Sparked Again

Photo by Ray Sharp, 2017, All Rights Reserved

Last week I enjoyed a rare delight, again collaborating with the talented Jennifer Fendya at Spark 34. Check out all the artist/writer pairings at

For our 4 contributions, follow the links:

Which is your favorite, which speaks to you, and why? Leave me a comment, or better, comment at each posting at, so Jennifer will read it, too.

Colored pencil on paper, Jennifer Fendya, 2017, All Rights Reserved



I participated again in SPARK, a quarterly on-line art and writing collaboration conceived, coordinated and curated by Amy Souza. And again, I collaborated with Buffalo, NY artist Jennifer Fendya. By following the links below, you’ll see 4 pairs of works. In each, either Jennifer or I provided the inspiration piece (a poem or art piece) and the other had 10 days to create a response piece. In each response, you may detect a grain of inspiration that links it back to the inspiration piece, like the tiny grain of sand that the pearl forms around.

Please have a look at the four pairs, leave comments if you’re moved to do so, and look at the other artistic pairings on Spark 33.

The links:

Phantom Pain

“The loss of my left arm,” quipped Cervantes, “is for the greater glory of my right.”

Between bottles of wine
we agreed it was the right ear

Van Gogh lopped, by our memories
of that self-portrait with his head wrapped,

But of course it was really his left side
seen in mirror image as an artist naturally would.

My image, naked in the mirror,
the scars, I touch them where you touched me

With your thin and honest lips that sting me now
with the cold searing of their absence.

Gentrification: First Blush*

Squatting in the boarded-up brownstone
of your fin-de-siécle love, in moieties
of decay and splendor, sophistication,
world-weariness and fashionable despair,
I say it’s not habitation but rather my art
when they come to evict us, so I call out
“Don’t come in, I am painting a nude model.”
My brush hairs stroke your intimate SoHo,
my fingertips chalk your pastel breasts.

*Previously published at Contemporary American Voices,
Lisa Zaran, editor,

In Joyce’s Studio

Up the time-worn stairs
you will find a place
to come to do good work
a place to come to

and the trees
white birch trunks
on fields of blackest void
and merest blue ghosts
are a place too
a place of fine lines
and absolute edges

O the trees are people
with no legs nor heads
just trunks and eyes
limbs and crotches
or all legs
with scarred knees
and stitched incisions
tracing the rough gestures of
dull blades

and don’t you know
there are dark spaces
behind every tree
black shapes
that swallow light
and reflect the shape of absence

and the absence of shape
and all that lies between
are white paper birches
living pages
of one woman’s history
written in striate code

and who can say
whether the zebra is
white on black or black on white
and does it even matter.