Early Shift by Terry Chipp
Comparison of five males by Marcel Herms
Smell of sunlight soap, and singing
voices going down pit lift.
Home time coughing up phlegm
The voices no one hears
The great green and blue that spins
and has spun its dreaming stories
and changed its face with the passing millennia
speaks in a hundred thousand tongues.
It sings in bird throats, river running,
wind sighing, the roaring of the waves,
cat growl, wolf howl
and the opening of a rose.
Yet we have never heard a word
of the eternal song that blazes in sun-glory
and the racing green of sap;
we spin our own story spiked with tears
and the barbs and thorns of razor wire.
“Take Care and Have a Routine”
From the dark:
Ride the train
Ride the bus
Trip over a fallen tree
At the harbour:
From the light:
Skirt the danger
Ride the train
(Rubbish Tip: MJS)
Not always literal
A state of mind
Soars over and onwards
This is one of The Skips
Don’t mind the bodies
They’re used to the squeeze
those eyes tight
from oval to disc,
colour to dark.
is the finger point,
one inch away.
breathe hot air in
black sauna’s crime.
My sweat bound
clothes rub against
tight and bent.
Tasting the dust,
And in time,
thoughts get louder
A million tons of
shift and displacement.
Run into splintered
panic, just run.
From this pit of
pick axed tunnels,
soon to be
In the mind a
babble is rising,
confusion and jumble.
Listen, far above,
tells the beginnings
of the last terror.
And in a thousand years
the archaeologist’s trowel
will unearth a scream,
a foot wide
tattooed blue and black.
-© Dai Fry 8th November 2020.
comparison of five males, SWD
Not anatomically correct
specimens, of course. Who said
they were the same species? They might
have been things thrown away in plastic
bags, black, blue, white
beneath isosceles of light
atop a square of black garnished
with tree. A base of trash flecked green
in Ozark, AL. The younger ones,
stuffed toys, a mule-eared fawn and Snoopy,
three evolving stages of childhood
scrawl, bottom to top black
and white, not nearly enough blood.
Dressed in orange and brown,
we hid in autumn woods
and were never seen again.
We called out to our parents
when they beat the path for clues
but our voices went unheard.
Now we run and shake trees
until leaves tumble with laughter,
skip with the dying rays of sun.
Maybe it was a ‘little angel or a little god’
— flash of white, oscillation of wings,
good omen in the dark of night
500 meters down — mystery for two miners
who paused to marvel at their messenger,
seconds before the rock slab buckled behind
them and the tunnel ahead crumpled
in a wall of debris. Tiny saviour, far from the
ephemera of purple flowers in the desert,
delivered on currents of air? Or a miracle?
In the flickering light of campfires across
Chile, stories are told of the small butterfly
who saved the lives of 31 men.
-Gayle J. Greenlea
:: you know ::
those men who desire
who speak in three voices
is all i will say here, you know who you are
time is upon us as he writes
the old way
dust from the fire
remembering the beginning
of it all
ash escapes his brain
rise until just one
I walk along the track marks
from yesterday’s wreck –
and I leave the porch light on.
I am waiting here in the blistering
wind. For your shape – in the dark.
I’m finding it impossible to let go,
I occupy the nightmare spaces,
and wonder, silently, on
how I got here?
And what now?-
MH9 Comparison of five males
We would categorize prospects
by lunch orders, tuna melt,
cheeseburger, cheeseburger, shrimp
poboy, rib eye sandwich,
she had the knack of knowing,
my preferences were more chaotic,
there were rules, guidelines, received
wisdom, but we swam at the bottom
of the river, feeling our way
in the deep dark,
the five at the counter
eyeballing us, nudging each other
had the look of donuts, cheeseburgers
and tall boys, but laundered,
the bait offered taken, as we left
she said “the fishhook is as good
as love, sugar, as good as love”.
TC9 Early shift
Here in the flatlands, caves
and tunnels are flooded
aquifer being so near,
we watched on tv
as men entered a maw
of darkness, so small
against the haunch of mountain,
Granny said it gave her the shivers
” Those poor men going down
Then the narrator began talking
of silica, of dust and black lung,
the cough, Granny
turned to me ” It’s as if they’re filled
with the grave from the inside,
coughing up death”
Our abundance overflows,
turkey buzzards dumpster
diving, a feeding box
for sky and wood,
by night possum and racoons
come for our cast offs,
excess of our disposable lives,
yellow jackets and bees
heavy presence of flies,
those nearest sun, living
at elevation of cumulus
descending now, ripping
open plastic bags, not hide
and fur, some consumption
is cleansing, like fire,
our abundance chokes us
overwhelming thicket, sky
even the ocean beyond,
waves emulsifying plastic.
after the mines
Afterwards, after the town died
in a cloud of coaldust,
and was reborn, a little more
corporate, a little less itself,
after all that, my brother met them:
big men. Men who’d wrestled
with the world, gone down
into the dark places, juggled
earth and fire and water,
strong men, proud men,
screwing the tops on lipsticks.
You have to work. Coal isn’t king.
Money rules. Cash wins everything.
There’s nothing precious here.
I could walk all day, work all day,
and still there’d be nothing –
an empty bottle, a blank-eyed doll,
a dirty nappy. Gather it up.
People lived here, but they’ve gone,
leaving behind old toys, crisp packets,
fag ends, one red glove.
Shovel it, bag it, throw it.
They’ve all moved on,
they itched for it, sweated for it.
They took the path
between the trees, past the last houses,
heading west, looking for light,
the last of the light. Heading home.
Early Shift Comparison
each, different ages
black dust written
Bios and Links
grew up in Thurnscoe and ia now living in Doncaster via Wath Grammar school, Doncaster Art College, Bede College in Durham and 30 years teaching.
