My first experience with art was in 1982 attending weekly art classes at night with my mother that continued throughout the 1980s with established instructors such as Jimmy Peterson. As a family we participated in several art exhibits and events in Georgia during the summer each year. In 1987 I joined the U.S. Army and served for 24 years in locations across the Continental United States and Europe. During my military tours I was inspired by the vast differences in landscape and nature throughout the world and felt compelled to capture that emotion in art. I continued self-study, painted mostly in plein air with oils, and remained active in art galleries and the scene wherever I served as a Soldier.
I fell in love with watercolors in 2001 when my wife purchased me a set for my birthday. I was amazed at how it was almost impossible to replicate the fluid nature of the medium, as working wet on wet the paint has a mind of it's own. I consider my work both whimsical, impressionistic, and sometimes realistic. Since 2010 I have continued to paint whenever I have time and feel like it provides a necessary balance to my life. My art can be found in galleries throughout the Southeastern United States, in private collections worldwide, and in many publications. My main focus lately has been on around 20 commissions per year from customer photos and my mid-term goal is to further branch out into licensing my artwork.
Sailboat with jet trail-oil painting-by Derek McCrea
Welcome back to our first full "all-star" issue of IVJ since our hiatus! This 39th issue contains 39 lovely features from around the world covering topics such as history, racism, addiction, death, love, funerals, and weddings. Two wonderful visual artists are featured in this edition: Derek McCrea (Paintings) and Jim Zola (Photography), be sure to check them out! Annie Proulx once said, "You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write." So read, enjoy, then write, and submit your own work. Happy Spring from all of us at IVJ!
Michael Kagan is a jazz musician from Toronto Canada. A few years ago he heard a poem in the music and he's now "trying to say it right." He's been published in The Poet Community, Indiana Voice Journal and Leaves of Ink.
Ode to Leonard Cohen
It's quiet inside the life of a monk seeking oneness with the universe catching a glimpse of God turning pain into pleasure, he felt his own performance unforgivable how genius suffers in a war with perfection when he finally heard the monks vibrating with essence Leonard's voice eased out his chest's loosened barrel unraveling mysteries in the low rumble of distant thunder drawing words from a well at his feet a gentleman with a dapper fedora and well groomed bespoke suit a ladies man in a state of grace that used his mind to touch a perfect body, Leonard seeker of seekers imbibed with the monks a taste of disorder laughing at chaos on the top of mount baldy discovering peace in emptiness as we longed for him to come down carrying new tablets of granite wisdom forgiving his secrets, he said "Hineni" I'm ready my Lord we heard him deep down.
In addition to writing fiction and poetry, Belinda Hubert is currently working on a collection of short stories about life in the Midwest. Her novel, Shrink Wrapped is available on Amazon. Belinda works as a clinical psychologist in a private practice in Lowell, Indiana.http://buelasprairiepractice.blogspot.com/
Photo submitted by Belinda Hubert
Sun shades are more golden in the mornings
Enriching the mature colors of harvest
Breezes are cooler, waving tall branches and stems
Topped with yellow and purple and orange
Grass from hard packed grey/black soil is deep green
Less robust and slower to bolt
Scattered with blown branches, acorns
And stray leaves just starting to fall
Fields of food are growing as far as my eye can see
Snacks everywhere to pluck off bushes, trees, vines
Every step of the path I walk each morning with a
Silly dog careening to a stop in tall grass, front down, tail up
Crickets hit the screen on the back porch with a metal pong
Birds cry, swoop and eat them
Thousands of calls, whirs and chirps
Leave little doubt every spot up or down is alive, feasting
Chipmunks are tunneling in my flower pots
Racing across my porch when the door opens
Squirrels are scrambling for trees across the gardens
While the dog shoves past my knees, losing his mind with joy
Making my way to the garage in early fall
My blacktopped driveway is littered with fun
Acorn caps make a satisfying crunch under my heel
Right in the center, three steps, three pops in a row
Andrew Hubbard recently moved back to Indiana after ten years in Houston, Texas. He has had five books published, including, most recently, his first book of poetry, "Things That Get You," which was produced by Interactive Press. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2015. His new book, The Divining Rod, is available at: http://ipoz.biz/portfolio-single/the-divining-rod/
Stacey Louiso lives for Christ, and tries to love with a whole heart by constantly studying the heart of Jesus Christ. She aspires to continually be The Potter’s Clay, doing her best to fulfill His will for her life, in ministry and by sharing His redeeming grace to any ears that might hear and eyes that might see.
In gratitude for transforming her life back into one that is pleasing and usable to Him, she walks toward virtue, praying to embody a woman after God’s own heart! She serves the Lord daily and openly, giving all of her gifts and talents to God, to use for his purpose. If you would like to learn more about Stacey please visit her website/blog: www.writingdownlife.com
Something Old: Poetry penned in my youth.
