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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 107 — Carolyn Kari Bell, María Teresa Ogliastri, Simon Read, Stacey Silverfink

Carolyn Kari Bell

Heart Strings

(6x9 oil and cold wax)

Copyright © 2017 by Carolyn Kari Bell.


(18x22 oil and cold wax)

Copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Kari Bell.

Lough Lame

(24x30 oil and cold wax)

Copyright © 2018 by Carolyn Kari Bell.

About the Artist

Carolyn Kari Bell works primarily in oil and cold wax and is influenced by everything, from the mundane to the complex. Color, texture and light inform her work along with a no fears approach. Breaking and bending the rules gives rise to creativity. Kari thrives in Colorado.

María Teresa Ogliastri Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 107.

Otro lirio

El anciano abre el cofre

y acaricia dos palomas dormidas

lo impulsa el deseo

unos pies tan pequeños

en el suelo las chinelas con peonías

muestran un ave que abanica su cola

y marca el territorio del cortejo

a lo lejos un reclamo

un grito timbrado

el flujo y el reflujo

las olas

la niña de vuelta al harén

con las mujeres solas

otra escoba de palacio

otra anciana que conspira

otro lirio

Otro lirio Copyright © 2013 by María Teresa Ogliastri.

Another Lily

The old man opens the chest

and strokes two sleeping doves

he is driven by desire

such a dainty pair of feet

on the floor her slippers with peonies

show a bird that fans its tail

and marks the courtship territory

a trill from afar

a melodious call

the ebb and flow

of waves

the girl back to the harem

with the unmarried women

another palace broom

another conspiring old lady

another lily

Another Lily Copyright © 2013 by María Teresa Ogliastri (co-translated by Yvette Neisser with Patricia Bejarano Fisher).

Brotes de alfalfa

Mi madre era de bambú

cuando la brisa movía su falda

veía las marcas en sus piernas delgadas

mi padre tomaba la cintura de sauce

y la zarandeaba como una marioneta sin hilos

la última concubina

haría todo el trabajo de la casa

si no tenía un hijo varón

los pies de mi madre eran una carreta

andaban andaban andaban

sin cansarse

la recuerdo tumbada en la hierba

cerca de la pequeña alberca

donde nadaban los patos

con una jarrita de porcelana recogía agua

y me acercaba hasta donde ella estaba

para regar cada dedo

cada brote de alfalfa

fue la única vez que la vi sonreír

ese es el recuerdo más antiguo que tengo del amor

Brotes de alfalfa by María Teresa Ogliastri (co-translated by Yvette Neisser with Patricia Bejarano Fisher). Previously published in Blue Lyra Review 2.1 (Spring 2013).

Alfalfa Sprouts

My mother was made of bamboo

whenever the breeze moved her skirt

I saw the marks on her thin legs

my father would grab her willowy waist

and shake her like a stringless marionette

the last concubine

would do all the housework

if she didn’t have a son

my mother’s feet were a wheelbarrow

going going going

never tiring

I remember her sprawled on the grass

by the small pond

where the ducks always swam

with a porcelain jug I’d draw water

then go over to where she lay

and sprinkle every toe

every alfalfa sprout

that was the only time I saw her smile

it is my oldest memory of love

Alfalfa Sprouts by María Teresa Ogliastri (co-translated by Yvette Neisser with Patricia Bejarano Fisher). Previously published in Blue Lyra Review 2.1 (Spring 2013).

Para ser emperatriz

Para ser emperatriz

no bastaba

el sello de jade

ni entrelazar las escamas

en el lecho imperial

necesitaba una armadura de piedra

un corazón de lagarto

y engullir entero

pero cuanto más alto es el árbol

más larga es su sombra

cuando se vive tan cerca del peligro

debemos arreglar la tumba

con pieles de osos

soldados de terracota

y amuletos de jade

cuando se vive tan cerca del peligro

debemos conocer el camino

a la Vía de los Espíritus

y esperar la bondad de los dioses

cuando se vive tan cerca del peligro

la sombra del árbol

no debe arroparnos

Para ser emperatriz by María Teresa Ogliastri (co-translated by Yvette Neisser with Patricia Bejarano Fisher). Previously published in Blue Lyra Review 2.1 (Spring 2013).

