Archives for posts with tag: paintings

by Maureen E. Doallas

I am waiting, hope-
ridden on the darkest day
of the year.

This morning, in the wash
of green-foamed sea, the bloated
body of a fin whale lists, hushing

the pod’s fracturing echolocation.
The water, displaced, barely
conceals the gray-boned back,

so that I, adjusting my prayer
shawl that cannot be stretched
enough to cover

the living and what’s dying,
wait for some sign
its last great breath still holds.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On the first day of winter, I happened upon an image of a huge, stranded, and listing fin whale. The association of darkness with death, which the image seemed to evoke, was apt; yet, in this season of hope-filled waiting, I allowed myself to consider the possibility that the animal remained alive.

IMAGE: “Orca” by Tamara Phillips. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maureen E. Doallas is the author of Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems (T.S. Poetry Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in Open to Interpretation: Water’s Edge, Open to Interpretation: Love & Lust, Oil and Water… And Other Things That Don’t Mix; Tania Runyan’s How to Read a Poem; and Felder Rushing’s book bottle trees. Her poems can be found at Broadsided Press (“Responses: Ebola 2014”), Split This Rock (“Poems that Resist Police Brutality & Demand Racial Justice”), Every Day Poems, The Woven Tale Press, The Found Poetry Review, The Victorian Violet Press & Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, Escape Into Life, and other online and print publications. She blogs at Writing Without Paper, is an Artist Watch editor for Escape Into Life, and has a small art business, Transformational Threads. Her interviews and features appear regularly at TweetSpeak Poetry.

by Jari Thymian

I am waiting for my Western world self to eat
beans and rice for a week, then beans and plantains,
then beans and potatoes, and beans and sweet potatoes,
then go hungry for three days. I repeat until a craving
for beans develops that overthrows the USDA’s meat
protein fallacy. I will wait for the ghost of my childhood 4-H
heifer to return to the green pasture in western Minnesota
to have her calves. I am waiting for a global rapture.

I am waiting for the return of the WWI Christmas truce
to become a worldwide truce where I get out of my familiar
life trenches daily to cross some street, language, cultural,
cartel, state, country, or hate group boundary line to shake
hands or bow, swap pictures and treats until I feel old scars
of resentment dissolve like sugar into understanding.
While we trade stories, we draw pictures in the soil
or sand like people knowing only dead languages
and the soil resists all future real and metaphorical
trenches. I am waiting for these words and phrases to atrophy
from my stories into archaic language: hanging, genocide,
missiles, suicide bomber, banana clip, assassination, school
shooting, beheading, prejudice, terrorist, militia, hostage,
untouchable. I am waiting for the global rapture.

I am waiting for the global rapture: waiting until my
indoor faucet is replaced with jerry cans I carry
a quarter-mile or a mile each day, to wash clothes by hand,
to mete out every drop, to reuse rinse water, to take a bucket
bath in a mud-brick hut next to the pit toilet with a 5 x 4-inch
hole where everyone squats – until an ancestral thought
returns that drop-by-drop water has its own beauty and
prevents the coming world wars for water rights.

I am waiting for the day of global rapture when I step
into the shoes of those I think are religious enemies
or supposed inferiors to see what devotion feels like
in another’s shoes — to bathe in the Ganges, to wake hungry
on the first day of Ramadan, attend a Passover Seder, or sit on
a wood bench in a Rwandan church for four hours every Sunday.
Those in my shoes will know my paths. I will never give up waiting
until I do not judge their shoes better or worse than my own shoes
and the phrase walk a mile in their shoes is no longer an idiom
because we already did during the great earth rapture.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I had much more that I could not include in the final version. I found so many of my wishes for world peace and understanding came through as well as my desire to try to understand why I’ve been so attached to my experience of living in Rwanda for three months a few years ago while in the Peace Corps. I wanted to put my experience there to some good use because it was so life-altering for me. I think even sharing a story can change a person, a relationship, a connection, and even a prejudice to something better. In some ways, this feels almost like a manifesto because I was forced to put it in the first person. And while doing that, I saw I had first written it in an almost command form to a non-specific set of people outside of myself – as if I myself were not guilty of thoughts of separation, superiority, and condescension. I felt a shift in vulnerability to confess and accept my own faults. And I loved including many of the experiences I’ve had while living small farming village in Rwanda.

