Archives for posts with tag: photography

I Reached Back
by Jeannie E. Roberts

Beneath the deck,
chunks of broken concrete punctuated the ground.
Convened in darkness,
scattered portions of the back steps
collected near my hands and knees.
Inching along the loose dirt,
gathering the breakage,
I noticed something pink—
a doll shoe.
When silver caught my eye—
a child-sized fork.
As I continued to sift through the earth,
a penny emerged; black rind obscured its year.
Hot, soapy water revealed its making: 1978,
the year before I graduated from college.
How many families inhabited this house,
I wonder?
Here, children’s handprints graced the sidewalk.
Relics of the first owners?
The tiny hands reached out. I reached back.

On my hands and knees,
inching along the loose dirt,
an ocean of love swelled beneath the deck.
In shining waves of work glove delight,
my new-old house—
built in 1952, painted in Ocean Swell Blue—
reached back,
echoed the memories of my childhood
and the sweetness of growing up in an age
that convened in technological darkness,
where our living room brightened with laughter
and family,
with a two-dial,
black and white TV.

PHOTO: Found objects beneath the deck: fork, penny, and doll shoe. Photo by the author. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Recently, I moved back to my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. My house is located near my son and other family members. After 22 years of living in another state, I’m rediscovering myself, so to speak. For a couple of months, I’ve been cleaning, fixing, organizing, and unearthing things, including memories and found objects like the penny, tiny fork, and doll shoe. I’ve thankfulness for a full life, where everything shines as an extraordinary contribution to my day.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR; Jeannie E. Roberts has authored seven books, five poetry collections, and two illustrated children’s books. Her most recent collection, As If Labyrinth – Pandemic Inspired Poems, was released in 2021 by Kelsay Books. Her eighth book, The Ethereal Effect – A Collection of Villanelles, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books (2023). Her work appears in numerous anthologies and publications. She’s an award-winning artist and poet, a Best of the Net nominee, and a poetry editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. She finds peace outdoors, listening to birds, identifying plants, noticing Earth’s beauty while practicing gratitude along the way. For more, please visit: or Jeannie E. Roberts | Facebook.

Elias_Mourning Song for the Earth
Mourning Song for the Earth
by Marjorie Maddox

Here the stone heart
waits for the tug of tide,

the undertow of pull,
the grainy tabula rasa of mind

lapped clean of conscience.
Or not. Even now,

seaweeds entwine; brittle
entanglements rot in the sun.

The dying snare the dead.
Such rocky shores.

Each dawn, the gulls caw
their crescendo of shriek,

capsized days breaking
into dirge, the cracked

and soulful as lonely
as this sad ballad of loss,

swooping low then rising
in morning’s daily aubade of hope.

Such deceptive beauty:
elegy for the earth.

Previously published in Masque & Spectacle and in Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts Publishing 2022).

Photo by Karen Elias.

Elias and Maddox photo copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetr­­­­­y Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); four children’s and YA books—including  Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises and A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry, Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems , I’m Feeling Blue, Too! (2021 NCTE Notable Poetry Book)—Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor); and 650+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Forthcoming in 2022 are her books Begin with a Question (Paraclete Press), as well as her ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias, Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts, 2021). Find more of her work at

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: After teaching college English for forty years, Karen Elias is now an artist/activist, using photography to record the fragility of the natural world and raise awareness about climate change. Her work is in private collections, has been exhibited in several galleries, and has won numerous awards. She is a board member of the Clinton County Arts Council, where she serves as membership chair and curator of the annual juried photography exhibit.

ABOUT THE POET AND PHOTOGRAPHER: Karen Elias and Marjorie Maddox are engaged in an exciting, mutually inspiring project, combining poetry and photography in creative collaboration. Their work has been exhibited at The Station Gallery (Lock Haven, Pennsylvania). Additional collaborations have appeared in such literary, arts, or medical humanities journals as About Place: Works of Resistance and Resilience, Cold Mountain Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Other Journal, Glint, Masque & Spectacle, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, and Ars Medica.

