Archives for posts with tag: photographers

sankar_raman
OUTSIDER
by Risa Denenberg

I live in a small town of recovered alcoholics
who go to weeknight meetings to drink coffee
and gossip: who versus who, where, how often,
when. These good people also go to church
on Sundays to hear sermons drawn from within
the town’s close-cropped borders and offer prayers
to heal sins they will later talk about over pork
ciabatta at the Longhouse.

I’m the oddball: vegetarian lesbian poet
who celebrates Pesach to their Easter, rents instead
of owns, has never married, chooses to live alone.

Last week I bought a push mower and huffed
around my yard cutting the tall grass and elfin
pink and violet florets down to nubbins. I did
this to ward off chatter among my friendly neighbors
over my overgrown habits, although I know they think
it’s strange to not eat meat and refuse to waste
gasoline on this endeavor. If I wait too long, someone
will come along and mow down my whole house
out of kindness.

As for me, I’m polite to neighbors, but more
I love the tall grasses, the bees sniffing
a sprinkling of petals. I welcome deer to come
graze in my yard, lush with dandelions.

IMAGE: “Deer, Olympic Peninsula, Washington” by Sankar Raman. Prins available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Risa Denenberg lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, a place of stunning beauty with plenty of rain and small-town gossip. She earns her keep as a nurse practitioner. She is a moderator at The Gazebo — an online poetry board — reviews poetry for the American Journal of Nursing, and is an editor at Headmistress Press, dedicated to publishing lesbian poetry. Her most recent publications are In My Exam Room (The Lives You Touch Publications, 2014) and blinded by clouds (Hyacinth Girls Press, 2014).

quynh_ton
RAIN CITY
by Ricki Mandeville

Home is the city where it always rains,
soundtrack of rain like a cool, jazzy riff,
a moody place where twilight comes early,
steals through the trees, the clasp of wet branches
that sway against the gray angora sky
while lights in buildings go on one by one.
Where people never leave the house without
a raincoat, and umbrellas pop open
like multi-colored wings coming to life
on puddled sidewalks in the heart of town.

I smile at men with pale indoor faces,
who speak in low tones in bars and cafes,
but walk back to my tiny loft alone,
the drizzle beading seed pearls in my hair,
turning torrential, soaking my wool coat,
feeding me lines I whisper to myself
to the ragged meter of the downpour
as I dash home, run dripping to my desk,
scrawl words on paper before I forget,
soak the worn carpet and never notice.

Some nights when rain bangs loud as kettle drums
I crank Miles Davis up to drown it out.
Or Joni Mitchell. Pour some chardonnay.
Turn off the lights, draw the curtains aside,
stand there, let lightning flash and do not move
from the window as rain tattoos my cheeks
with narrow streaks that roll like dingy tears.
And I think of you then, at the instant
my shadow jumps to life against the wall:
its solitary tango, empty arms.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This was a wonderful prompt. It had me writing about Seattle within five minutes. I noticed right away that most of my lines were naturally emerging in ten syllables. So I gave myself an assignment to write three stanzas of ten lines each, with every line decasyllabic. I love losing myself in the intense focus of such discipline.

IMAGE: “Lightning in Seattle” by Quynh Ton. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ricki Mandeville’s poems have appeared in Comstock Review, San Pedro River Review, Stone Highway Review, Texas Poetry Calendar 2014 & 15, Penumbra, and other publications. She is a cofounder and consulting editor of Moon Tide Press and the author of A Thin Strand of Lights (Moon Tide Press). A speaker for various literary events, she lives near the ocean in Huntington Beach, California.

benjamin_yeager
EMERALD CITY
by Raúl Sánchez

I live in a place above the lake
in the middle of two mountain ranges
the Cascades to the East the Olympics to the West
Seattle flanked by Elliott Bay and Lake Union

Tourists favorite landmark
and Chief Seattle’s fountain
Space needle pointing to the blue sky
the historic Pike Place Market
where flying fish are found.

Pleasure to walk the narrow alleys
gold diggers and sailors once walked
on the way to their ships to Alaska

Driving across draw bridges
we reach the rocky beaches
before the tall sails sail through

Short ferry ride takes me to
the San Juan Islands
Vashon, Bainbridge, Orcas, Lopez
where on a clear day
the majesty of Mount Rainier
stands closer to the heavens

pristine rivers and streams
where salmon swims
and the Swinomish natives
catch them at opening season
to cook them on cedar wooden planks

offering to the land
the wind, the sun, the rain
Oh, the rain!
natural cleanser that washes away
the grim and grime of the streets
and sidewalks

The Pacific Northwest
where the seasons shine and hide
in the winter months.
Where rain falls, oh blessed rain.
Green mountain trails, tall firs, pine and cedar
Snow mountain peaks jagged edges
at the brake of sun,
white powder clouds canvas
where birds fly south to warmer places.
On rainy days I clean the moss off my shoes
fling the slugs off my porch!

