Archives for posts with tag: photography

Visiting Santa with My Sister

Christmas Morning, 1988
by Kristina England

Like a fashionista gone off her rocker, my grandmother does it again. She buys us matching dresses. My sister, sixteen months older, is skinny as a rail. I still have my “baby fat” at seven.

Each year, my grandmother buys a purple dress and a green one. My sister picks first and, though we both love purple, she wins on age alone. I trudge to my room, green rug, green walls, place the dress on my green bedspread. My parents assume I like green.

I walk back to the living room, where my grandmother is digging through chocolates. She bites into each, spits out the ones she doesn’t like with a “Pah.” Always hungry, I eye the oozing remains. She wipes her mouth. “I have one more present,” she says, handing us coin banks.

I run back to my room, place it next to three other banks — a silver train, Mickey Mouse, and my favorite, Cabbage Patch Kid.

I find my sister in the hall. She is trudging, too. We return to my grandmother, give her a kiss on each cheek. We tell her we love her gifts. We learn how to lie at a very young age.

PHOTO: The author (left) and her sister visiting Santa in the 1980s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is one of many memories I’ve conjured up after my grandmother’s passing last winter. She was a quirky woman and this prose piece is just a glimpse of that quirkiness.

Kristina England1 2015

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristina England lives, bikes, and sails in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published in several magazines, including Gargoyle, Moon Pigeon Press, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Yellow Mama. She is a regular contributor to the flash fiction magazine, Story Shack in Germany. Her first chapbook of flash fiction, Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services, was published in September 2014 by Poet’s Haven Press in Ohio.

Christmas 1956
by Lynne Viti

My father opened his wallet to show me
a hundred dollar bill.
I thought he was rich, and said so.
Naw, he answered and carefully
slid the crisp paper back into its leather sleeve.

Christmas morning
my sister and I opened box after box.
Angora sweaters, knee socks
Ricky Nelson LP for me,
roller skates for her.

My mother gave Dad pajamas,
socks, a hand-warmer gadget
for Colt games at Memorial Stadium.

When it was all over
paper detritus littering rose-colored carpet,
Dad pointed to the back of the Christmas tree
wedged against the long drapes
at the picture window
so the colored lights were on display
for all of Hilltop Avenue to see.

Merry Christmas, Mom, he said quietly.
My mother jumped up, almost
tripping over her long robe,
laughed when it came into her view,
that hundred dollar bill, clipped to the tree
by a Shaker clothespin.

Not for paying the bills, Dad said.
Now Mom was rich.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My younger sister Anne and me on Christmas Day in the 1950s. Lipstick added, why? Because Mom let us—after all, it was Christmas!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’d been working on family-centered poems, and last holiday season this one popped into my head—an image of my late mother, on Christmas morning, running across the living room to retrieve a crisp one hundred dollar bill from the Christmas tree. In today’s money, that would be about $859! This was a generous gift for a blue-collar guy like my dad to give my mom. To this day I suspect she used some of it to pay off bills, despite his admonition not to.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynne Viti, a graduate of Barnard College and Boston College Law School, teaches in the Writing Program at the Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Her writing—poetry, fiction and creative non fiction— has appeared in a variety of print and online venues, including Callinectes Sapidus (ed. Rafael Alvarez), The Wire: Urban Decay and American Television (ed. Tiffany Potter and C.W. Marshall), Subterranean Blue Poetry, Three Drops in a Cauldron, Paterson Review (forthcoming), Damfino journal, The Lost Country, Irish Literary Review, The Song Is, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Hedgerow, Star 82 Review, Poetry Pacific, Yoga Magazine, Connections Magazine, WILLA, Sojourner News, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Barefoot Review, Drunk Monkeys, Grey Sparrow Review, Connections, The Baltimore Sun, and in a curated exhibit at Boston City Hall. She blogs at (Author photo by Richard Howard)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always thought of the ending of The Great Gatsby as one of the perfect endings in literature, and rereading it in the age of climate change, I wondered how much of Fitzgerald’s “green breast of the new world” would be left above water if the oceans continue to rise. I imagined Nick Caraway as the rueful, elegiac recorder of the last days of humanity.


Kathryn Kulpa
has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pen — actually, a crayon. She has work featured or forthcoming in The Great Gatsby Anthology, Smokelong Quarterly, KYSO Flash, and Saranac Review. She is flash fiction editor for Cleaver magazine and she teaches fiction workshops for teens and adults in the smallest state in the union.

