End This Endless Sunset – ekphrastic poem

End This Endless Sunset

Where do the seasons take us?
Is direction relevant
when the sun repeatedly sets
and the promise inherent in a sunrise
refuses to reveal itself?

Give me the promise of a spring
that cannot be denied, with clouds
to reflect that sunrise, not threaten
an unending storm to hold us back.

The Ekphrastic Review, with guest editor Janette Shafer offered Emilio Boggio’s Fin de la Jornada in The Emilio Boggio Ekphrastic Challenge. While I received encouraging comments from Janette, my submission did not make the final cut.  There are some wonderful selections that were chosen, including those by Kerfe Roig and Merril Smith, and they can be read here.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – Fin de la Jornada, by Emilio Boggio

Poem Up at The Ekphrastic Review ~&~ Mark Rothko Blues

My poem “the differences subtle” appears at Ekphrastic Writing Challenge Responses: Mark Rothko. It can be seen here, with other deserving reads. The painting “Untitled (Black on Red, 1957),” by Mark Rothko, is the inspiration for the challenge.  Once again, I’m fortunate to be on the same page as Kerfe Roig.
My thanks go to Lorette C. Luzajic, Editor at The Ekphrastic Review, for including my poem.

After submitting this, I read about the “Rothko” in a post by Paul Szlosek, and I decide to try the form. The “Rothko” was created by poet Bob Holman. Following Mark Rothko’s practice of using three distinct colors, it contains three lines, three words per line, in a tic-tac-toe pattern (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) – written while standing in front of a Rothko painting (here, viewing the image).

Mark Rothko Blues

red heat surrounding
scarlet barely surviving
blackness consuming all

Ken G.

Image source: Tate – Untitled (Black on Red, 1957), by Mark Rothko

Poem Up at The Ekphrastic Review

My poem “Imperfectly Purified” appears at Ekphrastic Writing Challenge Responses: Cristobal Rojas.  It can be seen here, with other deserving reads.  The painting “El Purgatorio,” by Cristobal Rojas is the inspiration for the challenge, and I am pleased that Kerfe Roig is among the poets with whom I share recognition.
My thanks go to Guest Editor Janette Schafer at The Ekphrastic Review, for including my poem.

Ken G.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – El Purgatorio, by Cristobal Rojas

Poem Up at The Ekphrastic Review

Hors du Cercle, by Joan Miro (Spain) 1920

My poem “The Way You Conduct Yourself” appears at The Ekphrastic Review in Ekphrastic Writing Challenge Responses: Joan Miro. It can be seen here, with other deserving reads.
My thanks go to Lorette C. Luzajik, editor of The Ekphrastic Review, for including my poem.

Ken G.

Farewell, Tuck

Tuck Magazine started out as a literary and arts publication covering poetry, fiction, reviews, art, and photography in October 2011. It went on to concentrate on human rights, politics, and social justice around the world, but I didn’t discover it until the autumn of 2018, when I had a burst of poetry regarding social issues, and Editor Michael Organ was kind enough to accept those poems.

In its editorial of May 3, 2019, Editorial: The Last Word, Tuck Magazine announced the end of its publication.

These are the poems published by Tuck Magazine:


What to Do When the Moon Won’t Be Your Mistress

Clouds will not be parted by presumptuous hands.
Yes, it may be a thin veil that separates you,
but it may as well be a swimsuit
worn by a young teen who is not impressed
by machismo worn like entitlement.

True, there is no need to silence her
when the vacuum of space buffers better
than loud music in a remote second-floor bedroom,
but even your clouded judgment must see
she cannot be restrained.

You may think you can bare the moon.
After all, boys will be boys. Besides, who would tell?
But if she finds her voice, others will question you,
so keep a calendar. It could turn the tide
if you need to talk your way out of anything.

Better yet, have a stiff drink
and keep your hands to yourself.

(Regarding the Brett Kavanaugh hearings)


Too Silent, Too Long

Voices remain silent.
They know,
but they don’t, really,
so they feel helpless

in their not knowing.
Ask the victims?
Make them relive their pain?
Questions unasked,

not knowing what to do,
while the survivors suffer
inner voices with their own
unasked questions.

And the accused,
or unaccused, given
the circumstances,
live free of conviction.

Aside from the victims,
is anyone innocent?



License to Hate

Great Again.
That’s what you said.

It’s not about color, politics, or religion.
You’re everyone’s friend.

Until you’re not. So you demonize,
stoking a climate of hate. Who’s the real demon?

In spite of their temporal source,
your words are not spoken in a vacuum.

Of course, all you have to do is disavow
anyone who puts your words into action.

Tweets from a hawk are music to no one,
with the real enemy fear mongering from the bully pulpit.

(POTUS #45)


The Joke Is on Us

We cringe at the thought of foreign agents
unleashing their terror upon us;
cordon off suspicious packages;
remove our shoes before boarding a plane;
subconsciously – hell, consciously –
profile certain attributes as alien, suspicious,
worthy of scorn and shunning,
terrorized by our own fear. To what end?

A man walks into a bar.

(mass shooting – Thousand Oaks, California)


anguish measured in tears

one foot in front of the other
families and miles
measured in the thousands

asylum their only need
pleas falling on deaf ears
dream now a nightmare

border crossing rebuffed
canisters traded for rocks
thrown in protest

tear gas for temerity
delivery indiscriminate, for families
lumped together as criminals

shed a tear for the child who sheds a tear

(US southern border)


Many thanks to Michael Organ
for his efforts and for publishing these.

Ken Gierke

And now to find a home for a poem that would have been a good fit for Tuck Magazine.

Image source: Tuck Magazine website header

Poem Up at The Ekphrastic Review

My ekphrastic poem, “Ageless,” is published today at The Ekphrastic Review. It is inspired by the acrylic on canvas painting “The Eternal Question,” by Mary Winifred Hood Schwaner, as well as the poem with which it appeared last year, “Saproxylic,” by Jeff Schwaner. Mary graciously allowed her painting to appear beside my poem.

Editor Lorette C. Luzajic continues to present a wide variety of art and poetry at The Ekphrastic Review, and I thank her for accepting this poem.

Poem Up at Vita Brevis

My poem “Ardea Herodias” appears today at Vita Brevis.  It was written as a tribute to a dear friend of mine who died way too early, two years ago. It was Dave who turned me on to Presque Isle State Park, just a mile from his home in Erie, and he came to mind as soon as I took this photo, last year. I think that the Great Blue Heron must have been his spirit animal.

My thanks go to Editor Brian Geiger for featuring this poem.

Ken G.


Poem Up at The Ekphrastic Review

My ekphrastic poem, “Fallen Leaves, after the Rain,” inspired by “Untitled (acrylic collage)” by Ron Schira, is published today at The Ekphrastic Review. Schira is an artist in Reading, Pennsylvania, and has worked in various media. The “assembled painting” is part of a series composed of acrylic layers placed on canvas, presenting a textured, three-dimensional aspect, each piece unique in its own right. I have long been familiar with his work, and the words of my poem were forming in my mind from my first viewing of this piece.

The photo is my own, as the painting is now in my home. The painting presents even more light from different angles, with silver and white seeming to emanate from hidden layers, which draws my eye to it at unexpected moments.

My thanks go to Editor Lorette C. Luzajic, who continues to present a wide variety of art and poetry at The Ekphrastic Review, for accepting this poem.

Ken G.