Monday, November 26, 2018

Mikayah Parson's "Sugar and Spice" after Connie Bostic

Mikayah Parsons photographed on October 13, 2018 between the Connie Bostic works that inspired her at Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's tour of Hickory Museum of Art. 

by Mikayah Parsons
after Sugar and Spice by Connie Bostic

Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 
Surrounded by shapes, surrounded by life. 
They label me with numbers; 
"Stay still. Don't move."
They beg me, "Suck in. There can always be more room." 
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

They tell me to smile. I think that I do. 
"No, that's too much. Be simple. Be you."
I push my chin out, pout like a doll. 
This gets them cheering, "Now, do that for them all!"
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

I'm growing into my curves, 
But they make me insecure. 
"Don't be so prudish," they urge. 

"Be ladylike. Purge." 
During the break, I sneak away to eat,
But their eyes are upon me, forcing me to retreat. 
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

They compliment me. 
"Kid, you're doing great! Give yourself a pat on the back!"
But all I feel is hate, waiting for them to attack.
They shower me with flowers, with smiles and applause,
But deeper still inside myself, I'm hiding from their claws.
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

"Don't you want to be just like her?"
They crowd around me, ask me for my name.
I put my pen to paper, and smile behind my shame.
The little girls all smile at me, they show me how they pose. 
Too bad they'll never make it in the industry
If I'm one to suppose.
Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

In the dressing room, they whisper about me. 
Their tones are far from hushed. 
"I remember when she was a fat little thing.
Her hair was rarely brushed."
I tug my locks self-consciously. 
Their snickers make me retch. 
I hear my name from center stage. 
"Go on, little doggie. Fetch."
Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

All I wanted was to be a good girl, the kind they talk about in the movies and on TV. 
All I ever wanted was to be happy.
But they took my dreams and used them against me, 
And the standards became like family. 
I look in the mirror, stroking my face.
"One day, little princess. One day, one day."
Nothing else will suffice.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Beverly Finney's "Home Place" after Douglas Grant

AOPCV's Patricia Deaton reads the poem in front of the Douglas Grant painting that inspired poet Beverly Finney on October 13 at Hickory Museum of Art. The poem feels appropriate to begin this holiday week. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

by Beverly Finney
after Over Yander by Douglas Grant

Up the winding road around the curve of the hill
where the land flattens and spreads a meadow
under the hickories, maples and oaks,
stands the place that will always be home.
Not just the structure, its two-story addition,
a slightly sagging roof, the old stone chimneys,
but the way it always meets me with arms open,
invites me in with warmth, offers me sanctuary.
In its corners, soft sepia memories linger
like the smell of hickory smoke primed
in the timbers, its windows, muted paintings
of pastures, fields, fences and sunsets.
The porches still whisper stories dropped
in the dark cracks between planks, and occasional
echoes of laughter sift in shafts of sunlight.
Up the way on Turkey Knob, hemlocks and pines,
now sparse, still keep watch over all that wakes
and sleeps below lulled by the simple music
of Sweeten Creek weaving easily in and around,
then under the narrow bridge to the next field.
It is the place I come to drink from the clear spring,
climb the Knob and look out over what matters
when everything else asks too much of me.
It’s where I remember who I am and where
I come from, the place I go to get right with myself.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Patricia Deaton's "Box Step" after Stephen Dee Edwards

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Patricia Deaton shares her poem inspired by glass artist Stephen Dee Edwards on the October 13, 2018 tour. The sculpture is part of the permanent collection at Hickory Museum of Art. 

by Patricia Deaton
after Untitled (Ballerina) by Stephen Dee Edward

Instead of two left feet-
three imagined spindle legs
bereft of metatarsi-
he moves, stiff as glass

balance tenuous, at best.
Long past adolescence
I’m locked as if suctioned
to my partner’s chest.

Unaccustomed to contact
it seems that steam blasts
from a spout on his head.
Sweat rings ruin my taffeta dress.  

Despite a fervent desire for instruction
I will never be able to follow his lead.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Jane Lucas's "Overblown" after Momoyo Torimitsu

Jane Lucas reads her poem inspired by Momoyo Torimitsu's BLOW UP exhibit piece at the October 13 Art of Poetry Catawba Valley event at Hickory Museum of Art. 

by Jane Lucas
after Somehow I Don’t Feel Comfortable by Momoyo Torimitsu

“Somehow I don’t feel
comfortable,” you say.
And I say, “does any bunny?”
speaking just a hair’s breadth
from a hare’s breath.
Be veh-wee qui-yet.
They may be hunting us.
Scared behind our smiles,
no bounce house
or warren to warrant
our comfort.
No labyrinth for
burrowing, except in our dreams.
Only there can we parade over Macy’s,
only there flying free
from our inflated sense of self.

Betty O'Hearn's "Homes of Crayons" after Diane Podolsky

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Patricia Deaton reads the poem by Betty O'Hearn at the tour of Alexander County Library on July 1...