Archives for posts with tag: Odilon Redon

by Carol A. Stephen

There’s something elemental in the odour of death,
each myth dissected, the way boys dissect frogs,
then wash hands in the pond’s fog. Each remembers
the veined legs, the death-croak, wonders
what to tell mother when she asks
What possessed you?

It’s a boy thing, a tradition, this call down to the river.
Answers mothers have forgotten:
how to balance on a log, counting to thirteen.
Things children know:
The call of the desert, summer wind, dancing silent.
Sacrifice at the oasis, the offering of young bulls.
Their death songs recede into sand, drift into
each mouth, the labour of their last breath.

Children burn through days believing nine religious things.
Whisper secrets. Escape from prayers, their auras
clear and hollow, drawn always to water, to riverbed.
Every child learns to walk at an angle, to memorize
the mysteries of ancestors kept in a yellow box
buried in a pit under the oldest tree. Each year
they grow away from fairy tales, forget how the sky sounded.
Its old echo twists through rock as they climb to the edge.

Boys speak the language of nowhere,
rough and guttural, tell of visions seen when they
hunted on the edges of their days. They strut round the fire,
muscles sinuous, hard, youth slipping off with the flames.

In the midst of the dance, one trips over a stray bone,
nothing else remains, no word to name the spirit of the dead.
Grit rises in his belly. He writhes to music from the pipe
of a red-haired boy. Drum falls silent. They begin to circle.

Euphoric faces lift. They remember
the struggle to clear ground for their fire. They remember
how their leader held the amulet close to the amber flame,
then placed it around his neck.

They remember the scent of burning.

Painting by Odilon Redon (1840-1916).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol A. Stephen is a Canadian poet. Her poetry has appeared in Bywords Quarterly Journal and two Tree Press/phaphours press collaborative chapbooks. You can also find Carol’s poems on-line at The Light Ekphrastic and in videos. Twice shortlisted, in 2012 Carol won third place in Canadian Authors Association National Capital Writing Contest. She’s the author of two chapbooks, Above the Hum of Yellow Jackets, and Architectural Variations. Visit her blog at


by Munia Khan

It was in my fairytale nightmare
I was floating on a ferry
oddly enough, the ferry had a tail
It was going slow, I felt bored on board
I met the Knight of night; he was here
to hear the hymn I dedicated to him

He’d be happier to not pay any heed
to whatever deed I did in a stormy night
When he was dying, I was busy dyeing my hair
I thought the thunder and lightning
would be lightening my hair’s color
During the night if I could change my look
he would love it, I believed

Yet nothing worked right in my nightmares
I allowed him to curse at me aloud
My sorrows swelled bigger in size
so did my sighs…nevertheless,
I began writing a rhyme for him about
how I was covered with rime in a freezer
that night, I was almost dead.

Next morning I thanked the Lord
because while I was mourning, the sun had shone
with all its rays to raise hope in me
yet nothing was shown as proof of love.
The dark blue sky blew my peace away
with a striking piece of a new thunderbolt

I knew the hole created by the stormy strokes
could change the whole scenario, I dreamed
I conquered our hearts concord
believing all the hours were ours
I was wrong to imagine I could steal a heart of steel

I tied my soul to the tide of the sea
to see if my death bell was tolled by the whale
since I was told to wail.
He wished to create a son of the sun
I needed to know if he could ever say no
when I wanted to soar with him in my sore need

I really never soared, for he cut my dream-wings
with his treacherous sword. I heard he used to hire herd
to follow his flight when he flew higher in flu like a bird
I wanted to be a flea so that I could flee with him
I wanted to be a hare while he cut my hair;
yet did he even care?

I wish my heart would be in love with a hart
who could be my dear deer to be able to find
my fined plight, being in love with a human.
I felt like an ewe when he commanded me-
”You have to accept every torment I offer”; and I did except
for a very few which did vary from time to time

He pierced one eye of my pet crow, I recalled,
because it did cause him trouble with its serial caws
while it ate eight boxes of cereal from his breakfast table;
so the crow had to bear his bare torture.
His cruelty struck a chord with its vocal cord
making it a cheap bird to cheep alone

He forced it to drink whey in a way
to weigh out the liquid flour from its stomach.
Right then I felt like a weed instead of a flower
thinking we’d never won one single wise mind
to explain the whys of our mined lives
which needed to be dug in while he called me a witch

I was desperate to pause myself to vanish my paws
as I had formally become a sorceress
who was formerly a naive poetess
I did exercise my spirituality
but he tried to faze every phase
in order to exorcise me.

I still owed him an ode, finally
which could’ve been finely written

But alas, the nightmare broke
when night rain began
to reign over the ferry;
yet the flair for poetry
continued to flare up

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem may look contrived for the sake of homophones, but I intentionally went overboard to make it a singsongy kind of nightmarish fun poem where I chiefly concentrated on playing with words.

IMAGE: “The Boat” by Odilon Redon (1897).

