Archives for posts with tag: painting

Winning at Solitaire
by Elaine Mintzer

At the motel, I laid the four kids
sideways in a bed like wooden matchsticks.
the oldest with her feet sticking over the edge.

I warned her to lie still so as not to disturb her brother
who matched her arm to arm, knee to knee,
next to their sister who thrashed in her sleep,

stirring the covers, finding her own order over their limbs.
And the baby on the end, curled into himself,
lips sucking a dream breast.

I propped a pillow at the foot of the bed
to keep them from falling,
from meeting the stained carpet,

the cracked foundation,
the dust and spiders
that spin in the dark.

I am still waiting for passers-by to pass by,
for the strobes in the parking lot
to roll down the street.

When the night quiets and the kids settle,
I pick up a deck of blue bicycle cards,
soft at the edges, and shuffle.

I hear the breath of their intersections,
the soft slap as I lay them
on the wobbly table in rows, in piles,

aligning each new one with the last.
In the palm of my left hand,
the remainder of the deck

turned by threes.
Turn after turn.
Game after game.

PAINTING: Motel, Route 66 by John Register (1991).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I remember my grandmother playing solitaire, in the rare moments she was not working.  My mother, too. These days, my mom plays on her iPad.

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Elaine Mintzer lives in Los Angeles.  Her work has been published in journals and anthologies, including Gryroscope Review, Last Call, Chinaski, Beloit Poetry Review, Panoplyzine, Slipstream Press, Perspectives, Borders and Boundaries, Mom Egg Review, Subprimal Poetry Art, Lummox, Lucid Moose Lit’s Like a Girl anthology, The Ekphrastic Review, Cultural Weekly, Rattle, The Lindenwood Review, and 13 Los Angeles Poets. Elaine’s collection, Natural Selections was published by Bombshelter Press. Visit her at

lf self
by Joanie HF Zosike

Forget it-No, I can’t-
sit still-any longer
Still is too static-
and stasis, death
Frame—Take 2021-
longer can sit on-
m’duff-Kick myself-
out of bed, get up!
Get an Irish coffee-
at Vesuvius-Write-
lyrical poems, scribe-
brittle prose-This-
species is moving-
too slowly-How can-
it be-I am still wait-
ing, waiting stuck-
waiting How long-
will it take until-
human beings can-
be something better-
than we are now
Ferlinghetti was one-
illuminati, now gone
Pulse of his vision-
lives on, piled onto a-
palette, he messages
Massages our secret-
hearts alive-Scribes-
are what we need to-
describe the antidote
What are we waiting
for? Why a gap?
Mind that gap-Let’s-
boogie along with-
stylin’ verve inspirin’
One more time, revive-
the Renaissance with-
color streamers, music,-
tambourines shaking-
us out of our lassitude

PAINTING: The Painter by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1989).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I recently wrote a poem that will be included in “Light on the Walls of Life,” coming this summer from Jambu Press ( The book, originally envisioned to honor Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 100th birthday, sadly will now serves also as a memorial. My contribution was a take on his poem “I Am Waiting,” and now Silver Birch Press, one of my favorite publications, is visiting the fecund field of waiting. In writing my take for Silver Birch, I came up against my own resistance to waiting—perhaps due to the endless isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic—but that aside, just the notion of waiting in general when there is so much to do and so little time, both personally and cosmologically.

PHOTO: Joanie HF Zosike (aka Joanie Fritz) in her solo work, Soph and the Ain Soph Auer at NY Theatre Asylum, NYC, circa 1984. ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie HF Zosike is the The Writers Hotel 2019 Sara Patton poetry awardee and was featured in The New Guard’s BANG! (August 2020). She teaches the Pandemic Poetry Workshop in New York City. Her work appears in 11/9: The Fall of American Democracy and Silver Birch Press’s Ides: An Anthology of Chapbooks. Her poem “I Am Also Waiting” is forthcoming in the Lawrence Ferlinghetti Tribute Anthology (Jambu Press). Other forays in print include Alien Buddha, Heresies, Home Planet News, Jewish Forward, Levure Literraire, Maintenant, PIM, and Syndic. Author of seven plays and four solo works, she received an Albee Foundation residence to complete her play Inside (produced at ATA in NYC) and a Foundation for Jewish Culture grant for …and Then the Heavens Closed (performed at The Jewish Museum, NYC). Joanie, a member of The Living Theatre for 35 years, directs the dada/surrealist company DADANewYork and is co-director of Action Racket Theatre.

PHOTO: Joanie HF Zosike, London, 2012.

The Seventh Spring
by Ranjith Sivaraman

I saw the dark pillars and boles
And my body was darker than normal.
Fire apples were hanging
from the leafless trees
and the breath tasted
like searing fragrance.

