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Art & Words 2023




For as far back as the times of Plato, writers have been inspired by art to create poetry true to the form of the original work, yet adding their unique poetic perspective. Art & Words is taking the model one step further by not just engaging existing artwork to inspire poetry, but by also using existing poetry to inspire artwork.

Art & Words consists of an exhibition of art and poetry— side-by-side — that includes artists and poets inspiring one another. Existing poetry was collected by 13 invited poets and artwork was curated from 18 artists throughout the Hudson Valley and New York Metropolitan area. Those artists and poets were given the opportunity to select poems or pieces of art that spoke to them from the submitted work and to create a new piece of art — be it a visual art piece or poem — based on the original inspiration.



Shelley Davis

Nest (2023)

Mixed media, 16" x 20"

click image to purchase


inspired by Nested Heart, Monica Teresa Fiorentini



jd weiss

leaving the nest & flying free (2023)

encaustic medium, photography, india ink, pan pastel/ on rice paper/panel, 12" x 18"

click image to purchase


inspired by Nested Heart, Monica Teresa Fiorentini




Debbie Auer-Breithaupt

Nested Heart (2022)

Acrylic and acrylic painted nest collage with a yupo paper "egg shell", 20

' x 16"


inspired by Nested Heart, Monica Teresa Fiorentini




Nested Heart


Nested Heart

break from your shell

undo those wings

I wanna hear your call


You sit up there

safe and hidden

hard with soft colors

seemingly forbidden


Nested Heart

break from your shell

undo those wings

I wanna hear your call


We can stack

sticks and stones

make a pretty home

to call our own


and, yes

You can still gaze

at ladies in flowy skirts

'n cotton shirts

keepin' your head close

to twilight’s haze


Nested Heart

break from your shell

undo those wings

I wanna hear your call


Don’t fly ‘til your ready

'cause I know

these first steps

aren’t always steady


but please break from your shell

undo those wings


I so want to hold your call


— Monica Teresa Fiorentini 






Will Nixon

Hood Trees (2023)

Digital photography, 9" x 11"


inspired by the poem Winter Trees, Phillip X Levine




Regina Quinn

Scratching the Sky (2023)

Encaustic with India ink and oils over watercolor, 8" x 8"


inspired by the poem Winter Trees, Phillip X Levine





jd weiss

winter trees (2023)

medium format film/archival pigment print on panel, 20" x 20"


inspired by the poem Winter Trees, Phillip X Levine




Winter Trees


I like the trees best now

With their hands where I can see them


I like the white oaks most of all

Black brawn and brainy

These are the sadhus I know


Caught by the shocking strobe of season

Arms in frantic mad apology

Scratching the sky for one more sun


— Phillip X Levine



Lucinda Abra

Sun Dance

Encaustic, oil and collage on wood

24" x 24"




inspired the poem Star Crossed , Lucinda Abra


Star-Crossed


Inez focused on the slightest sliver of light that snaked under the closed door.

A lone tear trickled downwards, a darkened blotch amongst the field of pillowcase daisies.

Her uncle clawed and raked.

Again. Again. Again.


He disparaged riddles and worries while their bodies merged. One quite willing, hungry even. The other, rigid.

He whispered they were like Romeo and Juliet.

And they were, star-crossed.


She tried to speak, to tell her mom. But inside Inez's mouth, stubborn knots of words refused to dislodge.

They sat there unused, dirty, swollen tangles banging against her braces.


Her menstrual cycles had just recently begun.

So easy to not notice a skipped month or two.


Her uncle arrived punctually every single Saturday to keep Inez company. Ever grateful for family nearby, her mom ran through town doing weekly shopping and a few sundry chores.

She even stopped for a bite with her closest friend, enjoying a little downtime.


A third month, 90 days late, brought alarm.

Inez fainted in class.

Knowing her condition, the school nurse summoned an ambulance.


Her parent fought against revulsion, anger, and fear as the physician expressed her remorse. The hospital could not give the girl her next series of chemotherapy. It would harm the fetus.


Inez, feverish and weak, did not yet understand that her childhood had ended.

She would be a mother by her fourteenth birthday.

That is, if leukemia didn't kill her first.


– Lucinda Abra







simplicity of life


henry thought

taking a walk

down memory lane

would ease his pain

that wakes him

daily


going back

to the 2 room cottage

air perfumed

by lavender

that bees busily buzzed

did he

truly miss this

simplicity of life

no one nagging


well

his mom

every evening

ha

he laughs now

that wasn’t nagging


she wanted him to succeed

follow his dreams

leave the simple life behind


put his head to the grindstone

be better

be grander than this

see what life could offer


marry

buy the big house

fill it with kids

a dog and a cat


maybe come back

for a visit

before her last breath


her smile haunts him

for he missed that day


to busy to take a break

a wife that nags morning and night

nothing seems to be right

she needs more than he can do


when did he lose his way

when did he stray

from his true beliefs


henry

didn’t resist

this last opportunity

unpacking his bag

he found his grounding

in

the 2 room cottage

air perfumed

by lavender

that bees busily buzz

he no longer misses

the

simplicity of life


— Gwynneth Green







Lucinda Abra

Hard (2023)

Paper on rice paper

27.5" x 27.5"



inspired the poem:


Dust


The government was handing out 160-acre parcels.