To Be Empress

To be empress

it wasn’t enough

to have a jade seal

or to ravel our scales

on the imperial bed

I needed an armor of rock

the heart of a lizard

and to swallow things whole

but the taller the tree

the longer its shadow

when you live so close to danger

you must prepare your grave

with skins of bears

soldiers of clay

amulets of jade

when you live so close to danger

you must learn the way

to the Spirit Path

and hope for mercy from the gods

when you live so close to danger

you must not take shelter

in the shadow of the tree

To Be Empress by María Teresa Ogliastri (co-translated by Yvette Neisser with Patricia Bejarano Fisher). Previously published in Blue Lyra Review 2.1 (Spring 2013).

About the Authors

Maria Teresa Ogliastri lives in Caracas, Venezuela. She is the author of five collections of poems: Del diario de la señora Mao (From the Diary of Madame Mao, 2011), Polo Sur (2008), Brotes de Alfalfa (Alfalfa Sprouts, 2007), Nosotros los inmortales (We, the Immortals, 1997) and Cola de Plata (Silver Tail, 1994). Her poems have appeared in several anthologies of contemporary Venezuelan poetry.

Yvette Neisser is the author of Grip, winner of the 2011 Gival Press Poetry Award. Her translations from Spanish include South Pole/Polo Sur by María Teresa Ogliastri and Difficult Beauty: Selected Poems by Luis Alberto Ambroggio. Her poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in such publications as Foreign Policy in Focus, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. She is a founding Board Member of the DC-Area Literary Translators Network (DC-ALT) and has taught writing at George Washington University and The Writer’s Center.

Patricia Bejarano Fisher is an experienced translator now focusing exclusively on poetry. Her work includes a co-translation of Venezuelan poet MT Ogliastri’s South Pole/Polo Sur (Settlement House, 2012) and From the Diary of Madame Mao. Her translations have appeared in literary journals, as well as in Laura Shovan’s The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary (2016), and in Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka (Ed.) Szklana góra/Glass Mountain (2017), among others.

Simon Read

The Way We Move

The pub was empty. All the lights were on and some of the bar stools had been knocked over. Like everyone had left in a hurry. Evidently some kind of ’happening’ had just happened.

I walked to the bar and looked behind it - the barman was sitting on the floor holding a gun to his head. “OK if I fix myself a beer?“ I asked.

“Sure thing buddy,“ he replied, “help yourself. I’m just about to blow my brains out. Any time now.“

“What shape are those things in your head?“ I enquired. I poured out a beer and watched him. He put the gun down. “Close your eyes and take a look. And notice the colours too“. A money spider was descending in slow motion from the ceiling. A clock was ticking somewhere. “Tell me,“ I said.

“Orange,“ he answered, “no, wait. No, red, bright red. They’re all red. And tubey. Red and tubey.“ He opened his eyes and looked at me with raised eyebrows.

“Scarlet tubulars,“ I explained. “That’s not good, my friend.“

“What do they mean?“

“They mean you’re fucked and nobody gives a rat’s ass. They mean you’re a dead man“.

The lights flickered off and the gun fired. I felt the urge to leave. The streets were out there. Concrete jungle calling. I needed to roam.

Somebody somewhere once said something about man being the wildest beast of all. I left the pub singing softly what was in my head.

“I like the way that crows move.

I like the way that squirrels move too.

I like the way that you move baby.

I think we gonna boogaloo.“

Copyright © 2018 by Simon Read.

About the Author

Simon Read lives in the UK. His work includes short fiction, poetry, lyrics, songs, and word-based artworks. Simon’s work has been published, or is forthcoming, in a variety of magazines including Mystic Blue Review, Riggwelter, Moon Magazine, and Spontaneity. You can find out more at:

Stacey Silverfink

[In my world of denial]

In my world of denial,

Life was merely a terrible entity,

And as love itself was insufficient,

There was no peace or any saving grace,

And it was simply comparable to an insolvable crime,

And I only rationalized all of my emptiness,

And as I also counted all of my chickens long before they hatched,

I also believed that money could always buy happiness,

And I saved old thread,

Only scraping the bottom of the barrel,

And I only cared to stay home perpetually,

Never caring to obtain any new knowledge,

And I could do nothing but stagnate,

But your love is like a magnet that sustains me.

Copyright © 2018 by Stacey Silverfink.

About the Author

Stacey Silverfink, born in Manhattan, has worked and lived on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. She graduated from the New York Institute of Technology and has worked as a generalist paralegal. The themes of her poems center on the redeeming value of love over many of life—s vicissitudes. She hopes to inspire through her poems.

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