I live in a place surrounded by verdant forests
permeated by fresh air
and quiet streams
while we walk the hidden trails
in our old shoes.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I tried to gather images of the place I live, the natural beauty, the weather, natural resources, tourist attractions, and other known and unknown highlights about the place. Although we have a vast mix of ethnic diversities, I did not include that topic since I just wanted to expose the outside rather than the inside and its people.

IMAGE: “Emerald City” by Benjamin Yeager. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

Open Books 2012

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Raúl Sánchez‘s recent work has appeared in the 2014 Jack Straw Writers Anthology, the Raven Chronicles, Clover, Ghost Town Poetry, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Redmond Association of Spokenword Poetry, Standing Still, Lowriting, The Smoking Poet, Snow Monkey, La Bloga, and other online and print journals.

fishamble_dublin
Fishamble Street.
Dublin.
by Stephen McGuinness

I work
my way along
Fishamble Street.
where Handel
first aired
his Messiah.
It takes me
from the heights
and glories
of Christchurch Cathedral
down, to see
the wretched pagan river
at Wood Quay.
From arched red brick
on the Blind Boys’ School
past the restoration theatre
on Smock Alley.
The oldest surviving
street in Dublin
meanders from
the ancient
Black Pool
from which the city
takes its name
to the place
where the norse
longships came in
to raid
and to winter.
Later, where they walked
their ox carts
up the hill
to market
winding between
mud huts and cesspits.
I follow that
same path
still going against
the flow.
Descending from
the high ground
and the High Church
to the lost
and the low
life of the Liffey.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Fishamble Street still follows the same path, in the centre of Dublin, as when it was laid out by the Viking founders of the city in the 10th century.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Oldest continuously inhabited house in Dublin” (Fishamble Street), found at this website.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen McGuinness, 46, works as a chef in Dublin City, Ireland. His poems have been published online on Eat Sleep Write and by Silver Birch Press in the I AM WAITING Poetry Series.

steve_watson
THE MOORS
by Julie Rose Clark

I couldn’t say
I love the moors
nor could I say
I moved here for them –
when you could with ease,
all of you.
I could say
I love the canyons
even though I have never been;
the red rock
of memories,
the stories,
the paths they contain –
yes I could say
I love them.

I couldn’t say
I love the teasels,
the wire grass,
the sheep bones,
nor could I
say I walk here through choice
it’s simply
where I find myself;
here among the wonky walls,
the half stiles,
the rake roads,
the black-faced running sheep,
the bent gates,
the rocky straight,
the treeless horizon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem makes me think of the wind high on the tops of the moors which I have lived around now for about 12 years. It makes me think of the many days I have spent walking these moorland paths whatever the weather and the sights I have seen. The moors give me poetry if nothing else.

PHOTOGRAPHY: “The Moors” (West Yorkshire, United Kingdom) by Steve Watson. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Rose Clark has self-published one volume of poetry, has been published in various magazines and anthologies, and has won a couple of competitions. She has read her words out loud at open mic events and has participated in several exhibitions. Her website can be found at www.julieroseclark.co.uk.

stirling street rainbow
Rain Charm for Stirling Street
by Gaia Holmes

Oh, the itch and nag of it —
this rainless month
when sapless slugs
fruit our yards like prunes
and the lawns
in the salubrious parts of town
are brown whispers.

Even inside
red roses yellow
and spill their petals
before they’ve had time to bloom.
Hard green mangoes
rot before they’ve ripened
and in the fridge
milk thickens and clots
in the necks of bottles,
the cheese gets louder and louder
until it roars.

And lately, we have had
restless nights too hot to touch,
deserts between us in our beds,
Sirocco winds blistering our dreams,
our waking bodies
black with fruit flies.

All you sun-junkies,
you lovers of deck chairs
and Ambre Solaire, forgive me.
I am taking action.
I am standing behind the kitchen door
wobbling a crosshatch saw
to make the sound of thunder.
I am cooking lightning
in the microwave.
I am pouring rice on to a saucer
to make the sound of rain.
I am summoning a storm.

Previously published in Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love all kinds of weather, especially sunshine but also rain. I live on Stirling Street and when the sun shines on Stirling Street its residents get bolshy & tetchy. Arguments start. People get angry about parking spaces and traffic cones start appearing on the kerbs. Cats wail all night and it seems that a good dose of rain balms the tension. I love the sound of it on the skylight window in my attic. It makes me feel safe and creative. I love the smell of it, the petrichor, the world after rain—wet grass and tarmac, the scent of shimmer.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Stirling Street Rainbow” (Halifax, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom) by Gaia Holmes.

