—fight—
                I’m confused.
EARTH: No kidding.
                Follow your instincts, child, that’s all.
                Learn from the seasons and tides.
                They are my children, too. They’ll be looking out for you.
                There’s no need for apprehension.
                Did I forget to mention, we can stage an intervention together.
BOTH:    Glorious, glorious Hallelujah!
CHORUS: Glorious, glorious HEAVE-HO!
EARTH:  I don’t want you to leave so try not to heave
                and I urge you to think when you hoe!
TUTTI: Glorious, glorious Hallelujah!
             Arboreous glorious Hallelujah!
             Victorious synergy, Hallelujah!
             Green is the color of love!

PAINTING: Spring by Harmonia Rosales (2018).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The first thing I thought about when I saw the subject for this Silver Birch series was:

“What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn and
Tied her with fences and dragged her down.”
—The Doors, “When the Music’s Over”

I thought back to my solo theatre work written in the early 90s, All Right, So I AM the Earth! and realized this theme has been with me a long time. Then I remembered that with others of my generation, I screamed as if wounded about an imminent catastrophe since the late 60s. Flash forward to 2022. The catastrophe is here. The repercussions of war and injury done to the ecosystem are intrinsically related. It will take imagination, vision, resistance, and strategies we have yet to imagine to overcome what our careless treatment of life on earth and in the oceans has wrought. We are all responsible to a degree, so the best thing we as individuals can do is: educate ourselves, reduce our carbon footprint, and don’t forget how to dance, sing, and love. And, if all else fails, write an oratorio.

PHOTO: Joanie Fritz Zosike in All Right, So I AM the Earth!, solo theatre work written, composed, and performed by JHFZ, directed by Stephanie JT Russell, photo by Jeanne Liotta.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie HF Zosike is the 2019 Writer’s Hotel Sara Patton poetry stipend recipient. Her upcoming work includes Jambu Press’s Light on the Walls of Life, an anthology dedicated to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Her chapbooks are Character Poems (Chez Chez) and Bliss, Not Weight, (Ides Anthology of Chapbooks, Silver Birch Press). Her poetry has been featured in a ranged of publications, including Alien Buddha, Home Planet News, Levure Literraire, Maintenant, Syndic, and The New Guard: Boom!  “Compassion,” a short story, appeared in Have a NYC 3 (Three Rooms Press). Joanie received an Albee fellowship for her play Inside produced at American Actors Theatre, a NYSCA regrant for 12 Steps to Murder produced at The New Theater, and Foundation for Jewish Culture grant for And Then the Heavens Closed, produced at The Jewish Museum (all in NYC).

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To See the Big Picture, Look for the Smallest Clues
by Alarie Tennille

An electron microscope reveals
our red blood cells as rose petals—
while viruses resemble sci-fi monsters,
and pollens morph into medieval instruments
of torture. Apparently we’re not imagining
the way they spike through the citadel
walls, impale our sinuses.

What of the soul? Does it hide
in another dimension? Pose right
in front of us, a case of not seeing
what we don’t expect? Do scientists
wonder about an occasional shimmer
across the slide?

Would you dare to look at yours?

PAINTING: Accent on rose by Wassily Kandinsky (1926).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: At age four and a half, my parents learned that I was severely visually impaired. The world didn’t exactly come into focus with my first glasses, but it was so much brighter and more beautiful than I’d imagined that I’ve been sneaking as close as possible to see every detail ever since. I’ve merged my love of art and what I see with my writing. I’m especially fond of microscopic views and the miniatures in dollhouses. Since writing a poem about the differences between happy and sad tears under microscope a few years ago, I sometimes go rummaging through the internet for more astonishing mini worlds on slides.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille was a pioneer coed at the University of Virginia, where she earned her degree in English, Phi Beta Kappa key, and black belt in Feminism. Now retired, she’s lived over half her life in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the Emeritus Board and Programming Committee of The Writers Place. Alarie’s latest poetry book, Three A.M. at the Museum, premiered in June 2021. She hopes you will visit and subscribe (for free) to her website at alariepoet.com. There you can find sample poems, her blog, and links to all her poetry books.

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Axis
by Sheikha A.

for Aine MacAodha

We are nowhere near higher knowing —
the planes of the earth’s aura — mounds
of rise and fall of land and water, we travel
towards an oasis through mazes of carbon;
and we plant for trees to save our migration —
the mountains to stop breaking. Falling birds
and floating fish have traversed the desperate
colours exuding gradient of black and grey —
while our hairs turn white; we age like fruits
plucked off trees raw, further from knowing.

We are close to knowing — our feet edge
inwards to the choked trilling of silence —
our habitat converses and winds carry
their whispers telling us to wake up
from the lore of complacency; the wild
bushes’ receding glimmer. There will be
an end some day, everything up in smoke;
but at this time that hasn’t begun ceasing
and auras keep pulsing, we need to save us
an energy to return to long after we are over.

PAINTING: Nature of Nature by Jeremy Henderson (2004).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I believe all beings on this planet are connected somehow, whether tangibly (in the sense of physical proximity) or telepathically (with people we’ve never met). Just today, I learnt of the demise of someone I knew on social media as a brilliant poet. From a favour this person did to me without even knowing who I was, out of nowhere, the thought of her crossed my mind leading me to check her profile to learn of her passing away. Point being, as we age there is a craving for superior knowledge that takes over us — the wanting to know the beyond. And, in seeking, we realise the answers are right here in the environment, be it people or flora or fauna or plain nature to which we never paid any attention, and if we had, we’d realise how much of what’s inside us doesn’t find healing because what’s outside of us — the air and water and land and food, etc. — is clogging and suffocating. Ultimately, we’ll be facing threats greater than what we aren’t perceiving right now. Our future generations may be forced to morph with the speed of anthropological advances depriving them the beauty of slow momentum — they probably won’t know of the beauty of nature we experienced because the earth will have probably changed by the time they exist, and through them we’d have lost the thread of post-existing too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work appears in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications include Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Silver Birch Press, and Abyss and Apex. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Albanian, Italian, Arabic, Polish, and Persian. She is the co-author of a digital poetry chapbook entitled Nyctophiliac Confessions available through Praxis Magazine. Find more of her work at sheikha82.wordpress.com.

Raul Golinelli
Carrot
by Joe Cottonwood

My neighbor Ellen a single mom
operates an organic farm
nonprofit, the nature of farming,
sells veggies roadside, tractors her field,
comes to church perspiring through dirt,
shows up one day on the restaurant wall
where you can buy burgers and pizza
plus Ellen posed discretely nude, nothing rude,
clothed by corn and kale.

Her paintings won’t win awards
except for courage.
Sales benefit her toil, the soil,
embarrass her preteen son.

Now the whole town sees her astonishing tan lines,
bright stripes on a body stout,
folds of mom chub like ribs on a carrot.

A man of peppery beard out for a mountain drive
in a Ferrari bright red, the midlife car of Silicon Valley
with his preteen daughter looking bored
parks for a pizza, buys one painting.

Next day he returns alone, buys five more,
asks where to find the folk-artist.

Ellen is healing the earth. He is digitizing it.
We hesitate to judge prospects
for art or love, but tell.
May it please go well.

PHOTO: Woman harvesting carrots grown organically in the Bahian backlands in Irece, Bahia, Brazil. Photo by Raul Golinelli

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem inspired by true events but see now it’s also an allegory. Can the sterile algorithms of Silicon Valley help to heal the earth? I hope so.

Cottonwood Joe

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joe Cottonwood has repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book of poetry is Random Saints.