A Retirement

My friend Steve Deutsch writes narratives that always dig below the surface of their words. He also writes a delicious satirical political blog.  Enjoy!

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By stevieslaw

It leafed out absent-mindedly
this year, our junk maple.
A street planting from the fifties,
its branches bald and barren here and there,
though not alarmingly so—
just enough that you would notice,
if you were the kind who’d notice.
It will weather this year, I imagine,
and most likely the next,
but I worry about
our foreseeable future.
On this spot, a twig of a thing,
staked out against the bare breeze,
stands in the unshadowed sun
while from this old house, some
other someone will watch it grow.


Bio: Steve Deutsch’s work has appeared in Eclectica Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, Silver Birch Press, and Misfit Magazine.

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The Thief

An allegory for our times.

Eunoia Review

Each day he took something. The right breast of the mother. The grandfather’s supper. The child’s teacher. Sometimes he’d leave something in exchange, but it was always lesser.

Selma’s black hair was replaced with gray. Over time, her brush stilled, her studio emptied. Once she heard the eagle’s cry and her heart opened like a red barn door, then the crack of a rifle and the door slammed shut. She kept one brown feather. During the days that grew windy and progressively darker, she’d stand at the window and run a finger up and down the feather, its softness a comfort, a reminder.

But still he took something beautiful and left something ugly. Civility became extinct, like the eagle and the wolf, and in its place was built a long wall separating her old country from her new one.

Without her art, she took to pacing her side of the…

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Everything Becomes a Stranger

“. . . a poem is a silent tree in spate . . .”

This morning I read a new poem by Rajani Radhakrishnan that is a perfect description of how a poem is made and who it becomes as we let it go.  Rajani gave me permission to reblog it, so here it is.  Please visit her site, ThotPurge to thank her, and while you’re there check out her second blog Phantom Road  where she converses with Marcus in a series of haibun poems — equally as evocative.  Rajani, I am so grateful to have discovered your poetry.

Everything Becomes A Stranger

even a word in a sentence,
you hold it there, lock it in and
for a while it makes sense
then it begins to work itself loose
wanting to move
wanting to move on
another appears in its place
an unfamiliar voice,
saying something else;

a poem is a silent tree in spate
one by one its green eyes fall
one by one new eyebrows are raised
only you know it is a different tree
the shadows paint another dark
and whatever is flowering
is not caused by your being;

everything becomes a stranger
once it leaves, once it falls
words, worlds,
people,
even you walking away
carrying a poem
carrying a sentence
cast shapes angled into the sun
as if the light is making love to you
in a different language.

– Rajani Radhakrishnan

 

Chairwoman – by Clare McCotter

An incredible poem by Clare McCotter on Algebra of Owls.

Algebra Of Owls

Slowly unwrapping her little layers every morning
we soap rinse dry from head to toe
deodorize her musk, perfume her neck and wrist
dress her in clean underwear
colour coordinating outer.
We dampen her hair
styling it the way we think best
we make her bed
chiseling out corners
lining up the shells on the counterpane.
We call her dear, speaking her name over and over again.

Quickly crossing the dayroom floor we all hold hands
reminding her of the day month year.
Near the big blue chair
she birls round  n n n    n n n n
n n n n n
drawing her knees up to her chest
she swings from our arms
like the ball on a strange executive toy   h h h    hh    hh
words smithereened.

Safely strapped in, the air around her writhes
till hands wither
and hang exhausted from the…

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Brilliant Quotes About Art From Famous Artists

These thoughts are as true for poetry as they are for art.

FLOW ART STATION

Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – René Magritte
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “To be an artist is to believe in life.” – Henry Moore
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “Great art picks up where nature ends.” – Marc Chagall
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “Art is a line around your thoughts.” – Gustav Klimt
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “The true use of art is, first, to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature.” – George Inness
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art
“The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” – Jerzy Kosinski
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.” – Claude Monet
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” – Frida Kahlo
Art Quotes Artists Quotes About Art “If I…

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Style: Quirks and Perks

An excellent post on finding your style. I recommend this blog on writing. I always learn something from the posts.

P.S. BE SURE to play the Bukowski video. It’s the old renegade at his best!

