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Penal Colony
Inspiration for Lawrence Massing's “Hope Divided/Shattered Dreams”
Cheap linen handkerchiefs 
imbued with tears
  natural ink blending our stories, 
  our collisions, our bondage.

It is always a surprise
when the pain comes back
sharpened like a 2B pencil that lasts forever
  renewed.

Carve, carve these souls 
  tune your torturing skills
we on a stretcher 
dare not to leave the penal colony.

Fathers rejecting their own sons:
Kafka is now laughing at us,
“I told you ad nauseam how it works,” 
he says.

It is always a surprise
when it comes back 
when the machine starts again
penning our body
with abominable stories and
  the ink reaches deep into our
bone marrow.

There is a difference between then and now:
The pain is more sophisticated:
a polished marble slab, 
a senior harlot.

We puke venom
while the torture continues
we burn inside
perpetually.

Where does the love we feel come from?
Fearing regret for those days
we choose to be the penal colony, and 
  we persevere in our pain  

but the snow melts
giving the illusion that 
water will never change to ice again. 

~ Anna Ciamparella

Hopes Divided/Shattered Dreams   by Lawrence Massing   ArtPoems 2020
Monopoly Moon
    Inspired by Rebecca Sandbek’s "Who's Next"

How it would end I thought I knew
In the monopoly game no love is true.
She was Pennsylvania Green and Park Place blue
I, purple and Baltic, the low avenue.
In that summer of madness I wore out the board
Buying properties I couldn’t afford.
My car kept pace with her wheelbarrow
As she raced past Go and every arrow,
Till there was nothing left for me to own
And trade for the heart of this Molly Malone.

I landed in jail, she wouldn’t let me be,
Her get out of jail card set me free
To land on her hotel property
And end my game in bankruptcy.

“Sorry,” she sighed, “but I had to be true
To my Pennsylvania Green and Park Place blue.
I won the game, but don’t want to lose you.
Come under the Boardwalk, we’ll make out soon
Under a boardwalk sky and Monopoly moon.”

~ Joe Pacheco


Who's Next   by Rebecca Sandbek   ArtPoems 2019
I look in the mirror, and see a reflection
But I’m not sure who I see.
The girl staring back has speckles and lines
And doesn’t look like me.

The girl that I see has a similar face 
Though she looks more like a thief.
She’s stolen the place where my dreams are made
Because she’s too scared to be seen.

Who is this stranger that wants me to love her
Who wants me to tell her she’s pretty?
Her blurry reflection reveals imperfections
Rejected by her own self-pity.

She’s tries to abandon her demons 
Over time, they’ve attached to her skin.
The doctors say there is no treatment
All her pigment destroyed from within.

They say it had to be trauma
Something rooted too far to be seen.
When you spend your whole life holding secrets 
They’re bound to destroy something sweet.

So here I show up in the mirror
To plead with the girl staring back.
Naked with splotchy brown patches
Begging her to let go of the past.

She tells me that I look familiar
We share the same energy vibes.
Together, we’re suddenly weeping
I reach out, but she tells me goodbye.

~ Geneva Kelly
Reflections   by Susan Marie Carlo   ArtPoems 2020
Tides
    Inspired by Susan Grunan's ”Vibrant Sunset"


At first sight all these strange feelings that I have no explanation for 
begin to rush in, to me this was foreign, like trying to watch a film 
on mute in another language in black and white and the caption on closed, 
like my heart, it was closed off to this foreign feeling and yet
it recognized it right away like it was the code that was written 
see love is the prescription in which I never got filled
because I don’t like medicine, I fear what it can do to me
like leave me weak, too relaxed, where I lose all control
and I find myself falling deeper and deeper into this foreign feeling
that knows me better than I know me, because it was written in my life code
before I was a day old. 

He knows the count of the thinnest of hairs on my head. 
He knows the exact number of grey strings that linger in between the black strings. 
He knew that I needed you, before I was even aware of your existence 
and yet somehow, He knew just how to have you show-up 
like the sun does after each dark night 
He sent you to brighten up my day
To show me the red lines in the sky comes from the passion in His eye.
He knew that before you, I was blue and when he mixed us together
The fire and desire mixed with the cool and calm, royalty was created 
the color of kings and queens, purple now shines in my sky 
next to the golden sun. 

As I watch the colors dance in the sky
and the tides break dance as they rush in
I will continue to wait on you…


~ Jamilla D. Brooks



Vibrant Sunset   by Susan Grunan  ArtPoems 2020
Transforming
Inspired by Kenneth Vinton's "The Magik is in Me"

I’m milkweed and pollen seeds,
Matter transforming,
Evolution breathing,
Held down by gravity.
Each breath I take creates the strength to keep going.

I’m forever changing,
Consciously growing,
No longer asking
For any permission.
I’m wild, free and flowing.

My energy contagiously
Contracts your feelings.
Careful what you’re thinking,
There is magic inside me.
I’m the birds and bees, combining.

I am white.
I am black. 
I’ve emerged into color.
I am painted in glass,
But surrounded by lovers.

I am life. I am mother…

~ Geneva Kelly

Night Time Forest
    Inspiration for Adrian Cox's "Connected"

Bright white moon is rising as glowing golden sun is setting…
beastly bears roaring from thousands of miles away performing effortless captures-  
herds of deer dashing past in scarlet horizon like blasting thunder 
roaring in the distance…  

Wind quietly whispers in creatures´ ears, ¨Night has come…
Owls, raccoons, foxes, and bats briskly awaken- it's time for everyone else to go to bed.
All focus on one goal…. survival.

 Messy tangled nest made of dark brown twigs and air moss unveiling - 
 A charming maroon owl with scintillating white spots in a nearby branch- 
spotting its prey- Swiftly attempting to pick it up with deadly sharp beak.
Small mouse speeding along soft emerald grass with all its might-  
Wise owl rebalances trying again- ruthlessly swooping down for a second attempt- 
This time successful- enjoying his night time treat.

Large underground burrow reveals a small sly crimson fox-  
Patiently and silently waiting for its prey- 
standing on a patch of muddy soil behind deep green bushes…
Here passes a small bird of sage and periwinkle feathers- 
Instantly fox- with heart of ice attacking-  
All that remained- colorful feathers and damaged white bones-
on a patch of muddy soil behind deep green bushes…

The sun is now rising… it is time for night time creatures to find restful slumber.

~ Carolina Solomon


The Majik is in Me   by Kenneth A. Vinton   ArtPoems 2020
Connected   by Adrian Cox   ArtPoems 2020
Reflections
Inspiration for Susan Carlo's "Reflections"