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Introductions

Artistic Differences is a project that aims to showcase the wonderful variety of artistic expression. Every art form has found innovative and provocative ways to express life in all its forms. This project aims to bring as many art forms as possible into conversation with each other through the expression of a unifying theme.

The plan is essentially to publish a prompt and collect as many different responses to the prompt in as many different art forms as possible. This means that you can respond with a short story, a poem, a painting, a photograph, an etching, a song, an audiovisual work, a performance, whatever form you choose it to take. Then, we will compile these into a single blog post to show the wonderful similarities and differences between each artists’ response.

Now that I have emerged from lockdown and I’m back to work, ADP is going to be published every second week. On Monday evening I’ll post the prompt which gives you till Sunday two weeks after that at midnight to submit your pieces to artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com which will be compiled and submitted the following Sunday morning.

Get creative and I look forward to seeing what we can make together while we’re forced apart.

Seán

Founder and Curator

July 12th, 2021. FREE

“Making a Break for It” by Conal Gilliland

– – –

"The Old Man of Concordia" by M.A.A. 
Holding what some consider to be of knowledge and wisdom
he judges those seeking the secret words as if they were gifts
for he is aware, that if it's free, it's not freedom
thus they came with us, they did
it seems like all nations are entangled in the web of sin
and we are getting older still
does it ever end, and how many words are to be lent
from suns to moons back to nil,
as a cure that never really saves, and was never meant

He received a letter from afar
from an ancient in scholastic clothes, I claim
antidotes, holy affairs and other things bound to fail
“shortness of life is a punishment,” all he said after all
so what are we to do with our wings,
if we stand earthbound forevermore?
don't question it! a joke from the one who forced this fall -
not quite, the note said; the one is us and we are the one
freedom is to suffer for what a creative mind wants

As the years go by, pilgrimages come to an end
the library of wisdom now in ruins of ash and soot
no one to come for the gifts, there's nothing to mend
for it has all come to an end, as no one dares to look
- now, there’s a proposal!
it may be that life lies in the letters of polytheists
confused by nature's illusion, those cosmic enthusiasts
though all nations are entangled in the web of sin
all the way from moons to suns back to nil,
here we are
getting older still
-
"I receive no soul which forsakes the body against my will.
A foolish philosophy may boast of martyrs of this kind;
it may boast of a Zeno, a Cleombrotus, or a Cato."

shackles of words keep the martyrs awake
it is a praise, that's what it is,
nothing for nothing's sake

– – –

“Seagull” by Vian Borchert

– – –

"In the Park" by S.J. Delaney 
Around, ensnared by iron and paint,

A green among the concrete grey.

Left stood, surrounded by cars a-going,

Respite to life on this warm day.



Too short the grass, too clean the line

a figure of uniformity.

How strange the meander, the careless freedom

of weeds and streams

not pulled into line by blocks and rods

or RoundUp or clawing hands.



Away from the traffic, the grass must be growing

within the confines of gates and paths

Away from this park, the grass must be growing

but why?

or how?

without the hands?

abuilding

aplanning

aplanning

it’s growing.

– – –

"Free" by Vian Borchert 
Free as a bird
I aim to be
in a world
that puts you
in a cage

Free as a bird
I want to be
spread my wings
Fly above the clouds
while the children play freely
on the swings

Free as a bird
I want to breathe
the air so fresh
clean in my lungs
Free Free
I aim to be.

– – –

Next exhibition theme: STRIFE

Deadline: MIDNIGHT, 25th July

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

June 21st, 2021. GREEN

– – –

"Growing Up Green" by S.J. Delaney
I landed among the trees,

dark beneath the rising forest,

wet and sticky and loud, so loud.



I wonder along, blind in hope

not minding eyes in the dark;

watching and waiting and patient, so patient.



I could not see, I did not know

to watch where I stood, to guard hope

from vicious leeches, waiting for me, just me.



It wasn’t long before it was too late,

ensnared by handsome, smiling eyes;

his waiting done, the final blow, it was over.



I landed green and that they saw

and after they’d done, I’d be left raw.

I learned to be careful, I wish I was taught,          

                        and now I see them

                                    landing

                                                like I did

                                                            Green.

