Skeleton Prayer

Peter Breslin

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Guard the great lands of Ilium and Ischium tonight,
Watch out for trochanters and the dreaded acetabulum,
Arrange thy phalanges in phalanxes both distal and proximal,
Align all of thine intertubercular sulci and glenoid cavities,
May atlas and axis roll free
May the great iliac crest never fail or fade!
And so, dear fibula and tibia,
I bid thee goodnight.

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©Peter Breslin, 2018

Peter Breslin is a teacher, musician, PhD student in plant conservation biology at Arizona State University and writer who lives in Tempe AZ.  See his ‘Recycled Declaration’ here 

The Key to Happiness

Amanda Richards

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The Poem and its Inspiration, Nan Nickson

 

©Amanda Richards, 2017

Amanda Richards is a freelance writer and editor living in central Pennsylvania with her husband and young son. She enjoys baking, reading, and large cups of tea. When she’s not saving the world one typo at a time, Amanda can be found scouring local antique stores and flea markets for antique inkwells.

Monument to the Future

Meredith Brown proposes a repurposing of monument pedestals with her photo ‘The Future’:

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Kevyn Matthews and Max

Meredith Brown writes:  Max is my first and only child. He’s 18 months old. I’ve been a Baltimore City School teacher for 14 years. I’ve been taking pictures for 7 years and started at the local animal shelter photographing adoptable animals. My husband Kevyn and I own The Dog Chef Cafe in historic Mount Vernon in Baltimore, MD. https://www.thedogchef.com/

©Meredith Brown, 2017

 

 

No Laundry Blues

Hillary Fields

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I stared at the laundry.

I stared long; I stared limpidly.  I stared with an impassioned intensity that promised much, if only…

I batted eyelashes; I pleaded breathlessly. Tender tears trembled at the tips of my lashes, and I sighed, longing.

‘Twould not do itself.

I changed tacks, swearing stormily, pouting, stomping my sockless foot (no socks left).

Still, ‘twould not do itself.

I bargained, I cajoled. I made promises I daren’t speak of.

‘Twould not, alas, take that small yet necessary leap into the machine.

At last, I threw in the towel (the towel was dirty too), and resigned myself to going commando.

I got the no laundry blues.

 

©Hillary Fields, 2017

Hillary Fields is a New York-based novelist and essayist. Her most recent novel is Last Chance Llama Ranch, published by Redhook books. Learn more at https://hillarymfields.com/

Recycled Declaration

 

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Peter Breslin

“Happy Independence Day! Today, I declare my independence from jingoism, nationalism, American exceptionalism, starry-eyed sappy sentimental faux-patriotism, hagiography of our military forces and police and other public servants masquerading as unquestioning respect for heroism, willfully gluttonous and destructive consumerism masquerading as freedom.

I declare my independence from the tempting blindness to the entrenched corporate-fascist plutocracy that has slowly maneuvered a (bloodless?) global coup of politics and press.

I declare my independence from the State-sponsored story, the lies my teachers told me, the narrow minded, provincial and embarrassing ignorance of what it means to be not just an American but also a global citizen in a rapidly shrinking world.

I declare my independence from an all-too-convenient and unearned pride in an alarmingly deteriorating country where Constitutional freedoms have been slowly eroded or eliminated and where protest, speaking the truth to power and political activism (the very bedrock of our revolutionary origins) is now seen as, at best, ungrateful, and at worst, a form of treason.

I celebrate the true spirit of the American revolution and the American experiment today. I celebrate the human passion for freedom and justice, the universal longing for a better life, the grand ideal of a government of the people, by the people and for the people. I celebrate the greatness of America’s marginalized, disenfranchised, oppressed, exploited and apparently disposable people who have made it all possible from the bottom up. The poor and educationally short-changed who seem so easily put in harm’s way and who constitute the vast majority of our volunteer military, the suffering and homeless veterans who have been bought and sold on the market of questionable wars abroad, the labor force that sacrificed so much life and safety and comfort in the early part of the 20th Century for quality of life improvements we now take entirely for granted but that has been relentlessly disempowered and excluded from the economic and social conversation today.

I celebrate those who worship whatever God or Goddess they worship freely, humbly and quietly and in the true spirit of their faith, not obstreperously, legislatively and oppressively in the marketplace of public, civic ideals.

I celebrate the grand tradition of progressive thought and action in American history, represented by progressive education, progressive health, labor and work improvements, progressive programs to ameliorate suffering and aid the worst off among us, progressive attitudes about the privacy and security of our persons, papers and effects, progressive voting rights, progressive civil rights in their long, slow, painful unfolding, progressive and open ideals regarding the free exchange of ideas (including the least popular of those ideas), progressive attitudes of welcome and appreciation for those from other countries yearning to be free.

