Sister Mary Frances at NAACP Walk for Peace
Copyrighted © 2016 by Gay Pasley. All rights reserved.
Appears here with photographer’s permission.
chalk from a crime scene
though they are
the scene of a crime
though they trace
a history of us
to the history of a crime
a crime of history
the crime now becoming history
the dark soil clinging
to the rock of us
the thick glaze of her bifocals
—don’t be fooled
she sees right through us
this sister of the true Cross
this caretaker of the underbellies of souls
calls us out
she thought she was
done with us after
The Sixteenth Street Church girls (say their names)
—Addie Mae (14), Cynthia (14), Carole (14), Carol Denise (11)—
but here we are back again
five cops in Dallas
there are no one-way streets in Allsville—
lest we forget
she shows us the way
sister of the language of sign
what we are waiting for
what are we
—you guessed it—back again
Bird Man (Christian) in the Ramble
how long before our eyes are opened
so childlike in their rendering
how long before
she will bear the weight of us
for as long as it takes
till the next ice age
the slits of her eyes say so
the downturned creases of her mouth
bear the weight till
and the sign rolls up
of its own accord
and she can
lay her burden down
—An earlier version of this poem appears on Facebook (30 May 2020).
is a photographer living in Oklahoma. Her work has been featured in Loud Zoo,
Abstract Magazine, and Maintenant: A Journal of Dada Writing and Art.
She is also a regular contributor to Art Mama Moves. A graduate of the
Oklahoma City Red-Earth MFA Program, she has presented as a lecturer for organizations
such as the International Association of Forensic Nurses, Society for Photographic
Education, the Ralph Ellison Foundation, the John Hope Franklin Center for
Reconciliation, and Scissortail Writing Festival.
Gay’s work has also appeared, or is forthcoming, in Thread Literary Magazine,
Hard Crackers Press, Elsewhere Magazine, Amistad, Transitions, Snapdragon: A Journal
of Healing, Morkan’s Horse, Minola Review, Flatbush Review, Obsidian,
Cliterature, and Arts in the African Diaspora.
Profile at Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition
The Art of Gay Pasley in Abstract Magazine TV
(9 Oct 2017)
is the author of two books: a poetry collection, At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, November 2018), and The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions after the art of Steven Schroeder (Turning Plow Press, 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 and 2019.
Dean has been a professional musician, having played bass for, among others, Jesse Lopez, B. W. Stephenson, Bo Didley, The Dallas Jazz Orchestra, and the house band for the Fairmount Hotel Venetian Room. He grew up in Topeka and Wichita, Kansas before spending 30 years between Los Angeles and Dallas, where he worked at The Dallas Morning News. He now lives in Augusta, Kansas, and serves as Event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music held annually in Wichita.
Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry
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).