Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six,1907 Cheeks stabbed with dark lines. Tender mouth any woman would want. Hair slashed in broad black strokes. His mother said If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. A Spanish Napoleon,don’t you think? Face a bold triangle. Wide nose and brow. His mother said,If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope. Yes, wouldn’t he have been Leo X with mistresses and power? But his eyes, oh, my dear, you can’t turn from those eyes. Large and oval with black centers that absorb the world. Picasso said, Instead … Continue reading Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six, 1907 and Picasso’s Woman with Hat, 2 poems by Diana Pinckney→
It’s a long way down— We start on 5th Avenue: all/that/claustrophobic/glitz. You want a pair of $200 kicks— so hey, okay kid we get ‘em. You carry that box the rest of the way. We walk to Grand Central Terminal, and eat our bag lunch beneath the constellations ceiling bluer, stars brighter, marble Earth down under. On the platform, we randomly choose between the 4, 5, and 6 lines. A large black man says “Oh, no-you don’t want the local.” We take it anyway, since it comes first, and they’re all headed in the same … Continue reading Brooklyn Bridge by Esme Devault→
By the river a sign warns
of sudden flooding
because of the nearby
nuclear power plant which looms
over tree farms and poppy fields.
Years back the utility company
built a new road and park,
giving out enticement like soldiers
do with candy bars
in occupied zones.
Now most town folks work there
and pray nothing bad happens.
We are in the next village,
one as pretty
as the guidebook says.
We sleep easily in a house
scented by a lush garden.
We too pray but sometimes
a squadron of black smoke escapes
into our dream and stays.
Pui Ying Wong is the author of two full-length books of poetry: An Emigrant’s Winter (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) and Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010)—along with two chapbooks. She has won a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume, New Letters, Zone 3, among others. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.
Cosseting daylight tousles her hair, chucks her under the chin, pinches her cheek. Won’t let her cross the road without a firm hold—even at the corner when she looks both ways. Once night rises, shadows from headlights overlap shadows from moonlight overlap shadows from kitchen incandescence. Overlap flashlight’s narrow way. Only in light are there shadows. With the yard light’s firm hold on the drive, shadows tousle her eye, chuck foreboding. Dark waits out the routine just around the corner of the shed, behind the tree, the other side of the truck. So much distraction … Continue reading Poised by Barbara Saunier→
ALMOST A Steinway. A red silk dress. The audience still, anticipating the first note of Schubert’s B-Flat Sonata. Anthony Tommasini ten rows back will write the most sensitive Schubert ever in tomorrow’s New York Times. My hands hover over the keys. I begin with lyric phrases followed by the ominous trill. My little brother. Composing contrapuntal music at the age of five, playing flawless Chopin preludes presto con fuoco on his gleaming grand piano. Illustrious teachers line up to listen tweaking their moustaches in disbelief. Downstairs I bang fortissimo chopsticks on the old second hand … Continue reading Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Claire Scott→
You would think that as an artist, I would not struggle to describe the leitmotif of my paintings, yet I find myself searching for identifiable techniques, common hue or echoing tableau. How to connect lost edges of watercolor to hard edge of acrylic? Or should those edges connect to the cosmos? How to lift lines, meld secondary and tertiary hues? Or should the lines lift off from NASA, taking with them my paper, brush, arm? Shall I cut in with angular brush? Better yet, cut in with a knife? Yes, that would lend interest— … Continue reading Leitmotif by Terry Cox-Joseph→
Learning the Names of Flowers Each day, when my wife reaches inside the mailbox, her eyes catch on the bright morning glories, whose vines have twirled up the post with glad faces. Somehow they know, better than she, her hidden will, that it’s for them she settles a foot on every porch step, one arm bearing the bluster of the bushes before she lingers in her strides toward the street, all the while maintaining an eye with irises and white gardenias, so that I’m surprised their spell has not swept her from our cares, drifted … Continue reading Learning the Names of Flowers and As Close as They can Whir to the Porch Light, 2 poems by Rodney Torreson→
No IOU’s where were we when the planet became death remember the small dark seed that shaped a new way remember when small and weak became large and capable and that when we tell the dead we see them the tragedy and the vengeance that fells a heart falls away and yes we fear change and fall apart when death arrives and yes we want the hands that feel the feet that walk the eyes that see even here at the edge where death wakes and strange events taste the mystery here we meet pray … Continue reading No IOU’s and The Path Ahead, 2 poems by Evalyn Lee→
On highway 10 – high risk – no space to fall cars come so close at high speeds, their wind moves us in the wrong direction. On interstate 10’s entrance ramp, there’s 8 inches of clearance between the wall and the road to Baton Rouge. The white Dodge Dart pulls over. An old man: ”You want a ride? get in.” He stares ahead, a stone. Sharp and I sit next to him in the front bench seat — the man’s hands! Each finger tattooed letters spelling Hard Luck Lost Love – no questions from me. … Continue reading Lord Crawdaddy by Brian King→
At times I almost convinced myself the Whitman photograph, signed, would be mine, instead of the Longfellow which hangs in the big room in airs chilly and wintry, night falling, as I listen for nonchalant Walt to appear. How the thought cheers me, singing still, for I called Nin’s father, “Dad,” seeing him rise up singing arumph arumph in his bass-o-roar-re-o: Whitman? Sure, he said. He was parceling things in a manner to appear partial to his son-in-law, yours truly, whose mine I learned not to shout, begetting such failures falling, even though another … Continue reading Shub’s Sestina for his Father-in-Law by Shelby Stephenson→
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