Archive for June, 2011

Alessandro Catuogno

Jun 27, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories

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Born into a sea-faring family, the sea is always close to Alessandro Catuogno’s heart.  He’s tried to capture all of her aspects, the calm and the rough, as a medium for sport, or simply as scenic background. Even though they’ve drifted apart over the years, the sea remains the fondest memory of his youth spent in Marina Piccola. As it often happens, one’s passion becomes one’s work. All began in the early 70’s with a spark of enthusiasm and a camera lent by a friend. Since that day, Alessandro has spent many hours in a dark room developing his first monochrome films, watching the magic of the pictures appearing on the paper, still immersed in the developing trays.

Much time has passed since then, but his passion for photography has remained strong, actually increased thanks to the development in modern technology which has given birth to a new world he is discovering day by day.  Alessandro’s main activity now, is the fine art printing process, with carbon piezography inks on rag papers, and a matt cutting system, for all his international clients, and for his small gallery in Capri.

Visit Alessandro Catuogno’s websites:

www.alessandrocatuogno.com
www.capri-fineartprints.com

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Ricky Deel

Jun 27, 2011 1 Comment by Sea Stories


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Ricky was born and raised in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He studied art with an emphasis on Painting and Sculpture at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.

His personal work has always revolved around the oceans or at least the life in them. Ricky finds inspiration in the vast amount of life that exists beneath its surface. That interest has driven him, career wise, toward an aquarium and museum exhibit field of work. Ricky still likes to escape into his artwork, which tends to play on the whimsical style. He see them as reflections of his mood at the time.

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Skylaar Amann

Jun 27, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories

Mermaid’s Lament

Your nametag says Prince, but I’ve never met one.
You keep me sleeping outside your door: tell me, am I another fish
off the side of the ship?

**********************
Hook, line, and sinker, my mother said, the old cynic.
No one told me it would be so hot up here. The earth beneath
me swells and falls. I swoon. A metal railing
catches me—where are you?

***************************That night, under stars and paper lanterns,
when you gazed off the prow in my direction, did you see me,
or your impeccable reflection? Look what I gave up for you—you
wouldn’t know sacrifice if it washed up rotting at your feet. Try standing downwind
sometime, then you’ll know how I feel.

***********************************
Take me away to the blue room,
where silence packs our ears and your hushed tongue sounds echoes
through the chamber. Remind me why I came above. For your eyes
like sanded glass? lips that grin like low tide over a shallow reef?

**********************************************************
Full moon
a week ago, but I can still feel the tug in my new skin, in my teeth, in my phantom tail.

Prince

My hands are tied, Angelfish. My jurisdiction ends
at the edge of the tide, and you’re still half below
the waves.

*********I’ve never met anyone like you either.
You compare saucers to seashells, delight in clouds
and worms, but your tongue stings like those jellyfish
that used to light your nights like lanterns.

***************************************I can see
your heart as well as the bottom of the ocean. You want
my respect, you’ve got it, more than most. But this arm’s
length you say I keep you at—that’s you keeping me.
This tide pool at our feet, ignore the urchins and look in:
glades of kelp caught in the mirrors of your eyes, not me.
End of the day, I’m still a prince, obligation demands: parties
at the castle, new clothes, the whole bit.

***********************************What else can I offer you?
I know the surf whispers to you in sleep, the lowing
of the whales your lullaby. I am all skin and lungs and opposable thumbs.
Take a look: so are you now. You’ve made this bed, down and silk,
not reeds or coral or sand.

***********************Your feet ache like the graze
of shark teeth? Lie down, I’ll call the masseuse,
the speech therapist, anything you want, but promise me: just once
keep the windows closed, and the curtains.

***************************************The cold air keeps me awake,
makes me late for work; the cold air makes you dream only of the sea.

RE:      Wake

Other,

I could stand on the bluff all day and wait. Wind blows fog; salt crusts my shoes. Then—horizon line: your warm breath on the cold sea—smoke signal, mirrored s.o.s. refracts. I run, but eroding sandstone holds me. The edge, one foot on the hundred-foot cliff, another balances above the waves—black shadows surface. You are faster than I remember following. I hitch a ride in a wooden aeroplane I can’t see keep speed. Elastic space between us. Multiply—I’ll follow you.

