The Sacred Delirium of Love: Collages by Bill Wolak


 

               I’m drawn to the wild juxtapositions that collage creates. I love the idea that anyone armed only with scissors and glue can construct an image that’s as fresh as a dream and just as startling. Also, I’m attracted to those images that are hypnotic and hallucinatory; the ones that are striking, irresistible, kinky, and unforgettable. One aspect of nature that is especially interesting to me is sexuality in all its complexity and manifestations. Therefore, many of my collages deal with the embodiments of desire, the markers of attraction, and the sacred … Continue reading The Sacred Delirium of Love: Collages by Bill Wolak

The Pulse(s) of February by Susan Shafarzek

Photo of fancy chocolates
 

The other day I heard somebody use the phrase, “the dead of winter,” and I thought, wow, it surely is. Punxsutawney Phil to the contrary—nor yet the strangely benign weather we’ve been having here in central Virginia, it’s the nadir, the bottom, the halfway mark. As dead as winter gets. Dark in the morning, dark in the evening and the trees still putting scratch marks on the sky. People are apt to scream for no reason, dogs are restless. Cats stare out the window with a patient but hopeless look. If you have a canary, … Continue reading The Pulse(s) of February by Susan Shafarzek

The Pines and Finish Line, 2 poems by Frank William Finney

Photo of pines against clouded sky
 

The Pines Behind Snow Drive, rusty needles led to a pine grove, where we made little circles with dirty rocks and lit little fires with matches lifted from the corner store. These days the pines that survive make little circles of shade in a trail of three-car garages and realtors’ signs. The old store stays open in our heads. Finish Line The knees will need braces. The bones rebel. The memory turn traitor: rust to dust. Hoops and hurdles. Heartbreak Hills. Fast as a mayfly or slow as a sermon. Either way, you’ll finally cross … Continue reading The Pines and Finish Line, 2 poems by Frank William Finney

Capturing Clouds by Fred Wilbur

Photo of clouds in blue and orange sky
 

“I change, but cannot die.” Shelly “The Cloud” As my wife and I are on our morning walk, I often comment on the clouds above: the constant change they float themselves through, the subtlety of hues they dress in, the animal shapes and deities we conjure. And one day I must have said I’d like to paint clouds once too often—forget that I am not much more than an occasional house painter— because next birthday my kind and, no doubt, loving wife presented me with an online course simply titled Painting Clouds. With tabletop easel, … Continue reading Capturing Clouds by Fred Wilbur

While I Waited There by J.R. Solonche

Photo of people in airport
 

While I waited there in the terminal at Newark, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. It was a bird flying back and forth along the ceiling, and because I was in an airline terminal, I thought a small ironic thought and smiled a small ironic smile and made a mental note to write a small ironic poem later, but just then another passenger turned to her companion and said, Look at that bird flying around trying to get out, and her companion turned to her and said, No, I don’t think … Continue reading While I Waited There by J.R. Solonche

Walking the Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy by Alex Joyner

Photo of sign of Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
 

Once I spent an afternoon at Appomattox walking the Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy. The Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road is mostly just a trace now but this is the scene of the last march. Here’s where Bobby Lee rested beneath an apple tree (Gethsemane) waiting for word from Grant. Here’s where he met his troops after the surrender (And Lee wept). Here’s the long hill to the surrender ground lined with Union troops—ordered by Chamberlain to offer a profound salute to the beaten rebels. It’s all here in Appomattox—the gracious, merciful victors and the humble, honorable … Continue reading Walking the Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy by Alex Joyner

Peace Offering and Bridges, 2 poems by Kevin Pilkington

Photo of busy city street
 

Peace Offering I still don’t know what to do with the jacket hanging in my closet. It’s not that old but like a Brautigan novel is out of fashion. Maybe it all comes down to math and how for the first time in my life I understand subtraction. After losing two close friends, a number that never seemed large is now a mountain. Of course raw fish has always been worth the risk and my last job offer was not. The same tall priest in a black suit I’ve seen a few times on the … Continue reading Peace Offering and Bridges, 2 poems by Kevin Pilkington

To Plane by Jacqueline Henry

old 1900 photograph of a boy planing a piece of wood
 

I think about the word plane as my daughter sands the picnic table, a task she takes on every summer, earbuds in, goggles on, the sander whizzing as it strips off layers of stain. A plane flies overhead. Biplane. Some words and sounds put me into other places, her planing wood, the biplane planing the sky mowing through layers of space and time as she orbits the wood, navigating deeper into another place—another plane—of existence beneath the sawdust, banking and gliding as the globe turns, her body mirroring the motion in the sky. Jacqueline Henry … Continue reading To Plane by Jacqueline Henry

Four Backstory Traps and How to Escape Them by Lisa Ellison

Typed word Backstory on paper in typewriter
 

I remember the exact moment when I decided to become a writer. It was the winter of 1987. I was in sixth-period study hall, gripping Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. The book catapulted me into the world of Louis Creed and Jud Crandall, making the rowdy seventh graders around me disappear. Every day that week, I stayed up well past midnight, unable to put Pet Sematary down. I spent the next few years in various states of terror as I devoured King’s most famous works including It, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Stephen King is a … Continue reading Four Backstory Traps and How to Escape Them by Lisa Ellison

Echeveria Colorata: A Self-Care Manual by Ali Curtis

Photo of single tree set apart from other trees
 

The plant in the corner needs to be watered. It’s staring at Anita again. A cold deadpan interspersed with the occasional slow blink. The plant doesn’t have a mouth but if it did she imagines that it would yell a lot. It’s a small succulent, (Echeveria Colorata- She liked that it had color in its name) that Anita bought from Wal-mart the first week of classes as an experiment in caring for a living thing. “You should get a fish. Or you know maybe start out small–a plant? It’s good to care for something other … Continue reading Echeveria Colorata: A Self-Care Manual by Ali Curtis

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