– – –

“Forest” by Vian Borchert (watercolour, 2021)

– – –

“Mother Willow” by Lúnasa

– – –

“Collected Green” by Louise

– – –

"Irony and Distance" by M.A.A. 
From both sides, eight heads rush to the stage
all for him or her or the rest of the spectating beings
to weird delights, dance and play depicting weirder fate

And the motion flows like water from left to right
from right to left, and there is a gap in the centre
and they sing! beautiful voices welcoming the light

Suddenly, the dancers retreat to the corners, staring in
and they smile, and the give a peek of their teeth
like wolves waiting for a feast, they’d rather mock than kill

Stationary bodies with faces carved from mannequins
can’t do much to the static condition of mortality
yet proudly channel hell into me

The leader of this pact is nothing but a green light
green overrule, arrives from the curtains of the mind
it proposes things, I think, but we may only glare and sink

It's the glowing heart of the play, it's the heart of all
it pumps blood of Puphluns, Turso, Irra, and the like
disease, growth, health, decay of everything in our sight

It has to be burned, but nature triumphs
in a disciplined world chaotic ordeals become the norm
the outliers will find it clear and transparent, though sour

In a debate between the green revelation and a trigger beneath
our legs, they perform for stolen years
making sure time is unwoven, disarmed from its heat

I was never among them, never could. It’s obvious by now
a circus sure enough, just not for this clown
discreet and taxonomical, infecting souls from afar

"Whatever it is, keep being you" - but what is the you
in me, it is asked - was it a bait for this theatre of shame?
In a Vindexian plot, coward’s end recalls only one tale

It has chosen me, has it not? you too, in the room next door? In this sickening blur
what if admitted, with great regret, that for my part it was never an act
eight heads but actually a solo; merely a fool to the script, to a history subdued

So to the cyclical snake, or the beast dwelling in the seas:
bring us into a quiet dream
and let us be nothing
in peace.

– – –

“Coward’s End” by M.A.A.

– – –

"Green Acres" by Vian Borchert 
Green acres
I run in green fields
I smell the flowers
the jasmine, the roses, the lavender fields
the birds sing
in green acres
the soft wind breeze
over the wheat fields
the sun shines happily
over green acres

Green acres
I imagine running happily in green acres
Green acres
as far as the eyes can see
green green green

– – –

– – –

Next exhibition theme: FREE

Deadline: Midnight, 4th July

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

June 7th, 2021. IGNORANCE

– – –

"Hums" by M.A.A.
Looking out,
it is all skewed and tilted
the flatlands approach, as I feared
still it's like a dream, stuck in a loop
...inside there's a lost man in a hood

When the green-hooded man rings the bell,
we lose ourselves to some totality
our lessons supressed by the knell
cornered by reoriented morality

When the green-hooded man rings the bell,
we scatter, scavenge, spread out in the fell
we ruin and create, come together
flock like sheep, and summon thunder

And negotiating with the man of the fell is impossible,
for when his fearful eyes meet a pair in kind
no one speaks, mouths are woven shut
he sheds a tear and rings the bell
and nothing remains of us,
so it becomes apparent then
that we are indeed
entertained

At some point it feels like all has been said,
and then nothing will ever make sense
again, as our dear ghost knows,
to be calm and free of truths
to give all for nothing
and empty one’s lungs,
what comes
echoes of nightmare hums

– – –

– – –

Ignorance is Bliss” by Orla Jordan

– – –

“Untitled” by Vian Borchert, (watercolour, 2021)

– – –

“Unspoken Feelings” by Jacob van Buiten

– – –

"Friends" by Jacob van Buiten
my Otherness is welcome 
here:
between the old wooden
wardrobe and yesterday's
feelings

and we-as-places move
carefully freely toward
each other

with childlike fear of

germs on fingers
words on tongues
flapping of eyelashes
in which moments
escape

an Otherness where
one runs for the hills
a gift of calligraphy -

("love" written here)

– – –

Next exhibition theme: GREEN

Deadline: Midnight, 20th June

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

May 24th, 2021. FACE

“Defaced” by Vian Borchert

– – –

"Burglars and Bayonets" by M.A.A. 
"I long so much for something great and true, 
and I hope to find it with you."




