Mark Melnicove

Ed McCartan, “Embrace”, acrylic on paper, 52×40″

You can hear more than the ocean

You can hear more than the ocean in a seashell.

You can hear the grit on the window grinding in farther.

You can hear fear sweat black tar.

You can hear regimented genes spit seeds at sunshine.

You can hear plastic bags yearn to be liquid, to be oil again.

You can hear a concave order shapeshift into a convex mess.

You can hear feverish rosebuds break out in a rash on your cheeks.

You can hear diaries abort their periods.

You can hear ants wobble and fall on their way home after carousing.

You can hear greedy giants emerge from pebbles.

You can hear insincere confessions rattle the chains that hold them.

You can hear the prisoner mark his day on the wall.

You can hear the long, hard haul to mercy marching.

You can hear a bell ringing.

Who will answer it?


I started to draw

Paula Dougherty, “Freedom Prayer”

I started to draw a face.

I got as far as the nose and mouth.

Then, high-speed lies, news frequencies, burst onto the scene.

I lost control of my drawing hand.

I wanted to fashion something else for the face—a beard out of lines.

But I lost my grip, and the whiskers scattered like pick-up sticks.

I did not feel like playing.

All I wanted was to scratch my pen in peace.

But a whirlwind the size of continents spun me in the air.

It had breathing chunks of skin lodged in it.

Launched into space, I looked back at my creation.

I saw the page and innocent face there.

It was hairless, smiling, optimistic for the future.

I could not understand why.