Archives for posts with tag: Artists

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Maintaining Distance
by Stephen Thomas Roberts

We chat,
our words muffled by our PPEs.

I found
                                                        (undistracted by the lips I cannot see)
I could not help
but apprehend
your eyes:
blue as the occasional sky
                                                        (glimpsed between the clouds
                                                        that frequent this elusive spring
                                                        in which we linger)
and brilliant, too;
a burst of hope
amidst the gloom.

They remind me that
there may yet be life
                                                        (the running count of sick and dying
                                                        make it easy to forget)

outside the daily quotient
of our fear.
One day
                                                        (after the reckoning
                                                        takes place, and the final
                                                        tally made)

we will meet
without the pretense of
a costume
and be unguarded in our greeting,
and kiss.

As we part,
I catch the scent
of flowers.

Your perfume,
perhaps
                                                        (or posies)

PAINTING: “The Kiss” by Charles Blackman (1962).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wanted to write a poem about wearing a mask without using the word mask.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Thomas Roberts is a Yale Law School graduate and poet. His work has appeared, or will appear, in Poetry Salzburg Review,  The Worcester Review, TRINACRIA, Third Wednesday, Blue Unicorn, The Ocean State Review, The Cape Rock, MagnaPoets, The Tishman Review, and Gargoyle. He resides in Dutchess County with his wife. These days he works from home.

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Between Heartbreak and Rage
by Patrice Boyer Claeys

Sometimes I wake up wrong
             breathing hard
                         because in sleep
                                     I dream a world
face to face with blankness that
smells like masks.

Sometimes my eyes feel like loaded guns

            which both flare up and freeze—
                         something about our helplessness
            presses down on me like an iron.

            *

As I breathe,
            blood red
creature within creature
moves over the world.

CENTO SOURCES: Ross Gay, Owen McLeod, Cory Hutchinson-Reuss, Haro Lee, Langston Hughes, Louise Gluck, Christopher Pressfield, Rick Bursky, Will Alexander, David Ferry, Tara E. Jay, Eva Heisler, Xiaoly Li, Don Bogen, Robert Adamson

PAINTING: “The Actor’s Mask” by Paul Klee (1924).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Derived from the Latin word for “patchwork,” cento originally referred to the cloaks worn by Roman soldiers. Today it refers to poems composed of written fragments. I create centos using single lines from a multitude of other poems. I’m drawn to this form by the sparks that ignite when removed lines bump up against one another in a new context. I also find that the collage technique allows me to more courageously investigate frightening topics, such as the pandemic, while at the same time feel supported by the many voices enlisted to create the new piece.

Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrice Boyer Claeys is the author of two poetry collections, The Machinery of Grace and Lovely Daughter of the Shattering. Recent work has appeared in Zone 3, Glassworks, Literary Mama, Pirene’s Fountain and Aeolian Harp Anthology. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net. Find her online at patriceboyerclaeys.com.

Becoming Why is there anything - instead of nothing by Tighe O'Donoghue Ross
Zojaj (iv)
by Sheikha A.

We entered through a door(way) reduced
to the bidding of termites – potential-less

flooring, hives of hardened dust caking
walls; we faced a measure of urgency,

the baton of evacuation ready to strike.
Time trifles with seasons — disconnected

roads from their vehicles — people from
their tarmac — flags from their catalysts —

birds hopping from sill to sill in a state
of freedom, loneliness a washable fabric

brewing aromas of suds, the smell of
cleanliness putting the rains to shame.

Stars step out in their gated compounds
knocking gingerly on doors of playmates

while the moon hangs like a thin spread
of food, and we are reminded how we saw

cobwebs clothing termites and the dense
of fatigue washing us even before entering,

the insurmountable work bearing us down,
and the promise to leave before the hives

reincarnated becoming a horn-full echo
smug in the nooks of mote-laced walls.