Munia Khan 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Munia Khan was born on a spring night of 15th March in the year 1981. She enjoys her journey to the literary world. Most of her works are poems of different genres. Her poetry is the reflection of her own life experience. She is a founding member of Poets & Artists For A different World Movement and also a member in The Poetry Society, UK. Her first poetry collection: Beyond the Vernal Mind, published in 2012 by Xlibris Corporation, USA. Her work has been translated into various languages: Japanese, Romanian, Urdu, and so on. Visit her at

by Jack Foley

His mater is delectable,
            Something of a scandal
Solacious, and commendable;
            a disgrace to the literary establishment
His English well allowed,
            missing genius when it is right under their noses
So as it is emprowed,
            “publishers,” “critics,” and “academics”
For as it is employed,
            Ah, given the futility of much contemporary American culture
There is this mighty Void,
            our cultural “elites,” craven before those great gods
At these dayes moch commended,
            Culture, the race to the bottom
O Godde, would men have amended
            sheer disgust
His English, and do they barke,
            relearn self-respect they have forgotten
And mar all they warke?
            the darkening of thought’s tower
Foly, that famus clerke,
            sunset: fire retreating
His termes were not darke,
            where the open-faced smile of the American Emersonian, that    happy existentialist . . .
But plesaunt, easy, and plaine;
            meets the European Nietzschean’s burned grimace
No worde he wrote in vaine.
thr gsbot bivyim yhr derryinhd yhr nounfsty
yhr dvugg
yo slloe yhr dprvisllplainted grass bag
refuse to divulge
yhr eoetlf ot yr nrst nr vsllrf yo sloe yhr dpitiyd yhodr mrfis
I eill trvkon him
yhr rdyrrm in ehivh nre yrttioyyt
ehivh oyhrtd msy ginf yoo Vhtidyisn
the likelihood that the village
you ertr s punliv return had no connection sll in bsin
motr onr yhsn snoyhrt brty yhivk zz & Isthr
we talked of a part of the craving the fullest satisfact ion
errk dytryvh
I hsbr likrnrf you yhr noyr og s honh when he kills
llrlivi llrlfo

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The passage in Middle English is an adaptation of a passage by John Skelton in praise of Geoffrey Chaucer. Other phrases are taken from Christopher Bernard‘s review of my book, EYES ( ). The fractured passage at the conclusion of the poem is taken from my sequence, “LETTERS” — dedicated to the sixth Marx Brother, Typo.

IMAGE: “The Man” by Odilon Redon (1916).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Foley is a widely published, innovative California poet. He has published 13 books of poetry, five books of criticism, and Visions and Affiliations, a chronoencyclopedia of California poetry from 1940 to 2005. His radio show, Cover to Cover, is heard on Berkeley, California radio station KPFA every Wednesday at 3; his column, “Foley’s Books,” appears in the online magazine Alsop Review. In 2010, Foley was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Berkeley Poetry Festival, and June 5, 2010 was proclaimed “Jack Foley Day” in Berkeley. With poet Clara Hsu, Foley is co-publisher of Poetry Hotel Press. EYES, Foley’s Selected Poems, has appeared from Poetry Hotel Press and a chapbook, LIFE, has appeared from Word Palace Press. With his wife Adelle, Foley performs his work (often “multivoiced” pieces) frequently in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their performances can be found on YouTube. Read more at and on his website.


 IMAGE: “Portrait of Jeanne Chaine” by Odilon Redon (1903).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clara Hsu practices the art of multi-dimensional being: mother, musician, purveyor of Clarion Music Center (1982-2005), traveler, translator, and poet. Since 2009, she has co-hosted the monthly San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast TV Show with John Rhodes. In 2013, she cofounded Poetry Hotel Press with Jack Foley. Clara has been published internationally. Her newest book of poetry, The First to Escape, is available on and at readings.

Portraits of a Poet and her Dæmons (Excerpt)
by Jennifer Lynn Krohn


She wears thick veils and stumbles
on the curb. Her pockets are filled
with stones she throws
whenever she catches her reflection
in a storefront window
or a public bathroom mirror.

Do not leave out any pages,
any love letters or journals,
any certificates or diplomas;
she’ll put both your dreams
and achievements to the match.

The room fills with green smoke.
Fall to the floor, gasp oxygen,
but she’ll grab your arm,
hold you up as you inhale
hot ash and carbon dioxide.
She is both smotherer and arsonist.

IMAGE: “Standing Veiled Woman” by Odilon Redon (1885).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jennifer Lynn Krohn was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she currently lives with her husband. She earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico, and currently teaches English at Central New Mexico Community College and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Jennifer has published work in The Saranac Review, Río Grande Review, Prick of the Spindle, In the Garden of the Crow, Versus Literary Journal, and Gingerbread Literary Magazine.

by Tobi Cogswell

She always had some tingling in her hands.
The tips of her left thumb and forefinger were numb,
sometimes her face got tingly and sometimes
she would walk down the hallway at work and
hit the corner of the wall. Numbness and tingling
happened to everyone and it just wasn’t that
big a deal. She might have twisted something
or pulled something. Occasionally she couldn’t
fasten her necklace but she didn’t have that
much jewelry anyway.

