Monthly Archives: August 2014

“Lost River Suite” by Ben Nardolilli


Asphodel, asphodel,
Symbol the silence, the river
You crossed over the moon bank,
The moon bridge, heavy with toil,
Asphodel charming, charm
Again over the pinecone races,
Track through the field your old love

River blues over the sandy cove,
Through the grass, you
Face of all faces and branches,
Seal off the lagoon and dreams,
No barrier but blindness now,
To circulate over the boundary with you,
Together under the same hood at last

You open your hand and crush the pill,
You ask me to taste
Terrible sweetness, the twisted cures,
Terrible the forgetting of the song,
The tongue of the rock speaking,
No dam of dustbin thoughts,
Bring out the forbidden seeds
And save yourself from the season.

Strike up the currents to dance,
Mingle over the roots to excess,
Make tree statues in the shadows,
Stalk and grind your bone footsteps guide,
Bend the wind to the old bow,
Asphodel, asphodel emerge
With your bitter winter wings

This has been “Lost River Suite” by Ben Nardolilli, the fifth installment of our Fractured Retina series.

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, THEMA, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He has a chapbook Common Symptoms of an Enduring Chill Explained (, from Folded Word Press. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel.

Photo illustration by Allison Fabian


Paintings by Marc Moses

IMG_0519 No Time 2 Spare, 36″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas

I used to worry that I intentionally aimed for accessibility where so many of the artists I most admire, like de Kooning, aimed for the more abstract? Recently, though, I’ve begun to feel that if my orientation is toward the observer, it is partially because my transition from pure observer to artist occurred so late, and also because my vantage point is no longer at the center of the map. Now when I reach out to the observer, it is through the angles and abstractions of others who have pushed and distorted the envelope. Art is, for many, a spiritual endeavor. Still, I personally believe that it is in the context of a non-theistic world that artistic expression holds even greater significance. Every artwork does, in fact, represent its own particular affirmation of intentionality over randomness. It was an encounter with color later in my life that triggered my birth as painter, but it occurred decades after I had first learned to sketch, which I did sitting in on life-drawing classes a friend’s father taught at Parsons in my early teens. I developed some facility drawing with charcoal back then, but never considered venturing beyond black and white, where there is an obvious right or wrong. Color would, I worried, only introduce more complications and aware of my difficulty with decisions, as basic as buying toothpaste, it seemed safest to stay away from color.

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgView from the Office, 36″ x 44″, acrylic on canvas

I continued to sketch sporadically over the years. Nevertheless, the feeling of being intimidated by color made it hard to take myself more seriously as an artist. Not until decades later, in the aftermath of a drug addiction and having lost my apartment, I ended up living at a city shelter on the lower east side. This shelter, however, had an art studio that had been sponsored and subsidized by a philanthropist with a true love for the arts. I can honestly say that I spent most of my waking hours at the shelter there in that art room. And given the shelter’s 6:00 a.m. wake-up call for breakfast, I had a lot of waking hours during that year. Rejecting a history of only sketching and drawing in black and white, I started exploring and I soon discovered a passion for color which has kept me painting ever since.

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg-1L.E.S. 2012, 48″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas

Avoiding color was one of those decisions that had made perfect intellectual and logical sense. Also it is a decision which proved to be entirely wrong when I discovered a sensitivity to color that allows me to match a given color or shade. Had my life followed a less tumultuous path, many things would be quite different and it is most likely I would not be a painter, and that would be too bad because painting, more than anything else, really feels like what I should be doing.

To see more work by Marc Moses, visit his website at


“Midtown Crosshairs” by Brian Alvarado

Circa- 2:00 AM,

Circa- the West 50s,

and yet impedimentary

flows of traffic persist,

mostly droves of

taxi-worker drones

finally calling it quits.

The transcendent traverse

of shame and defeat

is always an undesirable one.

Because going crosstown then (or anywhere for that matter)

was indicative of specific resolutions.

The internal wake-up call—

the hand spent too long on

the surface of the most

hellacious of stoves,

the reminder that in this dog-eat-
cat-eat-dog-and-cat world,

slow and steady skims the lace,

and ultimately,

the nicest of predators

do finish last.

This has been “Midtown Crosshairs” by Brian Alvarado.

Brian Alvarado is a sonnet, opera, and craft beer enthusiast born and raised in the Bronx, NY.