We hoarded every precious penny for a fresh life.

Determined, Samuel insisted we head west after hearing a real estate agent brag on the guarantee of the rain following the plow. By pushing the farrows soil deep, moisture was created.


Plenty of land was just waitin' to be conquered with dig and seed. One of those Oklahoma plots had his name right on it. His name


My husband often opined how the vast expanse of grain took on a purple hue at dawn. That's the closest that man ever came to being poetic. About wheat!


I birthed babies.

Four died at childbirth.

Franny made it to five before the consumption took her.

Nearly killed me, burying my little ones.

The ground demanded everything, even the entombment of hope.


All this was the before times, not the after.


Then came hell on earth.

The heavens did not, would not, offer one drop of rain.

Samuel took to staring at cloud patterns, citing to no one, except maybe the emaciated horse, that he was sure that the vault of heaven was just about to open up.


During a two-day dust storm, the barn disintegrated as it plummeted by the tempest.

Millions of pounds of earth we had so toiled upon blew from our

aspirations to as far away as Chicago.


Then like the tale of Job, our suffering only increased.


The earth heaved and thrashed.

I could not see my husband, though we stood only feet apart.

An enduring hunger left us empty with longing.

Samuel put salt on his boot and shoved it greedily into his parched mouth. They killed him, those farm shoes.


Dirt coursed through the papers ma had sent me. As I read those recipes, my fingers traced aside the fine particles of blowing turmoil, imagining satisfying tastes like that of a baked potato. I ate them papers, chewing them slowly.


Uselessly I worked my broom in a dreamish frenzy, resolved to conquer the warrior terrain. Finally, one corner of the house was left, along with a chair, my broom, and the good book.


The land was as barren as I was.

From dust, we all return.


— Lucinda Abra





Debbie Auer-Breithaupt

Kitsune (2021)

Acrylic and watercolor market on canvas

11" x 14"



Kitsune inspired the poems



kitsune


summer sweet grass,

breath, slow as a

tender whisper, with

friendship on it’s tongue,

she and I promises kept,

we have journeyed as one

soul, from our simple births,

precious butterflies carry our

love, from palm safely

to aqua citrine sky


— Michelle DeCicco





Sophia


Sophia

sought solace

in the flowery field


closing her eyes

images of a broken heart

not once

but thrice


sadness

hung heavily


releasing a deep sigh

falling into a meditative state


a magical spirit materialized

a guide

reminding her

to listen

be patient

be aware

be cautious


nudging her

Sophia stirred


still there

she held out her hands

he removed

her broken hearts


— Gwynneth Green





Kitsune

—based on a painting by Debbie Auer Breithaupt


Kitsune, little fox, my friend,

you hand me three cracked hearts

whose hues and shapes, like

bleeding heart blossoms,

tear at my own heart,

since we lived close together

as friends and companions.


Kitsune, little fox, my guide,

messenger from Inari,

goddess who descended

from Heaven to Japan

in the midst of famine

riding a white fox:

patron of bladesmiths and merchants,

you’ve brought me luck and good fortune

throughout the years.


Kitsune, little fox, my lover,

with a whoosh

of one of your nine tails

you changed me to being male

and changed yourself to female—

we had a son, and at the same time

my dog had a pup, which, as it grew,

got jealous of you, became

more and more hostile to you:

you begged me to kill it

but sadly, I refused, and one day

the dog attacked you so viciously,

you turned back to your vulpine shape,

leapt over a fence and fled.

Bereft, I called after you,

“You’re the mother of my son

and I will always love you.

Come back.” And every evening

you steal back

and sleep in my arms

as a woman, but at daybreak

you leave as a fox.

So you are never fully mine

and I am never fully yours.


Now you look beseeching

as I gaze at each of the three

cracked hearts you gave me,

and I feel my heart breaking,

for I still feel we are one:

I am in you and you are in me,

Kitsune, dear little fox,

my friend, guide and lover.


– Elizabeth Shafer




Debbie Auer-Breithaupt

Lullaby (2021)

Acrylic on canvas, 20" x 20"



Lullaby inspired the poem


Lullaby


sounds vibrate, from

space of heart,

energizes, vocal cords,

lull, wee one to

slumber,

with melody, equal to cardinal’s

all nature feels anew


– Michelle DeCicco





Debbie Auer-Breithaupt

Timeout (2022)

Acrylic, watercolor on scrathcboard


Timeout inspired the poems


Escape


A pointy chill, seeping in through the big window, sat her up in bed. The soft bear absorbed her dark fear.  They saw each other in the red light: Dragon with his curved horns and spiky teeth, Girl in her fuzzy sweatsuit, bear fur pressed under her nails. I am afraid she said. I am afraid too, he said. Their eyes, in the violet shadows, heated the air of the room until a mountain range of fire swept the wall behind them, flickering each other's eyes. They sat as the rest of the house burned: the gray walls, ugly wallpaper, indifferent furnishings. They heard the rest of the household shouting, running away from the crackling fire growing louder. The big window siphoned smoke into the greater dark. Girl noticed the feathery white tips of Dragon’s wings, intricate gold and red streaks – embroidered flames. Dragon saw how Girl made sure to miss Bear’s eyes as her hand gently swept over his head and arm.  I am afraid she said. I am afraid too, he said. Strips of black wallpaper slid to the floor as the shouts and fire receded, the air brightening to a clear yellow. Will you take us away from this place? she asked. Yes, said Dragon, offering Girl the strong curved horns of his back, his soft wings.


