Still Life and Equinox, 2 Poems by Jo Kennedy

finger pointing to white wall with stark shadow
 

Still Life   In the painting Ram’s Head with Hollyhock there is a melding of bones and sky and desert, no beginning or end, just the eye sockets of a skull transfixed on the faraway and in the foreground, red hills and cedar. I imagine O’Keefe walking in the desert at night, catching a glint at her feet — a shell, a stone — and stooping to gather it up, discovering the bleached bones of a skull, vast and empty and beautiful, like her desert. She must have rotated it in her hands that night … Continue reading Still Life and Equinox, 2 Poems by Jo Kennedy

Four Kitten Alarm Fire by James Carbaugh

White kitten
 

Mopsy, our beloved cat of mixed origins and numerous partners, had just had another litter of kittens—this time only four. She had amazed us the previous two times with six, all beautiful and now in good homes. We gave our new little ones the easily identifiable names of Brownie, Whitey, Stripey, and Junior—Junior looking very much like his mother, grey-mixed. They were beautiful kittens and we loved all of them; however, no one loved them as much as my brother BB. He gave them additional names other than the obvious ones—Mudface, Snowflake, Superman, and Hercules. … Continue reading Four Kitten Alarm Fire by James Carbaugh

The Purpose of Mess: Food for Your Life by Day Schildkret


 

Last week was a mess! Well, at least that’s what I’ve been told. In my purpose-coaching practice, I had four clients in a row who used the word “mess” to describe their life these days. One client said, “because I’m at a job that requires me to be professional all the time, I have to constantly appear as if things are together but underneath it all, I am a fucking mess.” Another client spoke about how his artistic perfectionism doesn’t allow for anything to get messy and yet he went on to describe his myriad … Continue reading The Purpose of Mess: Food for Your Life by Day Schildkret

Side Door by Amy Kenyon

Doorknob hit by light
 

1 “The houses that were lost forever continue to live on in us…they insist in us in order to live again, as though they expected us to give them a supplement of living.”*   I liked to throw a baseball against the house, aiming as close to the side door as I dared and catching the ball as it ricocheted back to me. It was how I honed my pitching and fielding. Mom said, “You’d better not hit the door.” My little sister liked the regular pop of hardball striking yellow brick, but soon after … Continue reading Side Door by Amy Kenyon

Smoke by Ronald Stottlemyer

man smoking cigarette silhouetted against sunset
 

Smoke   When it’s almost too dark to see, my uncle sits out on the back porch, rolling a cigarette, holding it up to his mouth for the lick. He’s trying to remember a boy from the next farm lowered beneath the sod in a slow rain fallen more than fifty years ago. Striking the sunset of a match, his worn face flares up an instant. The green wicker chair creaks when he settles back, head at rest against the siding, white smoke clouded around him, coffin lining. Taking another drag, he picks tobacco from … Continue reading Smoke by Ronald Stottlemyer

Chosen by Mariflo Stephens

Girl writing in notebook
 

I started to become a writer with the first writing exercise I was ever given. I was 12. Mrs. A, my seventh-grade teacher, called it a ‟theme.” She said a theme should have a title, like ‟I Like Horses,” and then the paragraphs that followed would explain why the author liked horses. I did like horses, so that’s what I wrote: “I Like Horses.” When the themes were graded and passed back, I saw I’d made a C. My theme had too many misspellings and was too short. My teacher was also bothered by the … Continue reading Chosen by Mariflo Stephens

My First Year as a Cidiot by Mat Zucker

Goats at a wire fence
 

Within just a few months living in New York’s Hudson Valley, we stopped buying our eggs anywhere but Sawkill Farm down the road. “Your eggs are better than anyone’s,” I told Kallie who runs the store and who moved from Brooklyn not long ago herself. She beamed with pride, but I don’t think it was the first time someone gave the compliment. “Cidiot” refers to a hardened city person who moves to the country and acclimates through experience. After 20 years in Manhattan, my husband and I purchased an 1847 cottage in the farm community … Continue reading My First Year as a Cidiot by Mat Zucker

William Crawford’s Forensic Foraging

derelict truck in the desert
 

Most things, no matter how trite and mundane, have intrinsic beauty or interest when presented in just the proper way. This is the core premise underlying Forensic Foraging, an alternative technique for digital photography. This emerging motif employs the same throwback principles that made color photography great during the heyday of the New York School, perhaps beginning as early as the 1940’s with Saul Leiter. Creative framing, high contrast, and very heavy color saturation are key elements. Moreover, the forage, borrowed from early forensic crime scene photography, employs the intense sifting, sorting, and shooting of … Continue reading William Crawford’s Forensic Foraging

The Return of the Woolly Mammoth by Sharon Kennedy-Nolle

Snowy forest and lake
 

The Return of the Woolly Mammoth   You rarely wore it, though you yourself chose the color, midnight blue, and knee-length cut. In derision, you named it “the woolly mammoth,” pointing to its Pleistocene proportions. Still, at each sign of snow, I nagged you to wear it. The last time I saw you, you confessed you’d have to give it away. “Not one more winter,” you swore. Yet when you chose it once more, were you thinking of me? Last of its species, the mammoth was hunted to extinction. In a different Ice Age, it … Continue reading The Return of the Woolly Mammoth by Sharon Kennedy-Nolle