san francisco peace and hope

"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." Carl Jung

The Painter Who Never Was

The canvas was stretched
but the frame was crooked
and unsteady
like a sail in the wind
on a boat on an uneven sea
waves breaking over the bow.

The paint on the canvas fades,
ultramarine blue becomes pale,
reds are now pink
yellows white
like the painting never was.
The painter has disappeared
swallowed up by the sea.

After a while marine life returned
to pristineness,
a future in tears
a boat afloat
a canvas restored
a painter aboard,
like nothing ever happened,
that we know of.

Jane Rades

Andrena Zawinski, Prive, Photograph

Ashes to Art

After the fire my life changed
debris cleared I am rain-washed
infused with energy for repairs
enhancements to make order
beauty in my life

After the fire I grew taller stronger
I can see clearly connect my thoughts
appreciate all the gifts of space and time
loving everyone who shares
this greening field

Claudia Chapline

Time Warrior

You can't help but
leave something
in the space
in which you breathe,
by the way you
inhabit it. You move on
the space remains,
something of you
remains. Time means
nothing in this
equation. Time takes
your mortal life,
devours your grace,
your soul.
And you must question this,
as you must
question everything.
For you are meant
to inhabit and dominate
space, a conqueror of time,
not a victim of it.

Doug Draime

Lena Levin, Teapot, wineglass and sketchbook (after Pablo Picasso), Oil on linen panel

Roy G. Biv

Miniature metal tubes,
once containing vibrant reveries;
now squeezed lifeless.
A second-hand rainbow
and a generic palette.
Residue from underlying
colors somehow continuing
to bleed through like an old
bruise rising to the surface.
I painted with your old brushes,
unruly under my hand.
Somehow you still live in
those out-cast art supplies.
When you married a painter,
I wondered if you
would still love her
when her colors fade.
Amanda Smith


Further seems forever,
a panic attack under wraps.
A left-handed sparkle,
an identity left behind.
Witness protection,
complete surrender . . .
jellyfish skin.
Entirely see through,
leaving everything exposed.

Amanda Smith

Johan Hedrik Weissenbruch, The artist's studio, Oil painting

Artist As Diagnostician

My father was a doctor, a dermatologist.
One day, as we walked through a gallery
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
he stopped short before a Rembrandt
portrait of a young man, stylish and gay
in a gaudy plumed hat, who looked back
at us with an old dog's runny, crusty eyes.
He leaned in to more closely examine
the boy's face and a minute later said:
"His eyes are symptoms of third-stage syphilis.
There's a cure now, there wasn't then.
He'll go insane and die." Those eyes were
vacant wormholes bored deep
by spirochetes into his brain.
Rembrandt was a genius who could depict
disease for diagnosis. But no artist
can portray, nor physician cure the pox
infecting my father's fevered heart.

William Swarts


penciled with bloom shadow

Blink, and calamity has changed to hilarity.
The taut clouds build their baroque pluckiness,
everyday quizzical seraphs,
making succinct way through the impossible
rising clamor.
What is it, consumes one person
with greed (Gargantua myth), another
with appearance (Narcissus), a third
with righteous fervor (Jehovah)?

Let us crouch
down here in the pine's fallen
needles and examine the miniscule
bug tottering under a load of tiny debris.
Let us observe the proverbial ant
transport in its mandibles
some fleshy shred weightier than its own body.

Let us watch
a twelve-year-old child climb, willingly,
a sheer rock and dive fifty feet
into a frigid green pool.
Let us remember the artist
lugging her easel into the desert's dawn,
one hundred degree heat and rising,
to paint in blocks/obelisks/columns/echoes,
variations of our sun's power, threat, blessing.

title a quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins,
regarding clouds on Oct. 24, 1870

Grace Marie Grafton

Bruce Barton, Entreaty 1
It's true. This image does not seem very clear. Perhaps an artist painted that lamb and the lion up there. But maybe just imagine that I see them...every time I enter the building.


That Moment

It is such a relief
when a work of art
is, at last, complete:
the process, a high wire
act with every bit
of body and soul
dancing on wire’s edge.
Time to hop off!
Final signature: ecstasy.

My collection of seven
calligraphy scrolls unrolls
to celebrate a sublime
black line in flight: that line
is alive.  I cherish
each of the artist’s seals
through my magnifying
circle and share that moment
when seal touches
the silk and the artist
shouts, “I did it again.
Thank you, Mr. Dragon.”
Downing a cup of sake
the artist, for the moment,
glows: polished and complete,

Marvin R. Hiemstra


Skies above the sea as we approach the cliffs

The sea is crashing, folding into itself,

Surrounding the shore like it knows something--

We can hear ourselves hearing

And back home by the fire

A slow incidence of faith

The very barest sounds of having been to the sea--

The buildings cannot hide their lights

Susan Gangel


Bridge, Easel, September

Yes, the field beyond these locked gates
is visibly dry and untouched by shadow,

as if the artist had broken the mirrors in disgust,
dropping this palette en route to a bridge railing

to watch a salt tide mix with bay currents,

to watch shore-bound waves ricochet
off Alcatraz rocks as sea-gull cries
suggest the whereabouts of faith.

Forehead lines and crow's-feet
filling with salt mist,

your hands steady and warm on a cold railing,
rush hour transits over thin crust via toll booths,

traffic edges between white lines and sunset clouds.

Car windows down releasing songs of love, want and need,
                             then angry talk, the war news,

                                      a submarine
                                                slips out
                                            below the bridge

                                                   and into the Pacific.

Charles F. Thielman


Karen Fitzgerald, Other Crossing, 2012, Oil with aluminum and 23k gold on panel