— Ana C.H. Silva




The Dragon & the Queen


Long ago,

a dragon made a deal with a Queen.


He’d let her rule the world, if he’d remain unseen.

There was only one of his kind,

He’d be killed if they could find,

The monster from the sea.

Though he was just like you and me.


He roamed deep.

Fathoms below.

Deep as the disbelief,

That a dragon could love.


With his snake-like body and wings like a bat,

teeth like a tiger and eyes of a rat...

The townspeople would find him,

Too ugly for love,

Unfit to live.


Although he could fly,

he ‘d stay below the sea,

Knowing no one could believe,

He was just like you and me.


But the Queen knew better,

That’s why she was Queen,

She kept her promise,

and all it would mean.


Come morning, she was bowed down by the King.

The squire, the jester-- every living thing!

Twas evening when the curtains were drawn,

Come virgins and maidens to fan her till dawn!


She’d wake for fresh air,

and summons them all to retire.

For at night she was refueled,

by the dragon’s spitfire.


He kept his promise,

and stayed down below,

He would only appear,

for her in dark shadows.


Risking his life, for the guards were in sight,

She watched where his shadow,

appeared in the moonlight.

Quietly she escaped,

to the edge of the sea,

Then he guided the forces,

that danced with her delight!

He could tip-toe on the water,

Sending ripples far below

And shoot up like a cannon

Sending waves to her toes.


He made her love, when she was cold.

He kept her young, while she grew old.

He made her laugh, when she cried.

He made her live, when she died.


No one ever knew,

of the bond they had.

When the dragon sank low,

she was all he ever had.

There was a kingdom at her feet,

and fire in her soul,

She could command her army, but

love she could not control.

One day in battle, the Queen was dethroned,

and left for dead, by the side of the road.

While tucked away deep, in the sea he called home

He felt a cold shiver, from his head to his toe,

through his skin and his bones.


The dragon sensed trouble and rushed by her side,

And held the Queen in his wings, Just before she died.


He carried her high, into the sky.

Higher and higher,

To the stars,

They did fly.


While kingsmen below,

throughout the countryside,

Threw down their swords,

bowed their heads and cried.


No one ever knew of the friend

that stuck by the Queen to the end.


All the while,

they walked by her side,

Yet no one saw her, from the inside.

Except the dragon who had to hide, for he was feared and misunderstood.


Now the hand of fate, has left the dragon alone.

Through the seven seas, sadly, he did roam.

Centuries passed as he searched for a home,

looking for a love to call his own.


When he cried, his tears overflowed the seas,

He often thought of his fire-breathing Queen.

She kept her promise and allowed him to live,

but for whom did he now have his spit-fire to give?


Life became overwhelming for a dragon so unique.


Once upon a time, he wanted to fly.

To show the world he was like you and I.

He was ugly, yet, he could smile.

He was feared, yet he knew love.


He chose life over freedom, so he would remain,

But without the Queen, life wasn’t the same.


There was a time,

when he would give it a try,

Now he wanted to die.


Long ago,

a Dragon made a deal with a queen,

She allowed him to live if he’d remain unseen.

Now she was in heaven and he was again all alone.

But she wanted to be near his heart and his home.


Then from the heavens,

a miracle was sent.

The dragon found love, and wisdom,

and all that it meant.


Part-angel, part-dragon,

part-queen breathing fire.

He took her to his wings,

through eternity they would fly.


It was a gift from above,

for remaining true to love,

and their words, and deeds,

and all the good seeds

they planted in their journey through life.

There was only one dragon,

and only one queen,

who loved with a love,

the world had never seen.


If you open your eyes,

and look to the light,

You’ll see them shining in the sun,

and

dancing in the stars at night.


Showing the world, it is worth the fight.

Truth, promise and love---

If you can get a piece of it,

Embrace it with your life.


Hold it with serenity,

and fly on for eternity


Through the world and over the trees,

On the surface and deep in the seas,

high through the heavens,

the stars and the breeze,


You’ll be flying forever,

beside the dragon and the Queen.


– Carolyn Marosy






Shelley Davis

Airmail (2018)

Mixed media: air mail, letters, stamps

11" x 14"


Airmail inspired the poem



Air Mail

My Love,

tears flow over smoke stains,

heart aches to be in your arms,

minutes stand petrified,

eyes scarred with hell on earth,

hours of daylight,

smudged out by blackest smoke plumes,

days fall behind,

as we troop forward,

stumble over the innocent,

we came to protect

— Michelle DeCicco




Shelley Davis

Collage (2023)

Mixed media collage

23.5" x 10.5"



Collage was inspired by the poem:


The Collage Artist


I’m pulling it together.

Combining the pieces in an arranged marriage of mammals and birds.

Acrylic and cut pieces scrapped


from outdated medical texts, stained auto guides and books of jokes that

stopped being funny.

Scissor snipped and clipped


Seals and snails and diving swallows —

lost in a jumble of Indian ink and Library Paste

— arrange themselves into a dance.


