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The Born
    Inspiration for Linda Lally's "Tiger Mother"

I waited in the
cloverweeds
to see there the brahman child,
to see he who permeates the veil,
he who is not aware of his male-ness,
he who all at once is a tiger and an infant,
once suckling at the dark blue breasts of his mother,
the fair pink nipples of Titania,
the pale orange belly of a tigress,
drinking the milk and honey and
mineral clear liquid of this earth,
lapping the dazzling liquor of breath and pulse,
drinking straight from the earth like a jug,
licking like the planet is a lollipop,
like the planet is satiating to
him, who was once like amber inside a virgin, to
him, who as a blue skinned changeling is mothered by earth,
and gravel, and typhoon, to
him whose love is fostered by a tiger mother whose
play is lonesomely subsonic, to
him, suspended in fairie bower,
cooed and prickled by the genderless voices,
a fountain of mouthed soundlessness, to
him, who dances a violent army of fiddles and pipe flutes
and hollow howling, to
him who chants in secret prayers
and asks for infinity to find him, him
who has no mother, a mother.


  - Marissa Douglass

Tiger Mother    by Linda Lally    ArtPoems 2017
Sanctuary
    Inspired by Dennis Church's "Naples, Florida 2010 (from Public Attire series)"

She tells the kids Pink Panther is here to zap cancer
whistles and sashays the bald girl’s wheelchair 
swings a la “Country Time Barn Dance” her nurses
who call her “Boss Lady” 
Sings goofy songs as she finds a tiny vein
Cracks corny jokes as she threads a catheter
Tells a boy as much truth as he can bear about his first chemo session 
Gathers broken pieces of the sobbing Mom, swaddles her
No chaplains at this ungodly hour

She trudges to the old Toyota two hours after sunrise 
Last thing she wants is back on her feet, forced to talk 
to one more, single human being
But, the market’s siren call is obliged to be obeyed

Air cleans the glaze of “nurses’ station buffet” from her palette 
Out of tune fiddles rinse beeping monitors, shouted codes, phones 
driven to leave messages, even as the normal world sleeps
Sunshine scours sinuses of almighty disinfectants, overlay waft of fear
some from tiny patients, more from parents, and secreted behind eyes  
of their caretakers

Loosening senses, unbuckling her Id’s restraints just like her Mom’s ecstasy
peeling herself from her girdle after Mass
Bags fill with overpriced honey, handfuls of tomatoes and green beans, apricot bars
Mennonite girls talked her into, reminding herself go back 
for that bunch of flowers (I never treat myself)
Photos of father and son showing off treasures gathered that day 
Decade old red paint glistens, fresh scent of paste wax
staving off ravages of sun and streets 

Boss Lady soon enough, to be in fresh scrubs (maybe Scooby Doo tomorrow?)  
departing sanctuary when lucid folks ready for supper
back to the kids and drowsy, harried parents on Three West, but for now 
she dreams of saving crisp green beans Mañana, allowing just one
gooey apricot bar
to swaddle her soul

   - Dan Reed England
Naples, Florida 2010 (from Public Attire Series)    by Dennis Church    ArtPoems 2017
Santa Has Left the Building
    Inspiration for Maria Bouloux's "Packing Up"
Santa has left the building,
Many believers are still in disbelief.
The first black Santa 
is leaving the People’s House.

He termed out, 
but left monumental marks,
not with nail holes on walls,
or solar panels on the roof.

He leaves with deeds and directives,
and countless executive privileges. 
The pen is mightier than the sword;
especially Santa’s pen.

Remodeling the workshop has begun.
Someone else lays claim to the 
People’s Deed.
Although he doesn’t own it, 
He will claim it as his own.

So when you remodel,
do you gut everything, 
rip it to the roots, 
or just paint over the walls,
with rose-colored latex?
Do you add fringes of gold-leaf,
or use rollers of electoral college red.
They may have to go over it twice,
get a second opinion, second look,
and recount the sales slip.

Our White House with a black Santa
has a moving van in the driveway.
They are carrying history out,
a Manhattan makeover is moving in.
And he is not an interior designer.

They pack away the teleprompter,
all-American jerseys with number ones,
gifts from around the world, 
including a marred Nobel Prize,
a box of Cuban cigars, and a new
alphabet that includes the letters, 
L-G-T-B.

Reindeer have their packing orders too.
But, don’t expect them to remain grounded;
not with names like Brains,
Wonder, Patience, and Compassion;
Rigor, Resolve, Pride and Empathy.
The sled goes in last, but it doesn’t fit.
They will have to get a bigger truck.
Maybe they will leave it on the front lawn as a year-round reminder, 
but, they won’t.

They won’t because they are too busy 
in the backyard….. Already. 
We can hear that pounding sound.
The defiant Donald’s thud, thud, thud.

The high stakes are going in the ground.
A new white wall tower is rising,
the heights no one has ever seen.
The Superlatives are moving in.
And so goes the neighborhood.

Mrs. Claus’s herb garden is all that is left.
It too will lay fallow.
Processed foods will replace organic.
Seeds of inclusion go dormant.

Santa has left the building. Yet, he did leave
some chocolate milk
and some home-made cookies to share.


     -Doug MacGregor
Packing Up    by Maria Bouloux    ArtPoems 2017
Klimt’s Muse
     Inspired by Honey Costa’s “Klimt’s Garden”

She is barely visible,
a specter in the field
of scarlet poppies
intoxicated by their odorless scent.
Seed after seed, she escapes,
weightless as she drifts
from dream to dream. In one 
she is Klimt’s muse, 
a nymph wrapped in embrace,
waiting for the memorable kiss.
In another she becomes a poppy,
afire in the sun-struck field,
and she springs up in flower 
after flower multiplying 
in the landscape. Here in this garden
of heavenly descent, she does not cry
for rescue. But closes her eyes
and waits for the evening’s 
blanket of stillness.


     - Joyce Berrian Ferrari
Klimt's Garden    by Honey Costa    ArtPoems 2017
Road Trip
    Inspiration for Roy Rodriguez' "Trip of Memories"

   Filling your shirts with wind

   Was never my idea

   How we would drive

   East to the sea


   That father and son retreat

   Long shorelines, little houses

   The twang of talk, muffins

   Blueberry, apple, peach


   It won’t happen now

   Who waited too long

   Wandered wide of the mark

   Wouldn’t be right to ask


   Not on this ride

   The road we failed to take together.  

   This trip I steer alone

   Your shirts strung across the back seat


     - Gary McLouth
Trip of Memories    by Roy Rodriguez    ArtPoems 2017
It’s The Same Difference Everywhere
     Inspired by Beth Everhart's "Off Prospect"

It’s the same difference everywhere:
No one is ever who he wants to be,
Everyone thinks he is someone else
And anyone can do it better than he.

No one is ever who he wants to be
Till someone tells him what he wants to hear:
That anyone can do it better than he
And teach no one what he needs to know.

Now someone tells him what he wants to hear:
Don’t ever listen to anyone else
Telling no one that what he needs to know 
Won’t hurt anyone if no one cares.

So no one listens to anyone else
Because everyone thinks he is someone else
And it doesn’t hurt that no one will care:
It’s the same difference everywhere. 


   - Joe Pacheco
Off Prospect    by Beth Everhart    ArtPoems 2017