Archives for posts with tag: photography

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

bathtub outside
What Shrinks, What Grows
by Ed Ruzicka

I should have left you
before you left me.

If I had boarded a train
that pulled out of a nameless depot

you would have grown smaller, shrunk:
lover, heron, bunny, quail, cricket, one iota.

Instead you have grown, swollen—
weather front that settles on top of a landscape.

Memories solidify, brood within, without.
You are still on the jetties in Racine at midnight.

The tumult of Lake Michigan bashes stone,
jets up white walls that crash back to rock.

You still giggle in candle light
in our clawfoot tub. While Billie Holiday

sings from the record player’s needle,
you slide a loofa over the limbs of desire.

In some part of me, the weather
has never changed, I am still waiting.

Silly though. If you came to me again
with softness, turmoil, delights, distress,

what would I do now, an old man
who has forgotten how to hope?

PHOTO: Windmill and bathtub (Polaroid) by Moominsean.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Once you have loved someone deeply, that feeling is always there, though largely locked away. I am completely happy as I am now and yet a certain undeniable truth and strong emotion emerged as I wrote this. I can’t figure the heart out. If you do, I’m on Facebook—let me know.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ed Ruzicka has published widely. His most recent book, My Life in Cars, is a sort of tell-all-tale about the rocky relationship between freedom and the American highway. Ed began working in his father’s Rexall drugstore at age eight. He lit out from Illinois cornfields in 1970 and has traveled widely. He worked as a deck-hand, short order cook, oil-field roughneck, tree trimmer, welder’s assistant, barge cleaner, social worker, and more. Ed settled in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he practices Occupational Therapy. Ed and his wife, Renee, often sit out at sunset on a patio that backs up to the rest of the world.

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A Day for Patience
by Jan Chronister

Landscape bricks
sit in the trunk of my car,
ready to be unloaded,
stacked at the edge of a garden.

Snow falls by the inch,
daffodils wear tight scarves,
huddle against the storm.

Fragile necks of tulips
heavy with buds
quake under the white guillotine
that falls from the roof.

Ice is long gone
from Lake Superior
but I am still waiting
for the day I can put
the snow shovel away.

PHOTO: Tulip (Polaroid) by Magali M, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I live within sight of Lake Superior, and waiting for warm weather is a real test of patience. Before May (and sometime during), snow never fails to blanket already blooming flowers. Somehow everything manages to survive.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jan Chronister is a retired writing instructor who now has time to work on her own words. She  currently serves as president of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. Jan has published two full-length poetry collections and four chapbooks. Visit her at  janchronisterpoetry.wordpress.com

Nathalie sunrise reflection silver sea
Silver soldering
by Beth McDonough

File to sharp brightness on both sides,
then butt each seam hard at its twin.
Exert gentle pressure to make ends meet,
slick a flux brushful all the way down.
Stipple a little on a snipped-off strip,
real silver solder at the meet of the cut.
Bind it up in thin iron wires. Not that tight.

Build mini-firebrick homes in the forge,
set a nest of those same skinny wires.
All so unlike tin soldering…iron and glob;
this whole job must be warmed
to a dulled just-red, with a tad more
torch play of flame, now
roar it up the wait of the join.

There’s a moment of bubbling up borax,
strange colours and stinks.
However often you’ve done this, you think
what if this time nothing floods?
But it does. A glisten turns silvering river,
mercurial, healing. The job stopped,
tongs ready…and quench.

Arguably, it’s all preparation, and perhaps
some still strange realisation,
that sterling solder sheet, marked “easy”
resolutely, is not. Unless there’s no choice,
“hard” always suits much better.
No-one likes sticky “medium.”  Avoid “extra-easy.”
Temperature scales tease with words. Well, so they say.

PHOTO: Sunrise Reflection Silver Sea by Nathalie, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I trained in silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art, and I suspect there are aspects of that way of working which would later be very similar to what drew me into writing poetry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Magma, Causeway, Gutter, and other publications. Her reviews appear in DURA and elsewhere. Her pamphlet Lamping for pickled fish was published by 4Word, and an earlier pamphlet Handfast was co-written with Ruth Aylett.

flying gull espen sundve
How to learn to fly
by Mathias Jansson

Throw yourself to the ground
and miss
Create an anti-gravity space
in your backyard
Transplant a pair of wings
from a pterosaur
Be born by parents
that are birds and can fly
Study for a year
and take a flight certificate
Or take the hard way
close your eyes and use your imagination.