My hands are lost in the cut and stroke.

The lines blur as I birth

a new collage.


— Robert P Langdon 





Shelley Davis

Rear Window (2023)

Mixed media, 11" x 14"


Rear Window inspired the poem



Rear Window 

        after Shelley Davis 


Red wall, white wall

all the same to old brick. 


Make it anachronistic: 

air conditioners in the windows

of one fine old Late Victorian. 


Great karma wheeling 

around the other, wise dwelling: 

fire escapes fluttering Tibetan 

prayer flags. 


These rear windows no MacGuffin, 

no red herring, they are the real 

thing: life beating behind each pane. 


O to be in a painting within a painting 

where two dwellings hang. 


– Patrick Hammer, Jr. 





Shelley Davis

Help! (2019)

Mixed media on canvas, 8" x 10"


Help! inspired the poems:



Help


taking children taking women,

HELP!!!! HELP!!!!

no longer silent,

scream till hoarse,

see something say something,


missing children missing women,

fight back,

no longer afraid,

fists in air,


trafficked children trafficked women,

this must stop,

have to protect each other,

HELP!!!


— Michelle DeCicco






help


help me

Ronda

help help me Ronda


i’m feeling so down

no one’s around


if i scream any louder

this wall will

fall

breaking me


Ronda

pick up the phone


it’s Sam

damn

Ronda

pick up the phone


Ronda

i found your number

on the napkin

you stuffed in my jacket

2 years ago


you once hummed me a tune

the girl can’t help it

can’t help loving that man


i know your still around

saw your posts

on instagram


help me Ronda


help

i need someone

not just anyone


it doesn’t matter

at all

if you’re

helpless helpless helpless

i’ll help you

you help me


we all get by with a little help from our friends


are you singing

you should be

if not

stop

reading this


turn the radio on

you know that song


help me Ronda

help help me Ronda


— Gwynneth Green





Josepha Gutelius

More Art Everywhere (2023)

Acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12"



inspired the poems:



More Art Everywhere


more art everywhere,

creativity expands,

art show discussion


don’t be an art snob,

fill your mind and heart with art,

help change the world’s view


— Michelle DeCicco






More Art Everywhere 

            after Josepha Gutelius 


Who’ll wear that announcement 

on their back, calling out for more 

art and everywhere? 


Out the window, in the hallway, 

at the arcade, in the lobby—

calling out for more, more. 


Under rocks and stones, 

minuscule dirt and pebbles, 

all art on their own terrain. 


Sky a shifting canvas. Rain, 

hail, rays, slant of light: art. 

And wind that invisible sculptor. 


More art in the subway, more 

art on plates, in glasses, all

nature a plein air studio. 


Twigs, books, mirrors, bone, 

hammers, nails, hooks, bulbs—

all artistic and everywhere. 


Art on our breath, in our brains, 

on our minds. More art everywhere 

and more, more to come. 


— Patrick Hammer, Jr. 




Josepha Gutelius

Masked Nude In a Puddle (2023)

Acrylic on Canvas, 30" x 20"



inspired the poems:



Masked Nude in a Puddle


1. A thing that smells like hard-ridden horse, sweat, fresh-

turned earth.


2. Whose blood was startled into existing.


3. A shrieking … — call it human — okay, definitely human, but: swaddled in an inconclusive disguise.


4. Time-locked, and in a hurry,

definitely marked for extinction


— with no backup plan?


5. The thing at birth:

Fallen

butt-first into a muddle puddle


A rising

Cancer, sun in Capricorn, the Year of the Horse:


6. Its DNA matches mine? —


I bet you already guessed that.


– Josepha Gutelius






Masked Nude in a Puddle 

              after Josepha Gutelius 


Little bits of me everywhere 

pixelating, floating away into 

cubistic squares, geometric bits. 

My face, falling apart, I know 

I cannot smile now. 


My breasts so out of focus, 

soon they’ll be unrecognizable 

with all this unwanted, watery 

distortion, this blurring of color 

all around me. 


I’m sitting in a puddle. 

What’s in this water? Who has 

put this metamorphosis upon me? 

I have my eyes still and one 

slightly warped hand. 


There must be a solution, 

an incantation, an annunciation 

for what has begun. 


– Patrick Hammer, Jr. 




Veronica Lawlor

Introspection (2023)

Ink, conte crayon and acrylic on oil paper, 30" x 22.5"



Introspection inspired the poems:


Introspection


Our shadowed pain,

crawling through

heart and mind,

need to heal and release,


Our self critic

beating us down,

paralyzing every

thought and action,

tiny steps to self love,


Our ego,

getting in our own way,

ask for help,

You Got This!