Black fins, flukes cut the water. Nose up and spyhop—spot me spotting you? Jump higher, breathe dry air with your wet head, lungs like canvas sails. Don’t breathe and dive deeper. Too high I can’t—you breathe for me. Too shallow, you down there, join me. Spine bends arc above the waves. Breach: bellyskin to whitecaps, reach me. Black-and-white blocks the sun, one ton and ten massless rides the wind beside myself. Eye sidelong: blue-grey like sea enough to hold me. Brown like tiny mine, petrified wood. A woman I don’t recognize from another era looks back in a blink, in a hundred years, the fin de siècle in her floppy hat. Flap a fin like her shrug. Blades of the helicopter cut above. Beneath again, breathe deep, leave a footprint on the water, gumshoe, clues to follow you: I know. Barnacle-crust mouth says eye knows too.

Out-of-body, look down at you. Spirit guide like I died? Hide me in your eye: eons of tide line, salt brine. Eyelid-cradle human-sized. Trite? Too trying to say divine? Glass float sea globe eye, big enough to house me, haunt me. Microcosmic algae, shellfish living on your beak beckon me, a beacon. Silent giant, sing me your sonar song. Echo me in the cave of your throat. Locate me among you. I float my dory through your lumbering flotilla, another trace of plankton flotsam, a flurry amid skeins of baleen.

~~~~~~~~

Skylaar Amann is a poet and artist living in Portland, Oregon. She has hand-bound several hardback and chapbook editions of her writing and drawing. In 2005, Skylaar received a Kidd Tutorial fellowship and scholarship from the University of Oregon. She writes regularly on the subjects of the sea, love, and chronic pain.

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Lynn Fanok

Jun 27, 2011 2 Comments by Sea Stories

Lined up on the back seat

going home
from the beach
and squirming,
forced to create a continuity
of form on the station wagon’s
blue vinyl bench

like a school
of smoked whiting
arranged one-by-one
on a delicatessen tray
under smeared windows
without cohesive substance,
except for arms and legs,
stuck to the blue vinyl.

Also accepted for publication by Burnt Bridge.


Escape

Striped canvas,
gypsy’s tarot tent.
She’s floating
on seaweed dreams.

She moves through flip-flops,
cotton-candy saturated air,
oil and sweat colliding.

Rusted dodge-cars swerve,
avoiding near misses.

She swims in a cul-de-sac
among swaying hips
wishing someone would
toss her a life-preserver.

Taffy-toned dusky-eyed boys:
Bunsen-burners, simmering,
stirring, pouring on sun-lotion lines.

Her pearly lips smile.
She flounders in the sweet undertow
of words.

A stem-of-a-girl, a reed,
under developed
in the murky depth-of-field,

a stow-away,
she drifts aboard a seagull solitude,
escaping the leviathan on shore.


Wanting

Rummaging dresser drawers,
flinging out mismatched tops and bottoms,
I unearth a swimsuit,
long since grown too small:

bumping along on the back seat,
we head to the ocean;
feet touch down gingerly,
on to the searing gravel, the beach,

scattering fiddler crabs,
on the loose;
we dip toes into coolness,
then recoil.

Cousins from New York,
who never learned to swim,
splashing, whining,
mutineers
of our desperation,

the waterline of disappointment rises,
hand-me-down, second-hand, tired,

Bapcia bakes, sweats,
too many mouths,
not enough love,
to satisfy all the want.

The distant dock floats, tranquil,
in the water every summer,
and we continue to fight
over the one black inner-tube.


Sunny

They would go fishing
in a row boat.
That was how they shared.

Later, things changed
as adolescence struck,
and challenges came
face-to-face.

Still, the sunfish were
spilled from a bucket,
after being held briefly
in the air to admire,
released to carry on
with their buoyant lives.


Leaning

on the boardwalk railing,
she glances down
at her sweaty,
tentacle fingers
enveloping a wax paper cup
of melting ice cubes.

She’s urged
by a small boy’s elbow
jabbing her side,
to look up at a streamer
floating
from a slow bi-plane.

Her freshly painted
mascara eyes
gaze upward.

Clearly unimpressed,
she tosses her dark hair
over sunburnt shoulders.

Hungry, she says: “I want a . . .”
“I want you!” Some gawking guy
drools out the sun-lotion words.
She swims in them.

~~~~~~~~

Lynn Fanok is a poet and aspiring musician who grew up in New Jersey, and was introduced to the seaside at an early age. Her recent return to graduate school reignited her interest in writing poetry. She has written a collection of poems about family, history, and memory. Her poetry has appeared in  Burnt Bridge, and is forthcoming in Oak Bend Review. Lynn currently lives in lovely Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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Nancy Scott

Jun 27, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories

Crossing the North Sea

I’ve forgotten the name for that kind
storm, but it hardly matters.
I think of it as God having had
a really bad temper tantrum.

