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Category: Poetry

Before and After

Before and After

The Scream, by Edward Munch. 1893

One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream. — Edvard Munch (1892)


The past before us
Is the past we all share now

Twice past
Twice blessed

Roaming through the ages
When we jammed into rooms
Bars houses apartments

Together breathing the same air
Breathing the same context in time

An earlier landscape internalized
For physical connections we took for granted
For fun for chances to spar and joust
In person together

Together but apart in our mind’s eye
Because we could be that way
That aloof that cool
But still there

Meant pre-separation

Meant we panicked about different things

To say the least because we could
Say the least and get away with it

The air we breathe
The air we pass on to others

Is existential now
     We are each other’s crisis

Campari Smiles: New Poems by Alessio Zanelli

Campari Smiles: New Poems by Alessio Zanelli



You often
seem to smile
even when asleep,
light wrinkles on your
forehead, a barely audible
hiss from your nose. Your smile,
by night as by day, emanates not just
from your lips and gaze, but also from your
chin, cheeks and temples, from how your whole
body lies on the bed or moves around. It goes beyond
corporeity, is smoothly metaphysical, and metamental. Your
smile, and your letting me draw so heavily and freely from it, as if
you wished that I stored in me as much as possible of it, for me to smile at
you in turn, is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. It’s why I wake up every night
to stare at you, and I rest my eyes on you each time I can unseen, your smiling face being
all and only what I feel I have been always yearning for. My life’s wallpaper, and my sole world.




It’s so muggy and unpleasant but
there’s time for sunshine to vanish.
Lying, between darkness and lines,
running short of gas, on the fringes
of wildness, waiting for my curber.
All the years behind don’t count a
minute, a minute ahead counts
who knows how many years.
The orange slice’s slowly
turning sour among
the rocks and so
is anything
that may
still be
so sodden—
it’s so damn easy to say that I had
always known that but didn’t care.




Before the last shaft
was intercepted
by the lowering bank
of murky nimbostrata
the color of pewter,
the pallid moorland
had already gone dark,
blurred in the distance,
all sounds had faded out
to unnatural silence,
and the sharp contour
of the imposing…
Well, my dear reader,
I beg you to finish this,
’cause the clock just rang
and my lasagna’s ready.



Copyright© 2020 by Alessio Zanelli. All Rights Reserved.

Alessio Zanelli is an Italian poet who writes in English and whose work has appeared in some 180 literary journals from 16 countries. His fifth original collection, titled “The Secret Of Archery”, was published in 2019 by Greenwich Exchange (London). For more information please visit

Doreen LeBlanc: Two Poems

Doreen LeBlanc: Two Poems

Edward’s Pout

Why the pout Edward Hopper?
Your many self portraits interchangeable
Turned down mouth
Empty eyes
Not a hint of a punch line
But always impeccably dressed
What lies beneath?

Your marriage to Josephine, Jo
Reads rather contentious, tumultuous
Yet she was your subject
Combative muse
Bedraggled nude
Perhaps eating from tin cans
Transformed you both to granite

Brushstrokes of simplicity
Your artistic gifts portrayed loneliness
Dark shadows
Deep thoughts
Until you created coastal scenes
Where you found light essence
And release


Musings on “Little Goose Girl” by Millet

What have you seen
Simple thatched house
Generations of simple folk
Who patched your humble walls

The geese at your doorstep
Years of harvest and famine
Like the seasons
And phases of the moon

Within, the acrid smells of your hearth
Beside you the giant tree
Your sentinel
Why does this interest me, you ask
Oh, I feel your heartbeat


(Poetry Workshop at Boston Museum
of Fine Arts, French Pastels, with Regie Gibson)



The MFA Is Opening a Dreamy (and Rarely Shown) French Pastels Exhibit


Copyright© 2020, by Doreen LeBlanc. All Rights Reserved.

Doreen LeBlanc lives in Massachusetts and spends time in summer and fall at her cabin in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where she was born. Inspiration bubbles up out of the river and sea, streams down the mountain, and comes through family stories and the beauty of Cape Breton and her Acadian and Scottish heritage.


More Breaths for a Change

More Breaths for a Change

County Clare and the Sea. Photo by Douglas Pinson. 2003.