— Michelle DeCicco






the dancing diva


the rehearsal

ended

she slipped inside

herself

reflections of the past

haunting

cursing her clumsiness

having stepped

on old beaus toes

just too

many times

she silently laughs

they were the fools

making fun of her

in whispers that

echoed in the hallways


readying

a shallow breath

a long stretch

fingers to toes

hold it

hold it

yes

hold it longer

releasing the tension

not really looking

for attention

now in pose

a crescendo rises

from below


curtain ascends

hiding a smirk

why those jerks

from the past

came to mind


she in perfect balance

the primadonna

will dance


— Gwynneth Green







Veronica Lawlor

Star Mass (2023)

Acrylic and collage on cradled wood panel, 18" x 24"


Star Mass was inspired by The Sleeping Prophet (Astronomy of Love), Josepha Gutelius



The Sleeping Prophet (Astronomy of Love)


If we, the dead, know anything

about Time,


we know it can be reversed


repeatedly,

out of dirt and cinders

we come back

Every one of us

given a name, given a wick-twist

of a soul

Exalted,


soul, bone and flesh, heartbeat to heartbeat

thickening with life, greedy for

love,

Every one of us

in the plush arms

of giants

crammed full of dreams and milk

and star mass.


Newly arrived we lose

count of the number of deaths

we’ve departed from,

the abandoned

embraces, the food not

tasted,

The whole of yesterday

and tomorrow

a flimmering drift of earth’s

debris, small fires stuttering to explode.


— Josepha Gutelius






Piper Levine

Red Tears (2022)

Acrylic on paper, 25" x 37"


Red Tears inspired the poem:



To the Eyes Drawn by Piper Levine


These eyes have sipped the light out of the moon.

These eyes have chosen an eye shadow the color of dawn.

These eyes have answered the thousand tiny eyes of the birds singing the dawn chorus

With a silence never before heard by the birds or by anyone else,

A silence learned on the dark side of the moon,

Where silence has been preserved across the unbroken eons of creation,

Where one word spoken aloud would be an earthquake.

Two words, forget it.

Two words like, Hi Mom

Or three like, See you later.


It's true, these eyes have never spoken a word, but they are not silent.

They make a sound like the molten core of the earth boiling but muffled beneath our feet,

A sound like sunlight ping ponging through the atmosphere to give us a blue sky,

Or like our minds in that rare instant we don't know what to say next.

Then we do.

We say, quit staring, please, it's not polite.

These eyes are too large, they know too much, they've seen everything we do:

Our first kiss & our last hangup, our graduation ceremonies & our forgotten passwords,

Our cross-eyed lives that never turn out as we planned.


Maybe you've seen these eyes before in cartoons or on marble statues,

But you haven't. These eyes are truly unique.

Angry, intrepid, unblinking.

They won't stop until the sun burns out,

& then they'll be ghosts free to find a new home in the universe.


– Will Nixon






Linda Lynton

Spring Equinox (2015)

Oil on canvas, 20" x 16"


Spring Equinox inspired the poem:



Spring Equinox


Wherever

you are,

by some window, some river,

an identifiable drone,

like a name

chanted,

gives a clue —


I’m listening.

I see green.


I’ve put my body here by a window

near a river


veiled in green

glass

light,

and liquid

long shadows.


I’m thinking of you.


I’ll find you soon. That’s all there is to it.


— Josepha Gutelius





Linda Lynton

Solstice Sunrise (2015)

Oil on canvas, 20" x 16"




Solstice Sunrise inspired the poems:



hello light


wakening

from a dream

clouds of confusion

lingered

bits of darkness

clung to her cerebellum

an effort to make sense

out of senselessness

lying in bed

wandering through

the fictional facts

had she lost her way

purposely

being confronted by bears

stumbling down a path

stubbing her toes

where were her shoes

thorns of the underbrush

tearing her clothes

scratching her skin

she didn’t bleed red

the blood ran blue

falling into a creek

to cleanse her wounds

the stinging

made her smile

drifting down stream

the dream changed direction

who was that person

holding out a hand

pulling this drenched soul

to safety


opening shades

dreams dissipate

replacing angst with calm


hello light


– Gwynneth Green






Summer Solstice

—based on a painting by Linda Lynton


Rose, orange,

yellow, white

clouds billow up

into a clear blue sky

after the long dark of winter:

a time of rejoicing

to feel the sunlit warmth

of long summer days—

but what of the two

dark leafless trees

rising tall and stark

against red plumes

of fire, and thick grey clouds

of smoke—or the three

small pine trees bent

against wind, below

more thick grey clouds—

are these reminders

of recent raging forest fires

spread by rising windstorms

in our fragile warming planet

and a portentous signal

of more of these to come?


—Elizabeth Shafer







Linda Lynton

Winter Solstice (2015)

Oil on canvas, 20" x 16"




Winter Solstice inspired the poem:


Winter Solstice


we breathe in,

deep hold,

release at turtle’s pace,

our spirit lifts from inside,

spreads it’s bare soul

branches, invite

rhodonite, blends through

carnelian sunrise,

a new season welcomes rest,

hypnotic rocking of winter trees,

lazy white flakes to come,

lulls our heart to,

feel deep


— Michelle DeCicco





Linda Lynton

Owl Dreams (2023)

Ink and natural dyes – walnut, onion, turmeric and indigo, 5" x 5"


inspired by Owl Limerick, Gwynneth Green



Linda Lynton

Spoilt for Choice (2023)

Ink and natural dyes – walnut, onion, turmeric and indigo, 5" x 5"


inspired by the poem Owl Limerick, Gwynneth Green




Owl limerick


there once was a cross-eyed owl

who always wore a scowl

In the dark of night

He would hoot with delight

As the mice freely prowled


— Gwynneth Green







Marjorie Magid

When She Looked West (2023)

Acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"


inspired by When She Looked West, Bruce Weber



When She Looked West


When she looked west

The church bell struck midnight

The priest bowed to the holy spirit

Day turned to night in the canyons of the imagination.