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gaia Holmes lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK. She is a freelance writer and creative writing tutor who works with schools, libraries, and other community groups throughout the West Yorkshire region. She runs “Igniting The Spark,” a weekly writing workshop at Dean Clough, Halifax. In her spare time, Gaia is a DJ for Phoenix FM, Calderdale’s community radio station. She plays accordion with the band Crow Hill Stompers. She has had two full length poetry collections published by Comma Press: Dr James Graham’s Celestial Bed (2006) and Lifting The Piano With One Hand (2013). Gaia is currently writing about sink holes, working on her third collection, and dabbling in fiction.

robert_swinson
THE CARNIVAL WORKER’S PRAYER
by Kevin Casey

O San Julián, the summer is close to its end
and I am still here at the end of the Earth,
in this Nueva Inglaterra, driving through the dark

to park nuestras caravanas onto their fairground fields,
to open up the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Hurricane
like half-rusted flowers in the morning at the sun rising.

Dear San Julián, my home in the green hills of Tlapacoyan
is missing me, and also my mother. I have comfort
only in the guitar music they make at the Melody Tent

when the night comes, and also in the sad, dumb vacas
they always show. But from these tractor pulls
and the groups of chamacos, unattended and disrespectful,

these corndogs and their cotton candy, I feel such longing
for the falls that measure out the length of my jade-cool river.
I will go back, with your blessing, San Julián, to pick bananas

every day in the weather, or to climb for the coffee beans
that grow on the sides of mountains that rise to heaven
from the arms of my blessed valley.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sunrise, Veracruz, Mexico” by Robert Swinson. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Though this poem is written from another’s perspective, I do live in New England and frequent the county fairs the narrator describes. The poem is therefore about my home, the narrator’s home, alienation/ dislocation, and simple homesickness. Each August, these traveling carnivals travel near my home in Maine, and the workers are predominantly from a certain part of Veracruz, Mexico. The Saint to whom the narrator appeals (Saint Julian) is the patron saint of carnival workers, of all things . . .

IMAGE: St. Julian, patron saint of carnival workers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kevin Casey is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received his graduate degree at the University of Connecticut. Recent works have appeared in Grasslimb, Frostwriting, Words Dance, Turtle Island Review, decomP, and others, and a new chapbook is due out this spring from Flutter Press. He currently teaches literature at a small university in Maine, where he enjoys fishing, snowshoeing, and hiking.

joel_sartore
RUBBLE
by Steven W. Baker

The street by my house is made of rubble
Mortar and brick dumped against the rain
Discarded pieces of broken ceramic tile
Lumpy detritus bridging muddy puddles
Someone’s dreams once built now gone.

In dry weather the ubiquitous brick walls
That line even the most impoverished road
To keep out the reason for their existence
Form wind tunnels for dust storms
To sweep dirt and trash to new locations.

A small herd of dairy cows wanders by
As if they belong here in the smoky city
Their lovely eyes showing little interest
In the road that leads from grass to milking
They’re just on the way to their fate.

Horse carts, school children heading home
Gardeners on bicycles with their lawnmowers
Maids walking efficiently to beat the setting sun
Lonely taxi drivers heading to their next fares
All stir dogs beyond gates to rouse from naps.

In the future (how easily we assume)
This lazy ersatz street will finally be completed
Men will come in trucks and dump real gravel
Then neatly put down six-sided paving stones
And civilization will come bustling by my window.

Everything will be transformed as if by magic
But I will know what lies beneath the thin veneer
I will remember the dust and the bricks and tile
The horses and cows that are no longer allowed
The reason why everything always has to change.

I won’t forget either how my life has moved on
Built atop losses I never wanted to endure
Past the dreams I fought to keep alive
The beloved people who shared my path
For far too few a breath we held together.

When my street is all paved but is broken
The men will come again in their big trucks
To dig down into the hidden dusty layers
Of the rubble on which the present will be built
And know that what is lost can still sustain.

©2015 Steven W. Baker

PHOTOGRAPH: “A Dirt Road Winds Toward Sajama” (the highest mountain in Bolivia) by Joel Sartore. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steven W, Baker has lived (at least six months) in Greencastle, Indiana; W. Lafayette, Indiana; Bloomington, Indiana; Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cedar Lake, Indiana; Crown Point, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Morris, Illinois; St. Joseph, Michigan; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Chillicothe, Ohio; Portland, Maine; Salem, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Clarksville, Tennessee; Sarasota, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Hamilton, Montana; Niagara Falls, New York; Toronto, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Jakarta, Indonesia; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Marigot Bay, St. Lucia; on a sailboat in the Caribbean; London, England; Guangzhou, China; and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where he currently resides with his lovely Bolivian wife. He has also traveled extensively around the world. He has been writing almost all his life, having written his first of four novels, The Yuma Cave Mystery, when he was in the eighth grade. He has never tried to get a novel published . . . maybe someday. He is not a big fan of self-publishing. He has a BA and MA in English and studied creative writing under poet Felix Stefanile at Purdue University. He has essentially lived two lives as a poet — as a young man in college and shortly after when he published a lot of work in underground newspapers and obscure journals, most of which are probably now defunct. His second life as a poet began a quarter century later, after his divorce from his first wife. He has now gathered a large body of unpublished work from this period that was written for himself and his close friends, but his first book from all that will be coming out this summer, Sun and Moon, which gathers 61 poems, some of which are rather long.

