The only requirement to be a writer is the ability to remember every scar.
Stephen King

NOTES FROM ART CLASS

Paint to the edges.

Leave none of the canvas blank.

Let broad strokes reveal themselves.

Never go cheap. Never use filler.

Remain pure.

Layer the color.

How you apply it matters.

Always explore darkness first.

For example, start with deep hooker green.

Be generous.

Add a glint of pale-yellow sunlight.

Make sure to let only pinpricks of light shine through.

Don’t get attached too quickly.

Acknowledge mistakes.

Paint over them.

Stand back.

Let incongruence emerge.

Squint.

Stop and look at possibility.

Be open to surprise.

The unexpected allows you to change direction..

Squint again.

Blur the detail—you can ruin a painting with clarity.

Stop. Revise. Analyze.

Gain courage from what you see—

Note the list of the palm.

Beaten but not snapped.

Listen.

Add the croak of the tree frogs

who stir beneath the muddied gold water.

Find turbulence before you discover calm.

Toward the finish, see the sharpness of eased edges.

Stand back.

Look.

A new way to see.

    MANGROVE REVIEW 2019 FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY

MATRUSHKA DOLLS

My pregnant daughter sits
at her desk, absent-mindedly
stroking her belly
curly dark hair frames the
canvas for all her expressions.

I watch her
remembering
when I was a curly-haired
girl with dreams, allowing
the wind to toss me
until she and I were one.

She inside of me,
now he inside of her
memory imprints from
mother to mother.
Mine on hers as hers with him.

Matrushka dolls
one inside the other
inside the other, the long line of us:
mothers nesting within each other.

The strength of one
passing to the next
constant
unbroken
for eternity.

GULF COAST WRITERS ASSOCIATION CONTEST WINNER 2014


HERE

He came

gently at first

deciding

with push and pull

languorous stretch

when he’d be ready—

starting, stopping

cramping

he kept his mother walking

walking morning and night

aimless walking

to the café

the drug store

the park

down to the river

he nestled low

her legs bowed

but she walked

until it was time

He became a hailstorm

blew in hard without Doppler warning

a rain filled cloud burst

shattering his cocoon

fierce

determined

traversing worlds.

And suddenly, there he was

bursting free

breathing

stretching

Here.

UP THE RIVER  2014

HIBISCUS

It takes faith to coax a plant

from root to bloom.

Yet the gardener is a believer.

Working the soil, he replenishes

missing nutrients, creates a fertile bed

before a single shoot appears.

In his mind’s eye, he sees the white

trumpet-shaped petals long before

the woody stalk begins its ascent.

All summer long, he tends cascading

wisteria, showy dinner plate dahlias

blasting out flugelhorns of color

patiently waiting for that time near

summer’s end when the virginal blossom

with fuchsia center opens—

shimmers in the morning sunlight

only to close and drop at sunset.

All he invests in that single blossom

carries with it the weight and

significance of a solitary moment.

Next door, a long-awaited baby

was born. The years and months

leading to her birth was spent

envisioning  a family of two

becoming three. But the dream

fulfilled lasted two short months

obliterated—

by an anonymous truck driver

who took this new mother in full bloom

plucked her from her own abundant garden

and dropped her hard to the ground.

Like the gardener who anticipates the

future we, too, need to believe in plans

despite uncertainty in the cycle of seasons.

UP THE RIVER  2013

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