IMAGE: “Water” by Maki Haku (1924-2000).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jari Thymian’s poetry has appeared in publications including Matrix, Ekphrasis, Ken*Again, Memoir (and), The Pedestal, The Christian Science Monitor, FRiGG, Alehouse, Pirene’s Fountain, Margie, Flutter, Prune Juice, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and American Tanka.  Jari’s poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. She grew up on a Minnesota dairy farm and attended a country school for the first six years of her formal education. Her chapbook, The Meaning of Barns, was published by Finishing Line Press. Jari volunteers full-time in state and national parks across the United States and lives with her husband in a small RV.

by Noh Anothai
from a scene in Thai folklore

They lay her limp body, more dead than alive,
before the old abbot, beside the altar.
He asks when her husband was summoned to war:
“A year now? No news? Well, he might still live,
but she…how old is she?
Of course, twenty-five
—adulthood’s hard entrance, though these eyes have never
beheld anyone the age has so withered.
Still, bring the black thread, and she might survive.”

The almanac crackles. He calculates
a name for each star, then from among them
dubs her the brightest: Wan-Tong, “Day of Gold.”
By the gold morning, her fever abates;
better she rises, but what change can claim
the foreboding that on her heart keeps hold?

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In Thai superstition, 25 is a perilous turning-point in one’s life, a year of either extreme good fortune or pronounced difficulty. As I neared my own twenty-fifth birthday, I thought often of Pim, protagonist of the Thai folk-epic Khun Chang Khun Phaen (“Sir Chang and Sir Phaen,” named after a rival for Pim’s hand and Pim’s husband, respectively). As she neared 25, Khun Phaen was enlisted for battle, and Pim fell so ill pining that the local abbot had to perform a name change on her. ¶ Still commonly practiced in Thailand today—both my mother and aunt bear different names from those on their birth certificates—this ceremony operates on the notion that assuming a new, astrologically auspicious name and, therefore, an identity, can free a person from difficult planetary influences or karmic duress. It also traditionally involves offering food to the spirits, dashing uncooked rice at the “patient,” and finally tying a black thread around her wrist. I wrote this poem wondering if such outward changes—or any, like haircuts and makeovers, the things people seek when making new starts—can really uproot deep-seated inner conditions. ¶ Now almost halfway through my twenty-fifth year, I can’t say I’ve experienced more than the normal growing pains—like working two part-time adjunct positions (which amounts to a full-time job without benefits) and paying off my first car loan. I am, however, losing my hair, and baldness will soon be a trait I share with Khun Chang, the crass, overweight man who attempts to win Wan-Tong in her husband’s absence. The Thais of their day found baldness repulsive, and re-reading the epic—and the slurs Wan-Tong heaps on Khun Chang’s shiny head—before writing this poem was hard on my ego. There are some nights when I think that I need a renaming to ward off my own twenty-fifth birthday blues: redefining my conceptions of masculine beauty and coming to terms with my changing body.

IMAGE: “0-9” (detail) by Jasper Johns (1961).

Noh Anothai by Christopher Fleck

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noh Anothai is the pen name of Anothai Kaewkaen, who was a researcher with the Thailand-United States Education Foundation (Fulbright Thailand) between 2011-12. In that time, he translated programs and hosted cultural events for Thailand’s Ministry of Culture and College of Dramatic Arts. He has also written poems for the My First Book Project, which benefits underprivileged Thai students. The winner of Lunch Ticket‘s inaugural Gabo Prize for Translation and Multi-lingual Texts in 2014, Anothai has work forthcoming in The Raintown Review and Structo. Visit him at

Author photo by Christopher Fleck.

from Wine this Whimsy
by A.J. Huffman

Three glasses of Merlot
and a monotonous conversation
of irrelevancies drove me outside.
I needed the air and the moonlight
to cleanse me, regress me
back to innocence. As I stood
looking up at a pallid crescent,
I began believing that mythical
childhood cow had the right idea.
I suddenly just knew that
in more practical shoes, I too
could jump over the moon.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A.J. Huffman has published nine solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. She also has two new full-length poetry collections forthcoming, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press) and A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane

IMAGE: “Moonshine” by Paul Klee (1879-1940).

by Donna Hilbert

He shattered her glass
climbing over the table
to kiss her, that hot afternoon,
when she quoted his poem over wine.
It was free verse, abstract in part,
and difficult, he knew,
committing it to heart.
They kissed the afternoon away,
and on the drive back, kissed
through every stop sign and red light.
Between the kisses
he smoked a cigarette.
And, what she failed to reconcile
about that day, was the casual way
he tossed the ember from the window,
considering how hot and dry the summer,
how much fuel there was to burn.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Neophyte and the Swan” is from my collection The Congress of Luminous Bodies. It is a tip of the hat, of course, to “Leda and the Swan” by William Butler Yeats and the myth from which that poem comes.

