Blotterature Ekphrastic! Issue

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Blotterature Literary Magazine would like to thank all the contributors featured in this issue and all of those who submitted their work. We are committed to serving the greater writing community and strive to offer a variety of opportunities for publication. A shout out to Mr. Tim Murray for naming the issue in the simple poignant way he does just to get on Julie's nerves. We love him!

Blotterature Literary Magazine, founded in 2013, is a division of Blot Lit Publications, LLC based in Northwest Indiana dedicated to merging the art of fancy talk with blue collar sensibilities.

Cover Art : "Leave of Absence" by Sally Deskins Cover Layout : Taylor Lubbs Inside Design/ Layout / Edit ing: Julie Demoff-Larson & Kayla Greenwell

Blotterature Literary Magazine, Ekphrastic! Issue, May 2015 Copyright Š 2015 All rights revert back to individual authors upon publication. For more information about submitting, please visit our website at or contact us at,, or @Blotterature.

EDITOR'S NOTE Dear Blot Friends, As an avid supporter of all things small press, I have found myself focused lately on the impact that collaborations have on our greater writing community. For the individual writer/artist, visibility is important. For the journal, it goes beyond visibility and becomes a shared experience between the writers and editors. Organizations, bookstores, cafes, and bars are continuously working with the writing community to ensure one thing: that we all survive! Let's face it, the arts outside of the arts are under-appreciated and sometimes just simply misunderstood. As small pressers, we need each other. So, out of that idea the Ekphrastic! issue was born. I am pleased by the response Blotterature received during this call-out. Even though it is impossible to include every submission, please know there are many other talented writers that have not been included, but I am sure have found a home for their ekphrasis work. Seek them out! In this issue you will find an eclectic assortment of talented writers and artists. Alexis Rhone Fancher is one contributor who created both the writing and the art for her collab, while writers such as Elizabeth Stoessl and Jamie Thomson fed off the artwork of their collaborators Linda Shapiro and Nick Jeffway. There are some powerful images and highly creative interpretations throughout. The featured writer and artist in this issue are Laura Madeline Wiseman and Sally Deskins. Typically, we do not accept previously published work, but both of these women encompass a spirit of community that is inspiring, and that is what I wanted to come through on each page of this issue. So on that note, I extended an invitation to feature their work, and I am so happy that Blot is a part of their extended community. We thank our community of readers and writers for the continued support as we move forward. Who knows what comes next, but we hope to work with you all!

Best, Julie Demoff-Larson Co-Exec Editor

W RITERS&ARTISTS Susan Solomon & Nate Thomas


Alexis Rhone Fancher


Elizabeth Stoessl & Linda Shapiro


Jamie Thomson & Nick Jeffway


Elizabeth Hellstern & Kathy May McCumber


Madeline W iseman & Sally Deskins


R. Joyce Heon & Mark Bryan & Samantha Day

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Glenn D'Alessio & John Hartman


Satch Dobrey & Dennis Ringering


Carrie Albert


Acknowledgment s


Susan Solomon & Nat e Thomas art




Susan Solomon is a freelance painter living in the Midwest. She is the editor and cartoonist for Sleet Magazine.

A l ex i s Rh one Fanch er art & poetry



when her son is dead seven years 1. a woman is dancing on the moon, a barefoot adagio of lilting beams. she didn?t know the light was so addictive. her feet are cooking. her arms are empty. she thinks there is someone to feed. 2. a woman is dancing on a cake plate in her kitchen call her angel food. she skirts the frosting?s edge skates straight to the bone-white middle. she has a persistent memory. she has a penchant for truth. she has a life that is slipping away. 3. a woman is skating barefoot on her sorrow her brain awash in the smell of his skin, her arms shackled to the stars, a pirouette of unmet promises regret. if she blames it on herself she can fix it. 4. a woman is taking her dead boy?s eyes to the moon she wants to show him the whole earth before he finally gets some sleep.


5. a woman is sleepwalking on the moon, stardust clinging to her heels. she?s carrying life inside her a luminescent, big-bellied Madonna. she once loved a Russian poem about a pregnant girl, chasing the moon; but now she?s forgotten who wrote it and how the poem ends. she just keeps chasing the moon. and the moon, with her big belly, complicit, out in the darkness, lighting the way.


Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems, (Sybaritic Press, 2014). You can find her work in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Fjords, Broadzine!, Slipstream, H_NGM_N, The Chiron Review, Menacing Hedge, Ragazine, Cactus Heart, Carbon Culture Review, The Literary Underground, and elsewhere. Her poems have been published in over twenty American and international anthologies. Her photos have been published worldwide, including spreads in River Styx, Blue Lyra, Blink-Ink, and the covers of The Mas Tequila Review and Witness. Since 2013 she?s been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and a Best of The Net award. Alexis is poetry editor of CulturalWeekly.

