Artist, Leslie Marcus: Karen Lewis, Ojai Arts Commissioner, writes of Marcus’ technique, “This deft brushwork, and ease and fluidity of painting, and pushing for color, is never more evident that in Marcus’ series of small female figures and portraits painted directly from life.” Marcus was awarded First Place: “Best of Show” at the Juried Group Show, Art in the Park, Ojai, California, 2004. Visit her work at Fine Art America.
Large Hadron Collider
I cannot find my heart
tonight, nor the moon. There is a star,
so the night is clear, the moon will be rising
almost as full as when it cast
long shadow branches down on snow.
This I can predict.
But I cannot find the Lovers’ Tarot
in its dark blue box.
I scan the bookcase by bluish light,
the glow of something coming true:
Tonight I am the Hanged Man, but upside down,
so I seem to be standing.
The Devil is the past, grinning downside up,
watching me writhe and strive.
The Tower stands its ground,
people falling or leaping off as if there is gravity.
The future is the Moon, reversed, a reflection in water.
The Hierophant sits on his throne as usual,
an underlying challenge to conform,
sad last card in this Lovers’ Tree.
But deep in the cold underground a particle races
toward another particle.
Gravity might revise itself as I do,
the world already spins,
my heart might be a black, black hole.
Kathleen Kirk works in a vintage bookshop and writes poetry. Her work appears in various print and online magazines, including After Hours, Apparatus, Fifth Wednesday, Poems & Plays, and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. She has three poetry chapbooks: Selected Roles (Moon Journal Press, 2006), Broken Sonnets (Finishing Line Press), and Living on the Earth (Finishing Line Press, New Women’s Voices Series #74).
She is blonde and pretty. He is a shadow. She warms to him after a drink or two.
She reveals intimacies through her assessments of television surgeries. She falls silent between characters, fidgets between narrative points.
Later he holds in place the image of their interaction. He spreads it out on a table. With a scalpel he cuts along the edges of himself. Blade paper and line flow. When he is finished, he removes himself from the scene. Then he repeats the operation with her.
The cutting liberates them from memory. They become detailed color forms.
He puts them in a car and sends them driving along a back road in autumn, two loose bundles of attributes in motion through a glowing red-tree light under complexes of branches that spiral upward like capillaries until their edges disappear into soft dunes of fog.
She warms to him after a while or two. She reveals herself through assessments of television surgeries.
They drive through the same space again and again. Their passages rearrange the details.
The years accumulate in the form of memory of the many different ways he has felt about her television show intimacies.
This sector of the Zone of Forgotten Stories is an element from an immense stack, car atop car driving down road atop road.
– “Second Non-place” previously appeared at 52|250.
Stephen Hastings-King lives by a salt marsh in Essex, Massachusetts where he makes constraints, works with prepared piano and writes entertainments of various kinds. Some of his sound work is available at www.clairaudient.org. His short fictions have appeared in Sleepingfish, Black Warrior Review, elimae, Metazen and elsewhere.
Pamela Johnson Parker
After a Teacup
After the cups…the tea
T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Always I loved best
The Oriental sky, its sparse
Of junks carrying
Cargoes of jade, porcelain
Ambergris, black teas;
Swaddled in twenty layers
Of silk, the thousand
Messages of their
Gilt-edged fans, iridescent
Pearls like the net-veined
Wings of dragonflies.
With you I have learned
The pillowing books,
The pleasurings, wear
This lapis robe, its shiver
Against skin, its dark
Halo; unpin my hair,
Taking it down so it rains
For you. I unfold
Wanting to be that open.
Your lips press against
The tendons in my
Neck, feeling the pulse race, race;
I finger the small
Of your back, there, where
It dips, the first touch of skin
Against skin cool, smooth
As jade. Ribboning,
Ribboning, to the tsunami
Of sexual love,
Coming down like hard
Rain, the slippery slap, slap
Of flesh against flesh,
And you always say
Oh, I’m going, I’m going.…
After clouds and rain
We’re quiet, quiescent;
Sweat beading your brow, tendrils
Of my hair clinging
Like tiny arms, as
The moon, full as a paper
Lantern, slips its cloud
moorings to sail, sail
Over the sky, casting its
Blue-white light, the net
Of a singular
Fisherman, seining, seining
The ocean of sleep.
Pamela Johnson Parker’s works have appeared in Poets / Artists, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, OCHO, and Six Sentences. She is also the featured poet in the April 2009 Broadsided series of poetry and art. Her chapbooks are A Walk Through the Memory Palace, selected by Dinty Moore as the winner of the chapbook contest sponsored by qarrtsiluni, and Other Four-Letter Words (Finishing Line Press).
Her brother returned late at night. He opened his arms, showering her bed with wrapped and tied things. His face in the TV light dissolving, reconstituting. I’ve seen this one, he said. And she told him don’t leave, I’ll change it! Her hands in a panic, feeling all over, knocking things off.
When they were young, their father sent mittens in red and green, forgetting it was summer there and that their hands had become large and grasping. And that now they ran shirtless like pagans under southern stars. They took his gifts and dressed up the tree like a sentry, a monster with four hands.
Her brother said careful, the snow globe! And as he moved his arms and legs broke off, broke apart, like kindling. The fine bones of his hands spidered across the floor. Gathered like that.
Kathy Fish’s stories may be found at Indiana Review, Mississippi Review online, The Denver Quarterly, Quick Fiction, FRiGG, and elsewhere. A chapbook of her work is included in A PECULIAR FEELING OF RESTLESSNESS: FOUR CHAPBOOKS OF SHORT SHORT FICTION BY FOUR WOMEN (Rose Metal Press, 2008). Another collection, FOREIGN FILMS, is forthcoming in 2011 from Willows Wept Press/Cow Heavy.
Son of Goya
My father paints walls
My father paints walls
because the daylight is malignant
and his eyesight is benign
because dead trees mock him
because death’s weather
courts him, because time’s wife
spits through cracks
He has lost all worldly goods
all physical money. Where are
the friends to comfort his idleness
or cure his fear?
The accumulation of humanness
choke his breathing, yield no rest
All time is his
He paints his walls
The King has commanded
his demise, vowed to
make my father wear
an axe, to scissor
his eyes, set fire
to his skin, all to scratch
envy’s initials on his heart
with a pebble and a rag
Because his nails are too short
his strength too weak
his breaths too hurried
his bones too frail
his heart unsure to take his hands
and paint their fates
he paints his walls
My father paints walls
On the walls are monsters
cities, men, gods. Murderers
pilgrims, a witch, a spy
Two rifles, a woman, a dog
in the sand. These I see
These he lives. Poor Father
Housed in a private darkness
Alone on another earth
I am not against the darkness
I can learn to live with restraint
but nothing moves here in the ink
and nothing speaks. Nothing speaks
in terror of its voice, nothing but
the oily voice of my father
animate in the darkness
where all things hold their breath
Last week I returned home
and entered the house of a deaf man
disenfranchised of patrons
beyond the vile hearing of the world
I entered the house of Goya the painter
self-abandoned, deaf to light
I entered the house and saw Goya
sitting in misery, swallowed by darkness