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Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Ars Pingendi


intellegitur plus semper quam pingitur

—Pliny, Nat. Hist., XXXV.36.74



Caressing curve of cheek, contour of neck:

gradations, diminutions—smoke or scent?

A nuance not achieved by mere technique,

though pigment has been culled from flakes of night.

To render what appears will not suffice,

for shadows must disclose that unseen form:

the fragile fate that haunts the vital face,

that hour beyond the limits of this frame.


Allow the ambiguities to bloom,

let pure penumbra orient your brush.

Evoke, between the absence and the gleam,

exquisite flesh upon the verge of ash:

the presence of a plenitude unguessed,

inhabited by our prophetic ghost.

                                               -Michael Bradburn-Ruster 

Crepuscular Flock



Though gusts have ceased at last, the sea

is rampant yet.  Of hidden flock

no hint, until a flutter snares

my glance, erupts into a squall

of panting seeds that swarm and sift

in fervid hieroglyphs aloft.


Resuscitated shadows, quell

this torpid anguish that inures

me to your signs, dispel the bleak

I breathe, revise lament to sigh,

and petty prisons where we bask

be crucified upon the dusk.


                  -Michael Bradburn-Ruster








Morning sealed still under night’s final pulse.

Soul, do not rise into that waking dark

our habit calls life: grim metropolis

of bastard fact and political trick


whose every color resembles the bruise

of limp compassion stifled by demand,

until we navigate our miseries

with ease, wings being severed from the mind.


Linger yet, my soul, in this translucence

of sleep, your sighs with seas interwoven,

bones of moon’s mineral light, sinuous

blood ripening into gems on the vine.


Let me forget my fire has diminished,

have me believe how water can be brought

to birth, though I fail to love as I should

on this earth where shadows reverberate.

                                         -Michael Bradburn-Ruster