a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
the stone-cold heart pinned
by the pale blooms of buds
in this city that fences out
cherry blossoms and peace—
rubber bullets, pepper balls, smoke bombs,
all the unconstrained and uncalled for
on parade to a photo op across Layfette Square
(its border street now renamed in bright caution yellow)—
to St. John’s Episcopal where the everyday horror of now
is colorfully on display in black and white: the charade
of posing for the political gone viral, the reality (not virtual)
of knees, necks, nooses, chains, chain-links fencing out/fencing in,
not again but still
Or is it a bridge—narrow, grated—
not beside still waters but over
the teeming, the troubled;
waves of multitudes crossing
the deadly current not to the old
promised land of denial but
to this other side,
rocky but reclaimed—
vast, expansive, unending—
ready to till, to sow, to harvest,
even now the faint scent
of grave-strewn blossoms
beginning to resurrect
the morning breeze.
Marjorie Maddox, winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); children’s books; Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor); and 550+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies.
Dr. Karen Elias taught college English for 40 years and is now an artist/activist, using photography to record the fragility of the natural world and raise awareness about climate change. Her work is in private collections, has been exhibited in several galleries, and has won numerous awards. She is a board member of the Clinton County Arts Council where she serves as membership chair and curator of the annual juried photography exhibit.
Elias and Maddox are engaged in an exciting, mutually inspiring project, combining poetry and photography in creative collaboration. Their work has been exhibited at The Station Gallery (Lock Haven, PA). Additional collaborations have appeared in such literary, arts, or medical humanities journals, as Cold Mountain Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Other Journal, Glint, and Ars Medica.