PHOTO: Escaping from Alcatraz by Espen Sundve, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I started to think what I wanted to learn. And I wanted to learn to how to fly, but biological humans cannot fly by their own, so the task is impossible. The poem is about an impossible dream, but even if we cannot fly we can use our imagination to work around the problem and find new solutions to problems that seems impossible and against our natural boundaries.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has contributed with poetry to different magazines and anthologies as Maintenant 8, 10 & 11: A Journal of Contemporary Dada. He has contributed to anthologies from Silver Birch Press and other publishers. Visit him at  mathiasjansson72.blogspot.se. 

lost parrot nancy l. stockdale
Morning Ritual
by Jonathan Yungkans

Open the front door at six a.m. See if the dead still stir. They never keep to a regular schedule.

Swallow hard to move sinus pain from skull. Keep swallowing. Eventually, it might work.

Walk into bathroom. Splash face and back of neck with cold water. Whatever you do, don’t breathe. Gasp for oxygen, your face buried in a towel, once you’ve finished.

Do not notice the dead, laughing.

Make coffee. Two rounded scoops of grounds, three cups water, and who knows how much gravel from ancient water pipes.

Close eyes. Thank God the neighbors are quiet. They dragged trashcans along their driveway, dropped boxes from their second-floor balcony—all of this well after midnight. Hopefully, not even the dead are up over there. Purple nightshade twists through chain link, the fence one solid bloom; the vine has wrapped itself around the plum tree in a backyard shotgun wedding.

Pour coffee. Take it black. Sip. Feel tiny gravestones down your throat.

Notice seven large parrots perched on a line between two phone poles. Their feathers glow green, brighter than money.

Fill large salad bowl with Cheerios. Add milk. Shovel mechanically into mouth.

Do not notice the parrots are now shiny black, look more like falcons.

Ingest two pills of sanity—one nightshade purple, one bleached bone—and a multivitamin, just in case you should live so long as to enjoy that sanity, whenever it might come—you’re pretty sure it’s not going to be today. The pills feel like larger chunks of gravestone going down.

Do not count the parrots. Do not notice there are only five now, or the two large splatter patterns below them, like when liquid-filled balloons are dropped from high above.

Drink more coffee. Keep drinking. There is only so much solace in the world.

Previously appeared in The Chachalaca Review, Vol. 5 (Fall 2019)

PHOTO: Lost Conure, Tarzan by Nancy L. Stockdale, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is how to get through the morning on days I have to force one foot in front of the other. This happens a lot more often than I let on. The weights of depression and unreal expectations for myself can be crushing in themselves. Together, they become almost unbearable. Thank God for coffee.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer who earned an MFA from California State University, Long Beach, while working as an in-home health-care provider. His work has appeared in San Pedro Poetry Review, Synkroniciti, West Texas Literary Review, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and is upcoming from Tebor Bach Publishing.

summer silhouette by justin copy
How to Summon the Dead to Dreams
by Sara Clancy

I wish I knew.

Don’t bother gazing at photos, sharing
old stories or ritualizing your set of mindful
cues. Your dream will be about a late paper
or your car losing its battery on the ice hill
between Laramie and Cheyenne.

Don’t listen to the song she hummed
or read from the hardbound copy of Emma
she gave you. Twice. Don’t make her favorite
angel cake with fudge icing. You will dream
her old blind dog begging crumbs
from your empty plate.

If you try to shake loose a visitation
by recalling a slight or word you wish
you hadn’t said, you will only wake
at 3:49 a.m. night after night
after night.

Don’t cast spells to the chrysocolla marker
where her ashes lie or the hummingbird
feeder that hangs above. You can keep
that green glass bottle filled with sugar water
and sorrow, but it won’t help.

When she does show up in your childhood
kitchen to whisper a wise reminder you won’t
remember in the morning, don’t try to call her
back or recreate the day before. She will come
and go as she chooses.

PHOTO: Summer Silhouette by Justin, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I realize that this poem is kind of a cheat. A how-to for something that can’t be done. Still, I wanted to go through the litany of trying because nothing is as comforting as meeting lost loved ones in dreams, and though I can never actually make that happen, each failed attempt brings them briefly into focus.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sara Clancy is a Philadelphia transplant to the Desert Southwest. Her chapbook Ghost Logic won the 2017 Turtle Island Quarterly Editors Choice Award. Her poems have appeared, among other places, in Off the Coast, The Linnet’s Wings, Crab Creek Review, The Madison Review, Open Arts Forum, and Verse Wisconsin. She lives in Arizona with her husband, their two dogs, a cross-eyed cat, and a 26 year old goldfish named Darryl.

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How to Be a Malacologist
by Stephanie L. Harper

Remember when
your child’s heart led your head
like a garden snail’s head leads its footed belly.

Think back to when you were seven
& your adopted pet / school project, Kiddo,
gnawed away at a slice of banana on a glass slide
as you watched, thunderstruck, from beneath him
(find out on Wikipedia that he was using his radula
a structure akin to a tongue used by mollusks to feed).

Recall how proud you were of Kiddo when he not only lost
the school snail race, but redefined it, by turning around
at the half-way point, staying in his own lane, & crossing
the start-line before any of the other snails reached the finish.