Elizabet h St oessl & Linda Shapiro poetry




W RAITH He was ready to die so he started one day and finished the next, after shuffled trips to the front door, looking out, asking, ?What am I supposed to do?? Whatever that was, he did it. And he was gone. By the time we arrived his body had left for the mortuary, along with his viewing outfit? his Sunday suit, pulled from its dry-cleaning bag and now too large for his diminished frame; his tie and dress shirt; and his white lambskin Masonic apron, pristine after years protected in tissue and cedar as it waited for this occasion. The funeral director phoned and said they needed underwear before they could dress the body. Though I did wonder what?s the point?I said I?d take care of it. I asked my mother where to find it. She smiled her bitter smile and replied ?In the store.? He had dispensed with briefs and boxers long ago, as he pared down his life. I delivered a new pair of Jockey shorts. Later, before the public viewing, we visited his open coffin. On the outside, shielding his too-loose suit: that blinding white Masonic apron tied round him according to an arcane tradition unknown to any of us. Underneath, the new percale skivvies he could no longer reject. We stashed a few things in the corners of the casket: family photos; his favorite red plaid flannel shirt, worn through at the elbows; beach pebbles dropped in by his red-haired granddaughter; collars and tags from his latest and most-loved dachshund; and his sweat-stained John Deere cap, which would have been on his head if he had had his say.


Elizabet h St oessl lives and writes in Portland, Oregon, after a long career with the Arlington, Virginia, Public Library. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently in Naugatuck River Review, VoiceCatcher, Measure, and the Main Street Rag anthology CREATURES OF HABITAT. She has long been interested in ekphrastic poetry, and is grateful for the just-right inspiration and the encouragement of her good friend Linda Shapiro. This is their first published ekphrastic collaboration. Linda Shapiro lives on a vineyard in Dundee, Oregon, the heart of Oregon wine country. Photography has been her creative pursuit for over 10 years, but this is her first collaboration with good friend Elizabeth Stoessl, who introduced her to Ekphrasis. Their regular Saturday morning sessions in a Portland coffee shop are a rich vein of inspiration. She deeply appreciates the windows to poetry that Elizabeth has opened for her.

Jamie Thomson & Nick Jeffway poetry


The Vict or's Torch


Because Because it is that late hour us insomniacs know so well after the moon has retired and we?ve each in turn forgotten the face to the name when every window is a black wall and to speak of tomorrow or the promise of day would do no good would shed no light nor fill us with hope nor thoughts of salvation we lie down amongst the others Frank and I our arms raised upwards into the night?s void in gestures of supplication from above it might look like dancing or an embrace or the parting of dark clouds at the long storm?s end but I tell you from down here on the floor in this present company of strangers it is not so, it is not so.


Jamie Thomson is a writer from Northampton, MA. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including Former People, Off the Coast, NeutronsProtons, and Pretty Owl Poetry. Driven by an appetite to understand the inner workings of the ordinary, functional objects which surround him, Nick Jeffway?s creative endeavors are often an exploration of common objects found in the household. Through this inquisition, his work aims to preserve functionality while simultaneously re-imagining the relationship between the object?s essential components.

Elizabet h Hellst ern fiction & Kat hy M ay M cCumber art Fire Horse


Life Syst ems I was hungry like a battery for his love. He charged me up, like an unbroken orange and teal horse, painted without restraint by a touched brush-master. I had that painting back home, hanging on the hearth. We had plugged in this morning and again for tea-time, instead of scones and oolong, looking out at The Blue Marble. The wormhole of time had brought us to 3 p.m. ?This is becoming a self-contained unit,? he thrust into our silent conversation, our bodies? electricity. We were running out of calories, oxygen, all the human keys of sustenance. We saw the apogee of an asteroid like the flow of information from god. Time became paradoxical, my finger pad touching itself. I was downloading nuance, drinking in the Nommo. Below us, the 90-year-old yogi kicked into a headstand lotus. The lotus-eaters on earth turned on their televisions. The radio waves of Ground Control?s last doomed words had subsided to only gentle swells, and the last of the land?s wild mustangs shook their manes and ran. During training, when I thought of my man-mate, I always thought of his chest. The warmth of it, to begin with. And what was inside, I thought of that too. Hints of gravitas. In space, we save precious matter in a box in his man-chest. To access, I lace golden chest hair through my fingers, trace three scars with my time-sensitive pads, key in my print codes on the Golden Triangle of his moles. Then we place gently harvested stray hairs, balling them up into coils. Nail clippings, dried nose snots, and all other flesh detritus follow into the primordial slime. I bury them in the strongbox, piling up the flesh of earth like I were burying a sweet little seed. My man-mate and I have evolved. His heart pumps forth green after green, sprouts of my freshness from his treasury. We are a living system, self-contained, producing produce in the dead space of the spaceship, overriding failed mechanical functions with our love battery, god-flow, and carnal matter. We plug in and the cycle pulses. We are like the wild horse. We need no one. 18

