The Artisan Paints Morn

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Artisan Paints Dawn

Ensconced upon my chair,
blanket-cocooned from cold,
I wait for Artist to appear.

In the East, first ray of light
peaks over hills,
dabs brushes heavy with pastel hues
upon my water-washed world.

Gold blurs into rose, blurs
into violet, periwinkle, blue
as night blurs into day
and I to wakefulness.

Then, in the distance,
a flash of white
flares ‘cross the lightening sky
and egret alights upon the bank
in prayerful waiting pose.

And I, to life, arise.

Oh, I hope you take a few minutes to visit dVerse Meeting the Bar where Bjorn treats us to an artistic prompt on Impressionism, a school of art that arose in the late 1800’s and endures to this day. He shares the best, most succinct explanation of the art form that I remember, and I used to be a museum docent.

feather art–dVerse Poetics

I’m hosting for Tuesday’s dVerse Poetics and am looking for poetry about feathers. Please join us with a poem of your own.

Photo: V. Ceretto

Photo: V. Ceretto


feather art

she would paint feathers, she told me,
would spend her days waiting
for feathers fluttering to earth
borne on gentle zephyrs
feathers fallen to the ground
those scattered by a bird of prey
the bodies of a sparrow or a wren

she chooses brushes carefully
(the finest sables) or a nib
she’d load with color or with ink
to focus on delicate detail
outlining veins and every plume
the clash of color line and shape

for feathers are what makes a bird a bird,
she says, and wonders why the jays glow blue
and orioles gold and how to capture iridescence
such glorious structures fractal-ly complex

her studio’s awash in brilliant quills
exotic colors luminous light
collected on the beach and desert floors
some in the mountain heights on trails
and in her garden bed beneath the trees

her work is like a prayer, she says,
a mystical mandala journey to within
she dips her pen into the very heart
of our creation’s source, and recreates
the energy that throbs beneath
the skin of every living being

Image: Public Domain

Image: Public Domain



Dis-Moi, Vincent–dVerse Haibun Monday

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Image: Wikipedia Commons

It’s all about perspective, isn’t it, Vincent? You view that church from across a field of golden waves, as though in getting too close you may be hurt yet again. As though that icon of faith would bring to mind the abysmal (apparent) failure you experienced in your ministry to miners. Am I correct?

So many years have passed now, and from my perspective, oh-so-much is more transparent. For you, it seemed failure dogged you your entire life—failure in love, failure in your passion for painting, failure to be accepted—even by your family. I know better. You never did.

Do you seek balance?
Blue that speaks of such sadness,
but yellow for joy.

(dis-moi is French for tell me, using the familiar form of the verb dire.)

Linked for dVerse Haibun Monday hosted this week by Bjorn. We hope you will join us! 

So Much Life Goes on Unnoticed

Photo: Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

Twinges in the hinges mark the beginning of cold weather, reminding me that my life has entered its autumn as well. So much to do, so many things to see, touch, taste, feel, learn. But I can only enjoy this one precious moment, so I drink—no, gulp–life greedily.

I take my sketch pad and number two pencil, don a sweater, grab a folding chair and hurry toward the river, a block away. Golden aspens vie with crimson maples for my attention. I settle on the maple, mourning the loss of our autumn flame that, like the river, died this year. Have you ever sketched all those tiny veins in a leaf? Do it now, before your own precious life succumbs to the drought of limited days.

Life force flows freely
through leaves, trunk, into the roots
settles down to sleep.

A late link for the wonderful Haibun Monday prompt at dVerse Poets and I’m also linking to WordPress Weekly Photo Prompt, where they are looking for monochromatic photography!

Note: Autumn Flame is a one type of maple.

Intaglio–dVerse Open Link Night




The story of life unfolds—
not in lines
forged by a stylus on copper—
but in choices
we etch each day.

For more information on this printmaking art form, click on the poem title–and to learn about a free Kindle Give Away of my novel, “The Sin of His Father,” check my previous post or click here.


think twice before hitting Costco a few days before Burning Man



they descend like a swarm of sedate wasps,
heaping-high wobbly carts with desert-friendly nectar
cases of crystalline water and burnt umber ale,
sani-wipes and 50 spf sunscreen
(no counter-cultural affects apparent at this very moment)

i secretly envision bare-naked bodies and circus themed
clothes in bright primary colors, floaty-gauzy fabrics
bedecked with heavy jewels and sparkly tiaras
when the arid playa of the black rock desert transforms,
overnight, into the third largest city in nevada,
proudly boasting its 65,000 old-young citizens
riotously celebrating a plethora of arts
under the ever-watchful eye of the bureau of land management
and the pershing county sheriff’s department

an already-frazzled guy just in front of me (in the slithering line
snaking all the way back to the ladies clothing table
piled high with gloria vanderbilt jeans in early autumn hues)
pushes his cart loaded high with health bars
and sturdy flats of gatorade (orange, blue, yellow-green and blue),
sighs and advances, at last, a couple of feet toward the checkout stand.

ten days from now, they will emerge, caked in mud,
dump their thrift store clothes into the nearest dumpster
and queue up in another line at the car wash up the hill.
they will leave an empty playa in near-pristine condition,
will donate battered bikes to be cleaned, refurbished and,
perhaps, given to needy kids, if not reclaimed again next year.
these weary burners will return to the drudgery of day-jobs
leaving us all-the-richer for their presence
(and consumption.)

Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar. Bjorn asks us to use a generous amount of modifiers in our writing today–contrary to the best of writing rules. And since we in Northern Nevada are welcoming hoards to Burning Man where breaking the rules of culture is the norm (along with celebrating the arts) I just couldn’t resist–especially after my trip to Costco this morning. OyVey

Help Me Understand, Monsieur Vincent–dVerse Open Link Night

Help Me Understand, Monsieur
an Echo Poem

Monsieur Vincent, are those your boots?
My boots?
They speak of pain, hard work and tears.
And years,
of agony, darkness and loss.
The cross.

Or did they belong to some miner who died
To those you served in those early days?
I prayed.
Those days of darkness and loss and tears.
And fear.

Monsieur Vincent, why did you try?
To die?
You saw the world in orange and blue.
True blue.
A world of agony, darkness and pain.
No gain.

Did you wear those boots the day you died,
I tried
and failed to find the love you sought
For naught
You never knew fame, only darkness and pain,
In vain?

Last week, Mary introduced us to the Echo Poem. I wasn’t able to participate then, but chose an old poem that I had filed in my binder titled “Edit or Trash” to rewrite using this technique. The form lent itself to a sort of dialogue with Vincent Van Gogh–someone I really hope to meet in the (not) distant future. In his early years he chose to minister to miners who lived (and died) in the worst of circumstances. He failed, even in that ministry.

And so, here is the first draft of a revision–if that’s not an oxymoron–for dVerse Open Link Night. Please join us with a poem of your own and be a part of the conversation led by Bjorn about performance poetry. 

according to andy warhol, we should create art for the masses


Photo: V. Slotto


according to andy warhol, we should create art for the masses
a tanka

paint that can of soup
beauty in the produce aisle
touch the smooth texture
revel in green orange and red
art on display everywhere

When I was a docent at the Nevada Museum of Art, I was especially impressed by the life and art of Andy Warhol, whose goal was to create art for the populace. I liked to challenge the school children to discover art all around them–for example in the grocery store.

Posted to dVerse Poets OLN where we have now reached a milestone of 150 Open Link Nights. We hope you will join us today.

I’m adding an older poem that I wrote at the time of the exhibit. It’s been around, but for those who haven’t read it…


Maybe Andy was on
to something.
screen-printed cans—
Campbell’s soup:
red and white,
silver and gray,
navy blue with a gold seal.
An icon of comfort in
the midst of so much dismay.
Tomato, Chicken Noodle,
Split Pea,
Bean with Bacon, Pepper Pot.
Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Comfort.
Bring it on.

Did you ever stop?
Really look at art?
I mean art in a grocery store?
“Wake up!”
Andy would say.
Listen closely.”

I pick up a navel orange.
Its dimpled skin
leaves a scent-mark
on my fingers.

“If you want to know me,
look at my art,”
“I’m a deeply superficial person.”

So I stare at him,
but he doesn’t glance back.
Eyes drifting to some
far-away place where
wholeness waits,
or to a party where
touching never held room
for emptiness.
The pull of gravity so great
the Mass collapses in
on itself,
Black Hole. Black Whole.

All that sparkles is
not diamond dust.
Even that wouldn’t adhere.
Your world
became glittered in so
much plastic.

Redemption plays in
pink and yellow
electric chairs.

Curl up,
snuggle in its lap
and die alone
while the nurse who
was there for you,

Oh my God,
I am heartily sorry,
So much pain.
I repeat, I repeat.
Marilyn in
black and gray
and brown,
blue and pink.
We are heartily sorry
who we aren’t,
what we are
and what they made us.

The woman handed
the boy
a piece of dense bread.
“It’s dry,” he said.
“Dunk it in your soup,”
she answered.



artichoke wisdom

Image: Danny Gregory Used with permission Thank you!

Image: Danny Gregory
Used with permission
Thank you!


people are like artichokes


sometimes prickly

but if one is willing

to take the time

to make the effort

the best part is deep inside


take it one succulent leaf at a time

use it to transport flavor into your life

then throw away the dross


take your time

to get to the core

or you may miss something

on the way


artichokes have color



like people

or poetry


each artichoke is unique

but in a field

it can get lost in the crowd

if you don’t take time

to look carefully


an artichoke can seem strange

if you didn’t grow up with them

like i did


if you have a bad experience

with an artichoke

you may want to avoid them

i found a fly once

and didn’t eat another for years

i regret it

don’t judge all artichokes

based on one bad one


when you get to the heart

of an artichoke

take time to savor


Linked to Gabriella’s prompt at dVerse Poetics, based on the art of Danny Gregory. Thank you, Danny for allowing us to use your work.

The pub opens Tuesday at 3:00 EST.






Thanksgiving, a Day Late–dVerse MTB

Thank You for Those Little Things
An Acrostic List Poem

Image: Acrylic on Canvas by Victoria C. Slotto 2009

Image: Acrylic on Canvas by
Victoria C. Slotto

Giving Thanks

Green grass, each blade dormant now, sending roots below;
Icy patterns on the panes, nature’s graceful art;
Virgin snow upon the plains, blanketing our world;
Indigo—God’s nighttime sky, sheltering our sleep;
Nesting birds and buzzing bees, harbingers of spring;
Goodness in an aging heart, gently touched with grace.

Turkey, gravy, yummy food, shared with those we love;
Hedgehogs, chipmunks, furry things, living by the river;
Avian beauties in our yard, feeding on the seeds;
Nasty winds and pounding rain, steaming tea or coffee;
Kites and bubbles, children’s toys, keeping youth alive
Silent moments, solitude. Blessing so abound.

I’m especially grateful for you, all my blogging poet friends at dVerse, who have enriched my life these past years, with the gift of poetry and of yourselves.

I’m linking this to dVerse Meeting the Bar, where Brian is hosting a Thanksgiving post. I’m happy to see him back in the pub, and happy to be back myself, after a quite hectic few months and some very sketchy poetry.