Archives for posts with tag: Art

A Little Color
by Alexis Rotella

About to take off
for Capitol Hill
the future senator
scowls when he sees the report
I typed on hot pink paper.

IMAGE: “Untitled” by Mark Rothko (1953).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Fresh out of high school I went to work for the Appalachian Commission in Washington, D.C. where I was one of a dozen girls in the typing pool. The job was boring — I thought adding a little color to Jay Rockefeller’s job would perk things up.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexis Rotella is a veteran writer of Japanese poetry forms in English. Her latest books, Between Waves and The Color Blue were published by Red Moon Press. She is currently the judge for Ito-En Haiku Grand Prize Contest.  A practitioner of Oriental Medicine in Arnold, Maryland, Alexis is also a mobile photographer and digital artist.


by Patricia Coleman

He sought the perfect bodies of young women. He made a reputation in the 80s art world with this unexceptional predilection. His live-work loft was in a cast iron building on lower Broadway. I went up in a large freight elevator and entered directly into the open space, empty except for paint and canvases, rollers, no brushes. Into the windowless back he squeezed a kitchen, above it a raised bed. He’d drink tea at a little table there after work and tell young models of his depression, his search for failures, his sexless ecstasy with a Japanese woman.

He also explained that he wanted to take the virtuosity out of the art-making process so that the canvas reflected more the models than the artist — the beautiful bodies of young women.

He dipped his roller into a pan of red paint and stroked back and forth, up and down over my t*ts, legs, tops of feet until he covered the entire front of my flesh. He stepped back a few feet holding his paunch to gaze detachedly at a wet body. He led me by my palm to two inches from the canvas, so that he would neither mar his work nor sully his objects. Now his fingers lightly pressed at the small of the back and other places that held their ground, kept their distance. He wanted no voids between object and work. He especially made sure the pelvis and widow’s peak made contact. He tried bodies out in all the primary colors.

After he finished, he’d invite me to the kitchen where he’d spend hours bent over in confession. I listened to his tales of impotence and desire, waiting to get paid. He paid according to mood. Too much or not enough.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  The pic is of me in 1980/ Downtown modeling job for a paper — I do not remember which. They were highlighting paper suits like the one I am wearing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia Coleman is a writer/director, born and living in Brooklyn.  She has published stories, essays, poems and interviews in Bomb, PAJ, The New Review of Literature, Nedjeljni Vjesnik, Culture Magazine, Maintenant 11, Zoetica, POST Vote, FishFood, and Poetica. She has presented papers on silence, sound, and the disembodied voice at FOOT, ATHE,  Le Son au Theatre. As a director and sometimes as writer/director, she has staged 25+ productions at The Kitchen, Chashama, Here, etc. In 2014 she staged her site-specific adaptation of Euripdes’ Medea  with soundscape by Richard Kamerman at Brooklyn Glass (a glass blowing studio in Gowanus). She received her PhD in Theatre from the Graduate Center. Her dissertation was on the disembodied voice of Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater.

Outdoor Swimming Lessons at Fifteen
By Jeri Frederickson

The little Russian girl always cried when she
was given to me in the water. She always
quieted after a few minutes. Her legs
cinched around my lower ribs and
those fierce fingers melded onto my suit strap
with pointy finger nails and a clenched jaw
pressed against my ear or neck. I was never
told a full story but this: She had no parents that
wanted her; She had a few case workers;
She was fragile; She didn’t socialize well. She would
be maybe sixteen now.

In my sleepy memory I remember her name.
I remember the sound of it, how I pictured
it would be spelled in my alphabet. The name escapes
when I reach for it. Her skin would go from
yellow to frost depending on the day. She never
let go. No matter which of the nine other kids
was swimming to me, or held onto me, she
never released a piece of what she held until
I ripped her muscle twitch by muscle twitch away
in a renewed effort to make her just be
in the water and be in momentary peace.

The day she reached for one floundering doughy
boy, her sickly arm outstretched locked at the elbow,
he sputtered, shocked he was not as strong as his mommy
told him and the water was much stronger and writhed when
he did. Doughy splashed her in the face and she growled deeply
as she wrapped five twine fingers around his fleshy bicep
and pulled him into my collar bone. Then she cried
and ducked back into my armpit.

IMAGE: “Crepescular Swimmer” by Victor Brauner (1956).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write to work out what I should have done – to hope that someone reading my words either can say, yes, I was better, or to say, hey, now I’ve got tools to make a better world around me. I wish I had the training and understanding to both feel better about the situation I found myself in, and also the ability to give this girl a better life in her present, past, and all I can do daily is hope for her future.

jeri frederickson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeri Frederickson writes about her cats growing up in third person as Big Strange Haired Lady and drinks too much coffee and whiskey like any lady you’d assume lives in Chicago like a basic bitch. She moonlights as a director in theatre and does all she can to create space for female-identifying protagonists in this world while striving for a balance in what is inherently out-of-balance in this world.

pez jmb
Sign Writer’s Assistant
by Oz Hardwick

Sign Writer’s Assistant sounded perfect,
an illuminated serif linking art school to fame.
But the reality is straining with an eight-foot board
on a scaffold we’ve built from cocky luck.

Neither of us knows a jack from a ledger,
but we throw it up four storeys, scattering
pigeons over patchwork roofs, in the city
where the term dinosaur was coined in 1841.

Here in metropolitan sky, the sign becomes
the wing of a doomed pterosaur, lurching
to extinction, to be discovered, millennia later,
by an amateur archaeologist.

I am that archaeologist, uncovering steel ribs,
wooden feathers, fossils of rust, chipping away
at dispersing clouds, lost in fragments,
dusting signs: a novice in the art of not falling.

IMAGE: “Pez Dispenser” by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1984).

Oz Hardwick by Richard Sainsbury

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Just after I left Plymouth Art College (UK) in 1980, I had a casual job helping a sign writer when he needed an extra pair of hands to put up his handiwork. The most memorable occasion was when we had to build a scaffolding tower — which neither of us had done before – in order to put a very large, very heavy board on the side of a factory on a very windy day. We lived. When last visiting the city, about 18 months ago, I happened to be in the area and saw that the factory has gone, replaced by new buildings. My memory, however, dusted off the fragments and pieced them together as best I could. Little-known fact: the word dinosaur was first recorded at an archaeological meeting in Plymouth in 1841.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Artist”  (c. 1980) by fellow student Richard Sainsbury.

Oz Hardwick Chicago

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oz Hardwick is a writer, photographer, and academic living in the north of England. He has published five poetry collections, a book on medieval wood carvings, and a whole heap of music journalism. His song cycle, The House of Memory, with music by Peter Byrom-Smith, will be released by Debt Records in July 2017.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Taken at the top of The John Hancock Center, Chicago. I still can’t resist climbing up buildings — though prefer doing it on the inside these days.


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 and

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—)

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

Something so precious,
***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.


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

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.


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.

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.


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

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.

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).

Neil Creighton Bio Photo1

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