When she looked west

I buckled my shoe

I apologized for being stupid

I stared off toward the horizon.


When she looked west

The strawberries ripened

The gyroscope swiveled

The umbilical chord tightened.


When she looked west

I was happy as a returning sailor

I was lifted into the air by a helicopter

I was thrilled to be among the birds and bees and barracudas.

When she looked west

The brown dog howled

The black horse whinnied

The color blue drowned

In the last rays of sunlight.


When she looked west

It was independence day

It was a big hullabaloo

It was enticing as a summer romance.


When she looked west

I slept like the baby Jesus.

I prayed for her salvation.

I demanded the sea part

And let her pass

Without any explanation.


— Bruce Weber





Marjorie Magid

At the Beach (2023)

Acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"


At the Beach inspired the poems




At the Beach


cool turquoise waves,

warm summer wind,

beach hours pass,

feel like minutes,

husky pup splashes about,

watching her handstands,

these two inseparable,

day well spent


— Michelle DeCicco




At the Beach


The film strip click click clicks to life.

1971 is scrawled on a paper plate

that my sisters hold up for the camera.

They make goofball faces and run to their friends.


The camera pans back to Seaside Heights

and my family clumped together on the beach.

Aunts and uncles long gone are there with some of the cousins.

I'm 6 — the youngest – and they're burying me in the sand.

I stand up, shake it off and dart toward the ocean


stopping just before my feet meet a wave.

I skirt the surf but never take the plunge.

I'm smiling unaware of what I now notice as an adult.

I'm smiling unaware of all the loss ahead. But at that moment,

it’s a happy place.


11 years later and I'm headed for the shore, sneaking Ballentine out of pops basement cabinet. I’m with the girls but I’m not noticing the bikinis.

I’m stroking my adolescence to the briefed and shirtless jocks that I dared sneak a glimpse at in the locker room, now very present at the beach. I’m brave behind my sunglasses staring openly at the glistening display.


There's Edie sitting next to me in the photo dreaming of Sting.

And Jackie in the background doing the Time Warp. Or maybe

the Safety Dance. And Mike.


And then there's Mike sitting across from me watching me

behind the sunglasses. He’s waiting for when it's time to drop off the girls.

For when — on that day – we pull behind the reservoir and he gives me my first kiss.


The adolescent me in the photo was in the prime of discovery. The joy flushed my face, unaware of the heartbreaks ahead.

But in that moment, it’s a happy place.


I think of those beach memories now and want that kid

to kiss the wave. For that teenager to take a dive.

For the adult to rediscover the purity of love

And to feel all tingly again in a happy place.

— Robert P Langdon






Robert P Langdon

Boys at the Corner Store

collage, 8x10


inspired by the poem:



The Boys at the Corner Store


The boys at the corner store are no longer 15.

Still they stand there with cigarettes, and broken dreams.

Still checkin’ out girls, in any language spoken.

Sippin’ soda pop or coffee?

I don’t know.

They check out dime-store drop-ins,

this time with a jaded eye.

For time has lapsed, as the car go by.


Years go by, like the girls.

Time stands still for the boys at the corner store.

They’re still standing there, hands in pockets.

Shakin’ change, starin’ at strange, passerbys.

Shakin’, shakin’ his pocket

Smilin’ as the sun shines down

On the girls as they go by.

The boys at the corner store,

are no longer 15.


— Carolyn Marosy





Ingrid Nichter

Ghost Ship (2023)

Mixed media on canvas, 6" x 18"


Ghost Ship inspired the poem:


Expat


Illusionary tales

stamp the course

on the sea of obligation

yet, wish you here

does not rescue truths

unsaid;

the duty is to be near

with cargo stowed

above shallow waters

amid cobalt aqua skies

and a dim moon

to dull the crosswind

ahead.


– Monica T Fiorentini





Ingrid Nichter

Woman On a Subway (2023)

Mixed media on canvas, 12" x 12"


inspired by Woman On a Subway, Phillip X Levine



Woman on a Subway


so you're sitting and you're staring and something just smacks you on your head and you turn around and it smacks you on your other head and you're not hurt but something is running out your ear and running down your neck and it kind of tickles but not funny tickles so you're not laughing but you're not crying either in fact you're really not doing anything either way but you don't care because

a woman


and at home all the people you've never met seem to know you because they keep phoning and though they never say anything you know that they don't know you because they always mis-pronounce your name and when they tell you that there's no annual fee you know that they're lying and it'll still take a lifetime to pay and what are you gonna do with all this aluminum siding anyway living in an apartment with no windows and only walls, only inside walls, so you tell them that you've died and hence you won't be needing siding, but if they'll leave their number you'll call them back if you snap out of it, but they won't and you don't and besides you know aluminum siding is quite different than a silver lining and instead you've got clouds that are so heavy they aren't lined with aluminum or silver or anything except probably lead and so it makes sense that they're so heavy and that your arms are so tired and your back is so tired and your head is so tired and you're just so tired just from carrying them around all the time but right now you don't care because