Photo: Kathryn Kulpa at age 13 in Massachusetts with her dog Toto.

jim coke photo

Fans of The Doors and the band’s beyond-charismatic lead singer/songwriter Jim Morrison are in for a treat on Sunday, August 9, 2015 in Venice, California. Photographer Jim Coke will display the photos he shot of the band on July 15, 1967 at L.A.’s first rock music festival — just two weeks before “Light My Fire” hit number on on the Billboard charts.

To celebrate the occasion, some of L.A.’s most renowned poets will present a Doors Ekphrastic Poetry Set inspired by Jim Coke’s photographs of The Doors. Participants include Laurel Ann Bogen, Don Kingfisher Campbell, Juan Cardenas, Charles L. Davis, Iris De Anda, S.A. Griffin, Stevie Kalinich, Gerald Locklin, Brenda Petrakos, Kristin Sharp, Shy But Flyy, Joan Jobe Smith, Carl Stillwell, Fred Voss, Pam Ward, and Jessica Wilson Cardenas. The afternoon will also feature music from Juan Cardenas and his friends, sending listeners on a journey of Doors-influenced sound.

WHERE: Beyond Baroque, 681 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

WHEN: Sunday, August 9, 2015, 2 p.m. (reception), with a poetry reading at 2:30 and open mic at 3:30 (one poem per reader).

PRICE: $5 suggested donation for the poetry reading and open mic (photography reception is free).

PHOTOGRAPH: Jim Morrison by Jim Coke (July 15, 1967), all rights reserved by the photographer.


Ten Days in Paris
by Susan Mahan

I fell in love with a frenchman.

We dined in a bistro
…at separate tables.
Pink lighting glowed softly
on white linen,
and I savored him between morsels
of warm goat cheese.
He was handsome and cordial,
soft-spoken and kind.
He sat with a woman,
but I was sure
they were business associates;
he did not tutoie*her.

His gaze held hers
as they talked of their jobs,
their interests,
their families.
His eyes were expressive
and the color of the Seine on a cloudy day.
His eyebrows moved in concert
with her every remark.

I wanted his rapt attention
and longed to bring him back to my flat.

© Susan Mahan, June 2000

*the verb tutoyer means to address familiarly (tu)

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sidewalk Cafe, Boulevard Diderot, Paris” by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1969).

outside d'orsay

My husband died in 1997. I had been married 26 years and had never really been alone in all that time. Two years after he died, I decided to travel alone to Paris. I thought I needed to prove somethingto myself. I brought a journal along to write my impressions of the trip. “Ten Days in Paris”was one of the poems that emerged. When I think of the initial fear I had on that trip — not being ableto read maps that well, only knowing a little French, being entirely alone in a foreign country,how can I submit a poem on “My Perfect Vacation,”you may be asking? It turned out that my time spent in Paris gave me great confidence in myself. I’ve traveled back two more timesby myself since the first trip.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Mahan has been writing poetry since her husband died in 1997. She is a frequent reader at poetry venues and has written four chapbooks. She served as an editor of The South Boston Literary Gazette from 2002-2012. She has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Silver Birch Press.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Susan Mahan outside The Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Crescit Eundo
by Gary Glauber

New Mexico caressed me
under thin covers,
lured me with temperate clime
and spicy cuisine, with tales
of mystical angel visits and
prettily crafted wares.
Enchantment was the first kiss.
I embraced her carefully,
red sun on field of yellow,
aware of what some consider
sacred and fickle behavior,
back to suitors from another realm,
Spaniards seeking conquests,
additional notches on a long belt
that circled a smaller world.
I slip away, careful not to burn,
knowing I will ever crave
her native treasures,
her dark hair, high cheekbones,
and ritual sweetness,
the tantalizing spaces
on blanket of sky.
Not knowing myself then
I was doomed to travel,
a lover always lost.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Church, Taos Pueblo National Historic Landmark, New Mexico, 1942,” from the series Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941–42, documenting the period ca. 1933–42.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I first visited New Mexico in October of 1989, and have been enchanted by the state ever since — the art, the culture, the ghost stories, and more.

Me and NM pottery

Gary Glauber
is a poet, fiction writer, and teacher. This April he took part in Found Poetry Review’s PoMoSco project. Recent poems are published or forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Pilgrimage Magazine, West Trade Review, The Great Gatsby Anthology, Indian Summer Quarterly, The Bookends Review, Deep Water Literary Journal,, Yellow Chair Review, The Legendary, Xanadu, and Think Journal. He is a champion of the underdog who often composes to an obscure power pop soundtrack. His first collection, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) is now available on A chapbook, Memory Marries Desire, will be available from Finishing Line Press this fall.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author with two souvenirs from New Mexico.