Elizabet h Hellst ern is a writer and fine art curator. She is currently a second-year student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. Ms. Hellstern has published many articles in the Arizona Daily Sun, FlagLive Magazine, and Flagstaff Business News critiquing art and artists. She will focus her thesis work on ekphrastic writing. In her free-time, Ms. Hellstern enjoys road trips, museum visits, and writing philosophical ramblings on art posted on her blog, Kat hy May McCumber is a prolific artist of many mediums. She was born in 1960 in Ohio. She lived a colorful life in Phoenix, AZ before moving to Flagstaff, AZ where she is currently residing. Kathy has over the years lost her sight. She is blind but it does not stop her from coming to the Hozhoni Art Studio, one of the nation's most advanced art programs for artists with developmental disabilities, to create every day. She enjoys making art and sharing it with others. She expresses her love of nature, particularly flowers by making brightly colored clay flowers. She also likes to paint butterflies, grass, canyons, blue skies, the sun, darkness, rainbows, and fireworks. Her dream is to someday live in her own trailer in a trailer park in Las Vegas.

Feat ured Poet & Art ist : Laura M adeline W iseman poetry & Sally Deskins art


Common Prayer


Common Prayer t o Tree Gods and Goddesses malusioenis Not a Nebraskan tree, but the tree I lived behind rose pink as a float in a parade, as a kith and kin of the Lorax. On May Day, the retired librarian, the neighbor, said trim the limbs that blocked her mailbox, its big letter N. I waited until dusk as she tottered all day, gardening, tidying with broom and dustpan in her drive sweeping petals. Call it one bright flowering tree among many shading the road. Called it a necessary parking where letters flag white trucks. You were gone, had never swallowed the sour fruit of fall, not the berries of the yews or the buckeye?s nuts. That?s fine. Or counted the honeybees slow morning crawl in the sedum, the bumblebee?s burble among berry blossoms. More blue collar than wife of a college professor, more like the last ditch chance for blue eggs, the way waxwings dined on the red withered jewels of spring. This tree has suckers and dandelions, silver dust and pansies that refused to die, ignoring the zone. She was ours and now mine. I miss the nonsense of nursery rhyme, the public library?s granite floors, spiral stairs, and children?s room. They taught if a silver tray of sugar water doesn?t feed the butterflies, plant thistle and fennel, all the witches herbs. They taught that if asked, kings will fill our baskets with cranberries and blueberries, that this kingdom, this arboretum, is home.


Take Leave


Take Leave

magnolia loebneri

To ride away, love, you crouch low over the handle bars, your back to the sky, to us, to the path you leave behind towards whatever biggering point in the city. Catalpa and oak bloom with fire of fall as though in some tree limit?s flicker and pulse to catch a kiss blowing back towards us, towards anyone. Your body never aches on the pavement, your breath never gasps, never do you need to stop to fill yourself with sweetness? honey, fruits? or find a treehouse to rest, you just ride hard on a path that never ends? crushed gravel, open road of cyclists, your kin, common rut scattered with our ashes. You add miles, centuries, and trails: Blueberry, Truffula, King of the Forest. They burn the caloric heat you generate with the effortless extension and contraction of limbs, and also the heat of our last season together? burning leafage, a bright ovation, thousands of hands waving and falling, So, leave then. susurrating and shrugging, Make like a tree.


Leave off the Husbandry


Leave off the Husbandry

malus domestica

You axed us in my dream. I awoke to my heart scudding, a thicket of birds. Your will to destroy left me shaken. Strengthen your core, the instructor said. If something opensup inside of you, let it go. Common ground. Common garden. Giving trees. Leafless, treeless, gone. I was putting out roots, leafing at the base. (Cut back all waterspouts, suckers, creepers.) My will cowered behind doors, jacket slack on a hook. It wouldn?t block any sun, the burning. Once volunteers grew in every bed. You had to sow to weed, right? You plucked McIntosh, Macfree, Spartan, green flags of first leaves, green flags of hope. You needed a pruner wide enough it could lop the crown from the trunk and a shovel sharp enough to expose the nest of roots. That?s what she told me, the instructor, Go to your edge, but never to pain. Arms swung an imaginary axe? that garden was ours.


