Food had doubled in price because of the war (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem based on Panel 11 of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series. Mama said we had to do without so our soldiers could stay fed. I could tell she wasn’t happy about that, but she didn’t want to disappoint me, so she tried to keep a light-hearted tone. But there was something else in her voice; [...]

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The plight of the insomniac (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, inspired by Peter Juvonen’s painting, Mexican Hat Dance. It’s an impossible-to-navigate party of shark’s teeth and demon tails a jigsaw puzzle of sixes but for the couple snogging at the edge of the room behind a screen that’s too short to do its job That path straight out of Joe Versus the Volcano [...]

Lesson: you’ve got to learn to pace yourself if you want to make it to the end unscathed (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, inspired by Yang Xiaobin’s photograph, Pace-ism. Sunk costs are irrelevant 1 The emotion is a con stabbing through the thin crust of the hull Puncture wounds ripped from the headlines attach themselves to the story barnacles complicit in the decay of the ‘unsinkable’ vessel 2 Attempts to sop up the blood with an old [...]

A night at the coffee shop (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, written in shadorma form, inspired by Peter Juvonen’s The Jester’s Dream. On a night filled with dice and wine the jester scans the room for friendly faces amidst checkerboard parquet But all eyes look in sideways glance where maybe hides answers in disguise as cabernet and party people In a room of empty faces the [...]

The parts of the movie I saw before falling asleep because it was late and I was tired (a poem)

It is a new month, meaning time to come up with a new challenge. After looking at a few different things, I settled upon the shadorma, a six-line form with a syllable count of 3/5/3/3/7/5. My initial effort using this form is an ekphrastic poem, inspired by the Richard Lester version of The Three Musketeers. On the [...]

Funny face (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, inspired by Lu De’an’s painting The Great Return—Lao Zi. You know, the word ‘demolition’ fails to convey the full extent of the wreckage— cyclonic swirls, gouges in the pavement scars left by flames burning hotter than imagination is capable of rendering Is crossing it all out and starting over an option? Are you sure [...]

Maybe it’s the neon markers… (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, inspired by Yan Li’s painting Self-thinking. Bent into shapes I can barely muster my two halves skate along the seams between the tracks in the spiral rug my eyes used to trace for hours at a time in grandma’s living room Only everything has changed It’s the first time I got stoned and [...]

The manifesto (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, inspired by Yang Xiaobin’s photograph, Deng-ism. You’d be hard pressed to recall if it ever existed The wall bears scabs and the occasional bit of crusted adhesive where the fly-poster used to be You might see faces amidst the rust that has eaten through if you look long enough But the names the [...]