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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Ekphrastic Poem: 136 words
Author’s Note: 38 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Dancing in the Eye


from what I’ve tasted of desire, painting by Steven Shroeder

from what I’ve tasted of desire
(watercolor and acrylic on paper, 2014)

Copyrighted © 2014 by Steven Schroeder. All rights reserved.

Fire and ice might suffice
for some, but when I go
I want the world awhirl

with the news of it,
the deafening roar
of my absence-to-be,

good lowland folk
raptured heavenward,
whole cities swept

out to sea, navies
dry-docked on mountain tops,
jumbo jets scrambled like

pick-em-up sticks. I want
cars confettied in whatever trees
it pleases me to leave stand.

I want looting and raping and
pillaging, lines of power
powerless. I want my name

slapped on that twisted sucker
for the record books.
I want you to clap hands

as I spit flamenco defiance
in the eye of my own passing,
Django riffing, guitar on knee,

smoke curling from the
cigarette beneath his
penciled Romani mustache

into the c’est la vie
of my next performance.
Tickets going, going,


Author’s Note:

The title of Steven Schroeder’s painting is a line from Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” [published by Harper’s Magazine in 1920, and reprinted in Frost’s first of four Pulitzer Prize-winning books, New Hampshire in 1923].

Steven Schroeder
Issue 1, January 2020

is a visual artist and poet who was born in Wichita Falls, grew up on the high plains in the Texas Panhandle, and now lives and works in Chicago. He earned his Ph.D. (1982) at the University of Chicago and spent thirty years moonlighting as a philosophy professor at universities in the United States and China. He has been painting for more than 50 years and writing poetry for nearly that long.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Portfolio and additional details

Books and links to scholarly publications

Learning to See Nothing: New and Recent Work on Paper and Canvas by Steven Schroeder; exhibition catalog, Eleanor Hayes Art Gallery (Kinzer Performing Arts Center, Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma; 4 September–18 October 2018)

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 1, January 2020

is the author of the poetry collection At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, November 2018). His second book, The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions after the art of Steven Schroeder, will be released early in 2020. His writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review; Flint Hills Review; Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity; I-70 Review; Illya’s Honey; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; Red River Review; River City Poetry; Shot Glass; The Ekphrastic Review; and the Wichita Broadside Project. His work has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology award; he was a quarter-finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry; and he read at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival and the Chikaskia Literary Festival in 2018.

Dean has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News. He lives in Augusta, Kansas, and serves as Event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music held annually in Wichita.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry (Fall 2017).

Metal Man, ekphrastic poem inspired by a 1955 photograph of Dean’s paternal grandfather in the Boeing machine shop; published in The Ekphrastic Review (28 July 2018) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Windmill, ekphrastic poem inspired by Dean’s maternal grandfather; published in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This poem is among half-a-dozen of Dean’s ekphrastic works published in KYSO Flash (Issues 11 and 12).

Llama, 1957, ekphrastic haibun inspired by Inge Morath’s photograph A Llama in Times Square; published in The Ekphrastic Review (13 January 2018).

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