Hardy Catalpa


Our Arbor, This Hearty Catalpa

catalpa speciosa

Not a tree you could climb alone, feral and bad wild as a catcher of cars flying in the air and not enchanted. And now, painted cement guardians, the gnomes say this one?s immortal, will be here until death parts. Okay, so, you?ve burrowed too often in cyber worlds, lusting for blue warriors fighting your army?s assault, but you can call this tree a box of chocolates shouldering the American sky. You can?t find buried money here, no spooned tunnel, rocks dropped from your pockets. Or how the Nothing rips roots in a howl, Atreyu! Not cinematic thrill to disaster. So what? More pillar of city planning. More like quads and campuses in a grid. Listen, this is not leave much to be desired, but compassionate leave. This tree has black squirrels and waterspouts, scars and roosts for birds. Common tree, man, common life. Not a giving tree. Not a treed cat. Entangling fantasy, life, books, we yearn for everything, for all. If the grass is greener, water the lawn. Water this tree, man, ours. This is the place we need to hold onto, the place to scratch our backs in turn. Our initials are carved together deep. These scars heal. Look. Call this tree a mother, a Lorax?s keep, a place to kiss among the branches. See how we sway together with hope.


Two Leavable Skis


Two Leavable Skis

catalpa bignonioides

We invent boots and stamp them hard to a pair of skis embedded in the bark of our tree high between the branches, power lines, treetops, and sky, and add legs in black tights, a couple going ten, twenty miles an hour down the face of the great plains, the bluffs, the Sandhills way off now behind them? you see how fast they race towards certain fall? but the climate shifted, the oceans, the flora, where the map marked alpine slope and mountainous range of ice. The skis flew off, red, orange, and black arrows into the heart of the trunk and stuck, a trick they couldn?t have managed if they tried, like a mid-court basket or a lottery win, and so right there in what would become our yard, they stopped, stared up into our tree, and chuckled, an infectious thing, a vibration, a giggling, falling into each other, arms hugging, holding on, an echoing to a future time. We hear them now that helpless full-body laugh at the dumb luck of nailing a tree and walking away together, unscathed.


An Interview with Laura Madeline Wiseman & Sally Deskins Blotterature: Your first collaboration was working on Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014). How did the working relationship come about? What originally drew you to each other's poetry/art? Laura Madeline W iseman: Our collaborative working relationships took place entirely online for both Intimates and Fools and Leaves of Absence. I?ve known Sally for years now, but I?ve only been in the same room with her less than a dozen times? four readings at local galleries in Nebraska, three small events in West Virginia (a jam session, a salon, a show and reading), two Lit Undressed performances in the Omaha Lit Fest, and one reading in the Woman?s House? that was held in a studio with a house built of women?s red clothing with the look and feel of the red tent in the film and book The Red Tent. I?m drawn to the collaborative quality of Sally?s work, her energy and perseverance, her zest for all things art, and the evocative body prints she creates. Sally Deskins: The first work that I read of Madeline?s was a poem about a mother?s purse; I was producing a literature reading (Lit Undressed) themed around ?Fashion in Literature? and she submitted this totally unexpected, hilarious yet poignant piece on a mom with a big bag who used it to steal items like toilet paper. It totally had me. Then I read and reviewed Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012) which was equally hilarious. It had a wit and subtle social significance as it explored a relationship between a woman and her imaginary cock. So, indeed, I was reeled in with her humor and forthrightness, and locked in with her powerful social expressiveness. After these two happenings, we began doing events together, she would read at an exhibition I had and I would review a book of hers, and one day she asked if I?d like to collaborate on a project, and I thought, absolutely yes! Blot : Did you have any previous collaborat ion experience wit h ot her writ ers/art ist s before Intimates and Fools? SD: I had started Les Femmes Folles online journal in 2011 which continues to interview and support women in all forms of art, as well publishing a print anthology of art and writing. Besides my events which might feature artists and writers, and my collaborative worth with other artists, I had not collaborated with another writer 31

