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Berche & Barger – Aug. 2014

Carla Barger and Chrystal Berche traded art and words. Chrystal shared this untitled image with Carla:

ChrystalIn response, Carla wrote this poem:

Wasteland (For Antonina Tumkovsky)

In Kiev I prayed for liberation
From this body.
To be lifted like a mouse
In the curving claws of an iron eagle
Away from burning burning
Away from neighbors who ceased to be neighbors
And streets where I once played
Suddenly ghostly under a beating sun
Where the dead trees gave no shelter.

In Berlin I was a tightly bound daisy
Spun brutally by a terrible breeze
I tried to ride like an August seed.
On stage I saw everything clearly
Body and world repeating that frantic pace
Together in time repeating repeating
Air and awe a thousand strange hands
Lifting as I scissored and slipped through rafters
Suspended briefly like untouchable light
A perfect glittering filament.

In New York I learned to lean forward
In this old arm chair
Toward the flickering of movement
Boundless leaps trapped in a box
Repeating me without me

While I remembered
Once I danced
In the dappling moonlight.
Once I was free.

* * * * *

Carla shared this poem with Chrystal:


It’s cold early this year;
Red leaves skitter to the ground
Fallen dead stars, dulled now by night frosts.
I crunch them heedlessly
Tiny explosions under my heels
As I march forward to you.

This landscape is too romantic
It encourages such single-mindedness;
Branches wave violently pricked
Panicky by the October wind-
I see you and me under each one inevitably,
Whispering through sweaters
Trying to get past layers.
At home books lay open-mouthed, unread
As I make the shape of your face
Out of words like delicious, falling, indifferent.

These shoes peel skin from my heels with every step;
At the top of the next hill I
Will see your house again,
Intentionally ivy-choked
Nearly swallowed whole by its surroundings.
More than once in the past
I missed it completely,
Misinterpreting it as another cluster of leaves and foliage.
I am beginning to notice how little
Things change except the weather.

(Published in Ink: Art, Poetry, and Prose, Spring 2005)

In response, Chrystal made this untitled image:


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