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ArtPoems 2016 Gallery
Salon C
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Playing the Rainbow Room   by Honey Costa   ArtPoems 2016
Playing The Rainbow Room
   Inspired by artist Honey Costa's "Playing the Rainbow Room"

There he is, lead singer, master of the microphone,
leader of the band, alive in the orange glow of fame,
jazz night at the prestigious Rainbow Room
high above Manhattan, well after midnight.

What was his journey? Who do you have to 
sleep with to climb this high, to make it to the top?
And the Rainbow room is the height of glory.
The footsteps he walks in are gigantic, intimidating.

He started small. Eight years old carrying his 
daddy’s old 12 string guitar, to black, dirt- road
dance halls back in Alabama. He watched the 
fingering, played them on his arm and drank it all up.

His daddy saw music in him, and got around to finding 
him a Ukulele. Four strings to heaven. He cut third
grade all week and hid in the woods and strummed
and strummed and strummed until his daddy found him.

Yes, he got a beating, and the Uke was taken away, hidden.
He went back to school, but, as soon as the last bell rang, he ran 
home to search for his Uke. High up in the barn he found it.
His daddy heard strumming again, knew the gift, taught him more.

All through high school, every weekend, he played in bands, down at  
some of the same black dirt-road dance halls, getting better and better.  
The music teacher at the high school saw the kids’ gifts, became 
a mentor, and got him a scholarship for Belmont, in Nashville.

There he was discovered, became country for a while, did some 
cowboy singing, and some cowboy drinking, and his daddy drove up
saw it, and gave him a cowboy beating, and also that monster bass guitar.
Moved him out of Nashville, up to Memphis and there the kid found jazz.

And there the Rainbow Room found him. The big Leagues in New York City. Meg 
Ryan was there for her break up dinner in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Streisand 
got engaged there in “Prince of Tides.” It was the place to see and be seen. Women 
come to worship him. For them he strums the old Ukulele and seduces them all.

    - Sidney B. Simon

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On Guns
   Inspiration for artist Scott Guelcher's "Twenty Ducks"

Twenty ducks float on the waves of the bay…

Teacher tells the children a wild animal 
is loose in the building. They must hide, 
stay together until he is caught.
Bad guys are in the school and they
have to wait for good guys to come.

Twenty ducks paddle and swim this day…

A bullet hits a child, kills a child.
Tender flesh hugged a teddy bear in bed, 
small fist clutched a frayed blanket,
child sat on Santa’s lap, whispered…
Bloodied mass brings the coroner to tears.

Twenty ducks bobble, bullets spray…

First grader left a heart crayoned red,
hand-lettered note, “I love you mom.” 
Bullets pierce a child, kill a child.
Twenty children who smile in photos
eyes filled with light, no longer see.

Twenty ducks blind, life blown away…
Kiss on the child’s soft cheek— 
Kiss mom, dad good-bye, 
Dora the Explorer lunch box filled, 
peanut butter and jelly sandwich…
Bullets shatter a child, kill a child. 

Twenty ducks dead, blood on the bay…

Shots fired from a Bushmaster
inflict mortal wounds…parents 
claim broken bodies they had given life.
Bullets killed this child, guns killed this …
child...killed this…child...killed…this…child.

Twenty ducks float on the waves of the bay…
Twenty ducks paddle and swim this day…
Twenty ducks bobble, bullets spray…
Twenty ducks blind, life blown away…
Twenty ducks dead, blood on the bay…

   - Lorraine Walker Williams

Twenty Ducks   by Scott Guelcher   ArtPoems 2016
La Ninfa del Bosque
   (The Wood Nymph)
    Inspired by artist Ava Roeder's "La Ninfa del Bosque"

From the forests of reverie

She calls again to me,

Dryad of my dreams,

Forever young and timeless,

Radiant in the heavy light.

She lures me through thick brush

And stands of trees 

To lie with me beside the brook

And we begin to love each other

As always before ---

Alas, she will not let me see

Beyond her mask, her magic lies in mystery.

If I pull her mask to set her free

Gone will she be and gone my reverie ---

And trees of the forest will cry out to me:

“La ninfa del bosque no está aquí.”

   - Joseph Pacheco
La Ninfa del Bosque   by Ava Roeder   ArtPoems 2016
   Inspiration for artist Jonas Stirner's "Thunder Reenactment"

Oh, to be a peeper awakening

Full voiced from the mud of winter’s crystal oblivion

To throw open the doors

Sing into the violent night

To raise the windows, rejoice

The soaking of the bed clothes

The windborne prints of blue-green Matisse

To harmonize with the trembling finger bottles

Of the dressing table

To shout YES in deafening climax

Appear on the roof, arms winged

To conduct the concert of the Millennium

Timpani please, crash blue


But storms pass, and like ecstasy

Burn out your eyes

Leave you with fireless rumblings

Questions of doors

Open to the dark

   - Gary McLouth

Thunder Reenactment   by Jonas Stirner   ArtPoems 2016
A Man I Never Knew
   Inspired by Paula Eckerty’s painting "Timeworn"

When I look at you
I see a man I never knew
Yet somehow, I surmise
What your life has been.

Presumptuous, I know,
Preposterous, perhaps,
But your waves of snow white hair
Suggest to me
You knew the sea
And so much more.

Your steady gaze, implacable
Appears serene
But your countenance suggests much deeper depths.

Where have you been, what have you seen?
What lies witnessed or professed?
What storms weathered in your life?
Joy, strife, bawdy nights of gin,
Sad and sobering times of war and peace partaken in?

Yet, are we not all like you?
Canvases which portray
What we have lived.
Here you remain
Daring us to understand.

   - Sandy Greco
Timeworn   by Paula Eckerty   ArtPoems 2016
At the Market
   Inspiration for artist Beth Everhart's
         "The Artificial Landscape"

The day’s heat waits in anticipation.
Soon bushels of declined 
over-ripened tomatoes and bruised peaches
will be discarded, carted away.
It is just before closing time
at the Farmer’s Market. I walk the paths,
examining rows of glistening strawberries,
piled like giant rubies in green baskets.
At the last stand, I see you
holding a golden casaba in one hand,
as if to weigh its worth. 
I watch you from a silent distance 
as you caress the orb
and then press it firmly
at its core, determining its ripeness.
You breathe in its sweetness.
I am transported back to a time
when we were young and tender—
untouched apples, ready for picking.
We lay under a hidden campus Linden tree,
nestled together, sharing a large,
juicy peach on the last day
before school would close our
foolish, youthful dreams.
You licked my arm, dripping with nectar,
greedily sucked the taste from my lips,
squeezed my supple flesh. 
Our parting was bitter fruit.

Today, so many years later, 
I think to approach you,
until she takes your arm,
and you smile down at her
and leave me, unnoticed.

   - Joyce Berrian Ferrari
The Artificial Landscape   by Beth Everhart   ArtPoems 2016