He sold his first painting at the Goldthorpe Welfare Hall annual exhibition at the age of 17 and he haven’t stopped painting since.
He escaped the classroom 20 years ago to devote more time to his artwork. Since then he has set up his own studio in Doncaster, exhibited across the north of England as a member of the Leeds Fine Artists group and had his painting demonstrations featured on the SAA’s Painting and drawing TV channel. Further afield he has accepted invitations to work with international artists’ groups in Spain, Macedonia, Montenegro and USA where his paintings are held in public and private collections. In 2018 he had a solo exhibition in Warsaw, Poland and a joint exhibition in Germany.
His pictures cover a wide range of styles and subjects from abstract to photo-realism though he frequently returns to his main loves of landscape and people.
Visitors are welcome at his studio in the old Art College on Church View, Doncaster.
Facebook: Terry Chipp Fine Art Painting
is a Dutch visual artist. He is also one of the two men behind the publishing house Petrichor. Freedom is very important in the visual work of Marcel Herms. In his paintings he can express who he really is in complete freedom. Without the social barriers of everyday life.
There is a strong relationship with music. Like music, Herms’ art is about autonomy, freedom, passion, color and rhythm. You can hear the rhythm of the colors, the rhythm of the brushstrokes, the raging cry of the pencil, the subtle melody of a collage. The figures in his paintings rotate around you in shock, they are heavily abstracted, making it unclear what they are doing. Sometimes they look like people, monsters, children or animals, or something in between. Sometimes they disappear to be replaced immediately or to take on a different guise. The paintings invite the viewer to join this journey. Free-spirited.
He collaborates with many different authors, poets, visual artists and audio artists from around the world and his work is published by many different publishers.
writes novels, short stories and lots of poems. Among her publications is her first chapbook of poetry, thicker than water. She is also a regular contributor to Visual Verse and the Ekphrastic Review. You can find her on twitter @MJDougherty33 and on her blog https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/
is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast. Former cook. Has had poems in Cypress Press, Feral Poetry, IceFloe Press, Petrichor. Can be found on Twitter@Peach Delphine
is a poet living on the south coast of England. Originally from Swansea. Wales was and still is a huge influence on everything. My pen is my brush. Twitter:
Susan Darlington’s poetry regularly explores the female experience through nature-based symbolism and stories of transformation. It has been published in Fragmented Voices, Algebra Of Owls, Dreams Walking, and Anti-Heroin Chic among others. Her debut collection, ‘Under The Devil’s Moon’, was published by Penniless Press Publications (2015). Follow her @S_sanDarlington
lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two large, frightening lapdogs. A PhD in French language and literature, she has retired from teaching French to university students, as well as from fierce competition in martial arts and distance running. She has produced the chapbooks Backwards Through the Rekroy Wen, Scapes, and Postcard Poetry 2020. When she isn’t hard at work writing poems in English, she might be found reading them in French to her long-suffering grandchildren, who don’t yet speak French.
-Gayle J. Greenlea
is an award-winning poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel Zero Gravity at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work has been published in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Astronomy Magazine, Headline Poetry and Press and The Australian Health Review.
lives in the North East of Scotland. Her first poetry collection ‘ Tree standing small’ was published in 2018 with Clochoderick Press. Her work has appeared in journals and magazines in print and online and she is working towards a second collection.
Like someone who tries out hats or other samples before making a final decision, experimenting with different ideas and techniques is how Lydia spends some of her time. This allows for other portions of time to speak through the lens of fiction, creative nonfiction and art. You can find her work at Cargo Collective , Lydia Wist Creative and on Twitter @Lydiawist.
lives in the wild, wet, south-west of England, surrounded by mud and apple trees. She writes poems to make sense of the world, and would rather weed than wash up.
-sonja benskin mesher
holds a bachelor in English Literature and Creative Writing and is a secondary school teacher of English and Creative Writing. Liam is currently writing his first, professional collection of poetry entitled Borders that explores poetry from all around the world. Liam also Co-Hosts a movie discussion podcast entitled: The Pick and Mix Podcast. Liam writes under the pseudonym ‘Michael The Poet’
Links: WordPress: https://michael-the-poet.com/
Instagram: Michael The Poet
is 54, married and a mother of two, who has been writing and telling stories since childhood. Over the last decade she has utilised writing not just as entertainment, but as a means to improve personal communication skills. That process unexpectedly uncovered increasingly difficult and unpleasant feelings, many forgotten for decades. Diagnosed as a historic trauma survivor in May 2019, Mental health issues had previously hindered the entirety of her adult life: the shift into writing as expression and part of a larger journey into self-awareness began to slowly unwind for her from the past, providing inspiration and focus for a late career change as a multidisciplined artist.
is a Northern Irish poet from Belfast. She has two poetry pamphlets, and a full collection, from Hedgehog Poetry Press, they are Circling the Sun, Memory Forest and Venus in pink marble (2018, 2019 and Summer 2020 respectively). She is co-author, along with Karen Mooney, of Penned In a poetry pamphlet written in response to the pandemic and due for release 30th November 2020. Follow her on Twitter @gaynorkane or read more at www.gaynorkane.com.
3 thoughts on “Day Nine: Welcome to a special ekphrastic challenge for November. Artworks from Terry Chipp, Marcel Herms, MJ Saucer, P A Morbid, the inspiration for writers, Gaynor Kane, Peach Delphine, Sally O’Dowd, sonja benskin mesher, Anindita Sengupta, Liam Michael Stainsby, Helen Allison, Sarah Connor, Sarah Reeson, Holly York, Jane Dougherty, Gayle J Greenlea, Susan Darlington, Lydia Wist, Dai Fry, and myself. November 9th.”
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Wonderful poems! Susan Darlington’s did it for me again.
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