Our little ferry boat was cursed.
A test of its faith? Or payback
for some grievance God thought up
to harass seafaring vessels.

What had those poor horses done
to deserve such a fate?

Contentedly tethered in the hold until the sea
rose up, thirteen purebred
Arabians, pride of a Saudi prince,
broke loose.

Past midnight, it wasn’t a dream
as I lurched along corridors, desperate
for crackers stashed in my car below
to blunt the relentless nausea.

That’s when I saw the gaping wound aft,
heard the crew yelling, some wielding
grappling hooks, some clinging
to the rail peering down, impotent
as the last horse disappeared.

First published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, 2009


The Breaking Yard
Alang, India

After lives spent on the open seas, like dead
whales, they’re beached, run aground

as a final resting place. Battered ships and ferries,
hulls rusted, engines past repair, at the mercy of

a thousand men or more, scavenging like rats.
Steel, cables, bells, planking dismantled

with chisels and blow torches; helpless tonnage
winched piece-by-piece and carted off.

The air ripe with stench of rotting cargo,
of men laboring in scorching heat,

lungs seared, skin blackened
from fumes of burning steel and paint.

Men trapped, one misstep from oblivion,
in a listing ship, its prow and stern

unbalanced, crews racing to extract them.
Another bloodied from a falling crane.

For those bone-tired from the constant din,
racked with fevers and parched lips

like seafarers stranded on a mythic shore,
there’s cool respite within a ship’s bowels,

a world apart from ghost carcasses left
to shimmer in the heat and salty air.

From far-off temples, salvaged bells
ring out, unhindered.

First published in Cultural Logic, 2006

~~~~~~~~

Nancy Scott is the current managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey. She is the author of two books of poetry, Down to the Quick (2007) and One Stands Guard, One Sleeps (2009) both published by Plain View Press, and two chapbooks, A Siege of Raptors (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Detours & Diversions (Main Street Rag, 2011). She became interested in writing poetry in the mid-90s as way of capturing many stories she had heard as a caseworker for the State of New Jersey. She worked primarily in the inner city, assisting homeless families, abused children and those with mental health issues and/or AIDS. In 2010, she made a foray into the art world, creating and exhibiting her collages in various venues in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as online journals. In her art, as well as her poetry, Nancy gravitates toward people and place for thematic material. Visit www.nancyscott.net

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L.B. Sedlacek

Jun 27, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories

Nautical

A ship’s diagram
shows
cabins, elevators, lounges
a far cry from commercials
showing
smiling, drinking, swimming
couples
all having a great
time
packed into
a large
metal box.

~~~~~~~~

L.B. Sedlacek’s poetry has appeared in publications such as Assisi Journal, Manorborn, Inkburns, Tertulia Magazine, MamaZine, Iodine, Down in the Cellar, T-Zero, The Hurricane Review, Audience Magazine, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Pergiee, Bear Creek Haiku, Poesia, and others. L.B.’s latest chapbook is “Twisting.”

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Arthur Seeley

Jun 27, 2011 1 Comment by Sea Stories

Burial at Sea

Withered with fever, hove to in Cyprus, I died
one night as the moon rose like a quinquereme
breasting the world’s rim. Night birds cried
in the singing trees and the south wind sighed
rich with the spice-thick perfumes of a dream.

They shot me from a polished plank to slide
into the long slow bulges of the swollen deep
down through the rippling gloom to glide
down to glum-weeded shadows to hide
and, snug as an oyster in my canvas shroud, to sleep.

A century, a century and more have gone
while I hung, nudged by long shapes and ragged maws,
till I and the guzzling sulk-mouthed fish were one
till I and the marlin, crab and rotting gull, in confusion,
broke in boiling rollers along other shores.

I have learned the lessons that the sea can teach;
streamed from the dolphin’s muscled flank;
slopped on the wracked and cockled beach;
listened to the sea mews bicker in a brackish reach;
seen the clipper heel beyond the bell-buoyed bank.