ESCAPE FROM INSANITY
deep into ecstasy
TAKING A WORLD AND THROWING IT
far, far away...
ROCKING THE BOAT
an unexpected surprise.
The beginning—when the flower blooms.
The beginning—an illuminating moon.
Both beginning the new mysteries
A POOL OF LOVE
reflecting a desire
now and forever mislead
NOT AN EXPLANATION IN SIGHT
SUCH AN EMOTION IS MISUNDERSTOOD—IT BECOMES AN ILLUSION
Come and give this old insanity back to its owner in the “real” world.
Show not one’s desire. HIDE.
For that unexpected surprise will follow `till the death of emotion.
Something New: Poetry penned after my rebirth
“How Do I Tell You”
How do I tell you...
the way your presence affects me.
How do I tell you...
your eyes, to me, are shooting stars racing across the night;
making me dream and wonder, cherishing each sight.
How do I tell you...
that my heart leaps at the mere mention of your name.
The thought of sitting near you sends through me, joyful pain.
How do I tell you...
that I pray for your life to flourish and for your light to shine like a beacon,
to all around you.
Unselfishly and unabashedly, sharing you with the world.
How do I tell you...
I don’t require explanation; I understand without a word;
that I accept and care for you right where you are.
How do I tell you...
oh, so many things...simple and complicated all at once.
How can I reveal it; how can I free myself.
How do I tell you...
when I can barely speak in your presence,
of a special something planted and ever growing in my heart.
With every motion from your direction, my heart soars and roars out...
W. B. (William Benjamin) Cornwell is an award-winning poet and one half of the writing team known as Storm Sandlin. Since 2014 he has been published in nearly a dozen books. In 2016 he and his cousin, A. N. Williams, co-ran the campaign for Elwood Indiana’s Poetry Month. He is also a featured writer for Goodkin.org, a charter member of The Write Idea, and a member of Last Stanza Poetry Association.
Within a Dream
The air is thick with the scent of her cotton-candy perfume Flashes of fantasies morph into a temporary reality. As we ride on the back of a jewel-covered elephant eating chocolate cheesecake and sipping sodas we quote lines from 1990’s sitcoms that we caught as reruns holding hands and sharing kisses
We snatch at cherries as we pass rows of trees eating the sweet, tangy flesh from around the pits that we toss to the ground. Her fingertips, stained cherry red, play with the curls in my hair as she smiles
It is hard to say what is dreamier—the scene or her beauty Her deep-blue eyes, her fiery hair a blaze of color against her velvety, milky skin made even lovelier as she blushes when I tell her I love her
Pipes that once held his cherry tobacco sit in an ashtray in the corner of the room. Not to be smoked, but to serve as a memento— merely to state that he was here, that he was loved
I long for times that are few and far between when the air decides to carry the scent when the sun shines in and the wood is brought to life releasing the scent, strong and sweet
When I sit here I can clearly picture him in his old chair, his pipe in hand, a cup of coffee on the table. A ghost of his smoke leaps from one of the pipes to the ceiling the air full of that nostalgic aroma
Enter a world of jazz and gin Where smoke from cigarettes builds thick clouds Countless strands of beads around flappers’ necks rattle and swing In one corner, brave men—or maybe just bluffing poker players—test their luck
Music takes hold of all those in this blue-lit den Drums and their echoing beat, the chime of brass cymbals A piano’s enchanting melody as hands bring its keys to a climax A cello’s hypnotizing notes that satisfy each ear And a sax with its seductive purr, reminding you why you came. Jazz is a living creature, bold yet smooth, its rhythm consuming all
Time is ignored into the early morning hour. Life outside of jazz and gin is hard and rough. They can’t let reality enter this world. For when reality breaks through the clouds of cigarette smoke and when the music stops the truth is all that remains….
Timothy Robbins teaches ESL. He has a B.A. in French and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have appeared in Three New Poets, Slant, Main Street Rag, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Off The Coast and others. His collection Denny’s Arbor Vitae was published in 2017. He lives with his husband of twenty years in Kenosha, Wisconsin, birthplace of Orson Welles.
Hand, Eyes, Mouth
The hands that made these drawings are, strictly speaking, not mine.
I plucked them like gloves from the sidewalk after a thaw
figuring no one would claim them and so far no one has.
They fit - well, maybe they're just a bit too large,
stretched by their careless possibly frost-bitten owner.
I keep looking at the faces they drew,
imagining the eyes are more piercing
the mouths less rigid so they might look out at the picture I'm in,
tell me it's not as bad as I think and how
to make it better.
1. Down the street from the hallway, scotch-taped to the door-glass of a makeshift hairdresser’s, a handwritten sign instructed: press button and wait for buzzard.
Shelley didn’t believe it. I took scissors and taffeta from her hands, hauled her to her feet, pulled her down the stairs and out,
past the crackhouse and a sad park comforting its abused gazebo,
past the re-gentrified gingerbread (the 30-something junior executive was slapping his car’s shiny hood, trunk, flanks with a towel that plopped like a suicidal octopus on a carbon steel beach).
