Archives for posts with tag: Art

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).


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.

Pryputniewicz drawing
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.

Pryputniewicz wetsuit headshot

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

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

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.

ekerper_bio pic

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.

The Lost Bright-Yellow
by Marion Deutsche Cohen

She has fallen asleep reading. When she wakes up the book is no longer
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.)


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, and at Her website is

What Was Lost
by Kerfe Roig

A taxi,
a wallet:
what was really lost?
No comfort
in this return. Forever
unfillable. Gone.

IMAGE:  Collage by Kerfe Roig.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I got into the back seat of a taxi several years ago, there was a wallet on the floor. I located the owner through the phone number of a friend that was inside. It was a somber face that met me when I went to her apartment building to return the lost property: she had been taking her dog to the vet for the last time.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. You can follow her explorations on the blog she does with her friend Nina: 

Self-portrait by Kerfe Roig. 

by Mary McCarthy

Last night I missed my favorite gold chain
The one with the crab charm
We bought first time at the beach
And I took the house apart
Room by room
Unable to believe
It was gone

Sorting through pots and seeds
In the cellar
I found my last year’s Amaryllis
There in the dark
Where I’d left it cut back down
To the bulb
And forgotten

It had put up a long
Pale white stem
And a huge half open
Silk-red flower
Without light
Without water

Resurrected from its own root
waiting for me
like a pledge
of unexpected hope

IMAGE: “Red Amaryllis,” painting by Georgia O’Keeffe (1937).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem thinking about how we spend more time mourning losses than celebrating discoveries, both large and small.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many online and print journals, including Earth’s Daughters, Gnarled Oak, Third Wednesday, and Three Elements Review. Her echapbook, Things I Was Told Not To Think About, is available through Praxis magazine online. She is grateful for the wonderful online communities of writers and poets sharing their work and passion for writing, providing a rich world of inspiration, appreciation, and delight.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo was taken during a break in our recent house-hunting expedition.

What I Would Have Missed
by Gillian Nevers

That boy will come to no good in the end. Maybe, but
he was good in the beginning. Exuding this James Dean
persona, he was irresistible. He didn’t talk much, but
I didn’t want talk. It was enough to lean into him, press
my face against his back, feel his nipples harden
under my palms. The wind and full-throttle throb
of his bike blocked all admonishments.

It didn’t matter that he had a girlfriend. That night
on the golf course, the air thick with insect sound, the
sky sprayed with stars and us, folding and unfolding
into each other convinced me he would leave her.

I ran wild that summer: staggered into work late,
hung-over with love; broke curfew; just about broke
Mama’s heart. Some would say I lost my bearings.
That’s what you’re supposed to do at seventeen.
Otherwise, wouldn’t life be like always eating the olive,
but never drinking the martini?

SOURCE: “What I Would Have Missed” first appeared in Pirenes Fountain (October 2009).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken in April 1961, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. It was my junior year in high school, and I had just turned 17. I was appearing in the Spring play Our Hearts Were Young and Gay.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Several years ago, I was invited to write a poem in response to a work of art in “Poems for the Wicked,” an exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. I spent a Sunday afternoon strolling through the exhibition, looking for just the right work to inspire a poem. Earlier in the week, my writing teacher had given the class a prompt to take a cliché and turn it into something new and “fresh.” Several clichés were running through my head as I moved through the galleries, but when I came upon “Sin With Olive” (1970), a lithograph by the artist Ed Ruscha, one cliché popped out “like a flashlight in the dark.” *  —  That boy will come to no good in the end. This is something my mother used to say about some of the boys I went out with. Or, wanted to go out with, but was forbidden to. I was also forbidden to ride on motorcycles. Images of “Sin With Olive” can be found on the Web. Like many of my poems, “What I Would Have Missed” a combination of fact and fiction.  There was a boy with a motorcycle, and I was forbidden to ride on motorcycles. My mother never knew I rode on motorcycles, because I didn’t tell her. And, I really didn’t run wild enough, so as to break her heart.  There was a night, with a boy who had a girlfriend, on a golf course many, many years later, but it wasn’t the same boy.  It’s a composite. So, I guess it’s fiction influenced by fact!  In today’s parlance it could called “alternative facts.”

* Part of a note, from Ed Ruscha, in response to my sending him a copy of the poem.


