About the Fireplace



Above the Fireplace


The picture above the mantle

In my uncle and aunt’s house

Has been professionally cleaned.

No longer has it the patina of dark,

Brooding mystery that I recall.

The sea is now green and white,

No longer fathomless, eerie gray.

The ship is now under full sail, with

Billowing canvas and polished brass.


I miss the pirate corsair of my youth;

Cannon-ripped, blotched sails and an

Aura of danger and menace as it

Flees from the darkening storm on

The horizon which has now become

A placid, distant shoreline of hills.

I far prefer my boyhood impression

Than the renovated present, as some

Memories should not be sanitized.


Rick Hartwell


Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California with his wife of forty-seven years, Sally (upon whom he is emotionally, physically, and spiritually dependent), two grown children, two granddaughters, and fifteen cats! Don’t ask. Like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, he believes that the instant contains eternity.

He has been published in: Active Muse, Ariel Chart International Literary Journal,  Birmingham Arts Journal, Phenomenal Literature, The Cortland Review, Dual Coast Magazine, The Clayjar Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Every Day Fiction, Foreshadow Magazine, Our Day’s Encounter, Agape Review, Blue Lake Review, EgoPHobia, The Galway Review, Fine Lines, Compass Rose Literary Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review (nominated Best of the Net, 2016), Poppy Road Review (selected as Best of the Net, 2011), Torrid Literature Journal (inducted into the Hall of Fame, 2013), Synchronized Chaos (nominated as Best of the Net, 2013), The Stray Branch, Steam Ticket, Leaves of Ink, Poetry Magazine (Editor’s Circle choices 2011), One Title Magazine (received The Jeffster Award from Deconstructing Myths, 2015).and others, both print and online, as well as several anthologies, including: Universal Oneness:An Anthology of Magnum Opus Poems from Around the World; Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology; Bindweed Magazine Anthology; Kind of a Hurricane Press: Poised In Flight, Something’s Brewing, Storm Cycle, Best of 2013, Elementary My Dear, Life is a Roller Coaster, and In Gilded Frame Anthologies; Flash Fiction World Anthology, Torrid Literature Journal: Enter the Gateway, XII, XIII, The Effects of Grace Anthologies; Synchronized Chaos Anthology; Neos Alexandria AnthologyMidwest’s Literary Magazine: Winter Canons Anthology, The Shangra-La Shack Literary Arts Journal Anthology (nominated for Best of the Net, 2013); Whisperings Magazine Anthology (nominated for Best of the Net, 2013); and, Thunderune Publishing: Stormcloud Poets Anthology #2.

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