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Purdy & O’Reilly – November 2018

Bart O’Reilly and Jessica Purdy traded art and words. Bart shared this painting, titled “Look for the Same,” with Jessica:

In response, Jessica wrote this poem:

Thread of Memory

I go back to some beloved view
autumnal in olive drab boots.
The sky’s blue more like the white
glue of brushed-on gouache
as easily got to as moon dust.

Memory, like soft linen stiffened in paint,
is encountered here, then lost.
Three panels torn from the same cloth:
their frayed edges, grasses bending in wind.
If I were there I wouldn’t be here, so take me

where that line of rose glistens
the tops of the ridge and mimics the two round
mountains who meet and chat, or maybe
grunt as they touch, both bearing the brunt
of the next shift of earth. Let me arrange

my thoughts on this section – the way
the left side, pinned and curling, frames
and shrouds the center with shadow.
The glint of four gold pins belies realism,
the textured weave and simple shapes suggest

landscape, but offer their warm flat surface.
If I could pull it over me like a blanket I would,
and rest my head on the hill, or better yet
float on what must be a river
there where it flows behind the flanking panels.

It can’t be as cold as it looks –
the water’s mirrored in the chalk sky –
the ghostly imprint a body leaves behind.

* * * * *

Jessica shared this poem with Bart:

Lines Written in the Dark

Those crystal lit castles on the distant
shore and in front of me the lull and push

of waves shushing the shore lapping lake-like
and the lights blink on the horizon. The

waves make sizzling lines as they roll in
flashing electric light under the silver

full moon. Here there is the humid air
of stasis and verge, being and becoming.

Nantucket Sound is tricking me so quietly
I am on to the grift. The moon’s intense

enough to cast a shadow of my head
rising from a straight back stretched

out on the sand, damp and flat. I am composed
of crushed shell and rock. In the middle

distance the sky cannot be separated
from the water except by the pinpricked

lights from houses cascading straight down
across the curve in the shore, reflecting as if

on stilts or echoing sound from a long way off.
Movement, a line of seaweed the waves left

like staccato dashes and hyphens. It goes
out from there to the vanishing point–

perspective and planes in front of me
a canvas of gray I know to be blue in the day.

In response, Bart made this painting, titled “Castles we may walk to”:

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