PHOTO: Author Marjorie Maddox (left) and photographer Karen Elias (right).

A Guiding Force
by Cristina M.R. Norcross

I will let the outside become the inside,
let the tall grass grow,
a quiet covering at the pond’s edge,
protection for rabbits,
chipmunks, and mice.

I will skip the kitchen bin.
The apple core and carrot shavings
deserve a home amongst the trees,
becoming a dinner menu
for thankful creatures.

I will let clean water flow,
replace bleach with white vinegar
for natural whites in the wash,
for nature’s sake.

I will be mindful of the energy of words,
speaking only colors of compassion,
the soft touch of gentle hands,
using thoughtful tones,
in recognition of what tender ears have heard before,
what they deserve to hear today.

I will let my connection to
every green frond,
every tangerine leaf, every imperfect grain of sand,
every trickling stream,
every earthworm moving the soil
be the guiding force
in how I move through the day,
how I tread lightly on this borrowed earth.
I will breathe deeply.
I will give thanks for every breath.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In writing an offering for this prompt, I wanted to focus on the gift of connection, as a guiding force, when reflecting on how we can each do our part to help heal the earth. What came to mind was fostering a deep connection to nature’s inhabitants, as well as a deep connection to those around us. I wanted to explore how our energy affects the lives of all beings co-existing with us — in the backyard, in the lakes, in the sky, in the house next door.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cristina M. R. Norcross lives in Wisconsin and is the editor of Blue Heron Review. Author of nine poetry collections, her most recent books are The Sound of a Collective Pulse (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Beauty in the Broken Places (Kelsay Books, 2019). Cristina’s work appears in: Visual Verse, Your Daily Poem, Poetry Hall, Silver Birch Press, Verse-Virtual, The Ekphrastic Review, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others. Her work also appears in numerous print anthologies.  Cristina has helped organize community art/poetry projects, has led writing workshops, and has hosted many open mic readings.  She is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry & Art Day.  Visit her at and @firkinfiction on Twitter.

Waiting Is Not for Sissies
by Alarie Tennille

The bench is empty.
Why are you late?
I sit and wait five minutes,
               Red alert! Red alert!

My worry warriors charge
into action. Scouts scurry
ahead looking for trouble: the car
wreck, plane crash, heart attack,
kidnapping. Like Fox News,
they radio back every conjecture.

The strategists leap in. Plot
what to do if a, b, or c.
Where to go? Whom to call?
I am still waiting.

Tell myself to breathe deeply, assume
the best. Check messages, interrogate
memory. Perhaps I got the time
or date wrong.

I try to let reason rule, but it
rarely ever does.

PHOTO: Parallelograms by Nieves Mingueza (2015). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I probably spend more time waiting than an average person. Since I don’t drive, I have to wait on a friend or my husband to pick me up. I normally wait calmly for the first five minutes, but the friend picking me up that day is very punctual and usually sitting in front of my house before the appointed time. (The bench was poetic license.) We were going to a lovely French bistro for lunch, so I was especially eager. When I wondered how I could calm down, I did what a poet does¬–started composing this poem in my head. The tardy friend was a poet, too, so I knew she’d approve. Eventually I went upstairs to check my computer. She had sent an email asking to change the date.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the Emeritus Board and Programming Committee of The Writers Place. Alarie is excited to have a new book, Three A.M. at the Museum, her third collection from Kelsay Books, which arrived in June 2021. The new book includes many ekphrastic poems and an introduction by Lorette C. Luzajic, Editor of The Ekphrastic Review. Alarie’s other books, Waking on the Moon and Running Counter Clockwise, are both available on Amazon.  Please visit her at

I Am Still
by Tricia Knoll

waiting for the strength to lift the boulder from your back
lift the pain that makes you stumble and crumple
when all I can offer is help to put it on the ground

for the tears that used to fall so readily
to advise me that I have not grown cold
or too old to take on injustices, inequities

to feel the age that I am, remember decades
running marathons to this hesitant walk
on ice without the glamor of skates

not only to drop the mask despite my fondness
for the silver one with roses. I cannot bear
the rows of graves, coffins stacked.

for the women to go back to work, with salaries
not lost from time away, for the babies to have daycare,
the children to have their teachers live

to sing with others. My voice is not good, zooming
and fast forwarding even church. Face to face
Skidamarink A Dink A Dink with my grandson

Perhaps not last. Let theaters open to audiences
silencing cell phones, anticipating the moment
lights ignite a stage to begin an unknown story.