a woman

on the subway

and your feet hurt because they do or maybe because your shoes don't fit anymore, at least the way you've been wearing them so you swear tomorrow you'll try them on your other feet and yet you know you won't and who cares about shoes anyway because it's pants that count and you should know because you're wearing them at least in this family, and in that family, and in fact in every family you can ever think of because that's what you've always remembered wearing and always remembered other people not wearing and besides you know like you've never known anything else that every family has to have someone who wears the pants and you're just it and yet you wonder if you'll ever get the chance to take them off and just run naked and almost without worry and you remember once you almost did, you almost jumped into the river or was it a lake or maybe it was the ocean but then you remember you just don't know because you just didn't jump so you don't know but you decide then and there you don't care because


a woman

on the subway

moving towards you

and then it's dark and you've never seen it this black before and you can't even see your own finger as you jam it in your nose to see if you can feel even when it is so endless black and you think you feel but you can't be sure, because you don't really know really, you just think you know and you just get by with that because that is all you ever have to get by with anyway and so you let it go at that, and in fact you let everything go, including all the things you've ever dreamed of and all the things you've ever wanted and clutch instead the few things you've got like your nose and your finger and sometimes once maybe just maybe the sight and smell and touch of possibility of


a woman

on the subway

moving towards you

now moving away


— Phillip X Levine





Will Nixon

Falling Light (2023)

Acrylic on paper, 25" x 37"



Falling Light inspired the poem:


Falling Light


street light,

iron tall

grounded, shedding

inner glow power,

illuminating what needs

to be seen, energies

expand, as we learn


– Michelle DeCicco







Will Nixon

For Julien (2023)

Acrylic on paper, 25" x 37"



For Julien inspired the poem:


For Julien


Just because you're the biggest cockeyed fish in the sea,

Just because you swim like a Christmas tree,

Just because your name begins with a hook and ends with a pair of fangs,

Doesn't mean someone somewhere isn't eyeing you for a sushi roll,

Or your mother isn't worried about sharks next Halloween.


Your job, Julian, is to teach the sun to swim.


Look around, the dawn this morning is underwater,

Leaving the rest of us to wake up in the dark.

Who knows what the sun did wrong or why.

Maybe it wanted a bath after eons in the dirty universe,

Or simply got turned around and upside down

On its first trip to Saugerties.

The sun boils away at the bottom on the sea.


So, please, Julian, please tell the sun to try again, we miss it so.


Show it how to wiggle with its fins, spare it a couple of your spare eyes.

The sun will follow you to the surface if you treat it with respect.

The sun will remember its proper place in the sky.


The day you turn thirteen is coming soon.

The girls waiting on dry land will want to get a whiff of you.


– Will Nixon






Will Nixon

Knights (2023)

Digital photography, 9" x 11"


inspired by Toy Soldiers, Bruce Weber



toy soldiers


my daddy bought me a thousand toy soldiers

and I play war whenever I’m alone.

sometimes in the early morning light

i arrange them in infantries

along the ridges and valleys of my bed sheets

sending hundreds to their death

In the cauldron of wrinkles and folds.

someday i’m going to shoot my enemies

that’s what my daddy tells me.

now me and my buddies

go rat a tat tat

and somebody falls down

but they’re only fooling.

anyway I prefer playing with my soldiers.

sometimes I fight the battle of gettysburg

over and over on my bed

arranging the blanket

like devil’s den or cemetery ridge.

i get a lot of satisfaction

watching rebels fall.

this is more fun

than dancing with all those silly girls.

someday I’ll be smarter than everybody

and have a big farm in pennsylvania

and hire some immigrants

to re-enact the battle of iowo jima.

but now I play alone with my soldiers

while nobody’s looking

in the privacy of my room . . .

i can kill anyone.


— Bruce Weber





jd weiss

making roots (2023)

medium format film/archival pigment print on panel, 20" x 20"



making roots inspired the poems:



making roots

after Jd Weiss


as if some giant jack

or jill or jane or john

plucked a limb from

some tree and placed it

here for rooting in this shallow

rocky field-sized puddle

all so small if a giant


ever-widening ripples a mirror

on the expanding universe taking

root like this unfolding tree

the giant has drifted off

into the fog/mist that prevails

roots like tendrils will crush

submerged stone and

the tree will grow tall as jill


– Patrick Hammer, Jr.






TRANSMUTATION: A MOVEMENT AROUND A CIRCLE

AFTER J.D. WEISS


it’s shifting

moving over to the other side

with a yelp and a howl

like a jump in the lake

or a movement around a circle

watch for strange movements

pledges of faith to the moon and stars

excerpt yourself from impolite impulses

moving toward the horizon with a bang

provide identification to the fog and heavy breezes

the diving rod pointing toward faraway stars

come rest your head on these thoughts

these round mountains surrendering to father time

these momentous occasions calling for truth

these poetic expressions of beauty and foreboding


– bruce weber






jd weiss

last dance (2018)

medium format film/archival pigment print on panel, 20" x 20"


last dance inspired the poem:



Last Dance


lavender iris lands,

delicately joining

shadow, in a

sweet pas de deux


– Michelle DeCicco




Nancy O'Hara

Wake Up! (2023)

