Saturday, January 24, 2015

In the Garden

Image by Randi Ward

Holdfast XXI

In the Garden
where footsteps
much smaller than hers
pave paths to dwellings
much more fragile than hers,
she sits in a clearing
under the shade of a willow
to listen
to the Tiny Green Gnome Band
bellow out a tune so loud,
she could finally say
she knows the wind
is a siren soprano
and the bees buzz a bass
keeping the Band's heart beat.
In the Garden,
she is Home.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Image by Elizabeth S. Gilliam-Hedgepath

I want to see all of the caves
and stride so gracefully,
through its spiky, glistening, chilly
that even the darkness
wonders at my ghostly
I will
spelunk silently,
swiftly through
silent streams, and
crystallized pools
reflecting icy, daggered ceilings; where
a frost so palpable,
the streams marvel
at their own reflections
in the dripping sky.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter: Under the Mayo Bridge

Take me down by the river,
Where the waves
wave hello and go,
where sharp stones
stab my toes
and once
the basins
of now-forgotten
and stones that scrub
my skin away
from dead

Take me down by the river
Where blue herons
crack their reflection
when their wings graze
against an endless
Stuttering ripples
crashing into
my ankles,
as I watch
the grey sky
now speckled
with blue.

Take me down by the river.
Take me down by the river.
Take me down.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Observatory

i'll admit
i came for the booze --
a liquor
whose fragrance
wafted and whirled
through a room
of grotesque, mummified things.
a fragrance that
morphed into a curled finger,
beckoning me,
enticing me,
to ogle the color of her hair:
pink like the jarred worms,
encapsulated in formaldehyde.
the sweetness
of anise
and licorice
pulled my wallflower taste buds
off my tongue-floor
to waltz
the way we would
on a crowded dance floor
in a dive bar
during Prohibition.

i now know why
Van Gogh himself
lost an ear
to the luscious green
his senses
squished together
craving clear air,
the way we did
in a dive bar
during Prohibition.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter's Bite

My lip split,
from Winter's dagger.

The Wind shouts,
en garde!
And I falter,

For I wish not
To bicker
With Winter's bite.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Video: Silent Whistle

* Spinion Note: This piece was previously published in Quail Bell Magazine.

Director: Tyler Rosado

Winter. Sparse. Cold.
Yet nature continues to cycle Her course. Bare branches resemble cerebral synapses. A symbol of a macro and microcosmic unity between all organisms.

Book Review: The Green Condition

*Spinion Note: This piece has previously been published in Quail Bell Magazine.

The Green Condition is a lyrical collage composed of raccoons, metal-casting, Roman history, Seattle, and the trials and tribulations of moving. Though Colen dives into these distinct and metaphoric images in a stream of conscious-style, she ties them together through the narrator’s revealing one-liners:

Once I know what to listen for, I hear it all the time.

The Green Condition evokes the lush, overgrown arboreal environment that is the Pacific Northwest. At the same time, it evokes the loneliness that comes when a new job absorbs a significant other. The narrator has no choice but to observe her (his?) new surroundings.
When she leaves I put her toothbrush in my mouth. I hold it here two hours.
Comparisons of Seattle and Rome further evoke the narrator's loyalty to nostalgia. Unlike Rome, Seattle stands, and continues growing. Does the narrator hope for the fall of Seattle where the couple can return to their old life?

At one point we had a symbiosis. An understanding of how a life should look.

Enter the raccoons and metal-casting the narrator continues dissecting during these lonely days. Colen weaves these vastly different images together in a way that reveals a the narrator’s resolve in this new environment: scavenging to survive and building a thick skin despite a dissolvable core.

In the green condition there must be adequate strength for handling.

I am most interested in the bronze sculpture of the wolf, and the core that was made to hold it. The core that was designed to come apart in the end once the casting metal had cooled, held shape.

Was it the move? The raccoons? The longing for a fading love? The casting of a new shell to survive? We won’t know—but through these images, though at first glance appear irrelevant, Colen deconstructs them in a way that inspires readers to find symbolism and meaning in the most uncharted manner.

Elizabeth J. Colen is the author of the poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books, 2010) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies (Jaded Ibis Press, 2012), as well as flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake (Rose Metal Press, 2011). She lives in Seattle.