Out of breath, we pressed the button. A minute’s wait and there slouched the buzzard, annoyed we’d shortened his nap, rude when we admitted we didn’t want our hair cut.
2. Tyrone brought me midnight snacks, obligingly lowering already low jeans. Doris befriended all who blessed with cigarettes. The English grad student fetched the paper in his Bengali wife’s sari. Once at my place, with a telemarketer on the line, Francie yelled she was being strangled. Ten minutes later a cop filled my doorway, took one look and “beg-your-pardoned” petite, polite, very white me.
For Amelia Who Took Over Our Lease
Stand with Clementine who means something to you (I’ll never know what) above Fuller Street. Breathe the panoptic view of the Amtrak from Detroit to Chicago — thundering freight to Kalamazoo — tracks like hand- rails for the tiny who trace the banks of the Huron,
that reclining Cleopatra bejeweled by sun and security lights, under the guard of starving trees and gluttonous bushes. Strain your eyes for the floral shop masquerading as a church, the strip mall small as Monopoly. Admire the plastic Korean market and
Hindu grocery. I bequeath you the finest landlord. Treat him gently. He’s more fragile than he appears when he carves the air with gestures that resemble Tai Chi and laughs like he’s choking on his own dry jokes. Treat him with respect when he pulls his face
with his hand, hunches his shoulders and sighs on the lease. Be lenient with him. He won’t mind if you take an extra week to drop your check in the lopsided box. (I liked to think of it as dropping our kids at school.) Be young and bright. While you regale your friends with the
view he’s in that stuffy basement office with its smell of lint from laundry vents and a refrigerator door hanging open as though the fridge has been smothered. Listen with interest even if feigned to reports of California grandkids who harbor no love for Taipei.
Steven Petersheim is a professor and writer living in the Whitewater Valley region of eastern Indiana, where he teaches at Indiana University East. He enjoys hiking and exploring cultural and natural landmarks with his family. His poetry has appeared in Wilderness House Literary Review, The Wayfarer, and elsewhere.
The Windburned People
They told me this was fly-over country the first time I flew in to see, to put down one foot after the other, a way-station on the way to somewhere else – easy in, easy out, so they said.
But the cornfields (scoffed as they were) lifted tendrils to wave at me, perhaps to sweep indifferent cobwebs from my brain and to trail silky leaves across the sky, combing blue with green – laughing, sighing to see the busy people trapped in a world of concrete and metal and other matter less real than the water that works its way up into roots and out into air and streams that rise with the evaporation of the masses crossing in this country of cows and grass, wind and sun.
And rising out of seemingly nowhere, skyscrapers and arches and twisting interstates cut the air in two, mocking the flatness of the land – at least until a twister levels all to flat again. Then we stop and stare terribly like the dead, not sure how to live again unless it means remaking what was made or meant to be made, some tower to slice the heavens as we clamber up and up to the tiptop of human achievement, gods of this world at least until disaster throws us again from our pinnacles.
Out in the country, though, are the windburned people who work the land, who see its rhyme and reason in a way our brick and mortar institutions seem to twist to trophy wreaths and beautiful bleeding thorns and thistles. The windburned people, living out there away from strictures that keep out nature, sometimes stop to listen to the earth groaning, laboring, wiggly-worming under the weight of a human race that goes on and on with only the rarest of looks toward the land its mother.
I’m not from these here parts – I think that’s how to say it
round here – but I’ve come to like the way the land stretches out like a friendly goddess, more like a rock sanded flat on top covered with soil. I want what the windburned people keep around – I want more much more than I know to say I want.
When you appear before my burning eyes, I pause and think upon my blessed state, with no more need for bleeding sighs and cries, for you transmute my bitter-turning fate, your stirring presence like a soft caress. And I of all my faculties possessed delight in you who give me happiness by bringing smiles to me, in thought at least. Yet when I think upon your sudden going, the rush and crush of life now in the press that pours out wine of love no longer growing, then I can no more think, no more express the vanished dreams. New life it seems has come, leaving some part of me breathing numb.
You rarely speak unless spoken in song, rarely move unless moved toward, rarely remember unless remembered – and sometimes that is almost enough.
How can I gesture, with all my halting, toward epic tones like those you intone? How can I reach, with all my longing, the hidden springs from which you spring? What must I do, with all my wandering, to dance into the circle which you encircle?
What is it to remember, to make whole again those dreams you send me, dreams you sent them, up on your high mountain, searing the souls of prophets and seers who proclaimed and saw with body and mind and soul knit in harmony?
What is it to re-member my soul fully in tune with what you have written into my straining body, with what you have planted in my human psyche, with what you whispered me of divinity?
O Muse, send music to my soul – my soul that aches for words that breathe, words that weave through my mind, through my body, through my living, through my moving, through my being.
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