KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Ekphrastic Poem: 117 words

Ghost Town

by Robert L. Dean, Jr.

politics: painting, acrylic on canvas (2014) by Steven Schroeder
politics (acrylic on canvas, 36x24 inches, 2014)
Copyrighted © by Steven Schroeder. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with artist’s permission.


Once, we all lived here. 

Those white figures waving from the 
windows, they’re what we left behind. 
And those crosses, they mark those of us 

who jumped. The first floors, the retail shops 
where we sold our souls to the highest bidder, 
they are memory erasing from the ground 

up. Even the Van Gogh blue of the awning 
over the sidewalk café where we used to gather 
for coffee and miracles 

rains absence. No wonder we feel 
unfinished, spectres of our former selves. 
And that looming, hulking, half-seen thing 

merging with or emerging from 
the once-upon-a-time Côte d’Azur 
sky, that is us tomorrow, looking over 

our vanishing shoulders, 
hoarding kernels 
of what might have been.



Steven Schroeder
Issue 11, Spring 2019

is a visual artist and poet who was born in Wichita Falls, grew up on the high plains in the Texas Panhandle, and now lives and works in Chicago. He earned his Ph.D. (1982) at the University of Chicago and spent thirty years moonlighting as a philosophy professor at universities in the United States and China. He has been painting for more than 50 years and writing poetry for nearly that long.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Portfolio and additional details

Books and links to scholarly publications

Learning to See Nothing: New and Recent Work on Paper and Canvas by Steven Schroeder; exhibition catalog, Eleanor Hayes Art Gallery (Kinzer Performing Arts Center, Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma; 4 September–18 October 2018)

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 11, Spring 2019

is the author of the poetry collection At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, 2018). His work has appeared in Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Shot Glass, Illya’s Honey, Red River Review, River City Poetry, Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity, and the Wichita Broadside Project. He was a quarter-finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and read at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival and the Chikaskia Literary Festival in 2018.

Dean has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News. He lives in Augusta, Kansas, and serves as Event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music held annually in Wichita.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry (Fall 2017)

Metal Man, ekphrastic poem by Dean inspired by 1955 photograph of his grandfather in the Boeing machine shop; published in The Ekphrastic Review (28 July 2018)

Llama, 1957, ekphrastic haibun by Dean inspired by Inge Morath’s photograph A Llama in Times Square; published in The Ekphrastic Review (13 January 2018)

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