Gillian Nevers’
poems have appeared in Silk Road, Miller’s Pond, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Pearl, Pirenes Fountain, Verse Wisconsin, Oak Bend Review, Right Hand Pointing, Architrave Press, Merida Review, and several other print and online literary magazines and anthologies. She won second prize in the 2008 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters statewide poetry contest, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011. Gillian teaches writing to adults as part of a team of teachers with the Road Scholar “Exploring the Writer in You” program. She also writes poetry with third and fourth graders in a local elementary school and is a guest poet/instructor at The Greater Madison Writing Project’s summer camp. Gillian lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, Dan.

by Kerfe Roig

My only thought what
I was not. Uninvited.
Unrequited. But

Beautiful feeling
The Age of Aquarius
New day is coming

These new voices gave
more choices: one of many
singing harmony.

What am I to do?
Time to sit down and wonder
Better get ready

With guitar and Hair
going where an opening
mind left fear behind.

“Crimson and Clover,” “Aquarius,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” “Going in Circles,” and “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”

IMAGE: Psychedelic self-portrait by Kerfe Roig.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: At 17, I was lost, a bundle of insecurities. The music of that tumultuous year, 1969, helped me to find a place to belong both with my peers and in the world, while at the same time opening my thinking to new possibilities.


Kerfe Roig
enjoys transforming words and images into something new. Follow her explorations on the blog she does with her friend Nina:

AUTHOR IMAGE: Self-portrait by Kerfe Roig.


We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments for a series we’re calling “Nancy Drew Around the World.” Author Shahé Mankerian provided this photo taken at The Getty Center in Los Angeles. Shahé contributed the poem “Dear 12-Year-Old Self,” featured below, to the 212-page anthology.

Dear 12-Year-Old Self

Ride your bicycle a lot.
Don’t pick up magazines
in the alley. Don’t call

any of the girls. Samantha
does not exist. Her phone
number belongs to Tyrone.

If you want to talk
to girls, go to the library.
The girl sitting pretzel style

in the Nancy Drew aisle
might be shy, but talk to her.
She will know more

about boys than Samantha
or Tyrone. Carry the books
she checked out to her bike.

Memorize the titles
because your job is to know
Nancy Drew. After you watch

her ride off into the sunset,
run to the checkout desk,
and apply for a library card.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: While visiting the Getty Center in Los Angeles, I couldn’t help notice the painting by the French painter Jacques-Louis David. In the portrait, the Sisters Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte (Napoléon Bonaparte’s nieces) stare at the viewer blankly as if they are caught reading a secret letter. A clue. Naturally, the painting reminded me of Nancy Drew. More so, it reminded me of the Anthology cover: Nancy Drew’s shadow keeps her company as she sits hunched over a clue. The shadow acts as an extension, Nancy’s body double. Finally, look at Nancy’s stylish gray dress suit, and the depiction of the overextended shadow in obvious black. Now, look at the painting. Notice the colors of the clothing on the Bonaparte sisters? Gray and black. Coincidence?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School in Pasadena, California, and the co-director of the Los Angeles Writing Project. As an educator, he has been honored with the Los Angeles Music Center’s BRAVO Award, which recognizes teachers for innovation and excellence in arts education. His most recent manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at four prestigious competitions: the 2013 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition, the 2013 Bibby First Book Competition, the Quercus Review Press, Fall Poetry Book Award, 2013, and the 2014 White Pine Press Poetry Prize. His poems have been published in numerous literary magazines.

Find the Nancy Drew Anthology at


Straw Hat
by Kerfe Roig

I don’t remember
why I bought it. A straw hat.
I painted myself
wearing it: young, jaunty, full
of optimism. Moving
on to other dreams
beyond, past the unrealized,
I lost that self. My
self in that moment, that hat,
in that portrait. Who I was.
And now I draw on
memory. An inexact
rendering of time,
the intersection of lines
reaching forward and then back.

IMAGE: “Straw Hat,” self-portrait by Kerfe Roig.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m working on 100 self-portraits inspired by other artists. This block print was based on a print by Vanessa Bell. When I saw her image, I immediately thought of the now-lost self-portrait I had painted in my twenties, a young woman in her straw hat. I tried to reproduce the feeling of it that remained in my mind, now wearing the hat on my present, much older, face.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. Follow her explorations on the blog she does with her friend Nina:

AUTHOR IMAGE: “Self-portrait” by Kerfe Roig.