I was in this burning forest
as far as my evanescent mind flies.
The forest remembers everything,
the first raindrop that kissed me
and missed me forever,
the second cloud that rained over me
and stained me forever,
the third drizzle that danced with me
and replaced me forever,
the fourth lightning that struck me
and shocked me forever,
the fifth flood that drowned me
and crowned me forever,
the sixth river that washed me
and baptized me forever,

Then I saw a white little angel
holding her magic wand,
wearing the cutest smile
and a few ephemeral snowflakes.
She was an ethereal moon
set aflame in a tragic sky.

I know she is on the other side of the fumy river
But I am still waiting like a phoenix who outlived nine ravens.
And I know she is the seventh spring that will transform me
and dissolve in me forever…

PAINTING: Forest Fire by Mark Tobey (1956).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ranjith Sivaraman is an upcoming poet from Kerala, India. His poems merge nature imagery, human emotions, and human psychology. Sivaraman’s English poems are published in international literature magazines and journals from locations such as Budapest, New York, Indiana, Lisbon, Colorado, California, and New Jersey. Find more of his work at

dreams I dreamed
by Mark A. Fisher

I am still waiting
for a future I’ll never know
like the ghost of this house
lingering with unfinished business

I am still waiting
for a past that fades
like the sepia-toned photos
of people without any names

I am still waiting
in a now that hurts
like a sunburnt back
always peeling away in layers

I am still waiting
to be remembered
like the words on a page
in a universe doomed to forget

the wishes of a child
of blown out candles
like the dreams I dreamed
all this time I’m still waiting

PAINTING: The Birthday Cake by Le Pho (1975).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I started this poem, the tenses just seemed to come naturally, since “waiting” implied a tense, as did “still.” The other stanzas mirrored back at me, and so the last stanza became a mirror too.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark A. Fisher is a writer, poet, and playwright living in Tehachapi, California. His poetry has appeared in Angel City Review, A Sharp Piece of Awesome, Altadena Poetry Review, Penumbra, Young Ravens, and many other places. His first chapbook, drifter, is available from Amazon. His second, hour of lead, won the 2017 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest. His third, rain and other fairy tales, can be downloaded here. His poem “there are fossils” came in second in the 2020 Dwarf Stars Speculative Poetry Competition.

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PAINTING: Pine Barrens Treefrog by Andy Warhol (1983).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Like everyone, the current crisis had seeped into pretty much everything I do, but fortunately the benign spirits of my recent ancestors are there to offer advice. With their faith, practicality and superstitions, they have all the tools to put the apocalypse back in its place.

Oz Hardwick City Lights

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oz Hardwick is a UK-based poet, photographer, occasional musician, and accidental academic, whose work has been widely published in international journals and anthologies. His chapbook Learning to Have Lost (Canberra: IPSI, 2018) won the 2019 Rubery International Book Award for poetry, and his most recent publication is the prose poetry sequence Wolf Planet (Clevedon: Hedgehog, 2020). A keen collaborator with other artists, his joint collection with Amina Alyal, Close as Second Skins (Indigo Dreams, 2015), was shortlisted for that year’s Saboteur Best Collaborative Work award, and he has contributed to performances, exhibitions, installations, and recordings with artists in diverse media around the world. Oz is Professor of English at Leeds Trinity University, where he leads the postgraduate Creative Writing programmes. Visit him at

PHOTO: The author at City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco.

Of Want and Moonlight and Patience and Time
by Julia Klatt Singer

I shaped you out of clay,
set you on the brick patio, near the edge
so you would have grass to eat
when you came to life—
for who doesn’t start the world hungry?
And so too, that I could see you from
my bedroom window.

How many times did I wake
that night, look for my horse
in the moonlit backyard?

I was never afraid of the magic.
Was more afraid of how
I’d explain you to my parents and
to the neighbors, a lilac hedge away.

Dreamed you, your warm body
your soft eyes, the way you’d
nuzzle my hand, find something
good in it, good in me.

Come morning, you were still
the clay horse I had formed
small enough to hold in my hand
sitting on the brick patio, damp with dew.

It wasn’t until my first son was born
that I understood the magic—
forming something out of want
and moonlight and patience and time.

I am still waiting for you
my chestnut pony. Dream you
grazing in an open field, the sun
on your back, your unblinking gaze
as I feed you apple from my open hand.