Monotype, 24" x 18"


inspired by Weeds, Ana C.H. Silva


Weeds


There are shadows that darken what we know of the day. There are winds that tell us what we want to know. All torso, there is a tree whose rough bark kneads the tightness of our neck muscles. There is grass so soft and dry. It flickers, unconcerned, at our bare feet and ankles. Bugs fall into our hair, the wind cools our necks. There is a silent space where we sleep and sleep, not needing the sun. Sometimes we smash the wonder of the day within the grinding metal turnings of our mind and then, later, feel utterly abandoned. The grass grows greener every summer until it goes brown again and fades to a light brown hairy mass. Our picnics turn into just strawberry tops, plastic wrap, and soggy paper plates. If we are lucky, the grass will be sprinkled with purple thyme that smells like contentment. When the ground is wet with a soaking rain that makes our feet slip, and we tumble in the air until we feel the full hardness of the earth, that is when we know we are awake.


— Ana C.H. Silva







Elaine Ralston

Goldenrod (2023)

Pastel


inspired by Goldenrod, Ana C.H. Silva



Goldenrod


not quite the end of summer

not a beautiful yellow

not the pink hydrangea, full in your hand.

But, stalwart, long-lasting, reliable

it will stay with you

as you eat your cold dinner, flying bugs around your head, in a lone chair, in the sunset.


— Ana C.H. Silva



Jacquelin Oster

Time Travel, 2022

Watercolor and mixed media on paper, 8"x 10"


Time Travel inspired the poem:



Time Travel 

         after Jacqueline Oster 


It’s long after the eleventh hour. 

It’s ten after four; no chance 

to travel back safely now. 


Fog appears but will not 

muffle the bell once this 

familial clock ticks to its stop. 


I’ve been in dream, it seems 

so real: my grandaunts on lawn chairs 

out back on the farm; my family 


standing on church steps after 

another hat-and-glove wedding. 

I know; I took the black and white. 


And Dad in uniform, in dream

he was speaking with me. Was he 

speaking with me? What did he say? 


All so confusing, all so 

other worldly where all time, 

that great alarmer, passes. 


– Patrick Hammer, Jr.





Jacquelin Oster

Yard Dog, 2022

Watercolor and mixed media on paper, 8"x 10"


Yard Dog inspired the poem:


Yard Dog

There are yard dogs and broken birds.

One day as a child I watched a hatchling fall from it's nest. Splat. The translucent head was too bulbous for its spaghetti neck.

I climbed the fence and scooped up the broken

bird. Then caught it from the corner

of my eye. I made it to the fence but not

before getting bit from behind by a yard dog.

They’ve been sniffing at my ass my whole life.

In grammar school knocking over my milk or pushing me into lockers for a chorus of barks from their pack.

The one who charmed me until I was lost and he was full. Who left me a letter the day he took off to England

ending our summer romance before the season was over.


The one who claimed for four years that he loved

me then screwed my best friend

while I was out dancing with the girls.


The one who clenched my heart in his teeth like a toy

crushed it under a spoon and took it up his nose

damaging any healthy idea I had of love.


Then theres the broken bird that brought me back.

Chased out the dogs from my yard and filled it with laughter.

Helped me find myself again and fall in love with love.


But that bird fell out of the nest. And now he’s gone.

It’s hard keeping the dogs away but his ghost reminds me

what Emily once said: “Hope is the thing with feathers.” Now I need my bird.


— Robert P Langdon





Regina Quinn

Sometimes I Question (2023)

Encaustic with India ink and oils over watercolor, 8" x 8"


inspired by Visiting Day, Robert P Langdon



Visiting Day


I never liked visiting day. Mom would take me with her to the “home.”

It was always cold and smelled of antiseptic. He never remembered

me — the one that his wife fought hard to live to see born

and once I was, she would let go.


He would stare at me, confused by how familiar I looked, then back to mom with a blank face while he listened to her updates

about people who had long fled his mind.


He would look at me again. Hard. Trying to figure out the connection.

The tips of his shock of white hair reaching for answers. Sometimes he would grab them and his eyes would get excited, but he would just as quickly lose his grasp and slip back to forgetting.

“Why do you still go to see him,” I ask mom on our way home.

“Because he’s my father,” she said wiping her tears. “And I want him to know that I’m visiting. And that he’s not alone.”


Years later mother would go through this again with her brother.

Holding his hand. Talking to fill the void. Recounting stories from childhood in the hopes that one would trigger a memory and the brother she loved would pop up for a mere second to say that everything was OK.


But sometimes I question if everything is OK. These days

I walk into a room and immediately forget why I’m there.

I talk to people I know that I know but can’t figure out how I know

them. Or a conversation drops out of my mind minutes after it’s been had.

I’m hoping these are signs of getting old. That they’re normal.

But if not …. Then I hope I don’t forget the music. No, not the music.

I’ll need something to focus on when the strangers come on visiting day.


— Robert P Langdon







Rosemary Chase

Rum Script Visual

Digital photo collage on glass

10" x 14"


inspired by the poem


Rum Script


I watch as he pours,

the empty glass

fills as when,

my soul was

filled with you,

this caramel hued

liquid floods

my empty heart,

as it pours down

my parched throat,

sadness tries to

choke me as

the rum soothes,

and quiets

the pain.


— Michelle DeCicco

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