Archives for posts with tag: Artists

klimt hygeia
Pharmacist
by Joan McNerney

She thought of herself as a
modern alchemist. Fluent
in an arcane language
about the composition of so
many minute capsules.

The rest of the store could
be in a gas station or bargain
store. Filled with candies,
lipsticks, other frivolous items.

If you simply had a cough, syrup
could be found on aisle three.
Her area was sacred to patients,
those with serious ailments.

Filling prescriptions navigating
insurance companies, seeking
authorizations. Always aware of
side effects, multiple drug reactions,
possible allergic problems.

Austere yet approachable,
she dispensed heroic potions
from her prized domain
as chemical priestess.

IMAGE: University of Vienna ceiling paintings (Medicine), detail showing Hygeia, goddess of health, by Gustav Klimt (c. 1900-1907).

NOTE: In Greek as well as Roman mythology, Hygeia was one of the Asclepiadae—the sons and daughters of the god of medicine, Asclepius, and his wife Epione. Hygeia was the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness, and hygiene.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Quite a while ago I decided to write about people at work. Particularly during the pandemic, we should be grateful to these essential workers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines, such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days, as well as in four Bright Hills Press anthologies, several editions of the  Poppy Road Review, and numerous Spectrum Publications. She has four Best of the Net nominations. Her latest title, The Muse In Miniature, is available on Amazon.com and Cyberwit.net.

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Gravity Grateful
by Mark Blickley

Looking down from high places doesn’t bother me at all but when I have to look up at things, like buildings, it makes me nervous cause it feels like some kind of force like a magnet or something is going to pull me up and lift me off the ground which is a lot worse than falling ’cause if you’re falling down you know you’re falling and that’s that but if you get pulled off the ground and lifted into the air you’re not falling, but you could fall at any moment, and there’s no end because if you fall you have to land, but if you’re lifted up it could go on forever and I hate that.

Photo of Dalí Theatre-Museum (Figueres, Catalonia, Spain) by the author (January 2020).

Museum of Salvador Dali

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This past January I visited Barcelona, Spain, with my daughter Deirdre. We rented a car and decided to take a side trip to the Salvador Dalí museum at Figueres, Spain. After viewing the inside of this exquisite museum, I focused on its exterior structure. The photo that appears with my poem is my looking up at a detail of this magnificent building. When we returned to Barcelona, I obsessed over this photo, which resulted in my writing a surreal-tinged prose poem, “Gravity Grateful.”

PHOTO: Dalí Theatre-Museum, Figueres, Spain by Taras Verkhovynets, used by permission.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Blickley is a widely published author of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center. His most recent book is his text-based art collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams.

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Masquerade
by Barbara Bald

Reams of silken material, cascading to the floor,
encased her young body in black-velvet elegance,
enveloped her in a coat lined with white rabbit fur,
soft and alluring.

I remember how its hood encircled her masked face,
long, curled eyelashes glued to eyeholes,
immovable, but inviting.

Her black gloves, cedar-scented from the attic chest,
flicked a rhinestone-studded cigarette holder,
flashed a fake emerald ring.
With her pinky poised in the air,
her jewels captured porch-light glare
as we trick-or-treated our way through the neighborhood.

I remember her stories about how she’d worn the coat
to nightclub gigs, where,
refusing spiked Shirley Temples,
she had danced in sequined heels,
steeled herself against grabbing hands,
smiled through a different kind of disguise.

This night she was a make-believe lady of the evening.
This night she was the mother who held my tiny hand
and carried a bulging bag of candy.

Looking back, I can forgive her
for unbounded love she could not offer.
Years later, I have come to understand
why she lived behind a mask
she could not remove.

Previously published in the author’s collection Drive-Through Window.

PAINTING: “Madame X” by John Singer Sargent (1884).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There were many masks worn throughout my childhood — those worn on Halloween, those of the Lone Ranger and Zorro, Ben Casey and Doctor Kildare, those we hid behind as teenagers, even those worn by adults trying to hide something too scary to face. I believe most masks are worn to protect somebody. Unfortunately, sometimes the disguise can rob both parties of a chance for intimacy. My poem strives to convey that possibility.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Bald is a retired teacher, educational consultant, and freelance writer. Her poems have been published in a variety of anthologies and her work has been recognized in both national and local contests. She has two full-length books, Drive-Through Window and Other Voices/Other Lives. Her chapbook is entitled Running on Empty. She has written articles for Heart of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Magazine, and other local publications. She lives in Alton, NH, with her cat Catcher and some very personable goldfish.

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ABOUT THE CREATORS: New York interdisciplinary artist Amy Bassin and writer Mark Blickley work together on text-based art collaborations and videos. They recently published a text-based art book, Dream Streams (Clare Songbird Publishing House). Bassin is co-founder of the international artists cooperative, Urban Dialogues. Blickley is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center. Their video collaborations, “Speaking in Bootongue” and “Widow’s Peek: The Kiss of Death,” represent the United States in the year-long international world tour of Time Is Love: Universal Feelings: Myths & Conjunctions. In May 2020,  screenings kicked off in Madrid, organized by the esteemed African curator, Kisito Assangni.

Pablo Picasso Kiss 1979 Artwork Reproduction For T Shirt, Framed ...
Love Poem from a Distance
by Carol Alena Aronoff

My lips are sealed, swathed
in gauze veils, a treasury of
the unspoken. My blue nitrile
hands cling to each other as
tightly as limpets, a reminder
to keep my distance. Yet, these
hands want to roam, follow
the animal in my fingers, touch
all the wild places, hearts of
palm, your heart.

You stand at the open door,
your cloaked voice, a sonnet.
I shelter in place, stop my feet
from drawing near. My face
wears a mask of mourning
but my eyes will not surrender
to exile, will never accept any
quarantine. Even if that’s all
you see of me, you will still
know my love.

IMAGE: “The Kiss” by Pablo Picasso (1969).  Prints available at RedBubble.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was thinking about the loss of intimacy for so many people during this time of exile and quarantine, and tried to place myself in their shoes.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Alena Aronoff, Ph.D. is a psychologist, teacher, and poet. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and has won several prizes. She was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Carol has published two chapbooks (Cornsilk and Tapestry of Secrets) and six full-length poetry collections: The Nature of Music, Cornsilk, Her Soup Made the Moon Weep, Blessings From an Unseen World, Dreaming Earths Body (with artist Betsie Miller-Kusz), as well as The Gift of Not Finding: Poems for Meditation (forthcoming).

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Red Bandana
by Nancy Wheaton

During the month of March I lost track of the days.
Once I dreamt I was walking the desolate landscape
inside Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory.”
Amid the drooping clocks, I explored the mountains with the ants.
In April and May, people were making and donating masks
from scraps of material.
Shopping became a way of acknowledging
that we are creative and kind.
A most touching scene was in Rite Aid,
where an elderly woman waited patiently,
wearing a Grateful Dead mask,
while the gentleman in front of her listened
to an explanation of the possible side effects of Viagra,
as he was a first-time user.
He wore a red bandana as a mask.

PAINTING: “The Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali (1931).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nancy Wheaton lives and writes on the New England seacoast, which is now barricaded with police tape.  She walks on nearly empty streets through town, exploring new neighborhoods.  Out of stillness, she hears piano pieces being practiced and guitar solos.  She has named two chipmunks “Cheeks” and “Gordy” because they share the droppings from the feeder with the cardinals every day.

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    Maintaining Distance
    by Stephen Thomas Roberts
poem
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.

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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!