PAINTING: Blue Horse I by Franz Marc (1911).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As I child I remember waiting for a number of things—holidays and birthdays, school to start and end, rides home, and sermons to finish. I have made peace with most of those, learned to let time enter me, the way I enter it—moment by moment. But I’m not sure I ever got over this dream horse.Was thoroughly convinced I could make a horse and make it mine. Give it a body. Give it moonlight. Want it like I wanted life; to spring forth because I could picture it, smell it, feel it. I shaped it out of clay. I could picture the horse it would become. Our backyard was small, but I’d ride it wherever it wanted to go. I could not have loved or wanted that horse more. And I felt the disappointment. The hard fact of my love and want not being enough, to make this horse real.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julia Klatt Singer is the poet-in-residence at Grace Nursery School. She is co-author of Twelve Branches: Stories from St. Paul (Coffee House Press), author of In the Dreamed of Places, (Naissance Press), A Tangled Path to HeavenUntranslatable, (North Star Press), and her most recent chapbook, Elemental (Prolific Press). Audio poems from Elemental are at OpenKim, as the element Sp.  She’s co-written numerous songs with composers Craig Carnahan, Jocelyn Hagen, and Tim Takach.

The Final Rain
by Darrell Petska

For the rain of perpetuity
to anoint this hoary head,
I am still waiting—

that gentle rain which comes,
once storms cease their rage,
to end all worry, unmask blindness,
bare the heart of cosmic stirrings.
Amid that final brush of dew,
the last grain of stubborn self
can sprout, conjoin with earth,
raise in sunlight supple branches
to mingle with the stars.

On this dry land, I am still waiting
for the everlasting rain of awe
to play upon my brow
music of endless presence
that fires love’s spark,
lifts shadows, whispers hope.

All is miracle.
Each fertile minute.
Time’s enfolding loam.
Forever’s gracious edge
as the final rain draws near.

PAINTING: Rain (Study) by Agnes Martin (1960).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Myths define our humanity: myths about living, dying, surviving on Earth or in an afterlife. Various cultures and religions mythicize death. In this poem I mythicize life and death as a unitary aspect of the ever-present, transformative force of the universe. Myths are not cast in stone: they serve us, until they no longer do. They are also ultimately personal, not being “true” except as they seem true for each individual.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Darrell Petska publishes fiction, poetry and nonfiction. View his work in Buddhist Poetry Review, Nixes Mate Review, Right Hand Pointing, Boston Literary Magazine, Verse-Virtual, Loch Raven Review, Soul-Lit, and elsewhere. Darrell has tallied 30 years as an editor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, 41 years as father (eight years a grandfather), and longer still as husband. Find links to more of his work at

by Matthew Gilbert

Keys jingling in the candy bowl
knocked over by a bad luck cat—
I put them there last night. Too many
drinks after that fifth shot of overtime,
I remember I also misplaced myself.

In the subway, I sum up steps
taken from street to turnstile
so maybe I’ll find my way back
despite the locked-in mechanism
of a single-use ticket.

Masses of disregarded ghosts crowd
the bullet train. I weigh their worth.
But stop-changing means infinity
when bodies don’t belong,
and names mean cost efficiency.

And funerals mean personal days
we can’t afford because living
is out of our spending range.
I eye a figure fingering coins
in his hollowed hand.

At the transfer platform,
I contemplate deferring the train,
wonder how far a ten would get me.
I recognize a friend, his casual stride down
the stairway. He throws up a hand.

Six past years and still those poker
nights losing, small-living-room-laughter,
made betting worthwhile. All chips in,
I have forgotten how to wager
anything but my own body.

Over the intercom, a man announces last call.
When the train arrives, we all pack inside.
I wonder what kind of people live on Third.
The railways screech their daily motions.
I am still waiting to miss that train.

PAINTING: Paris Metro by Chronis Botsoglou.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Growing up, words and ideas never came easy to me. I found meaning-making difficult, and often I missed the point of reading. It wasn’t until I discovered music that the melody of language helped me to make connections I had missed as a child. Music became poetry, then prose, and I haven’t been able to stop writing since. Writing is always seeking and discovering the world around us.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matthew Gilbert is a co-founder and poetry editor of Black Moon Magazine. He reads for Orison Books and serves as a poetry editor at Great Lakes Review. He also edits the newsletter for Poetry Society of Tennessee—Northeast Chapter. He enjoys writing that crackles and burns with emotion, works that push the boundaries between writing and lived experience—works where language and form celebrate the reader. His work appears in Delta Poetry Review, Eunoia Review, Jimsonweed, Mildred Haun Review, and Across the Margin, among others, and is forthcoming in The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol IX: Virginia. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

I, Too, Am Waiting
by Margaret Dornaus

—for Lawrence F., May He Rest in Peace

I, too, am waiting
for the green mornings . . .
for that promise of immortality—
or at least for the Second Coming I might find
in a toddler’s laugh or a visionary’s howl
or in the Rin-Tin-Tin tabulation
of a keyboard’s keys or a snare drum’s
brush when a jazz singer lifts his or her hands
in the air and belts out his or her praises, beat
after shining beat for an audience too hip for
the likes of me when I deliver a pitch-perfect poem
full of green mornings and youth’s green fields
returning or Lorca’s green love greening, no matter
how dumb that sounds, no matter how I sound
more than a little bit crazy for wanting so
much for myself in a world where green mornings are
rare, overshadowed by greed and despair and dare
I say it—bloodlust!—in favor of this green
morning and all the green mornings I am forever
grateful for, forever waiting for, this one
and the next and the next for as long as
it lasts, for as long as it takes, baby
I am still waiting