a ghost-like person of the urban wilds
a shapeshifter in his crooked eyes

retreating spring of unearthed songs
voices the anger in our moans
blindfolded, back to the thorns

let us exchange tropes of fens
in the regions
of men who by dreaming
make themselves attend

slave island’s
shortcomings -
racing from the mist
as Europe signed a pact
with all the thieves
we take easy steps
but move swift

those words lacking essence
are the ruins of our being
for they invite
the scrouge of the East

up above they hide
what they want to consume
down below, we don't mind

seeking shelter from the wilds
we would build greater signs

– – –

“Facing Away” by Conal Gilliland

When you look at a photo, often you don’t realise that the act of looking has already been done. Behind every camera is a face, a focal point directing you into the photograph. There is never only one viewer of a photograph, there are two faces engaged in looking. These were taken while out cycling with a friend, her facing away from the viewer demonstrates the presence of the other phantasmal face that looks at the image with you. 

– – –

"On Watching Him Read" by S.J. Delaney 
Upon his face, careless pleasure
Below his eyes and on the mouth.
Upon this you could watch forever;
Sustained on only this, no doubt.
To watch his eyes play down the page,
eager for the next encounter,
A joy unsullied by weary age:
His love is yours, it shall not fade.

– – –

"Defaced!" by Vian Borchert
Nothing to see here
but my face
face to face
lost in space
somehow feeling replaced
I really hate this chase
but somehow I long for your embrace
and my life is nothing but a rat race
to get to your face.
Yet, for you, I am much like a vase
pretty, standing still with no trace
somehow feeling displaced
definitely feeling like third place
in an air space
in a tight suitcase
filed up in a briefcase
and you continually choose to put me in my place...

I feel defaced
partially erased
hiding in a corner within my space!
Definitely this is a strange case!

– – –

Next exhibition theme: IGNORANCE

Deadline: Midnight, 6th June

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

May 10th, 2021. SICK

“ʞƆIS” by Conal Gilliland

– – –

"Unpleasant Buzz" by S.J. Delaney 
The stupor of dark pubs on late nights,

of stumbling home by pale light; sun

bathing the body and purging the soul.



Of music directly by your ears so

loud it spills off and into the night

unheard. It was one too many.



A baby bean down and away and

away and away, waiting until it dissolves

and falls through the blood and to the mind.



Sitting up at night choking. It feels

like dying, the pale light through the blind

signalling more hours to come and to come



they do, whether you like it or not. Waiting

it out. Impatient, you check the bottle again

and still there are minutes left.



Unfocused. Bones cracking in strain. Body.

It is all Body. Painfully aware of Body.

It has finally betrayed you, dearest Mind

and now you must wait, gaoled and restless.

– – –

– – –

Feeling Blue” by Jonah Anderson

– – –

"Sick" by Harrie Costello
I made myself sick 
For days
In a row
And little did you know

The bitter aftertaste wasn’t the vomit
It was the comments
And the constant
Need to remind me that I’m not all I think I am

I made myself sick
In ways
I didn’t know
Some I couldn’t show

Festering inside my brain
A subliminal illness
Thinking of ways that I could kill this
Constant narrative in my head that argued with itself
Whilst doing my best to try and expel
The thoughts and reasons in my head that were the obvious truth,
But if I couldn’t bare them,
How could you?

I made myself sick
With nothing to say
I let go
Of all the promises I made to myself all that time ago

It comes to a day where there’s nothing to puke
Your body is empty but you have had your fill
And with the simple concentrated power of will
You muster up what ever energy you have left
And you wipe up your face and your eyes that had wept

I made myself sick
In place
Of letting you know
Of all the things you said to me of which I couldn’t let go

– – –

“Red Alert” by Vian Borchert

– – –

"Osiris is a black god" by M.A.A. 
To this fortress of emptiness - this citadel of snow
climbing from the well
rejecting oneself - all thieves, but this one was a loan

