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Madam I'm Adam - Karen Koegel

Madam I'm Adam - Karen Koegel

Collage on Canvas

24" x 12" 0.5"


Memento Mori
by Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Dazzling morning sunshine swept it away. Alone under Grandma’s crazy quilt, she struggled to patch the dream back together. Tracing the red velvet triangles and golden embroidered squares with shaking fingers, as if blindly working a jigsaw puzzle with no box, no pattern. Like the quilt, yes, the dream. Many shapes, many hands, many threads. Phantom hands reaching upward, yes, she remembered, hands of every shade. Beseeching, imploring. Hands scaffolding a kaleidoscope of colors, walls lunging toward infinity. Four butterflies, pink, yellow, pale lime green. Metamorphosis, one state of being transposed into another? A grinning skull, too, memento mori, precious relic of the Church. And that seductive apple, polished in hues of sparkling rubies and fresh-spilled blood. Original sin, yes. Terra firma blazing, vermillion, hellfire flames licking an onyx sky. Black-garbed, headless silhouettes emerging from chaos. Brains bursting into flowery nothingness, gazing eyeless at the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve? Or something else, something eternally sinister? Tuxedoed hands cradling innocence, a child, naked, dead. At the apex, two more hands, well-manicured, raised in prayer. Namaste! And then, hands besieged by tiny rubescent orbs, horned, demonic. Invisible to the naked eye. Pestilence, prophets droned on the nightly news, warning of the Pale Horseman riding ever closer. And three others, too, unseen, unnamed. But there, yes, waiting, their steeds pawing, snorting. She shook her head. Everything now only air, mirage. Was it a dream? A nightmare? Or reality? 
                   Pater, dimitte illis: non enim sciunt quid faciunt.  


Minority Weather, Part 1 
by Reinfred Dziedzorm Addo

This city where we learned our knowledge is also where storms
of mystery flood our heads, an atmosphere is clouded and the
sky is raining on a sunny day; my jubilation at fruits sprouting,
a "hallelujah" because I know the sun pulled up the tree, but
maybe there is a necromancer, maybe the soaked soil underfoot
and its skeletons and compost pushed up the tree into the sky.

Long ago you told me the tree brushes the air and makes 
our field of vision its canvas, making vibrant art of 
the firmament; beauty was in everything, beauty was divine. I think 
about that canvas now as it looks at us, and it knows we're sure 
we know what it's all about just because we get the clearest view 
from this city's high-rise balconies. This canvas speaks and it's 
a metronome for the seasons' changes, an orchestra director for 
time's stay. Branches sway-paint the air, each creak turning 
the skyline into a statement, 
"This piece isn't what you think it's about
this piece isn't what you think it's about,
this piece isn't what you think it's about,
but then maybe it is."

This city taught me many knowings, like what to wear to what event,
how to approach strangers, how to court romance. Yet I don't know 
the mysteries of things diametrically opposed, I think it's the same 
for you too; like why the highest leaves of a tree depend on 
the lowest roots, like how rain clouds let the sun 
have its say most days, like how the dew lets vapor drive it 
into exile except when it's night and there's no audience 
to see the summoning of glistening water beads.

You will hold your palms out and touch this city's mist, you'll 
wait for the wind and remember your two fair and cradling palms 
felt things at the expense of the many outstretched black hands 
that couldn't touch blossoming flowers; shine your eye and be alert 
for what the weather brings, peer into the horizon for the unknown 
and the unknown hour at which it'll come. Revel in the understated, 
like the duality of a sunny rain, like the infinity of 
the horizon's edge, like the irony of expecting a surprise.

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