From the Pacific Northwest – Part XLVIII

American Art – Part I of III: Brian Grimm

In the words of one writer, “Brian Grimm was born in Bastrop, Texas in 1968 and grew up in the small town of Elgin, Texas. His talent was discovered at an early age and the rural farm life was rich with inspiration. After achieving an art degree in 1992, he worked as a graphic designer in Austin. After seven years, he began to pursue a career in fine art.”

Below – “Looking West”; “At Willow Creek”; “Edge of the Pond”; “High Plains Drifters”; “Summer Days”; “Cold Mountain Morning.”

American Art – Part II of III: Ann Hardy

Artist Statement: “Since I value relationships more than I do results, I am trying to be more results oriented.  This is hard for a person that is top heavy in one or the other directions.  So I must compensate and really work hard for the skills in this direction.  Competitions help.  
Growth in painting, or any direction, is what keeps me excited and passionate about life, and, boy oh boy, I am excited and passionate about life!!”

Below – “Spiders and Cantaloupe”; “On Dandi Way, Estes Park”; “Beach Girl”; “Fawn”; “Montana Apples”; “Water Lily and Pads.”

American Art – Part III of III: John Austin Hanna

Artist Statement: “My years in New York and Dallas as an illustrator were great, but I wasn’t really following my heart. Throughout my childhood in Beaumont, I was always drawing and dreaming of becoming a ‘real’ artist. I finally decided that I had to pursue that dream.”

Below – “Mr. Brown’s Red Barn”; “Red Shoes”; “The Old Shop”; “Peach, Pink and Chocolate Sheep”; “Summer at Lang’s Mill”; “Hare.”

Art for Winter – Part I of III: William T. Richards (American, 1833-1905)

Below – “Shoreline with Distant Mountains”

Art for Winter – Part II of III: Agnes M. Richmond (American, 1870-1964)

Below – “Fairy Tales”

Art for Winter – Part III of III: Aiden Lasses Ripley (American, 1896-1969)

Below – “Lady in the Courtyard”

A Poem for Today

“Unpatriotic Gore”
By Jay Parini

It’s true I never loved my country
in the abstract sense: red, white, or blue.
I have only this black waving flag,
my disposition.
Stars, bold stripes,
remind me of a million dead young men
in far-off ditches,
remind me of the innocents who fell,
collaterally damaged,
wild-eyed, blazing: each of them
a universe unmade.
I say that I have never loved my country,
but I’d surely die
for several good friends, my wife and sons.
I’d sacrifice a number of pink toes
and fingers, too (my own)
for Emerson, for Whitman and Thoreau.
I’d give an eye for one deep lake,
for several good streams,
at least one waterfall,
a lovely stand of Norway pines
just east of here, not far away.

Below – Walter Griffin: “Norway Pines Landscape”

A Second Poem for Today

“Horse Latitudes”
By Jo Sarzotti

The past lies in the brine
                            Of equatorial water,
Black ink veining where the quill paused.

Rich doldrums
                            Full of gold
Where Spanish sailors
                            Threw the Queen’s horses,
Palomino, the color of her hair.

On the Outer Banks
                            Each wave a breaking 
Promise of the New World,
                            Lost colonies,
Lost ships, wild ponies
                                          Swimming even now.

A Third Poem for Today

“The Past”
By Michael Ryan

It shows up one summer in a greatcoat,
storms through the house confiscating,
says it must be paid and quickly,
says it must take everything.

Your children stare into their cornflakes,
your wife whispers only once to stop it,
because she loves you and she sees it
darken the room suddenly like a stain.

What did you do to deserve it,
ruining breakfast on a balmy day?
Kiss your loved ones. Night is coming.
There was no life without it anyway.

A Fourth Poem for Today

By Alicia Ostriker

Just finished folding laundry. There’s the news. A slender prisoner, ankles shackled, nude back and legs striped by a brown substance you might take for blood but which probably is feces, hair long, arms extended at shoulder level like a dancer or like Jesus, walks toward a soldier with rolled-up pants and a gun, posed legs akimbo in the tiled corridor. I cannot say from the image if the soldier is smiling, too few pixels to tell. Barely do the prisoner’s elegant feet touch the floor. In another nude photograph a prisoner with shorter hair cowers against a wall while two dogs whose leashes are held by soldiers examine him. I cannot say from the photograph if the dogs are snarling or drooling. And in this one a girl soldier holds the leash, which leads to the neck of a prisoner lying on concrete.
Oil oozes a mile or two underground. Like sand, it was once alive.
In another photo the nude prisoners have been formed into a pyramid. They look like something in the back of a butcher shop. A stack of magnified calves’ livers. Now the girl soldier leaning over a bleeding prisoner—are those dog bites—gives the thumbs’ up sign and smiles her toothy wholesome Homecoming Queen smile, a smile descended from a Good Housekeeping cover, twinkle twinkle little… Oil oozes a mile or so underground. Atop it stands a palace of air conditioning. Somewhere in the green zone is a swimming pool for the officers, its water chemically purified. Stagnant waters are also good—to the flies. As is blood. A fly’s life there would be prosperous. I put away the laundry. I put my nose in the laundry, it smells warm and well. My husband’s underpants and undershirts I lay in his dresser drawer. In my dresser drawer go my underpants and t-shirts.

The correct word is not ‘prisoner’. The correct word is ‘detainee’.

Speaking of correctness, some other terms have lately come into play: ‘hooding’, ‘waterboarding’, ‘rendition’. The bleaching of the news. The rinsing and spinning. Some of the laundry items are not quite dry, a knit sweater of mine, a flannel of his. I hang them on plastic hangers in the bathroom. The bathroom is tiled in white, the tub is tourmaline. Above our twin sinks hangs a large flat mirror in which we are obliged to see ourselves each day, and on the opposite wall, that is to say behind us when we stand at the sink, a Rodin watercolor sketch depicts a semi-nude woman in some sort of peach diaphanous garment, seated, holding one pink knee in her hands, her shaven pubes showing, the lines at once easy, comfortable, and elegant. The correct word is ‘detainee’. The sweaters hang patiently. The mirror ponders a rebuke.

Musings in Winter: Sherwood Anderson

“I may stay here in this town another day or I may go on to another town. No one knows where I am. I am taking this bath in life, as you see, and when I have had enough of it I shall go home feeling refreshed.”

Musings in Winter: Kristen Iversen

“I have always loved the many moods of the sky at Rocky Flats. Turquoise and teal in summer, fiery red at sunset, iron gray when snow is on the way. The land rolls in waves of tall prairie grass bowed to the wind, or sprawling mantles of white frosted with a thin sheath of ice in winter.”

Musings in Winter: Jadi Kindred

“Who knows what the long-term effects of saving rescue dogs are and the healing lessons and love they bring to Earth? Each one of us has the capacity to influence hundreds – even thousands of people or animals through the way we live our lives.”

Musings in Winter: Leslie Land

“Spiders evidently as surprised by the weather as the rest of us: their webs were still everywhere – little silken laundry lines with perfect snowflakes hung out in rows to dry.”

Musings in Winter: Cormac McCarthy

“Ever step you take is forever. You cant make it go away. None of it. You understand what I’m sayin?”

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