directly until Intimatesand Fools. Thereafter I did collaborate with poet Fran Higgins and artist Rachel Mindrup to create ?Mother-Artist-Model,?in 2013. LMW : I am invested in the art of collaborations between writers and artists. My most recent collaborative book is The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2015) with Lauren Rinaldi. To create this, my first collaborative book, Intimates and Fools (LFFB, 2014), and my third forthcoming collaborative book Leaves of Absence with Sally (Red Dashboard, 2015), I worked closely with the artists, my work shifting and changing as it found inspiration in the art the artists produced new for the books. Beyond books, I have collaborated with artists to create broadsides, letterpress books, interactive media, and participated in nationwide art and word shows that pair artists with writers to create new collaborative works. Blot : Did you find working t oget her on Leaves of Absence (Red Dashboard), your second and fort hcoming collaborat ion, had a different vibe t han when you worked on Intimates and Fools? How did your process change and evolve? SD: It was completely different for me. This was a collection of seventeen poems, whereas Intimates was one long poem. With Leaves, I had moved into a home and had much more space to work with, and didn?t have to put all of my art supplies away afterward. I had green space to work from and as the project is about trees and nature, this played well into my process. Though my children did collaborate on a page or two of Intimates, with Leaves of Absence it was fairly frequent that we?d explore ideas together. My work for Leaves of Absence is mostly large and works with body prints and illustration, whereas with Intimates it was mostly smaller drawings or prints. I feel like my colors were softer with Intimates, reflecting the language and also my cautious situation of moving to a new place. With Leaves as I began to get comfortable with my surroundings, and the collaborative process, and considering the more in-depth narrative, I feel like the aura is a bit denser and bolder. LMW : For a Ph.D. graduation gift, I received a copy of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. I?d always wanted to learn about trees. I?d written a few poems about trees, but trees generally, not trees specifically. I didn?t know the real names of most of the trees in my yard, in my neighborhood, on the campus where I work. I gave myself an assignment. I decided to find trees I could identify, research


those trees, and write poems about them. I wrote dozens and dozens of poems and let the story that became Leave of Absence emerge. For me, writing a book is always different than writing a poem. The story across the sequence of poems drives the revision and research process. Sally hoped to involve her children in the creation of some of the art for Leaves of Absence. She loaned me a stack of children?s books on trees. I filled a shelf of tree books to research and study. Sally also sent art by women that focused on trees, as well as sending me work as she created it. I remember biking one morning through Peter Pan Park and looking for a new tree to identity. Sally had recently sent me a photo of a piece she was working on? a water color illustration of a forest line of trees with women?s bodies within the darkened hues of old growth trunks. Along the bike trail in the park, a line of cypress trees followed a set of newly constructed houses, each back porch like the back porch beside it, but the trees?trunks had shape, curve, were lush evocative bodies. I could see the women?s bodies inside the trees? meaning Sally?s art had transformed my vision to see the women in the trees. Blot : Sally, t his t ime around was it easier t o int erpret what you felt Madeline was looking for? Or were you free t o creat e your own int erpret at ion of t he poet ry? SD: Yes, I created my own interpretations of the poetry. I actually am not sure what Madeline may have had in mind. That is a good question, Madeline? LMW : I didn?t have anything in mind. I enjoy the journey of collaborating. I love seeing what work you create, Sally. It?s flattering to think that a poem I wrote could inspire art. SD: While I was creating the art, I really just took her lovely words and ran with them. Of course, as with Intimates, sometimes I?d send images and get her feedback, and sometimes I?d scrap them, alter them, or make them more pronounced, depending. She did give helpful guidance in that respect, but I don?t recall her instructing a certain aesthetic or image for any of them, for either project. LMW : I wouldn?t dare. Unless of course, Sally wanted me to. That?s what I love about collaborations? this space where artists and writers inspire each other to create the work they need to do in ways that are generative, supportive, and freeing.


Blot : How did you decide what pieces would go int o Leave? Was t his a joint discussion or was t hat left up t o Madeline, or perhaps t he publisher? LMW : Moving from fairy tale to children?s book, film representation to fact, Leave of Absence: An Illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affection tells the love story of two trees as they fall from a growing forest into the outstretched limbs of the other. Writing the book is a process and it is one that took place over months during which I sent Sally drafts of the manuscript as it evolved and changed. Sally and I wrote frequently about how this book might be visually different or the same as Intimates of Fools, asking questions about illustration, body prints, and overall design. We had been hoping to work with Red Dashboard and were delighted when the book was accepted. I?m very much looking forward to the book?s final design when it is released this November. I had the opportunity to work with one of the editors, Elizabeth Akin Stelling, when the press published my dime novel The Bottle Opener. She proved to be a kind, efficient, and professional editor. The manuscript I submitted to the CFP was not the book that was published? I?m so thankful for this. Without Elizabeth?s smart editorial suggestions and enthusiasm to see the book transformed into the story it became, the book would not have been as strong as it is. I feel honored to have the opportunity to work with such an editor again on this new project. SD: The ultimate layout and design of the book as well as the art to be selected will be selected will be up to the publisher. I created title works for each of the poems, and I created several others that include various excerpted texts from selected works that brought an image to mind. Reading and creating art from Madeline?s writing is an honor and a trip! Blot : Has your professional relat ionship changed? Do you feel more of a kinship t oday? SD: We have so much going on, together and on our own. I feel a little different now that I am half a country away and we can?t do so many fun events together. But we have worked together promoting LFF?s second collaborative book, The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (2015, short stories by Laura Madeline Wiseman and art by Lauren Rinaldi). In fact, I co-curated an exhibition, Tales, themed around the book featuring Rinaldi with 15 other artists from around the nation that opens Friday here in West Virginia. It is unfortunate we can?t have Madeline here for another reading, she is such a fabulous reader of her work, but I know we will soon with what we have in store; stay tuned with Les Femmes Folles Books and Red Dashboard! 34

