Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aroma of Art Winning Poems Selected

Aroma of Art Winning Poems Selected

Twenty-two poems were submitted for the 2010 Aroma of Art Ekphrastic Poetry Contest. Each poem was judged anonymously by two widely-published poets, and a consensus was reached on 9 poems that will be framed and hung next to the works of art that inspired them for the remainder of the Aroma of Art Benefit Auction at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory. These signed, framed poems will then be presented to the winners of the corresponding works of art during the Aroma of Art Grand Finale from 5:30 to 7:30 on March 4.

Additionally, 3 of the 9 poems were selected to be read by their authors as part of the entertainment during the Grand Finale. The 3 poems to be read are “Fostering a Child” by Jeanne Ackley, “Faded Rose” by Ann Fox Chandonnet, and “Beloved” by Bud Caywood. My own poems “Once Upon This Balcony” and “Relic” were also chosen to be read, but unfortunately I will not be able to be in attendance at the Grand Finale.

Poetry Hickory and the Aroma of Art would like to thank all of those who participated in this interdisciplinary, charitable project and would like to encourage lovers of poetry and art alike to visit Taste Full Beans during the month of February to place bids on the many beautiful works of art that have been donated to benefit the AIDS Leadership Foothills Alliance and the Catawba County Humane Society.

Each of the 9 poems selected for display are printed below. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted work.

Fostering a Child
by Jeanne Ackley
after the Doug James’ painting “After a Swim”

Her eyes were not able
to shut out the violence.
Her ears could not help but hear
the curses, the threats.

We finally found
a swim suit
that hid some of the scars,
covered most of the bruises.

She wades into the pool,
waits silently
for the other children
to begin splashing and screaming.

Slowly, her hands hit the water,
with clenched fists.
She screams,
but not with glee.

for the first time,
when I smiled at her,
she smiled back.

Faded Rose
by Ann Fox Chandonnet
after collage by Sara Frisbee

"years ago, but always like yesterday"
Miep Gies, 1987

Shards of memory
from a brain dig.
Scraps of pink net flutter in the breeze.
Bristles and dental picks probe
at what might be vertebra or vase,
shoe leather or locket.
More broken china;
is that a rose?
Carbon dating will settle the issue.
Was this chipped flask filled with chipped tears?
Will Homer tell this tale?

Sweet sisters giggle under the weeping willow,
making daisy chains.
Three children perish within four days.
Their mother buries them. Then their father.
Then she too is gone, and a neighbor takes the screaming baby home.

A horn button, a veal knuckle,
a flattened silver thimble.
Do we find what is lost
or only a faded dream of a faded dream?

by Bud Caywood
after Sara Frisbee’s “Beloved”

In the beginning,
there was a loud clamor of many voices,
and men and animals were called to the beloved child;
their murmurs mingled with fears and dreams,
with old prophecies that had been told again and again.

Don’t blame us now that many are still blind to believing,
deaf to the songs, and lost to not knowing the truth.
There is still a child’s voice in the middle of the heart
that would have us rise from a restless slumber,
out of that tangle of fears and memories
to a soft halo of light where the beloved
still waits for us patiently.

Once Upon This Balcony
by Scott Owens
after Meredith Janssen’s photograph “Et Juliet”

Once upon this balcony,
or another one just like it,
the sun might have shone,
at least it might have seemed
that way from below.
The moon might have drawn
its curtain of day
across a humbled face.
One might have spoken
and remained unheard
yet still made an impression
the way anything not heard clearly
seems more important than the actual words,
and isolated on such a promontory,
only a tree and stars for company,
what was might easily have been
mistaken for what might seem.
One might have been seen
from afar through hyperbolic eyes,
just a girl really, one too young
at that for such talk of virgins,
such contrast with stars.
One might have been the object of obsession,
of overactive imagination,
of inappropriate desire.
One might have weighed
love and obligation, passion and truth,
counseled treason, conspired.
One might have deconstructed
names and words and the whole
premise of symbolism,
leading, of course, to the idea
of pluralism which proved
as always a better idea
than reality can ever bear.
Then again, given all that played out
before her, one might have just jumped.
There was, after all,
if any truth to be told in plays,
plenty of jumping involved
once from this balcony,
a simple balcony,
a bit aged,
and much too open.

by Scott Owens
after Joe Young’s photograph “Time Goes By”

Time does go by
not to mention around,
through, in,
and eventually over.
Tortoise-like it plods on,
patiently waiting
for the moment we stop,
stand still too long.

Even masters of space,
speed, and distance
know of this inevitable
reclamation but remain
unprepared, unbelieving,
just the sort of thing
we think happens
only to other people.

Who, possessing
even a shred of such
power, could be anything
but incredulous,
each thing its own
Ozymandias, pride
half sunk, only
passion surviving.

Disillusionment of Color Change
by Scott Owens
after David DeJesus’ photograph “China Town”

Pink shades, green walls,
fire escapes always descending
from perfectly squared landings,
places to stand still in.
Maybe a fan or a.c.
to cool the day’s oppression
break the monotony
of brick piled on brick,
carefully mortared to close
all hopes of anything open.
Pink shades, green walls,
only in one left open shades
of blue, a suggestion of clouds,
a hint of some horizon.

Motel in Memphis
by Cherie Berry
after Hulda Bewley’s photograph “Motel in Memphis”

Women had a place, on their back, beneath men.
She introduced an element of honesty, a balls-out competition
for customers.
The new kid on the block was by far the biggest earner.

Dressed in skyscraper heels, a red leather mini-skirt
and a blond wig, three times divorced, she had learned the
painful way that you make more money.

On a business and professional level, she didn’t like it then,
and she didn’t like it now.
This business chewed you up and spit you out like a bad taste,
but, sometimes you got lucky.

With the grace of the dancer she once had been, slowly and
insolently she turned in front of the seated man.
He was tempted to put his hands on her, but he did not get up.
No one wanted to be featured in a headline, no one wanted
to get caught.

She gave him a look from eyes that had seen it all and done
it all twice.
He smiled and mimicked putting tape across his mouth.
Every man has a weakness.

by Patricia Deaton
after Sara Frisbee’s “Concrete Love”

Don’t hand me that. Flowers won’t do it.
And don’t tell me it will be all right.
This will NOT. EVER. BE. ALL. RIGHT.
All the party-color trappings in the world won’t make this a celebration.

I’m broken here.

The last slow dance is over.
The lights have come on.
The band is packing up.
Not even a chance for a one-night stand.

What happened to the hugs and kisses?
XOXO, love, for the record,
Happening carefree and written down.

Touching, talking, Not touching, not talking,
The X’s and O’s unfamiliar, gone wild
Like crazy confetti from hell raining down.

I’m a party of one and I’m broken.

An Invitation with Strings Attached
by Jeanne Ackley
after J.W. Baker’s painting “Black Bear”

If you are
a member of the Bear Clan,
or on a sacred journey,
follow me.

I will take you
to the Dakotas, to Bear Butte.
Follow me,
to our sacred circle.

We will gather in the Black Hills.
Follow me,
into the sweat lodge,
where our sacred ceremonies are held.

Follow me,
if your heart is in the right place.
Sacred knowledge is not for sale.
We will know if you are sincere.

1 comment:

  1. good picks! sorry i can't be there for the reading either ;)