PHOTO: Radio City Music Hall by Hiroshi Sugimoto (1978).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem for the I AM STILL WAITING submission call from Silver Birch Press. At first I wanted to list all the difficulties in the world that I want to see change: voter suppression, indifference to refugees, sexual harassment, but the list soon got so long it overwhelmed me. So I narrowed the focus, trying to come into my winter morning in my dining room with the sun glinting off the snow and figure out what in that immediate moment was what I’m waiting for. As of this writing, I am halfway to my second COVID shot which seems like a great privilege. I can binge on cable news and movies, but I really want to go see a play one day, feel the anticipation of an opening curtain.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Knoll’s poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her collection include Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press); Broadfork Farm (The Poetry Box); Ocean’s Laugher (Kelsay Books), and How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House) which received the 2018 Indie Book Award for Motivational Poetry. Her chapbook Checkered Mates was published by Kelsay Books in March 2021. Visit her at

No Swimming Here
by Lynn White

I don’t even miss it anymore.
Well, I was never good at it,
could never manage a crawl,
just a slow breaststroke,
or backstroke
before my hair grew long
and needed protection
from the chlorine.
But I did go twice a week
as regular as clockwork,
as regularly as religious people
went to church on Sundays.
So it left a gap,
an absence
at first.

Then there were the friends,
seen now only in passing
in the street
or at the Co-op
or in writing,
heard only on the telephone
not in the echoey pool
or drowned out in the showers.
So there was an absence.
There is an absence.
All is quiet there now
and so I am still waiting.
We are all waiting

PHOTO: Pool, Night by Elina Brotherus (2011).

pool 1

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The school in this small town has a swimming pool open to the public. The swimming club for “over 60s” has many enthusiastic members. As of this writing, we are still waiting for the pool to reopen after the pandemic.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications, including Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Gyroscope Review, and So It Goes. Find Lynn at and on Facebook.

Saint Avalynn
by Christian Garduno

stan getz blowing dostoevskyan solos
disbursing the future around like desolate pollen
beyond the novel, beyond the obituary
nights asunder in the City of Venice
sonatas and a satori
olden angels sorrowed in their visions and false starts
sending a telegram out to the city lights
astonished bliss atonement, all zoology blind as Homer
country hymns ululating, dharmic checks bouncing
Gabriella’s thrown her wrists up
the hyenas of hyannis are on the loose tonight
riding down the edge of a sideburn
Mardou, Chartres, and Clairvaux
with elegantless foreign arms, I am still waiting
She says she finds it easier to write me rather than to read me
Lou Gehrig whistling a savage tune in the on-deck circle
tormented by the silver key underneath the ceramic teapot on the side porch
Joannie Crawdaddy gets lickity at the lips
John Fountainsoda illuminated and Venetian blind
chasing some foggy notion over into Russian Hill
C’est pas interessant l’maudit Français
Obispo aluminum shuffling rackety shacks
Bakersfield flats uncontained by warehouses even more beater than we
McClure is sure mauve is the move
the southern part of the day meanders along like Highway #34
fishtail Cadillacs, camera shudders, sulphuric lamplights and sodium rainwaves
November moon voyant with California Burgundy
the vines never run out of wine
pour rien

PHOTO: Ocean Beach, San Francisco (Polaroid) by Nancy L. Stockdale (2008).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was inspired to write this poem by the mantra of “First thought, best thought.” There is little editing—it is all free-flowing, very much in the style of the original San Francisco beats writers.

