June 28, 2020. BODY

"To be Made of Stone" by M.A.A.
It is said they come every Autumn
to these meagre ponds before the mountains,
and they come to sing a few hymns in Avar,
dance for whoever comes from afar,
in a collective reverie they ponder
what it means to be made of stone,
clearing the head, refreshing the soul
out of mind and body,
                   to think of shiny tin and rusty gold
one can wash
                  only so much of one’s own tongue
as there is a price to be paid
                  for a few wrong words
with corrosive prose
                  in a few conclusive moments
they stare patiently into the Sun and pray upwards,
listen to the pond echoing their howling verses,
on the off chance that they distract the inner wards,
and ponder how it feels to be one with light's sabres,
out of body
                  to be but a guise for an unheard song
one can wash
only so much of one’s own tongue
and there is a price to be paid for these loose ends,
but now they dance for whoever comes from afar,
pushing back catharsis, letting the spirits in,
                  admitting an honourable sin
in a collective reverie they try to make sense
of how it feels to dwell in a unified verse,
                  to in the end pray for none at all
to sing about essence left behind in the shade,
                  revel in one masked gaze                 
to confuse nature with law,
                  yet even in this grotesque zen
have little to feel after all.
Again, he giveth great Wisdom
and Knowledge in Mechanical Arts;
and can change
men into other shapes.

– – –

“Nervous” by Michael Tuohy

– – –

"For a Trowel in the Graveyard" by S.J. Saighead
Upon a wall in the graveyard
a trowel lay alone and pining
for the hand of a worker abandoned,
stopped dead in the middle of gardening.
The graves that there sat beside it
lay waiting for the hand’s return.
Each sat dead silent, and patient
occupied with a mild concern.
It did not fall, it did not move,
its lips could not be made speak.
The only sounds that could be heard,
are those that had left a beak.
I dare not touch the lonely tool,
too peacefully laid to disturb.
I’ll watch and wait, just like a grave
for the hand to return and perturb.

– – –

– – –

"Wildflowers of my Heart" by Linda M. Crate
i am a body of water,
too deep for most to
a body of fire
too hot for most to handle,
a body of earth
with terrain too rocky
for most to endure;
and a body of air with
such force i can become
a tornado—
what they don't see
is beneath all my defense
mechanisms and locked doors,
i am a land full of milk and honey;
that there is a softer side
more vulnerable and contrite—
i don't let my walls down
for many,
it's too dangerous to trust;
people can turn on you in an instant
causing pain to your heart
breaking off pieces of your body
leaving behind scars—
i have enough wounds buried beneath
the surface so i give them
hurricanes, magma, earth quakes, and tornados;
tsunamis, mudslides, and forest fires
because most don't deserve
the wild flowers of my heart.

– – –

“The Revolt of the Homeless” by Gary Beck

The young patrol officer and the tired, cynical Sergeant slowly herded the homeless off the subway car. The young officer kept saying:

“C’mon guys. We’ve got to empty the subway to disinfect the cars. That’s the only way we can control the Wuhan Virus. We don’t want you guys to get sick.”

“Bullshit,” someone yelled. Another man yelled: “This just a excuse to keep us from sleepin on the subway.”

“No, guys,” the officer insisted. “Essential workers like nurses and firefighters have to get to work without getting the disease. There are buses waiting to take you to a shelter.”

Former Staff Sergeant Ron Dawkins, U.S. Army veteran of two tours in Iraq, three in Afghanistan, growled:

“I had enough.” He looked around at the 40 or more men near him who had just been evicted from the subway and said loudly:

“I’m not going to no shelter. I’ve been sitting on 42nd Street with my cardboard sign asking for help that doesn’t come. I’d rather go to jail then one of those group shelters where they treat you like trash and the gangs hurt and rob you…”

There were murmurs of: ‘right on, man. Amen brother’.”

“If enough of us get together and stop traffic with a sitdown on Broadway and 42nd Street we can get the help we need.”

“How do we do it, man?” A guy he saw a lot of times sitting on 5th Avenue asked.

“We pick a day, a time, a place. Let’s do it three days from now, Thursday, noon, Broadway and 42nd Street. We have three days to pass the word to anyone who’s homeless to meet us for a protest. If all  of you spread the word and ask anyone you talk to for them to spread the word maybe enough homeless come to stop traffic and tell the world we’re not criminals. We’re people and we need help.”

“I’m with ya, man,” one said and other voices echoed him.

“What happens when we get there?” Another asked.

“When there’s a break in traffic we walk into the middle of the street and sit down. If enough of us do it we’ll jam up things for hours. If enough homeless come they can’t arrest all of us. There are 50 or 60 thousand homeless in New York. Maybe more. If a thousand come we’ll change things. Even 500. Maybe even 100.”

At least 30 of the men said they were with him. One of them said:

“I’ll go to a shelter and tell everyone to come Thursday.”

Others said: “Me too,” “I’ll do it.”

Former Staff Sergeant Dawkins said:

“I’m going to some shelters and tell them to join us.”

Another man said:

“We should make signs. “Homeless are people too’. ‘We’re still human beings’. ‘We have rights’.”

Men yelled: “Great idea.” “Right on.” “We’re with you.”

“Thank you, my brothers,” Dawkins said. “Go and spread the word. I’ll meet you Thursday, 12 noon, Broadway and 42nd Street,” and he walked off.

The other men walked away in different directions. The young police officer turned to his Sergeant.

“Should we arrest some of them?”

“Nah. They’re just talking. They got a right to talk.”

“What about that guy who was stirring them up?”

“It’s just talk. They’re homeless, not social agitators. They’ll never do nuthin. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t go pissing in public around here.”

“Where should I send them if they gotta piss?”

“Beats me kid. It’s up to someone else to get them toilets. We just gotta move them along.”

“That don’t seem right.”

“It’s part of the job, kid. You’ll get used to it.”


Submit at artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ above.

Published by artisticdifferencescurator

My name is Seán and I am the creator and curator of the Artistic Differences Project. I started this project during the lockdown in Ireland due to COVID-19 in March 2020 as a way to get my friends and I creating during a troubling time. From there the project as gone from strength to strength and now we publish a new exhibition every two weeks.

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