Candles signalling the fire for the rats,
head so far under the desk -
it may all be in the dark, life of a floor dweller
a joke to know, but a pain to live;
perpetual sting, poison that caresses the well
antidote to the external, sickness within
a sentiment beyond the thickest skin
they wait behind the Sun
whether you will it
or not
-
there's a sombre blush of green
in these hills of greed
for affection,
they'll climb up
to finish the deed
-
As the ground turns upside down, towards the towers of discord
one falls up the mountains, towards the castle of errands
nature inversed, throwing out the fields of marigold
it is the same vain along the nadir
flowing with madman's aphorisms
and with fear to live
they knock on hidden windows
whether you will it
or not
-
there's a retreating moon
above the air sweeping alone
its giving up its rule,
they'll see themselves in
its grief and rue
-
And when the rats finally come
they utter those damn sonnets
it's all so wrong, one must admit
but the boats never came back
the well is flooded
with the discreet and the morbid
with what came out of the hatch
bad lyricism kills the will
(and yes) as ironic as it may be
it is easier to believe
than to see
-
they welcome the fires
that keep the nights so swift
and the air thinner,
they'll find transcendence
in calm apprehension
-
Now we crawl along the muddy floor like parasites
and ask the distancing walls to eat
what remains of hearts pretending to be alive
a joke to know, but a pain to live;
yet one should not say but merely feel
prohibited to project, prohibited to inwardly reject
what then? black with purple hue invites to see
candle smoke to force the end, to cut us like reeds
windows opened by the freezing winds
every surface scribbled with our sins
in this fortress of delirious kings
upon the virtues of decaying things
we crawl on
-
the fields are but mounds, now
the watch has found the smoke
the winds enraged, sudden and loud -
they'll find no dignity in the coming dawn
and they will crawl on

ignored
but
can’t look away.

– – –

“Healing” by Vian Borchert

In a sick world
How can you fix me?
Is it through love
or, simply to kiss me?

I yearn for that touch
that I like so much

Perhaps my soul
will be consoled

A trip to the sea
will make me see
the beauty that surrounds me
the beauty that is around me.

– – –

Next exhibition theme: FACE

Deadline: Midnight, May 23rd

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

April 19th, 2021. HELL

– – –

"maybe you're going to hell" by Linda M. Crate
you want everyone to treat you
with respect you do not give,
treat everyone with disrespect
and cruelty and have a superiority
complex over anyone who disagrees
with you or has a different opinion;
you're not of the messiah you claim
just another hell that everyone else
has to endure—
gave me religious trauma,
made me sex-repulsed and had purity
culture confuse me until i was older than
i would like to say;
told me that being queer was a sin so
i buried that part of me so deep within
that i was able to convince myself of the lie
i was straight because i lived in fear of making
a mistake so that i wouldn't be loved—
woke up one morning realizing i wasn't straight,
and i couldn't tell anyone out of fear for rejection;
tried praying the pansexual out of me but it didn't work
so maybe you're the ones going to the hell
you damn others to.

– – –

“Fire Woods” by Vian Borchert

– – –

“Теперь Всегда Снега (Now There’s Always Snows)”, by Yakov Syskov (instrumental), and Jacob van Buiten (voice)

– – –

– – –

"Holt's Shall Do" by M.A.A. 
A cinnamon bun to accompany the black liquid
shade of a figure or a figurine in shade
a foreign citadel contesting but who's to blame
it wasn't and now it is - its domain taking over my thing,
comrades or friends, either way it gets tough
eyeing the bored, looking at sea in a mug
I can feel it coming - sneeze pulling up an earthquake
fields go aflame as the tremor's splitting all in two,
the damn mug releasing the sea of ooze
here comes the worst pirate on the globe
they think I'm here to rob
but I'm merely bartering, dreaming of rum
- no cannons to load,
the dude up there has us on hold.

I may be mad,
it's probably fine
a proverb of Hell to add -
"just be kind..."

Negotiations done, Mr. Beelzebub has the cure
shurikens exchanged, I'm up for the lure
and my faith is strong but still up for grabs
buyable for a few little scraps,
tricky to look around without going blind
so many ropes to pull too, all alike
inevitably, there are formulations
the badlands provide better solutions
- whiskey instead of water
- anger instead of love for one another
the badlands provided a better solution -
I was left behind on evolution.

I may be mad,
it's probably fine
a proverb of Hell to add -
"just be kind..."