Auth v1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 65 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry, and is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas Coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.

San Francisco by Lee Otis
What Am I Still Waiting For
by Terrence Sykes

I am still waiting
for this fog to lift
from my mizzle laden brain
from these steep city streets
rain of course lies in wait
but what do I wait for

city lights draw me in
comfort for a wayward
never felt in place soul
yet my soles are bare
like these bare bones
of unknowing

bare knuckles
from the daily grin
grinding my teeth
as I toss in restless waiting
for sleep or my dream or plans
to come but what lies in wait

when will I know that
I will never find yet
do I wait in Coney Island
or have I waited in San Fran
will I ever quote or question
am I still waiting

PHOTO: San Francisco, California (Polaroid) by Lee Otis (2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I asked myself…what am I waiting for…this surreal pandemic to end and begin a normal life and to travel…go back to San Francisco and eat and eat and of course…visit City Lights Bookstore.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Although Terrence Sykes is a far better gardener-forager-cook…his poetry-photography-flash fiction have been published in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, India,  Mauritius, Pakistan, Scotland, Spain, and the USA…he was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia and this  isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations — whether real or imagined.

A Nano Alien Came by Stealth
by Rose Mary Boehm

Coursing through my veins
is precious, polluted red stuff,
life stuff. The stuff that can clot,
the stuff that can kill.

They say we are 80% water.
Well, we are kind of liquid. Hard
to believe. No pun intended.
I don’t flow, I traipse—from kitchen
to bathroom, to sofa to bed.

The dog yawns. And when he
doesn’t yawn, he brings me the leash.
At least I have an excuse
to walk the seashore. I see curtains
move. Someone observing us.
Once there were witch hunts.
Now, the poop police.

I am still waiting to find
my inner river, recognizing my flow,
learning to navigate the waters
of yesterday’s freedom.

PHOTO: Tiger and TurtleMagic Mountain (walking sculpture, Duisberg, Germany), photo by the author.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: I thought this photograph was illustrative of veins and things in a crazy way.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have just been injected with this strange stuff science’s “Eureka” moments are made of. We are all guinea pigs and grateful with it. So far I am fine and look forward to be able to travel again and—maskless—embrace my children and granddaughters. Right now, I am using my neighbour’s dog as an excuse to walk in the park by the sea. They are lending him to me for the purpose. So kind. There are moments when I think I feel the chemical in my veins, but that, of course, is my poet’s imagination at work.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely, mostly in US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her fourth poetry collection, The Rain Girl, was published by Chaffinch Press in 2020. Visit her on her website and on youtube.

rod waddington fruit vendor
I Don’t Mind Waiting
by Lavina Blossom

There is weight in waiting, moving heavy
as a waiter with much on the plate,
charged with delivery to a table
that must, I’m pretty sure, be Plato’s
table, the Ur table, meaning located
nowhere but in my head. And I
am still waiting for my head to clear to set
my offering down, although I turn
away from anyone who might say: there,
leave it there. Because I want my
bountiful mixed platter, all that I can
heft, even as the lettuce wilts, the fruit
shrivels, the bread sticks grow soggy, dust
settles in the soup. I carry on, aware
that leaves are falling, that the trees
will topple too, eventually. Although today
the trees and I hold up the sky, its porcelain
blue. Once it was true that added weight
could give me greater strength and durability.
But those, apparently, were specials,
lately taken off the menu.

PHOTO: Fruit Vendor, Football, Mexico City, by Rod Waddington.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “I Don’t Mind Waiting” was written to the prompt “waiting,” coincidentally given recently in a Zoom writers group I meet with weekly. The idea of waiting tables came to mind right away.  I let the idea of waiting for something to occur while carrying a plate or platter take me where it would.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lavina Blossom is a painter and mixed media artist as well as a poet. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including 3Elements Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Literary Review, The Paris Review, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Poemeleon, Common Ground Review, and Ekphrastic Review.  She is an Editor of Poetry for Inlandia:  a Literary Journey. You can find some of her art at DailyPaintworks.