I am the whales’ path and their fluted song.
I am the gleam of oil-slicked waters in a Northern dock.
I am the stinging salt-lash in the gale-flung
slap of sloggered brine and the tide-long
spuming over broken rock.

~~~~~~~~

Arthur Seeley, an elderly Yorkshireman, now well retired from his career as a teacher and lecturer in Mathematical Education, bought a computer and turned his hand to poetry. He is mostly interested in work shopping his poetry on the internet but has been  awarded the title of Yorkshire Water’s Poet Idol and also coming second in the World Haiku Association’s haibun competition.

He first saw the sea at the age of ten and was astonished at the size and wonder of it. He has lived most of his life in the moors and dales of Yorkshire but now lives in a sea harbor in the Philippines with his beautiful Filipina wife.

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Tim Tomlinson

Jun 27, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories

Blue Surge, with Prokoviev

Not far from the coast of Aruba, no
deeper than fifteen meters, you roll
weightless in the surge and figure out
a few things you’ll never remember but

will always feel.  For awhile, you have a friend
you can trust here – a loggerhead turtle
the size of a manhole cover who
allows you to accompany her nowhere

in particular.  She tilts, you tilt, she glides,
you glide, until she edges past the outcropping
and drops into opaque blue.  There’s a feeling
of falling when you watch a friend fall,

but when you check your gauges you’re really
not far from where the friend left you, at the edge
of the soft corals bending and swaying,
bending and swaying, as white water wrinkles

the surface your bubbles climb toward.
The water column is empty.  You breathe
down toward the tops of things – blennies poking
like thoughts from holes in the brain coral,

anemones limp as gloves half off hands.
In your mind’s ear, Prokoviev’s first
piano concerto, its pushing and pulling,
pushing and pulling, at the body,

the trunk, the heart.  Nearby, on a head
of bleached coral, the feathers of a crinoid
wave in the current.  Everything benign
is predatory, everything passive
lies in ambush.  It’s a world you understand.

Sunrise Dive

The news this morning:  oil spills on the reef,
where a rainbow parrot sleeps on a ledge inside a sac of its own mucus,
its eyes wide open.

Under my torch the mucus glistens
like beads on a veil. The sac undulates
in soft currents – the parrotfish wobbles,
imperturbable.

The bad news comes most mornings.  You can read it
in the garbage wedged into patches
of finger coral a dozen yards out,
where the reef shelf drops straight down
a thousand feet.

At the edge
of the blue-gray visible, a bull shark
noses the wall.  She’s there most mornings, too,
when

things on the reef pretend not to be things –
it’s an anxious time, a drama on the edge of great violence

most of us will survive.

My torch beam inches gently along the corals.
Antennae recede, spaghetti worms
retract, feather dusters
vanish,

and cleaner shrimp tuck into the fingers of anemones
like women pulling in shutters.

A spotted moray nuzzles the green cup coral.
Schools of wrasse and jacks emerge –
they parade in the sunlight just reaching edge.

Once I worked for Big Oil.  What have I done?

Tongue of the Ocean

Before dawn I boil water in a dented pan set over cans of sterno.
The coffee is poison—I drink two cups with sugar while preparing my gear:
******torch, tanks, sling.
I spit in my mask and back-roll off port into dark water.

Shadows of the nocturnals rush dark gray over the rubble, my heart thumping
*******in the wetsuit.
Marauding jacks strike at my bubbles, and barracuda flash silver as new dimes in the
*******chaos before my mask.
Something is out there.
What I kill I gut and clean and sizzle in a pan with onions.

My hands stink of the sea, a funky saltwater conch stink that forms my pillow at
*******night.
Nights light up like a thousand cruise ships sliding over each other on pages of blue-black
*******ink.

I read the sky the way we were taught not to read books—with superstition and
*******wonder and fractured syntax, without logic, causality, or motivation.
I put “e” before “I” and I tear the night’s footnotes into confetti.

I fall asleep dreaming of what I might kill for breakfast, hungry and satisfied
*******and afraid.

~~~~~~~~

Tim Tomlinson is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing.  He is the fiction editor of the webzine Ducts.  In 2011 new fiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming online in International Literary Quarterly, Mandala Journal, Prick of the Spindle, riverbabble, Spindle (Philippines), and Used Furniture Review, and in print in Pank #5, and the anthologies Long Island Noir (Akashic Books), and Flashlight Memories.

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Madalina Iordache-Levay

Jun 27, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories


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Madalina was born in Romania in 1982. She grew up painting and drawing, and then betrayed images for words when she went to university to study Journalism. Madalina is grateful to that time, as she came to discover photography and digital art.

She lives and works in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Madalina is a graphic designer (BrightPink Studio) and a gallery artist represented by James Schot Gallery.

View Madalina’s website. http://madyiordache.com/

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Karen Michel

Jun 27, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories


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Karen Michel is a mixed media Artist who creates work from recycled and repurposed materials, mojo and sunshine.  She is also the author of The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery and Green Guide for Artists.

You can visit her at www.karenmichel.com

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