PAINTING: A Green Thought in a Green Shade by Helen Frankenthaler (1981).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Long before this age of virtual reality, there were people I felt I knew through their words and principles. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was one of those people. His legacy as a poet, painter, and publisher made it possible for me to think of him as more than an acquaintance—something I might actually be able to claim today if only I’d followed through with my intention to drop by City Lights for an impromptu heart-to-heart with him 20 years ago. Alas, I never actually got around to that meeting, even though I’d packed my treasured pocket edition of Ginsberg’s Howl in my bag for the occasion and meant to circle back to the bookstore after indulging myself with a walking tour of The Haight (followed by brunch and a Golden Gate cruise that ended with an extended chat with sunbathing sea lions). Anyway, I think we would have hit it off. At least I hope so.

PHOTO: Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021) in a 1996 photo outside City Lights, the bookstore he founded in San Francisco in 1953. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margaret Dornaus holds an MFA in the translation of poetry from the University of Arkansas. She recently had the privilege of editing and publishing a pandemic-themed anthology—behind the mask: haiku in the time of Covid-19through her small literary press, Singing Moon. Her first book of poetry, Prayer for the Dead: Collected Haibun & Tanka Prose, received a 2017 Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America, and she received a 2020 Best of the Net nomination from MacQueen’s Quinterly for her haibun “Late-Night Inventory.” Her poems appear frequently in national and international anthologies and journals, including Contemporary Haibun Online; Global Poemic; Journeys 2015: An Anthology of International Haibun; Red Earth Review; The Ekphrastic Review; The Lindenwood Review; and The Red River Book of Haibun.

We Are All Born Mad
by Attracta Fahy

I am waiting for the second coming,
it is promised.
I watch for signs, see one across the floor,
over the wine rack, in electric pink,
“We are all born mad”
I laugh.

I am waiting for the chef in Tartare to send my soup,
potato, leek, díllisk, the waitress to bring
my fried chicken sandwich, dressed with fennel,
slaw, and cheese. Today, a day for comfort,

waiting for news, it is imminent, wonder
what we will still know of this earth
after we die.

I am waiting for this pain in my back to inform me,
it’s so hard these days to stay up in the world.
I ask for an image, a dark wood, one strip of light,
my eyes fix on that sign again.

I am waiting to be in my car, alone, where I can be real,
no pressure to smile.
I am waiting for the swallows’ return
their home awaits in my eve shoots.

I am waiting for the strong to stop putting their boot
into the face of the weak, the weak to see their eyes
have a light of their own.

After all these years I am still waiting
to know my purpose, what if we have none
except to exist for the sake of it,
like bluebells spread their colour over the forest?

I am waiting for the promised prophet,
what if it’s a woman, or a child?
waiting at the top of the food chain.
We have gobbled everything,
What’s left but the earth to gobble us.

I am still waiting for a revolution, it is coming.

PUBLISHING NOTE: A variation of this poem was first published on Live Encounters ezine in June 2020.

PAINTING: Woman with a Newspaper by Richard Diebenkorn (1960).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was inspired to write this poem as I was having lunch in Tartare, my favorite café in my home city of Galway. It was one of those days when I felt very reflective and in need of a break from the collective tension being expressed worldwide. It felt apoplectic, as if the world had lost control, with a continuous stream of traumatic news on social media. Coffee shops are a wonderful escape from everything for a little while. There is a sign in Tartare that says, “We are all born mad,” and this resonated strongly with me that day. It was not one particular traumatic event; it was everything. So, focusing on surroundings while waiting for food grounded and allowed some comfort. The black humor somehow lifted the heaviness.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Attracta Fahy’s background is Nursing/Social Care. She lives in County Galway, Ireland, works as a Psychotherapist, and is mother to three children. She completed her MA in Writing NUIG ‘17. She was October winner in Irish Times, New Irish Writing 2019, and is a Pushcart and Best of Web nominee. Her work has been included in a number of anthologies, shortlisted for Over The Edge New Writer, and Allingham Poetry in 2019 and 2020. She has been published in Stinging Fly, Banshee, Silver Birch Press, Poetry Ireland Review, Honest Ulsterman, Poethead, Orbis, and several other journals. Fly on the Wall Poetry published her debut chapbook collection, Dinner in the Fields, in March 2020. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.