LMW : Yes, I?m so very excited about the Tales show! I am deeply honored to work with an artist as talented as Sally. Sally is the editor, publisher, and curator of Les Femmes Folles, a journal that has published over 500 interviews with local and national writers and artists. Les Femmes Folles Books has released four anthologies, one for each year of LFF?s running. They each anthologize the best art work, writing, and interviews published during each year. I was lucky enough to be featured in the first anthology, the year after she had interviewed me in LFF. I distinctly remember receiving that first anthology, one I took with me as I was traveling to a gallery exhibition of my work in Minnesota, and one I read in my hotel room. I was astounded to see so many women presented with such care, thoughtfulness, and inclusion. It made me feel part of a powerful movement of living women artists and writers in the Midwest and elsewhere. Having the opportunity to create books with a woman who is doing such good work in the world is a gift.


Laura Madeline W iseman is the author of more than a dozen books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). She holds a doctorate from the University of Nebraska and has received an Academy of American Poets Award and the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Margie, and Feminist Studies. Her latest book is American Galactic (Martian Lit, 2014). Sally Deskins is an artist and writer. Currently a Teaching Assistant in the Art History Graduate Program at West Virginia University, her work explores womanhood and motherhood in her life and others. Her work has been published and exhibited nationally. She illustrated Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014, poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman) and the forthcoming Leaves of Absence: An Illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affections (Red Dashboard, poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, Nov. 2015). She is founding editor and curator of Les Femmes Folles, an organization promoting women in art.

R. Joyce Heon & M ark Bryan poetry


The Conversation

http:/ /


Still Life Conversing With Clown You can clown around all you want, do that fear schtuck, those Mickey Mouse hands rearranging your fufu collar like a nervous bride? Dunce or Fool Madman of the Purple Exaggeration. Sooner or later you?ll have to admit you?re on your red couch talking to the skeleton of your career? worn yourself / myself a little thin, all grin and ribs, eye sockets for your pop-eyed terror. Let me pour you a whiskey, you?re looking a little white-faced. I?ve been here all along under those floppy pants. No secret you?ve run yourself / myself ragged round and round on those oversized shoes. So you?ve wound up a little lean on company, a life on the road wasted into this spindle-shanked philosopher offering you a bone of contention. At least we have everything in common, but for the fleshy things and holding your liquor? can?t seem to do that any more. Don?t you love farce, my fault I fear I thought that you?d want what I want? Okay, so I?m not Sinatra, but I?m what you got, when you get down to the marrow.


R. Joyce Heon & Samant ha Day poetry




Dance to Remember or to Forget I?d like to take my next vacation in your brain. ~ Susan Roney-O?Brien to the poet. No clocks, no maps, no rental cars, but maybe I should have asked for a brochure I rather expected this would be more like Epcot, all Technicolor and holographic wonder, not this endless succession of leaps over synaptic clefts, and no rest stops ? old, I?m too old, haven?t run or leapt in a long time, and while it wouldn?t be too hard to squat, curl my knees against my chest, let my dull head subside against their bony knobs, I?m also certain that getting up would be a chancy affair, accompanied by ugly sound effects. No, it?s not a good idea to sit down for a break, like that lone girl camped out on an axon, fetal and quiet, just as out of place here as me? ?scuse me? who are you? and what inspired you to vacation here? She doesn?t seem startled, doesn?t lift her head, mutters: thisisno va-cay-shun? we?re just livin?it up here at the Hotel California? Well, it?s clearly not a good idea to follow this axon over to that glowing neuron behind her, all that pulsing says a whole lot of shakin?goin?on it might really be that hotel ? then why don?t you check out ? audible buried-drama sigh? obviously she sees me as a tourist, long on cash, short on savvy? . and then I recall the lyrics, that huge but ? wait? how long have you been here?