From cigars to guns to booze
poison in a bottle, story in a bag
still drowning in depths of the ooze
lad wondering what happened to his dad
- it was difficult, doesn't taste too good
but this one must do,
what is there to lose?
a list of things, a list of stuff, stolen from life
we associate the most beautiful with the heart
unique? we still have them quantified
precious? haven't seen a single guard
hundred wounds for a small correction
the badlands provided a better solution
death? too easy of a retribution.

Floating islands anchored down
voluntary binds, a cursed sound
may have made me mad,
though I suppose it's all fine
for there's only one rule to add:
“just be kind...”
...and for that I must ponder,
if you don’t mind:
who knows what is there to be
when one appears
to deconstruct history?
in a racing tube of moving scenes
oblivion is in everything
one ever sees.
“Just be Kind” by M.A.A.

– – –

"A Living Hell" by Vian Borchert
There was a time
where Hell seemed like a dream
comparing to the living hell
I was living in.

The hell on earth
is perhaps much worse
than our idea
of the biblical burning hell
down below
with the devil as a landlord
and the sinners as the tenants
A story like no other
to make us behave
and think of fluffy white clouds
where heaven awaits.

Every now and then
I remember those times
and how hard they were
even the memories terrify me to
no end.

– – –

“The Black Machine” by Mavo

– – –

– – –

Next exhibition theme: SICK

Deadline: Midnight, May 9th

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

April 5th, 2021. SLEEP

– – –

“Dreaming” by Seán Delaney

– – –

– – –

"Sleeping Together" by S.J. Saighead
Two bodies in a single bed,
our sweat streaming up your 
little window, cracked just 
enough to let the summer breeze
run down my back. Tangled
in limbs and sheets, you slept
while I watched the shadows creep
across the ceiling and away
				for another day.
 

– – –

“Sweet Dreams” by Vian Borchert

– – –

"Tribunal" by M.A.A.
Mischaracterizations? indeed, not how it went - files reveal
all seemed so inanimate, though more talkative than any man
all seemed so intimate, but witnessed in every land
what can be concluded, then, in this tribunal 	
				for these bastards, they all ran...


Defendants! let's hear it finally,
you, who are
always afoot, forever seek
with lessons that bite
condemned to a life 
of a leech


Thief, I saw you on the shore, 
standing cold next to an empty cargo
and I called your name, but you heard
someone else-
another excuse to flee,
but don’t you see? your face
is melting! no more, is time taking
someone else

Tenant, what a mess you made
from joyful stories of childhood it came
the bitter foundation for an unjust fame
one faltering session
and the rest are all the same
-so the tribal order in young hearts
				drags along its hardened paths


Trapper, chased through the swamps,
the darkening green whistling
across its surroundings  
covering the edges of empathy
and we thought we saw your form
fleeing from our newly made lore, 
but you were merely one of the acts
a haphazard shade, a move made sore


Surreal nights
over ethereal fights
over recollections so precise	
				too exact
for this world of mine 
which sees none of that, 
from dreams to life
and back again
by an impostor guide-
but in an endless night
what does it matter
what is real and
what is not?
“Sleep” by M.A.A.

– – –

"Sleep" by Vian Borchert
In the stillness of the night 
all I hear is sleep
There in the distance the dogs barking 
so bitter sweet
Me, in my bed 

rolling around from left to right
while I hear the snores
and the sighs
of the night
so restfully sleeping till the morning light.
How much I yearn to sleep
I would love to go to sleep!

– – –

“Wake-Up Call” by O.A.K.

                  Somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, Sandra picked up the phone.

                  “Uuhmmhyeh?”

                  “Sun’s shining.”

                  “Uhh?” She fell out of bed to rest against it, the sheets dragged along with her, flowing around in a cascade. Through the gap the closed blinds left at their sides, she could see the sky. From this angle it she could only see white overcast, too much of angle to see any rooftops.

                  “It’s cloudy over here.” She mumbled, still not registering who it was.

                  “Cloudy? Really? When I left for work the sun was still shining. It’s shining here.” Her mother. She worked out of town. Leixlip. Was driving over there now, probably.

