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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 124 words
By Charles D. Tarlton



Cherry and Maple Trees: Folding screens (early 1820s) by Sakai Hoitsu
I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds.

—Egon Schiele*


Along this road 
where blossomed trees 
	    sprawling sideways 
to the sloping 
hillside at an angle curved, 

and fiddleheads and lilies 
smoothly dot the lawn neatly mowed. 
                        Very Japanese! 

But, wait! Wait! The reader 
hesitates. What, if anything, happens? 

If it had snowed, and the sloping 
            hillside had become perfect 
for sledding or rolling snowballs 
      down to the ice, 

there’d be children in the picture,  
        The poet 
dreamed of ink and a brush; 
		     see, here, where there’s 
a gentle breeze 
on shore, the blossoms 
like a brushed-on dancing girl  舞姫 maihime 
over the dunes 
where the yellow scent of the wind 
carries up to us. 



* Footnotes:

Links below were retrieved on 22 July 2022:

1. Image reproduced above is Screen Number Two of Cherry and Maple Trees (pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; early 1820s) by Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), held by The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

2. Epigraph is from a letter by Egon Schiele to Anton Peschka in 1910. Source: Egon Schiele (1890-1918) at TCU Art in Europe blog, which quotes the following passage from the book Egon Schiele by Frank Whitford (London: Thames and Hudgon Ltd., 1981):

“I want to leave Vienna very soon. How hideous it is here! Everyone envies me and conspires against me. Former colleagues regard me with malevolent eyes. In Vienna there are shadows. The city is black and everything is done by rote. I want to be alone. I want to go to the Bohemian Forest. May, June, July, August, September, October. I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds. I want to gaze with astonishment at moldy garden fences. I want to experience them all, to hear young birch plantations and trembling leaves, to see light and sun, enjoy wet, green-blue valleys in the evening, sense goldfish glinting, see white clouds building up in the sky, to speak to flowers.”

3. 舞姫 maihime: In Japanese, “mai” (dancing) and “hime” (princess, or young lady of noble birth).

Charles D. Tarlton
Issue 14, August 2022

is a retired university professor of political theory who lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut with his wife, Ann Knickerbocker (an abstract painter), and a Standard Poodle named Nikki. He is the author of three books of prosimetra published by KYSO Flash Press: Touching Fire: New and Selected Ekphrastic Prosimetra (2018), Get Up and Dance (2019), and Carmody & Blight: The Dialogues (2019).

His most recent book, Peaches and Roses: Episodes in the Navajo Degradation, was released in January 2021 by Silver Bow Publishing (New Westminster, British Columbia). He also has a poetry e-chapbook published in the 2River series, La Vida de Piedra y de Palabra: Improvisations on Pablo Neruda’s Macchu Picchu; an experimental prosimetrum in Lacuna entitled Five Episodes in the Navajo Degradation; “The Rock in a Jar,” an extended prose poem in several parts in Gone Law 32; and “The Turn of Art,” a short prosimetrical drama pitting Picasso against Matisse, in Fiction International.

Tarlton has been writing poetry and flash fiction since 2006, and his work is published in numerous literary journals and magazines: Abramelin, Atlas Poetica, Barnwood, Blackbox Manifold (UK), Blue and Yellow Dog, Book Ends Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Contemporary Haibun Online, Cricket Online Review, Dark Matter, Fiction International, Haibun Today, Ilanot Review, Inner Art Journal, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Jack Magazine, KYSO Flash, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, London Grip, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Muse India, Palette Poetry, Peacock Journal, Prune Juice, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Rattle, Red Booth Review, Red Lights, Review Americana, Ribbons, Shampoo, Shot Glass, Simply Haiku, Six Minute Magazine, Sketchbook, Skylark, Spirit Wind Gallery, Tallow Eider Quarterly, The American Aesthetic, The Ekphrastic Review, The Houston Literary Review, tinywords, Tipton, Unbroken Journal, Undertow Tanka Review, and Ink, Sweat, and Tears.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Artifact With Steam (2019) by Ann Knickerbocker, ekphrastic tanka prose in the e-collection Get Up and Dance featured in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019)

Featured Author Charles D. Tarlton, with six of his ekphrastic tanka prose and an interview with Jack Cooper, in KYSO Flash (Issue 6, Fall 2016)

Notes for a Theory of Tanka Prose: Ekphrasis and Abstract Art, a scholarly paper by Tarlton residing in PDF at Ray’s Web; originally published in Atlas Poetica (Number 23, pages 87-95)

Three American Civil War Photographs: Ekphrasis by Tarlton in Review Americana (Spring 2016)

Simple Tanka Prose for the Seasons, a quartet by Tarlton in Rattle (Issue 47: Tribute to Japanese Forms, Spring 2015)

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