A Quiver Of Quotes

typewriterPhoto by Sergey Zolkin

Style is an increment in writing. When we speak of Fitzegerald’s style, we don’t mean his command of the relative pronoun, we mean the sound his words make on paper. All writers, by the way they use language, reveal something of their spirit, their habits, their capacities, and their biases. This is inevitable as well as enjoyable. All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation—it is the Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains incognito.
— E. B. White, An Approach to Style in Strunk & White

White puts it so plainly, so delicately. Only skilled writers show their spirit, their capacities, their biases because their expressive medium is no longer cluttered by ungainly turns of phrase and forced plot devices. Don’t his words make you want to reach that increment in writing where you too have style? (Not to say that you don’t already.)

White also reaffirms…

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Keenings

My Drabble (a hundred word or less story) was published today. Apropos, since I’m waiting for a flight to Paris. Coincidence?? You decide.

Eiffel Tower Sunset

By Sarah Russell

Someone from the Class of ’61 died today. No one close by, just someone I sent Christmas cards to and read posts by on Facebook about cats and grandchildren. And suddenly I longed to kiss someone.

No.

I wanted to make love that leaves bruises, jump in a lake at the top of the world so cold I gasp, ride the Roue de Paris, get drunk on Bastille Day and watch fireworks over the Seine and sing La Marseilles with strangers.

Instead I sent a sympathy card to her kids that said sorry for your loss.

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Stevieslaw: My poem “Studio in the Asylum” was published in The Ekphrastic Review today

Speaking of ekphrasis, here’s one from my friend Steve Deutsch. He has written a series of ekphrastic poems from the point of view of the artist, taking into account the era and their particular situation. Steve’s always right on point, whether he’s writing poetry or political satire. Take a look at his other posts for the satire part.

Stevie's Law

Studio in the Asylum (find the poem at Ekphrastic.net)
Dear Theo:

I am surrounded here
by the painter’s commonplace,
the half- filled canvases
that dot the ochre walls and
those ornaments of still-lifes—
the vases and jars standing
to attention on the sill,
empty of color and purpose.
I feel a tension, as if
a single dazzling orange
would shatter the calm
forever.

I have finished “Studio in the Asylum.”
It is a soothing depiction,
like a setting for a prayer.
Yet, I might well have named the piece
“The window in the wall”–
that brightness that separates
the therapeutic room
from the glory of the garden
and the grounds.
Soon, now
I shall make my way outside.
to paint the olive landscapes
and pasteled huts
and to color
the stars of the night sky.

Yours: Vincent

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Mademoiselle Boissière

“. . .roses dizzied her with summer. . .”

Ekphrasis is poetry is based on works of art.  I love this kind of writing.  This poem is based on “Mademoiselle Boissière Knitting” by Gustave Caillebotte.

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She sits alone
knitting for Sophie’s baby,
expected in the spring.
She doesn’t think of Sophie baring
herself for a man, as she did once,
when roses dizzied her with summer,
how easy her petticoats lifted, how
afterwards they smelled of blood
and sweat, how she stumbled,
pushed the bolt to lock the door,
how those smells return
when she sees him in the square,
squiring his wife on errands
and feels her heart loose
in its stays.

– Sarah Russell
First published in Ekphrastic Review

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Another reblog today from Ryan Stone’s Days of Stone blog. Ryan’s poem is based on an actual event, which makes it even more eerie.

Maybe you remember I praised the Poppy Road Review venue yesterday. This poem was published on Poppy Road’s sister site, Black Poppy Review, where poetry takes a turn toward the macabre. Click at the bottom of the poem to visit this beautiful, if chilling, collection of poems.

days of stone

On stone walls and fences near Hagley Wood
the question appears in ghostly script:
Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

They found her in its hollowed trunk
back in ’43. Wedged inside her musty grave
to grow stiff, to slumber undiscovered,
unnoticed, unnamed.

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?
for she didn’t climb in alone. Gagged
with a scrap of taffeta, missing tooth
and hand–until the cryptic message
no one knew her name.

In a rotting womb, so far from the light
bones become legend, for trees tell no tales.
And every few years, the same phrase appears:
Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

– Ryan Stone

first published by Black Poppy Review, May 2017

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