Never been anywhere but here in the kitchen the only memory I have: watching my father throw matchesinto a puddle of lighter fluid on the table laughing when they didn?t catch me, voicelessand frozen her , so pleased with her metaphor. She left me here, in thisbackwater, hardly ever visits What did she do to you? I didn?t have a reply how could I tell her I vaguely remember the poem from workshop how disturbing, we said, but effective Yes, vaguely? that?s it, isn?t it ? how easily I had forgotten? .


R. Joyce Heon is a great-grandmother who currently attends university, She studies French with the goal of writing poetry in French. Ekphrasis remains one of her favorite subjects for poetry in both English and French. Mark Bryan's work is known for traveling in two distinct directions, satirical works of social, political and religious comment and works which take an inward track to the imagination and subconscious. Humor and parody play a large role in many of his paintings. He lives on the Central Coast of California, has three grandchildren and tries to surf as much as possible. You may view more of his work at: Samant ha Day is a senior at Lunenburg High School where she is a multi-varsity sport athlete, a member of the National Honor Society and is a co-vice president of their Best Buddies chapter. Her work, ?Stimulus?, is part of her concentration which she created in Advanced Placement Art. She will be attending Suffolk University Honors College as a Biology major and will be a member of the women?s basketball team. Though she is not pursuing a professional art career, art will be a lifelong passion for her.

Glenn D'Alessio & John Hartman poetry


Tent Revival in the Bible Belt


Tent Revival in the Bible Belt Giant fan pleated like a palm frond keeping the heat of rapture even for three women, front and center, illuminated in the preacher?s message; white haired mother in black dress of dahlias reaching for the sky, receiving the spirit; flanked by spinster daughters in white, one gazing to the side in case the highway calls, too excited to smile, the other warmly clapping, eyes closed like the others whose antenna hands are spread, flesh turning into bread.


Glenn D'Alessio from West Brookfield, MA, author of the poem, is an instructor of Energy Conservation at WSU, a carpenter, and poet whose first chapbook of poetry, "In My Sea Cliff Years of Innocence," was published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press. John Hart man is a professional photographer, a Navy Veteran, and has been an instructor of photography who now lives in Wilmington, DE.

Satch Dobrey & Dennis Ringering poetry


Boat Passage


Ancient Enemies of Old People The faces of the old people listening to the roar of the wind are gone. Their visions remain etched in time, abstract impressions in sandstone. But these representations are fading, sloughing off into a Great Lakes rock glacier, pounded by shoreline waves. The ritual clown?s song to the Peregrin Falcon now just a murmur, hushed crevice waterfall facing the west wind. The faces of ancient sandstone cliffs were darkened by a natural varnish, pigment formed by the leaching of iron and manganese from ground-waters. By pricking into the oxides, the shaman could reveal the light buff of the sandstone, the rising power, illuminated this way, gave voice to spirit guides, asking the rain-shaman to lash dark clouds with rain. The face of each cut of Stonehenge is primed with kilz, applied as varnish, on the patio of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River bottoms. Painting over the surface, he wipes, stabs and fills in ancient rifts, adding, removing oils as ice cutting through loosened rock leaves glacial deposits, plucking the stone on wet skin, baking rays of the sun.


The face of landscapes reduced to symbols, human figures without faces, stylized spirits dancing with snakes, spear bearer trunks, elongated, are brought to the surface again, stripped away from savage time and the boring of mines, the boat people once again proud above and below the fish and stars that guide them through this earth.


Spirit Panel


Spirit 14 Steer the wheel right then left, snake along the highway past the high talus cone, buried construction of Route 14, and the blasting of a curved, bedrock spur. Welcome, white man in straw hat, as the Spaniards were welcomed in the South, to the shining land of our ancestors who paved the stars with bones. Rub a creased palm around the surface of the pot. Trace the lines of tannic basalt that match the ferrous residue? a dead sea of blackened volcanic rock. Identify the graver by scraping away layers of culture, wave after wave of ashy earth, scattered bits of charcoal, splintered bone tubes. Follow the flourish of the snake knife that documents the mummy as a maker of fish hooks. Grave marker of journeys beneath six vast, winding river basins. The spirit has left the body, has entered the breathing rock, as divers dive and peddlers sell tattered shreds of cloth, worn bone needles.


Place your hand firmly on the concave walls of this place, feel the dry moisture of age. The wolf-dog watching the tomb, razor teeth, blunt as honed intaglio, stares into the eye of the crypt. Panther dream is born, a cantus play in parts, purgative escape from purgatory of searching spirits in bones.




