which inspires 12 Artists and 12 Poets
to create new work based on the exchange of one artwork and one poem by each participant.
ArtPoems culminates in a stage performance
incorporating art, poetry, music and dance.
Created and Produced by Lorraine Walker Williams
with Co-Chair Joe Pacheco
Le Source by Lawrence Voytek
Inspiration for Artist Lawrence Voytek's Le Source
Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes… Ella Wheeler Wilcox
All we have is the present and the present
has every possibility, endless eternity.
I don’t know what we were—
Perhaps words on a screen, blips we exist.
Like fireflies flash for a moment,
intensity carries time, lessens distance,
soul alive in final moment.
Why would there be no desire to touch?
Words touch, reach toward light. Dawn
illumines the sill, the white sheets.
The same light touches you. Bird music,
high notes of the flute play in my mind and
I send them to you. Jasmine blossoms
float on air, the same air we both breathe.
Can you conceive trees that can’t weep
so full of the forest they grew?
If I can imagine you a rock in a stream,
I am the tree that stands, leans
tips of my leaves, my branches
curling beside you.
Oncoming winter, soft shade, autumn—
My leaves slip into stream’s bed, secure
in your strength, a touching of time.
You hold silence beyond distance
and darkness and what becomes bliss.
Lorraine Walker Williams
Inspired by Artist Alisha Koyanis' Midnight Mistress
Beneath my single bed, in a shallow garment box, my old feathers snooze in ever yellowing tissues. Sometimes, I peel back the paper, just to smell their sleeping cigarette smoke
and ride it back to the clubs on 52nd street.
At 3 Deuces, Onyx, The Samoa, and Jimmy Ryan’s, where Billie always sang,
I bought gimlets with my eyes and rented my ears to hear men’s lies. I was, they said,
‘a real looker.’
My bird-head hat, pearls, and feathers kept them guessing. It fooled them when I listened, made them feel important. They did not know it was the music making my head move.
Buddy, Miles, Coleman, Bird that’s where I found my groove.
Bird once spoke to my scull hat, as he passed me by to go out back. That same night, a very handsome guy — his name was Rick — told me how much he liked my curls and said,
“You’re most enticing.”
I really listened when he spoke. He hinted that we might fly, one day, to where exotic birds live and strut with feathers just like mine. Then later, he said “I’ve gotta catch the night’s last train,” and promised he would call.
He left me with my feathers full, standing rocky with a gimlet,
as his overcoat grabbed his shoulders and shrugged me off.
I never heard from him at all.
Some nights when I roll-over, I can almost smell the feathers below me.
I see Rick’s face, then his back, going out the door
of Jimmy Ryan’s to 52nd Street,
just as Bird, like Orpheus, begins to play Lover Man,
and I sing out in my empty room,
‘Oh, where can you be?’
Midnight Mistress by Alisha Koyanis
Honey From My Skin
Inspiration for artist Sheila Hoen
Violet on stems
reaching toward birdsong,
petals with faces
lifted to the chiming of the wind--
Does anyone know
you have burst into blossom?
Taste lemon, vermillion,
poppy and harvest.
Savor sunlight and ivory,
fuscia and gold.
Let bees make honey from my skin.
I don't even know your names!
Tomorrow your stalks will bend,
your seeds fall
to the ground.
Tomorrow, I'll stand
in rushing water.
and listen for an echo
as the fish swim past.
My feet will chill
and toes be bruised by stones.
Will I remember you at all?
Honey from my Skin by Sheila Hoen