Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Self Portrait: A New Poem by Eric Nicholson

Self Portrait in Hell

I cannot find myself
in a threatening form with bird’s head. I stand
naked on a beach.

I was of two selves
and met my other self walking
towards me down a familiar street.

Art’s created from heart’s blood.
I paint Self Portrait in Hell,
a blood vessel bursts in my eye.

My relationship with Tulla ends
in violence and I lose a finger
joint from my left hand.

I do not know which to prefer,
the truth and anguish of art,
or the anguish of each day.

I’m sitting by a window,
my disfigured ‘hand of destiny’
clearly framed.

Another portrait in another room,
the space behind me shining through
my physical body.
Eyes of fire glow in the window pane.

I smell the resin
from the tall pines in the forests
of my childhood.

Each moment the door shuts.

I carefully measure the slow decline
into infirmity and old age.
I’m staying at Asgardstrand Hotel.

I walk with my hazel stick among
the violets and primroses in the perfumed
brilliance of spring.

The sunshine glances
off the south face
of Hardangerfjord. My mountain of mankind
rumbles in the distance.

Now the waterfall’s rushing
in my ears.

Bio: Eric Nicholson is now retired. He worked as an ESOL teacher and in other fields of education. Now in his retirement he enjoys countryside conservation, writing and walking. His work has previously been published in www.neutronsprotons.com,www.literaryorphans.org and www.emptysink.com. He blogs on http://www.erikleo.wordpress.com

More of Eric’s work is forthcoming in Long Exposure, Issue 1.

Image: Self Portrait in Hell by Edvard Munch, oil on canvas, 1903. Property of the Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway.

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Night in the City: A New Poem by James Bell

you can almost hear a siren’s distant howl
his cigarette is fresh and will take a while to smoke –
she will stand and wait for an answer

their window is closed against the night air,
noise and car fumes – they prefer their own temperatures
and aromas, half undressed or dressed

her perfume stronger; she wears a black skirt
and bra for heat rather than warmth – the red mask
hooked on the window frame is for a perspective

to see through any party masquerade
that has been or is yet to be – while
both sets of eyes are locked together

they see each other with the same expression – question
whether resolution will arrive before dawn

Bio: James Bell has published two poetry collections, the just vanished place (2008) and fishing for beginners (2010), both from tall-lighthouse. He lives in Brittany where he contributes articles and photography to an English language journal and continues to publish poems nationally and internationally. His recent print appearances include Tears In The Fence, Elbow Room, The Journal, Shearsman, The Stony Thursday Book, Under the Radar and Upstairs at Du Roc.

Two Poems by Lesley Burt

Edward Hopper

The label on my suitcase …

… reminds me I do not belong.
Outside, sky darkens over a line
of could-be-anywhere mountains.

Electric light casts shadows around
plain walls, plain carpet, plain curtains;
and the chair with no cushion

where I drop my wrap; perch
on the king-size bed, careful
not to rumple its dull coverlet;

turn sideways from my Buick
parked by the window. Wait.
Anticipate that knock at the door.

(After ‘Western Motel’, Edward Hopper, 1957, Yale University Art Gallery)

Continue reading “Two Poems by Lesley Burt”

Remember Breton: A New Poem by Mary Jacob

Breton

White paste, skewed lips, hospital green
you have been drained of blood
your heart clenched tight around your throat
your hair is an oil slick, a shield, a shadow
the line down the centre of your face
jags left and right, dodging bullets
your ear is a walking cane
your shoulders an encampment
asteroids your eyes

Continue reading “Remember Breton: A New Poem by Mary Jacob”

‘Remember’: A New Haiku by Tracey Walsh

rsz_1image1

Personal effects
repatriated jumble
remains remaindered

Part of Long Exposure’s ‘Looking Back’ project for National Poetry Day.

Bio: Tracey Walsh has recently had work featured in Long Exposure. She tells us about the background to this poem:

Walter Walker (an uncle of my dad, also Walter Walker) enlisted in the army in 1915, aged 17 (he told them he was 19). He was killed in action in France on 14 April 1917. The image shows one of several documents, found when researching the family tree, that deal with the ‘admin’ of his death. Another form sent to his mother, Harriett, asked her to choose a personal inscription for his gravestone in the war cemetery in France (We Shall Meet Again).
Four of Harriett’s children served in the Great War. Walter’s brother, Edward, died a year to the day after him, 14 April 1918. He has no grave, personal effects or admin forms, just his name inscribed on a memorial stone at Loos, France.

Looking Back: For National Poetry Day

In preparation for National Poetry Day (2nd October) Long Exposure is drawing on the theme of ‘remember’, requesting submissions of new work in response to photographs or images which document history, both personal and otherwise, and which allow a shift from the present into another space or time. We feel strongly that there is a depth and variety to images, especially those of our past, which is able to bring something unique to light. We are invested in the value of poetry and believe in its capacity to make concrete the experience of remembering, of being taken back, of recording or re-recording our impressions or responses. Our histories can provide luminous material for poetry, and it is the writing of this which we wish to encourage and bring forward, as well as the links between picture and word.
Poems are welcome in any style or form, although they should adhere to the standard submissions guidelines. As always if the image which has inspired a particular piece is available we would love to see how it and the text are interacting, so please send them too; otherwise we would welcome some further context to gain an insight into what encouraged the writing, and why it matters to you.
All submissions can be sent to editor@longexposuremagazine.com. A selection of submissions will appear on our sites as part of our engagement with National Poetry Day.

‘You should always be taking pictures, if not with a camera then with your mind.’- Isaac Marion

A New Haiku by Tracey Walsh

Webbed garden spider
strung badminton net fashion
your luncheon is served

Bio: Tracey Walsh has been enjoying life since early retirement in 2013. Indulging a lifelong love of crime fiction by starting a book review blog, she has also discovered a new interest in photographing local Lancashire countryside and wildlife. This is Tracey’s first attempt at poetry since school days.