Wild Horses Whisper to them and your voice will be heard, a thousand saplings born to stroke thunder on the plains. In your freshly painted barn, rap your knuckles with a smear of varnish where a panel has taken shape. The ring of the tree hewn with an axe of tempered steel sounds hollow, the path felled. This arrival of the horses, their tapered hooves kicking up dusk. The grooves are worn through whispers on the walls of Lascaux where heads and legs appear concave. The orange one, red one, organically charred from the mix of ocher on the tip of your horsehair brush. Time was rung out through a twisting maze where tempers were soothed with humors of horse tales told by divining stalls, flat symbols on rock. Or call when they gallop with large bellies of bulls, these elongated, quartered ships, down the crescent plains past the sloping waves of grasses that whisper as gallant freedom passes. With no reins to stall the blade, tearing at the ritual temptation, the bearing of weight on tides, varnish stains on oak.


Remove the scraping cry, slowly, for the object turns symbolic as the rings disappear in joints. Slowing to a trot, one leg buckles under the weight of the stars. Catch them as they dance through a prism of light-waves, distant as a dream in spiral descent, yet prescient, leaving shadows without sun.


Sat ch Dobrey has a B.A. in English from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and an M.A. in International Affairs from Washington University in St Louis. Poetry appears in Bluestem, the literary quarterly of Eastern Illinois University. Poetry also appears in Rampike (Ontario, Canada) and in Glossolopolis out of Seattle as well as in Painters and Poets. Fiction appears in Tribe Magazine out of Plymouth, England. The author currently works as a librarian/freelance writer and resides with his wife in Southern Illinois on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. Dennis L. Ringering started actively researching petroglyphs and pictographs in the American Southwest in 1995. He has traveled to Native American sites and also to France and Spain to visit caves and museums. Many of Ringering's drawings/paintings on paper involve more that 100 hours of surface creation and manipulation. The character of the piece is determined by the process he uses, both additive and subtractive. With a variety of materials a multi-layered surface is created on heavyweight paper on most of the pieces. The paper is then scraped, scratched, engraved and drawn with images and symbols.All works are acid-free and archival. Ringering earned his MFA from the U. of Colorado, Boulder. He is Professor Emeritus from Southern Il. U. at Edwardsville.

Carrie Albert poetry & art

Kinnear Park Crows


Descent at Dusk They land on the tree?s bare limbs like black leaves returning with the wind, and rise, a dance before our eyes, each move a balance of lift and turn k and fall, black wings around white bark and grey sky. Their cries pierce the grain mill clatter compete with wind and startle us below just as we lament the distances from our elderly mothers both of us uncertain where we belong. They need each other. Night is coming. A tornado of wings will storm back to bird-land to reunite with tens of thousands of their brood. If you take away my words can you see their blackness expand into trees, earth and sky, to become absence the color of all that is not?




Sutra You are inside your skin below skin that glides across sky. You are blue and a white blanket that covers blue. I am sunlight behind gauze. I see through closed eyes. You are the calm before twists of change. You are black leaves hanging and brown birds who blend into bark. You are wood pulped into cardboard the box I would fold into. Your face fades. Your words used up, no way to share. I am letters


rising to the surface. I am a mirage of windows floating into sky. You are inside my dreams.


Carrie Albert is both poet and visual artist and often the two merge. Art and poem pairings have been published in Monarch Review, Pirene?s Fountain, Soundzine, qarrtsiluni, Grey Sparrow, ink sweat and tears, among others. She is currently Artist/Poet in Residence at

Acknowledgments Previously Published Poet ry: Laura Madeline Wiseman "Common Prayer to Tree Gods and Goddesses, malusioenis" First appeared in The Provo Canyon Review, Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2014 "Two Leavable Skis, catalpa bignonioides" First appeared in Weave, Issue 10, 2014 "Take Leave, magnolia loebneri" First appeared in the anthology Bearersof Distance. Jenn Monroe and Martin Elwell, Eds. Manchester, NH: East Point Lit House & Press, 2013. "Leave off the Husbandry, malusdomestica" First appeared in Redheaded Stepchild, Spring/Summer Issue, 2014 "Our Arbor, This Hardy Catalpa, catalpa speciosa" First appeared in Gingko Tree Review, 2013

Previously Published Art : Sally Deskins ?Common Prayer? First appeared in Z-Composition, 2014. ?Two Leavable Skis? First appeared in Extract(s), 2014. ?Take Leave? First appeared in Eyedrum, 2014. Also appeared in If and Only If, 2015. ?Hardy Catalpa? First appeared in Masque and Spectacle, 2014.

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