The following collaboration, composed of three poems by Kentucky resident, Kelsey McMurtrey, were originally inspired by the artwork of Monologging artist and Hawaii resident, Lauren Elyse. Kelsey, whose monologue, Customer Service, recently won first prize in the 2013 annual summer Monologue Contest connected with Lauren in early October through The two spent several weeks passing scans of Lauren’s paintings and drafts of Kelsey’s poems back and forth via email.  Their exciting collaboration inspired thematic discussions and imaginative storytelling. Lauren’s paintings take us back in time to the glory days of show girls and Hollywood magic. Likewise, Kelsey’s delicate prose, reminiscent of John Dos Passos’, USA Trilogy, embraces iconic history, creating new scenes, characters and powerful moods….




They Call Her Brooklyn

"Cyclamen" Lauren Elyse

“Cyclamen” Lauren Elyse



they find her dancing.

Swaying side to side,

flitting bits of laughter

catching in her steel netting.

She enchants their hollow eyes,

with her thick escape routes,

her curling roads pulling them from present cares.

She caresses their calloused hands,

their burdened souls.


Adjusting their tearing shoulders

of tweed,

they cling to her

every word,

perched on her fragrant cables.

They fall asleep on her

wind whistled songs,

her sad, salty melodies.

Never realizing

they are






Robert Gould Shaw III

"Gladiolus" Lauren Elyse

“Gladiolus” Lauren Elyse


Slender fingers with fire-red nails

paw at his ego of twenty-something years

most nights in the dark apartment on forty-second.

Opaque clouds of tumbling desires

stay hidden under

his carefully coiffed hair—

a sweet tobacco smile disguising

hidden walkways of his heavy mind.


Her silver whispers weave

patterns of weak promises

through his ears,

caressing, affirming—

shriveling before they reach him.


He sits,

hears the tick-tocking of his smooth pocket watch,

waiting for freedom from barred escapes

of a wanting heart—

for a love he cannot have.


He smiles at her,

wishing it were another.



A Season Undone

"Rose" Lauren Elyse

“Rose” Lauren Elyse


His pocketbook emerges,


slick with bills,

fleeting folds of lamp lit moments.

I look over his shoulder,

see addresses, names of people

I once mirrored.

Condensed ink numbers,

scribbles of measured wealth.


He calls me darling,

motions for my waist,

shows me a crinkled pastel photo.

Some place he will take me,

come Spring.

He tells me the roses are the finest there, in Italia.

I nod,

smile slipping,



chew a fingernail bit.


Perhaps the roses would make room

for me to bloom there,

with them.


Post photo courtesy of Lauren Elyse