I celebrate America’s great innovators in the arts and sciences and America’s irrepressible spirit of not so much ‘why?’ as ‘why not?’ (to paraphrase Ornette Coleman). If there is any heft in the oft-repeated claim that America is the ‘greatest nation on earth,’ perhaps the anchor for that claim, ironically, rests in the most bold, progressive and innovative, most free and most humane and democratic of all of our contributions to the world.

If America has been great and exceptional in human history, it has done so along these lines: the greatest possible liberation of the human spirit, in spite of vicious and regressive attempts at oppression, for the greatest number. Empires are a dime a dozen throughout the centuries of our species. Tribalism, exclusion, oppression, greed, genocide, invasion and exploitation are dirt cheap and common in the human story. I celebrate an America that has been and perhaps still could be a true exception to these commonplace horrors.

Happy Independence Day! How free do you want to be?”

©Peter Breslin, 2010

Peter Breslin is a teacher, musician, PhD student in plant conservation biology at Arizona State University and writer who lives in Tempe AZ.

Birth, Maiden, Mother (two views), Crone

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This sculpture depicts five aspects of Woman’s self/life: Birth on the bottom, the beginning for us all, a Maiden from the view of her back, a hugely pregnant me viewed on her left side, a Mother pulling her babe to the breast on the face (shown) side, and the crone as viewed on her right side.

This one was carved in 1995, when Benjamin was just a babe, out of soapstone. I was working on the piece the morning of April 19, 1995, when it fell to my kitchen floor and broke into pieces. I was devastated. I learned on the radio later that morning that at 9:02 AM, a truck had exploded in the street in front of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building. About 90 minutes later, Timothy McVeigh was stopped by an Oklahoma state trooper for driving a vehicle without a license plate… This is one of those things that make me believe in God. When I put it together that my goddess sculpture had broken so close to the time (if not at the same time) of this huge disruption in our nation’s psyche, I knew I had to heal her. So I found a way to use the dust from her making to glue the pieces back together, and she appeared almost perfect. Now that she has aged–sat outside in the dirt, been soaked in the rain, and been transported from state to state with Benjamin and me, you can begin to see her cracks.

I love this sculpture. I have short hair in it as I did for Benjamin’s birth, and it is just the right size to hold in your lap and turn around to see all the sides. 

[text by Nan]

©Nan Nickson, 2017

Nan Nickson’s mission statement: ‘Running Rooster Farm is a live, organic, performance art project where I try to grow my own food wherever I am at.’

 

Recycled Limerick

Kimmy Allan

…public service announcement meets poetic form. Result: recycled art with a message.downloadThere once was a girl named Renee
Who recycled things every day
And because less trash
It meant far more cash
For she had more money to play

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©Kimmy Alan, 2017

Kimmy Alan is a wannabe poet from the land of Lake Woebegone. A retired steel worker who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Kimmy Alan pursued his love of poetry as a distraction while undergoing chemo and radiation. For him, poetry has proven to be a powerful catharsis, as he is currently in remission. When he isn’t writing he spends time with his four wonderful nieces, whom he says “are driving him to pieces.”

 

Recycled Puppets

Susan Bass Marcus

Puppet artist, fiction writer, and former museum professional Susan Bass Marcus has made more than 100 puppets, most for performance. She incorporates found material, she says, because ‘paint, canvas, and other art supplies cost a lot. Besides, it’s more fun to re-purpose stuff.’

Like an alchemist, or a magical character in a fairy tale, Ms. Marcus makes gold from straw, jewels from stones, treasures from trash. She recycles.

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Susan Bass Marcus is a native Chicagoan who makes her home in the city’s South Loop. In 2015, she published her fantasy novel Malevir: Dragons Return. Her stories have been published in After Hours Magazine (print), Bewildering Stories (bewilderingstories.com), Horrorseek (http://www.horrorseek.com/home/horror/darkfire/ficarch.html), and Fictitious http://www.fictitiousthejournal.org/).

Featured Image by Edward Gorey

Tilth

Robin Cracknell

Last year I decided to cut up a book called ‘Misunderstood’ by Florence Montgomery. I then rearranged pieces of it in a set of ten poems (artwork, really) that spoke to my situation at the time.

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Robin Cracknell is a photographer and writer living in London, UK. His work has been widely published and exhibited including, notably, Eyemazing Magazine, The Michael Hoppen Gallery in London and a solo show at Sous Les Etoiles in New York. A selection of his notebooks is featured in the acclaimed 2014 Thames and Hudson publication, ‘Photographers’ Sketchbooks’ with further work from his ‘Childhood’ series in Thames and Hudson’s ‘Family Photography Now’ published in 2016.

Robin Cracknell’s work is in various private collections internationally as well as The National Portrait Gallery in London, The Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Fundacion Privada Sorigue, a museum of contemporary art in Lleida, Spain.