Wonder why your teacher didn’t mention anything about Kiddo
& his compatriots being hermaphrodites, or how (if they chose)
they could all be both father & mother to their tiny-shelled progeny,
& realize how simple it would have been for her to call a snail’s powerful,
innate mechanism of retracting its tentacles into its head for protection
by its technical name: invagination.

Then, understand, finally, that if you’d been born with the ability
to operate yourself like a puppet, & pull yourself outside-in
by drawing your head down into your belly & out
through your foot, to invert your once-vibrant
body into an empty sock, how many times
you would have done exactly that.

First published in Panoply.  

Photo by Katarzyna Załużna, used by permission. Read about the photographer’s portraits of snails at mymodernmet.com

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When a friend and fellow poet asked me in a recent interview, “From where or what do your poems sprout?” I experienced this question viscerally. Poems really do sprout, don’t they? I mean, for me, whether they come up silently or explosively, and whether they arise all sallow and reedy, vivid and sweet, or tender, or sour, or even barely perceptible—at some point prior to their births, they are pollinated by my virtue of my orientation toward Life and how I apprehend, synthesize, store and/or ruminate on every experience—of my former and current human relationships; of all that being a mother means; of my interactions with animals, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, oceans, rocks and sand, the sky and its heavenly bodies, manmade physical/technological and social infrastructures, literary, visual, and performed arts . . . Each one then germinates beneath the soil until something incites it to erupt: Whether the something is a disquietingly still and protracted fallow interlude, an intense or even haunting dream, an epic bout of insomnia that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, or one of the millions of much more innocuous ways I might be moved in the course of a day, what it never is, is predictable. In the whole scheme of things, though, it’s become dependable.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie L. Harper is a recently transplanted Oregonian living in Indianapolis, Indiana. Harper is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two poetry chapbooks: This Being Done and The Death’s-Head’s Testament. Her poems appear in Slippery Elm Literary JournalPanoply, Isacoustic*, Cathexis Northwest, Riggwelter Press, Moonchild Magazine, Dust Poetry, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Visit her online at slharperpoetry.com.

elliott erwitt california Kiss, Malibu 1955
How to Kiss a Woman
by Jon Pearson

First, go out and buy yourself a box of matches,
stove lighting matches, the long wooden ones.
You got that, pal? Cuz someday you gonna
have to learn the fine art of listening. So, you got
your matches. Now get yourself a pitcher of milk,
a can of worms, and a map of South America.
Just do it. You come here for advice and I’m givin’ it
to you. First damn thing is to learn to follow directions.
What kind of kisser you think you can be without
you can follow directions. Now, get yourself two
saw horses and a tank of live lobsters and set that up
in the backyard. Of course near an outlet so you can
plug in the tank and keep the water warm. Good.
Now stick up a couple of liquor stores to get the juices
flowing. Leave the money on the way out, no need
to be an asshole. Take off your shoes, put them under
your bed, and walk barefoot to Algernon, Mississippi.
It’s a small town, lovely little smells, nice people.
Get a root beer float at Kathy’s next to the laundromat.
Then, shut up. Get very quiet and start feeling
southward from the corners of your mouth. Stop
for once being a damn man and start feeling something
from the corners of your mouth. Run your tongue over
your lips and lapse back into childhood. Make it up.
Now pour the milk over yourself…not for real…
now light yourself on fire…and start feeling all
lobster-like.

PHOTO: California Kiss (Malibu, 1955) by Elliott Erwitt, All Rights Reserved.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “How to Kiss a Woman” at breakneck speed. I wanted to see if I could write something without stopping or correcting or futzing. It was fun because my head felt like a wind tunnel. I felt sucked forward by a what? a power greater than myself or, at least, greater than my hope-I-get-this-right self. I often begin with whatever stray title flies into my mind and then run with it. Usually what happens then is a “voice” takes over, a character, and as the character speaks I write as fast as I can to keep up. I like to write quickly to outstrip my inner critic and tap the wild, candid river of thinking “beneath” my thinking. But this was especially fast. It felt like I was driving blindfolded without brakes. Not something I would recommend. Except, of course, on the page.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A writer, speaker, artist, and creative thinking consultant, Jon Pearson has been a cartoonist for the Oakland Tribune, an extra for the New York Metropolitan Opera, a college professor, and a mailman. His work was nominated for a 2016 and a 2014 Pushcart Prize, as well as a 2014 Million Writers Award, and has appeared in Baltimore Review, Barely South Review, Barnstorm, Carve, The Citron Review, Crack the Spine, Faultline, Forge, Hobart, Lake Effect, Pretty Owl Poetry, Reed Magazine, Sou’wester, Stickman Review, Superstition Review and elsewhere. Find him online at jonpearsoncreative.com.

PHOTO: The author with his wife, Elya Braden.