NOTE ON THE TITLE: Zojaj is an Arabic word that means transparent glass.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When we were being made to vacate our previous flat, we became frantic in search for a new apartment to shift into, and, being thin on options at that point in time, we accepted what we saw (of the current flat we’re in) and after a month of semi-heavy-duty renovation works, we promised ourselves this to be our temporary abode as we looked for better apartments – the current one acting as a by-time. Something about the 2000 sq. ft. of intense infestation called to us, like a desperate plea for care and we took the project on. Over the five years of unavoidable wear and tear, parts of the ceiling from several areas have fallen, while the walls crumble from mould and paint-chipping, false ceilings hang loose by their rusted steel supports threatening to crash down any day, yet we are tied. The uncanny inability to find, despite an array of options, to move out makes it seem like the house is alive with its own entity making us see beyond its obvious degradation, a spatial appeal – the warmth of isolation – its aging comforts – familiar mourns.  On another note, the image of the door embellishing my poem isn’t of my home’s. I found this image in the collection of a powerful artist by the name of Tighe O’Donoghue Ross and I couldn’t shake it off my mind. I decided to use this in lieu of my original door because I love the ghostliness yet a sense of yearning about it.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Tighe O’Donoghue/Ross was born in New York City in 1942. He received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. at the City University of New York, graduating magna cum laude. He is a world-renowned printmaker and sculptor whose work is in the permanent collections of such prestigious institutions as The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Smithsonian National Collection of Fine Art in Washington, DC and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. He is an American and an Irish citizen, living with his family in County Kerry for the past 30 years. O’Donoghue/Ross’ oeuvre is full of symbol and surrealism, his imagery playful, yet profound. Many of his images contain allusions to Irish and Celtic myths, but he gleans material from all faiths, mythologies, and philosophies when compiling his surreal World of O’Donoghue/Ross. Visit him at odonoghueross.com and on Facebook.

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 have been Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, Atlantean Publishing, Alban Lake Publishing, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Albanian, Italian, Arabic, and Persian. She is the co-author of a digital poetry chapbook entitled Nyctophiliac Confessions available through Praxis Magazine. More about her published works can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com.

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The lovely month of May is here! While many (or most!) of us are sheltering in place and missing many of spring’s delights, we hope to offer a remedy — a FREE KINDLE version of our May Poetry Anthology (available from 5/1-5/5/2020). Originally issued in a full-color paperback version in 2014, this 84-page collection features 31 poems about May in its many forms, along with thirty-one full-color paintings by Gustav Klimt.

BACKGROUND: The May Anthology is a response to our previous call for submissions requesting poems where the word “may” appears in the text. In the collection, many of the poems speak of May-related subjects  — flowers, birds, and spring  — while others range in topics from dark to light, with the word “may” buried somewhere in the text. Some of the poems display sly humor — and more than one poet has fun with the word “mayhem.” The collection also features four erasure poems and one found poem.

It’s always fascinating to see the type of material that evolves from a random starting point — and the word “may” has the kind of ambiguity that sparks the creative mind to action. It’s a noun (a woman’s name, a month of the year) and a verb (“expressing possibility or opportunity”). It’s part of other words (Mayflower, mayor, mayonnaise, Mayan). Scramble the letters and it spells Amy. Read it backwards, and it’s yam. Yes, May is meaningful, versatile, mysterious, and fascinating. And it has its very own collection of 31 poems — one for each day of the month!

Featured poets (in alphabetical order): Thom Amundsen, Brinda Buljore, Joan L. Cannon, Mary-Marcia Casoly, Allison Chaney, Subhankar Das, Daniel Patrick Delaney, Deborah DuBois, Paul Fericano, Adelle Foley, Jack Foley, Philip Gordon, Benjamin Grossman, Donna Hilbert, Clara Hsu, Mathias Jansson, J.I. Kleinberg, Roz Levine, Tamara Madison, Karen Massey, Catfish McDaris, Victoria McGrath, Marcia Meara, Paul Nebenzahl, Gerald Nicosia, D.A. Pratt, Hayley Rickaby, Disha Dinesh Sahni, Joan Jobe Smith, Caitlin Stern, Jacque Stukowski.

Find your FREE Kindle version at Amazon.com. (You don’t need a Kindle to read the book — if you have an Amazon account, you can view it on your computer.) 

Happy spring!

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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.

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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.

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Touch
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.