No Place Like Home: 1965
by Pamela Johnson Parker

Her bicycle and her broom, her fingers bony
As catfish barbels, skin the shade of scales
Scattered from the luna’s wing—oh, the witch entire

Is what I craved—her pointed hat, her widow’s
Weeds trailing behind her like a burning
Bride’s veil, and her voice—pure power—

And your little dog, too. I mimicked
That rasping for days, and I was never
Afraid…Never. What scared me were the trees,

Apple-laden branches that groped and grabbed,
False faces, wrinkling grey bark….Trees like him,
Mr. Monday, who lived across the street,

Who clutched at my hair and my red car coat
When I wouldn’t go back to the porch slanting
Before his pointy house. Da duh, da duh

Da duh—each lurching pair of steps was perfect
Iamb, a meter I’ll scan again, again.
No one heard me shriek; my voice was too faint

To carry. Later, I didn’t have words
To say what I cannot say. As I watched
The Wizard of Oz the weekend after,

Hexing, I called down my worst on him,
Curses like poppies, poppies that sent
Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion

To sleep, to sleep. No one will wake him up;
Mr. Monday lives alone, not even
A dog . . . Before the mirror, as I murmured,

I gazed at my unfamiliar face:
These things must be done delicately.
If they have ears to hear, then let them hear.

SOURCE: Originally published in qarrtsiluni.

PHOTO: The author as a child.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In “No Place Like Home: 1965” I explored a child’s mindset, as she learns that language is incantatory and imprecatory. I wanted her to engage with poetry as spell, as curse. I also wanted to honor The Wizard of Oz, which is among my favorite movies.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pamela Johnson Parker works in the Department of Art and Design at Murray State University. Her poems, essays, and fiction have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, most recently in Language Lessons: Vol. I, from Third Man Press/Records in Nashville, Tennessee.

Shade of Blue
by Olufunke Kolapo

Underneath this same
shade of blue,
I made houses
of sand and sticks,
boxes and weeds;
stuffed doll
strapped on my back
with mother’s head-tie.

I played house with
friends and siblings
pots of cans
soup of mushrooms
and water leaves
I watched ants
appear and disappear
into tiny holes.

I skinned my knees

and bruised my toes

I played hide and seek
in the open yard,
rain or sunshine
jumping ropes
and climbing trees.

I smiled and cheered
without reservation.
I sobbed and wailed
when sad or hurt
no shame or pretense.
I miss my younger self.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My poems, my writings are like an extension of me. They are mostly my feelings about the people and things around me. Inspired by my inspiration from people, nature and things. I love writing. I love words; they are my drive, my anchor, and my safe place.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Olufunke Kolapo lives in South Western part of Nigeria. She is a student of English at the University of Ibadan, and a teacher turned writer. Her poems have been published in several online publications including Bright Life Cafe, The Writer’s Cafe, and UK Poetry Library. She blogs at

love the child
by Lindi-Ann Hewitt-Coleman

my eyes were so big
they swallowed the world
in all its dew spangled beauty
and bone shattered pain

my eyes were so big
they swallowed the ocean
and the mermaid and the starfish
and the deep breath whale
swam inside me

my eyes were so big
i did not have a face
or a body or
wild witch hair
where my cat
black as night
hid velvet paws
around my neck.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: I grew up on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. I befriended this feral cat who lived on the vacant farmland next door. Much to my delight, she returned the friendship by jumping through my window one night and birthing four kittens on my bed. This picture was taken in 1973.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindi-Ann Hewitt-Coleman lives on a very small farm on the edge of a very large forest in Wilderness, South Africa. Besides being a mother and writer, she raises Angora goats and spins wool. She has published two collections of poetry blue sky and other poems (2011) and holy ground (2014).

by Maureen Sudlow

my grandfather’s shed
where I hid, crouched
with the mildewed books
that were my escape
from a sometimes violent world

the beauty of words
not spoken in anger
surrounding me
with dreams

© Maureen Sudlow

PHOTOGRAPH: The author (with bandaged knee), ready for church, Christchurch, New Zealand (approximately 1949).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I grew up in a big family with very little money, so there were often tensions in my home. Books and reading were my way of dealing with this, and have made me, eventually, into a writer.


Maureen Sudlow
and her husband Rod live in Dargaville in the Kaipara (New Zealand). Maureen writes mainly poetry and children’s picture books and has had poetry published both on-line and in magazines such as A Fine Line. She has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia, and was short-listed for the 2012 Joy Cowley Award. She has published one children’s picture book Fearless Fred and the Dragon and a collection of poetry entitled Antipodes.