One day she had double vision. If she covered
her left eye she saw perfectly. If she covered her
right eye she saw perfectly. If she uncovered
both eyes she saw double. Not like the time
Tommy Jackson sat on her glasses in third grade,
just double.

She called her parents, not to worry them but
to let them know she would be going to the
hospital to find out what was wrong. She covered
one eye, and drove herself.

The doctor was a very nice man. He told her
to “hop up and let’s see what’s going on”. The
room was dimly lit and she worried that
he wouldn’t be able to see. She got on the bed
with no blankets or pillows and stared at the
ancient black phone on the bedside table. Somehow
she had changed out of her clothes but couldn’t
remember when, she was so scared.

The doctor positioned her perfectly – on her left side,
knees bent, left arm under her head, not knowing
what to expect. Her parents were there but
her mother was so upset she stayed on the other side of
the pale white-blue curtain. Her father stayed to comfort
her mother and there was no one to hold her hand.

The pop of the spinal tap came with excruciating pain.
She would never forget the champagne-cork sound
of the needle puncturing her spine, she could not believe
any human could withstand what was being done to her. And
then the doctor held up a syringe of spinal fluid for her
to see and said “the fluid is clear, you don’t have
meningitis” but that was the beginning of her own private hell.

IMAGE: “Portrait of Yseult Fayet” by Odilon Redon (1908).

Tobi - lapses and absences

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Cogswell is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Credits include or are forthcoming in various journals in the US, UK, Sweden, and Australia.   In 2012 and 2013 she was short-listed for the Fermoy International Poetry Festival. In 2013 she received Honorable Mention for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize. Her sixth and latest chapbook is Lapses & Absences (Blue Horse Press, 2013). She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review.

by Mary-Marcia Casoly

An invisible smile on the world
like the new moon, we are an impostor
and the photograph captures
the whites of my eye:
more hawk than sparrow,
how unsettling, how difficult to read
a blind crow down a well.
A perfect charcoal line smudge the shaft of my nose,
shadows fill our abyss.
There is that one black coarse hair in the thick arc of
eyebrow which begs plucking.
Out of that single eye spills crow’s feet
as if my face is her mask formed over with
desire in blackouts or should it be whiteout–
shuttling sorrow from the milky way. The face is extremely cropped.
This unsettling visage-
her head resting upon my hand. My hand holding up
her head. She/Me lay out beneath the mask sky
tonight, learn.  What is a meteor?
Do you remember how when we were children, we were chastised
for staring. Don’t be vulgar, someone would say across the dining room table.
    Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty
laughs Baudelaire.
For hours make we an appearance
all peaked and small waves
—yet it shines, this love, it keeps.
    There is no exquisite beauty without some sense of strangeness
in its proportions, quotes Poe
A giant bruise of smeared blue shadow.
The horizon itself must bear so much on its back, like the moon,
like the earth. Your soul will not want to avoid or neglect regions of your heart
that do not fit the expected, whispers Poe.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Blind in one eye since birth, some people find it unsettling; then again, people found this self-portrait unsettling and so I began to muse once again, settling the subject for myself.

IMAGE: “Dante and Beatrice” by Odilon Redon (1914).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary-Marcia Casoly is the author of Run to Tenderness (Pantograph&Goldfish Press, 2002) and the editor of Fresh Hot Bread, a local zine for Waverley Writers, an open poetry forum based in the San Francisco Bay area. Her chapbook Lost Pages of Bird Lore was published by Small Change Series, WordTemple Press (2011) Her chapbook Australia Dreaming is included in the The Ahadada Reader 3, published by Ahadada Press (2010) and is also included in Obsession: Sestinas for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Carolyn Beard Whitlow and Marilyn Krysl by Dartmouth College Press (2014) Her poems “Song of Mayhem” and “Venus on the Half Year” were published in recent Silver Birch Press anthologies.

by Tamara Madison

June is Friday:  weary of winter
exhausted by spring, brightened
by hope of rest and warmth
and green things stretching
toward the dear sun of summer.
July, then, is Saturday:
brown-limbed, easy, moving slow
through the long hours
of sand, of fish lifted
by clear waves with the light
shining through, of warm
nights with Mars glowing
gold near the rocking moon.
August, alas, must be Sunday: 
there’s still time, the days
still balmy and long
the sun still hot, Mars still
bright in the warm night sky,
the sea still glittering
with the coins of the sun.
But the shadow at the end
looms longer every day.
And then it’s September:
a cheap and painful parody
of summer:  hotter than August
but the days grow shorter
and we are stuck wherever
we have to be as wild fires
devour the hills of spring
leaving us pining for July
when time stretched out
on a blanket before us,
naked and smiling.

“Summer” and other poems by Tamara Madison — along with poetry and prose from over 70 authors around the world — are featured in the 220-page Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY, available at

Painting: “La Cape Rose” (watercolor on paper) by French Symbolist painter Odilon Redon (1840-1916).