neil_donovan
Venezuela: The Harbinger of South America
by Carlos E. Mijares Poyer

Arrive brother, to know thyself in the mirror of your hometowns
Look up to the underground river from where The Angel Falls of      Venezuela
The highest waterfall in the world perils like a tear to tell its story.

The “Chiguires” are loving animals, known as the largest rodents
On the planet the size of baby pandas . . .
And I swim, past the deer swallower, a leviathan snake of fresh waters
That will tug a bull to the depths by its nose, and devour the message it      brought you:

The Jazzy and lyrical rythm of poetry in Spanish with its infinite love      songs
Or “Tonadas” of the plains which woo young girls into slow erotic      dances.

“Come to the Sun!” say the girls happily sane.

The harbinger, Venezuela, like nature and the universe does not need      us.
We need its message and the key to the lock that opens its great      southern mysteries.

And, there is no control of its political rallies.

I live here in the incognito glances of one that stares at me with one pair of eyes among the crowd . . .

And the petals of minute orchids flourish like fingers with the aromas of      our hands.
Here, and now I bring these fruits as numerous words like a black      rosary.

My Venezuela is Paradise Regain’d, the apple on my head is split in two
By the arrows of desire.

And, there is no control. The message this flying harbinger brings, comes as a rippled dabble of rainbow watercolors in the irises of the      sky.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Angel Falls” (Canaima, Venezuela) by Neil Donovan. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Prof. Carlos E. Mijares Poyer, born in 1966, is a Venezuelan-American author, journalist, poet, educator, translator, and marketer trained in the United States of America in schools and colleges in English and American literature and marketing at ISUM, the number-one ranked marketing college in Venezuela. He has participated in various literary workshops at Guilford College, North Carolina, U.S.A., where he studied, and in the Caribbean selected among 30 participants out of 10,000 writers to participate in the “Onelio Jorge Cardoso” writing workshop in Havana, Cuba, for his fiction. Editor of the Piper literature and arts magazine at Guilford College, where he published the poem “Overland: A Midwestern Postcard,” in the winter of 1987 praised by Pulitzer Prize winner Henry Taylor of American University in Washington, D.C., also, a literary journalist for the Ultimas Noticias Daily newspaper in its Cultural Supplement in Caracas, Venezuela, read and awarded internationally, publishing: philosophy, poetry, film essays, bio essays, feature articles, and short story. He is also a literary, commercial, and technical translator. A great admirer of the writings of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and British and American literature, Prof. Mijares Poyer is an alumni of Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A., where he was star football player and honorable-mention lacrosse all-American MVP (1984), later to play at Guilford College.

Peter_Carsten
SAHARA
By Diane Castiglioni

In the desert
this condition laid bare
stripped of pretense
deprived of case
the veils sundered
awareness brought to the edge of
insanity
for its clarity
near purity of need
absolute dependence
on this order
this composition
this near impossible
traverse
hairline width for deviation
an atom’s breath for dissention
“lighted fools the way to dusty death”
this craving
this delicate precision
here
in this place of

infinite need for shadow
demands
the presence of
slakes the thirst of

the courage required
necessitates the presence of strength
in extreme balance
like life itself to be wrought so
multitudes of sequence, proportion, levels,
relative, absolute perfection

            yet

            another place another time

            crimson sunsets
            and warm climes
            the taste of sand
            and burnt sirocco
            roaming caravans
            your sunsoft skin
            and miles and miles to go………………………

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written while living in Morocco, traveling with camels and a group of locals through the dunes. It speaks to the intensity of an unrelenting sun during the day and sleeping on the sands at night, carrying everything we needed to survive, most importantly the savvy knowing of the people who lived and breathed that land.

PHOTOGRAPH: “A Camel Caravan Crosses a Landscape” by Peter Carsten. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diane Castiglioni is a contributing author to the French work Dictionnaire Universel du Pain (Bouquin Laffont, 2011) and an editor of the International Cooperation for the Development of Space (ATWG, 2012). She has poems published in France, Lebanon, and New Mexico.