Still Life

Abigail Wyatt

 

(On Discovering the Life and Work

of Georgia O'Keeffe, artist,1887-1986)

 

In the beginning was life and death,

Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot:

first limp, then cold, the stiffening flanks

and eyes scarfed frosted white,

blind to see what promise, prizes,

rosebuds might yet fall at her feet.

Was it fear rushed in, a howling wind

to echo in the hollows in her head?

Whatever it was, she could paint no more,  

that blank canvass of her future shrinking small;

the stink of turpentine offended her nose,

prompted her to blanche and heave,

her bowels to growl and curdle

and the yellow bile to rise.

 

Yet, later, through a mirror, came

pale hollyhocks, green spikes of pain;

skulls and seeds and irises

as dark as midnight's eye;

then, all was fruit and fruitfulness:

her blossoms pulsed and swelled;

found ripeness and completion

through the power of the lens;

yet she could not, or would not, say

what all such shapes might mean.

And, later still, came rocks and bones

from off the desert floor and then

a mile of elephants, the pale sand

curving down, a life marked out in black and

white and silver, pink and grey:

an aria of silence sung to praise

most perfect death.

Simon Perchik

 

*

You teach this rag how, fold in

its corners, edges, to close

and afterwards wood is everywhere

 

lies down inside you

as if there is still a place

no longer rising to the surface

 

though all dust is patient

smells from dried-up riverbeds

one above the other

 

the way these shelves

were left behind to bathe you

with roots and harbors

 

–you teach this rag

time, cover each board

lowered slowly into a floor

 

that is not years later

–for the first time its brightness

turning to footsteps and further.

The Story

Jeffrey Zable

 

In a hundred years, I’ll be 160 years old

and no one will remember me.

The last person to remember me will have died

25 years earlier

and toward the end

they will only have a vague recollection

of who I was.

I had this third grade teacher named Mr. Zable,

they will say

as part of a longer story

they will tell to a great grandchild

who will yawn and say,

it was good to see you Great Grandmother,

take care of yourself,

I’ll see you again soon,

nodding to his mother

as they walk out the door.

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L i t e r a r y . J u i c e

An Online Literary Magazine

Poet

Tree

August, 1945

Bruce McRae

 

My God, what have we done?

No ordinary bomb, it’s a window

into hell we dare look through,

a mutant sunrise, a second sun,

the lotus and peach trees burning.

One world is ending, this war,

for all intents and purposes,

has just been lost. It’s over.

 

Time now to cast shadows

onto stone, to light the air on fire,

Enola Gay banking sharply away.

Below, a post-apocalyptic zero.

And poised off-camera, the folly

of man, of man the monster.

June/July 2013

August, 1945 -  Bruce McRae

Still Life - Abigail Wyatt

Reading the Morning Paper - Richard Luftig

The Story - Jeffrey Zable

You teach this rag - Simon Perchik

Jeffrey Zable has published poetry and prose in many magazines and anthologies throughout the years.  In the late 70’s and early 80’s he headed a poetry, drum, chant group called Silverdog with the late great San Francisco poet Tom Cuson.  He recently retired after 30 years in teaching, mostly at the elementary school level.

Abigail Wyatt lives near Redruth in Cornwall. She left a career as an English teacher to concentrate on her own writing. She is the author of two poetry collections and, most recently, ‘Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories’. One of the three editors at Poetry 24, an online poetry journal, she may be contacted there or, alternatively, via Facebook. She blogs at abigailelizabethwyatt.wordpress.com.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

Richard Luftig is a professor of educational psychology at Miami University in Ohio, and now resides in California.  He is a recipient of the Cincinnati Post Corbett Award for literature.  His poems have appeared in journals in the USA, Japan, Canada, England, Thailand, and Hong Kong.  One of his poems was nominated for the Pushcart Poetry prize.

Reading the Morning Paper

Richard Luftig

 

First he goes to the obits

and if he’s not in there

pours a second cup of coffee.

(The old jokes work best don’t you think?)

 

Then on to the weather map,

checking the highs and lows

in the lower forty-eight:

Needles, California and Embarrass,

Minnesota, then to Fairbanks, 59 below.

(if you ask him that’s just showing off).

 

He reads the classifieds, all those jobs

that have passed him by when he grew old,

and condos for sale in Florida, desert lots,

swap meets, mobile homes and those

business opportunities promising

to earn him a million in a month.

 

Then finally, down to the boxed-in poems

at the bottom of the page; sad,

rhymed anniversary odes written

for wives, mothers, lovers,

in bad couplets and end-stopped meters,

all those things he wished

he said while she was still here.