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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Ekphrastic Poem: 244 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.

The One the Brothers
Grimm Left Out

 

event horizon 2, painting by Steven Schroeder

event horizon 2
(acrylic on paper, 2018)

Copyrighted © 2018 by Steven Schroeder. All rights reserved.



This is the cathedral of the collapsed world,
the sanctuary of hopes abandoned, the museum of
emotional discombobulation, the point

of no return at the end of the line
of futility. The trees in this forest
of eternal night are shades of fairy tales,

extruding ectoplasmic evergreen fingers
misconceived in the absence
of photosynthesis, the absence of you, of any

bright beating heart. This timber roots
in the topsoil of desolation, the cinders
of burned-at-the-stake love. The hoot of the owl

of despair echoes nonstop,
the bay of the wolf of eternal winter,
the wasted beauty of the nightingale’s aria.

O, I was born here, as I’ve come to believe,
birthed into eternal abandonment, emerging
now and then at the whisper

of footsteps such as yours, walking
with you a bit down the road
until we come to that hostel

known as the Parting of the Ways,
at which there is no bed with my name,
no space for me at the table,

not even the ghost of a wave
from you as you enter, the dawn a rumor
on the horizon, breadcrumbs

which I have strewn, needlessly,
on the road back to the land
of wicked stepmothers, poisoned

apples, children served up for
dinner, the country where happy endings
go to die, where I consume the gruel

of grief, the stones of self-pity, croak
my kiss-shunned frog-prince lullaby
deep and deep and deep into the night.
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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