IMAGE: “Study for the Head of Leda” by Leonardo da Vinci (1506).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna Hilbert’s latest book is The Congress of Luminous Bodies, from Aortic Books. The Green Season, World Parade Books, a collection of poems, stories and essays, is now available in an expanded second edition. Hilbert appears in and her poetry is the text of the documentary Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story, a Christine Fugate film. Earlier books include Mansions and Deep Red, from Event Horizon, Transforming Matter and Traveler in Paradise from PEARL Editions and the short story collection Women Who Make Money and the Men Who Love Them from Staple First Editions and published in England. Poems in Italian can be found in Bloc notes 59 and in French in La page blanche, in both cases, translated by Mariacristina Natalia Bertoli. New work is in recent or forthcoming issues of 5AM, Nerve Cowboy, PEARL, RC Muse, Serving House Journal, Poets & Artists and California Quarterly. She is a frequent contributor to the online journal Your Daily Poem. Her work is widely anthologized, most recently in The Widows’ Handbook, Kent State University Press. Learn more at

theft of the pomegranate
by J.I. Kleinberg

as the full moon slips between the ocean’s knees

Persephone spills garnets
into a lapis bowl

crunches a single red jewel
between her teeth

crimson light flooding her mouth

moistens a silken sable brush
on her reddened tongue

and inscribes
her calculus of betrayal
on crinkled parchment

cochineal corrugations

cyclamen overtures

pomegranate lust

the ruddy arabesques of Hades’ desire

IMAGE: “Persephone with pomegranate” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1882).

ji_kleinberg1 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J.I. Kleinberg is an artist, poet, and freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and her poem “Better Homes & Gardens” was recently nominated for a Pushcart prize. Her work on a series of found poems, now numbering over 700, is featured in the current issue of Whatcom Magazine and samples of her found poems can be seen in the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Truck, Silver Birch Press May Poetry Anthology, and Star 82 Review. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, blogs at and doesn’t own a television.

by Senia Hardwick

boasts of youth
a prelude
to contest

sweetly sweetly
his melody honey
voicing lament and ecstasy
previously dormant

a crescendo to hubris
to a chorus of skin

each stripped and discarded
till the rumbling coda
a river’s wail

IMAGE: “Marsyas Enchanting the Hares” by Elihu Vedder (1899).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is from a series/chapbook I am currently working on entitled Ephemera. Each poem is a moment of fleeting beauty paired with ideas and suffering and death. The idea of beautiful suffering is by no means a novel topic, but I have chosen to make it novel by utilizing post-modern ideas about art and poetic structure as well as writing solely on male subjects. The deaths of women have long been portrayed in fetishistic and intentionally tantalizing ways, and this work exists as an intentional rejection of this as an artistic ideal. I drew from Ovid’s Metamorphosis as the stories within it are sensuous and vivid, as well as simply being a nod to the massive and extensive influence of Grecian poetry on Western Europe’s cultural development.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Senia Hardwick is a self-described neo-romantic writer of poetry and short fiction. Senia’s works range in tone and topic, but are mainly concerned with nature, self-exploration, and the world of emotional extremes. She has previously been published in Collective Fallout, Hoax, Tattoosday, TOO MUCH: An Anthology of Excess, Cville Winters, Oddball Mgazine, and is a regular contributor at Riot Grrrl Magazine. Links to her work and book review column can be found at

by Michael Dwayne Smith

Because the painting has a life of its own,
he said,
I try to let it live. I glanced up
and watched the way in which Pollock was trying to do.
I think so, yes, in which he
wipes paint off
to begin again.
Pollock, a marvelous carpenter, built
several false starts before he hit this use
of foreign matter . . . not unusual in his work.