It’s not difficult
But it is impossible
To know when the self Appears unhidden      untainted
Bereft of the artificial

Like a diamond in the earth
Before the mines

The rings the false smiles
The campaigns to make us
Feel worthy
It’s not difficult

But it is impossible
To know the moment
Most extreme
The highest highs

The lowest lows
That remain ours


— The ancients told us
It was in the Middle Way
That we decipher
That we sync and connect

With what is true
With what is unhidden
Only in that time and place
Between things and events

But I wander
And fall toward
The Romantics
And their post-Baroque

For advice
For succor
Their wisdom
And excess

Their rejection of Hamlet times
Of indecision and      hesitation

Jump and ye shall find!!
Dive and ye shall know!!
Then reflect on the sun
The moon . . .

How to be Human for a Breath or Two

How to be Human for a Breath or Two

Pandora’s Box, by John William Waterhouse. 1896

The visitation of a blessing
The moment of passion changes us
But the man thought he saw something
That wasn’t there until

Until he saw her as she really was
As she really was because of him

Looking back on his Columbus days
On his belief that thousands and thousands
Of years could be negated by a ship
He knows now that it wasn’t so

That what was special about her
Was special with or without him
That while his own being impacted her
It did not could not create her

Beyond his own mind
His own dreams of essences lost and found

The Beatles said
We become nay-ked
The Beatles said
Let it be

Kierkegaard said
Life can only be understood
But it must be lived


Are we ever really human
For a breath?

The gathering
With friends or family
The roiling bed
The corporate hallways?

Desiring to know difference
When difference is knowable
Desiring to be the cause
When entangled and on fire

We die
When this dies

Zen Fields Beyond the Canvas

Zen Fields Beyond the Canvas

Flaming June, by Frederic Leighton. 1895. Museo de Arte de Ponce.

You were my dream
So the poets say
So they spin and wrack their minds
How to express what can not be

     Love of
          Love of her
Of life

Of the stars
Anything that crisscrosses
Their eyes and ears
Their fifth or sixth dimension

Like the waves they see
As stand-ins for her
Like the mountains they see
As symbols of her strength

The irony the melancholy
Of it all is
Of course the non-abstract
Nature of her

The total lack of symbology
In the way she moves
     The way she smiles
Only when it’s necessary

Only when there is nothing else
To be done

She smiles at the perfect time
In a perfect way

Thus rendering all symbols
All analogies all parables
At best

She was my dream
Because of that
Her dreamless self
The beyondness

Of it all
The stark raving madness
Of it all
As if no art were necessary

As if no dreams were needed
     Or possible
               Or imagined

Or pinned to page or canvas
By us
For us
She did not require them!!

Complete her . . .

Never Ever!!

Never Ever!!

Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. 1882

There are blue fields to love
And red oceans
     Of course
Plus black rain on May Day

But it’s always been
     At least for me
The sheer genius of flannel clouds
That knocks me for a push-pull

Or two or seven loops
Like a child’s long shout out
To our morning goddess
After they’ve had their swim

Their cereal their prize-winning song
After they’ve frozen their dreams
     For the image-zoos
          The butterbread-museums

The psychic kaleidoscopes of yore
And I know what you’re thinking

That all this is passé
So old-melted hat

So rolled-up thunder-eyed
Yes yes this is true
This is just a was once removed
But I ask you sweet madam

Isn’t this was a better land
A better plated sojourn
Than our pubs can serve last week?
Aren’t the old skies more lovely

Than geo-propped dust-ups
Above us last noon
Last midnight?

I’ll take the old ways
Ten out of eight or six rolls
I’ll take the heretic blossoms
Home on Tuesdays at Five

Nunca Jamas!!

The Anthropology of Magical Forms

The Anthropology of Magical Forms

Sigmund Freud. Photo by Max Halberstadt. 1921

I want to discover the magical links
Before they appear

Though to be honest I’d much
Rather actually see them
Than invent them whole-cloth
or whole-sale

Wouldn’t it be great if that were to happen?
Hallucinate my way into poetic fusions
Instead of just writing them?
Instead of twisting myself

Into pretzels alchemically
With nonsense salt
On top
Or on the plate?

This is what it all comes down to
For poets seers prophets and
Kitchen repairmen
Who turn the world upside down

This is what it means to have
Rimbaud’s gift
Lost too soon
To guns in Abyssinia.

The choice
The dilemma
The pick-em
The Trial

Real or imagined
Reality or the Absurd

One could ask: Why not both?
Yes and
Yes but
Won’t they cancel the link

The connection if they survive
If they mate for life
And leisure?

To make a long short story shorter:
Magicians can demonstrate stuff
They don’t need to narrate
Any kind of long dreary slog

I like that

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