Would you
continue various objects?
I think so . . . possibilities,
it seems to me,
it seems to me
very much relate to contemporary painting.
I noticed over in the corner
something done.
Something about that?
He scattered onto the surface
mentions in his narration,
embedded very thick
wire mesh, glass pebbles, shells, string and plain glass.

A week to dry.
Squinting my eyes to Pollock’s house
and replied I wanted to show the artist at work
with his face in full view.
I sometimes lose a painting
but I have no fear of changes, because a painting
has a life of its own.
I finally figured out
how to lie on my back and photograph him from below.


Poem title: “A comment Pollock was known for—‘No chaos, damn it.’ He telegraphed Time magazine after they wrote some blurb about his ‘chaotic’ paintings.” Quoted from James Coddington, Chief Conservator, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in online interview.

 Poem body: “Through a Glass Brightly: Jackson Pollock in His Own Words,” Helen A. Harrison, New York Times, November 15, 1998.  The Harrison interview includes excerpts from Hans Namuth’s essay, “Photographing Pollock,” in Pollock Painting (Agrinde Publications).

IMAGE: Jackson Pollock photographed by Hans Namuth.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Process is what fascinates me, always has—even a hundred years ago in high school when I painted canvas and murals—so it’s natural enough to be fascinated by Pollock, and Marianne Moore, Frank O’Hara, any artist who happily abandons a conventional approach to work. This piece allowed me again to try and get at some small part of the man while trying also to get at some part of the observer. In other work, I’ve spent some time trying to translate Pollock’s “action painting” techniques into my own use of language; the quotes I plucked for this piece point to my own struggle to teach myself this invented process.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Dwayne Smith is publisher and editor of Mojave River Press & Review. Recipient of both the Hinderaker Prize for poetry and the Polonsky Prize for fiction, his work appears in excellent journals like The Cortland Review, burntdistrict, San Pedro River Review, Word Riot, Stone Highway Review, Monkeybicycle, decomP, and >kill author. His latest poetry collection, Happy Good Time News, is a collaboration with graphic novelist Evan R. Spears (forthcoming, Devils Hole Press). He lives near a ghost town in the Mojave Desert with his wife and rescued animals. Online he haunts and

by Daniel McGinn

The new needs need new techniques,
new ways and new means of making
the atom bomb, the radio, the culture,
the strangeness will wear off
and we discover
I think not look for
but look passively
and not bring what they are looking for

Paint it liquid,
the brush doesn’t touch the surface,
it’s just above
I don’t use the accident—
‘cause I deny the accident—
it hasn’t been created, you see
I have a notion of what I’m about
and what the results will be

SOURCE: Jackson Pollock interview with William Wright (1950).

IMAGE: Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) at work in his studio. Photo by Hans Namuth.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel McGinn‘s work has appeared numerous anthologies and publications, his full length collection of poems, 1000 Black Umbrellas was released by Write Bloody Press. He recently earned an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He and his wife, poet Lori McGinn, are natives of Southern California. They have 3 children, 6 grandchildren, two parakeets and a very good dog.

author bio circa 2014
by John Grochalski

john grochalski lives in brooklyn, new york
with his long-suffering wife,
the poet and novelist, ally malinenko
and their 15 year old cat, june
who simply refuses to leave this plane of existence

when he isn’t listening to every subtle nuance of noise
made by neighbors, vehicles, barking dogs, and garbage men,
or being distracted by the wide variety of internet porn made available
grochalski attempts to write poems, stories, and novels

subsisting on a diet of pizza, tacos, coffee, beer, scotch,
and cheap chilean red wine
grochalski works full-time as a public librarian
which has only served to lower his opinion of librarians
and the general public as a whole

dealing with a mild case of OCD
grochalski refuses to believe that that the oven is off
and the windows in his apartment are truly shut

he has traveled extensively in europe
coming to the conclusion that every place is different
in exactly the same way

grochalski often confuses trapped gas for heart attack pains

he believes beyond a shadow of a doubt
that the founding of the united states of america
was some kind of cruel joke played on humanity

in his spare time he hates children, teenagers, republicans,
democrats, hockey, onions, 21st century american art,
cell phones, and anyone who calls him a luddite for hating cell phones

he thinks the work of hans fallada
is currently the bee’s knees

IMAGE: “The Drinker” by Billy Childish (1996), influenced by Hans Fallada‘s novel The Drinker.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press, 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.