                  “Well, don’t know what to tell you.” Sandra got up, and stumbled across the piles of laundry out of her room to the kitchen. She tried to one-handedly tie her tangled hair back but was unsuccessful and left it to block her vision.

                  “You better not jinx it, dear.”

                  “Wouldn’t dream of it.” The fridge droned in empty fluorescent light. There was a can of coke on the top shelf that she took. As she turned back almost tripped on the cardboard box for the new cat tree she’d ordered two weeks back that she hadn’t yet assembled or even taken out of the box. Charlie was perched up, napping on the windowsill. He hadn’t stirred. Upon finding her way to the sofa, she pushed aside an assortment of clothes and slouched down, opening the can. She tried to think what she’d been dreaming about, but it didn’t come to her.

                  “This bloody traffic is driving me up the wall.”

                  “Mmh.”

                  “The sorts of people they let onto these roads, I swear to Christ.”

                  “You do, do you?”

                  “Sandra, you won’t believe it when I tell you, dear, but someone just cut me off, again.”

                  “I do.” She opened the can with a snap and let the liquid fall onto the desert she had for a tongue. She’d woken up incredibly thirsty just about every morning (midday) this month, without even going drinking once. She wondered if it was a sign, and if the sign meant anything, or if it was just another part of her mid-twenties that no one had warned her about, like constantly feeling tired or inexplicable backpain. Or never losing your innate fear of teenage boys.

                  She hadn’t turned on any of her lamps, the ambient light coming through the blinds was enough. It felt to her an adequate representation of her mood, the dull greyness of it. She felt whatever the more intense version of groggy was.

                  Her dream. It had been on a boat. A cruise. It had at some point smoothly transformed into a trip at the Tayto park, which was six summers ago but also right now. Everything had been assumed contemporary. She had been herself, her own age. She’d had friends there, all her friend groups mixed up, from her childhood friends from Athy to the college friends she hadn’t seen for a year, mixed ages, all between 12 and 23 at the same time. There was some sort of chase. Some sort of dilemma, had been, that was vague enough but still felt threatening. Like just the idea of a threat. Of something that needed getting away from.

                  Something that needed getting away from.

                  “So, dear, how are you? ‘What’s up’, as they say?”

                  “Absolutely nothing. As usual.” Sandra said, sinking further down into the cushions’ embrace, and taking another swig of what felt like the nectar of the gods. It was the only positive feeling going on in her entire body, as the liquid danced on her tongue. She sighed with pleasure. But the thirst didn’t go away, didn’t leave with the liquid down her throat. And she realised she was desperately hungry. What time was it? Did she dare check?

                   “It can’t be nothing.”

                  “Surprise, surprise, mother, it is.”

                  “I hate it when you call me ‘mother’.”

                  “Well you’re not my father, are you.”

                  “Whatever happened to good old ‘mam’”

                  “I don’t know, she disappeared in a storm twenty years ago. It’s a big mystery.”

                  “Don’t be funny with me.” She said, and Sandra could feel her mother’s eyes roll a town over.

                  “Can’t help you raising me this way.”

                  “This part was mostly your father.”

                  “How is he?”

                  “He’s fine. Stressed.”

                  “That’s new.”

                  “We’re all stressed.”

                  “Mmh.”

                  “Are you okay?”

                  “Yeah.”

                  “Good. I don’t want you thinking I’m not here to chat.”

                  “Oh, mother, I would never think that.” Sandra’s mother chuckled meanly.

                  “God there is a lot of your father in you isn’t there.”

                  “I think the problem arose from there being a lot of my father in you.”

                  “Sandra!”

                  “I can pinpoint the start of all my troubles to the moment of my birth.”

                  “I could say the same.” Her mother said with a sigh and Sandra’s cough of a laugh surprised even her. She spat out some coke onto her pyjamas.

                  “Mam! What the hell?” Neither of them could speak for a while from laughing. It seemed the comment had surprised Sandra’s mother just as much.

                  “I’m sorry dear.” She said in an entirely unapologetic tone.

                  “That was harsh.”

                  They were both silent for a while, Sandra noticed she was absently smiling at the conversation. It was rare her mother was funny like this. But the hunger was creeping up on her. She’d have to get some clothes on, and sneak over to the shops to get something to eat. Anything.

                  “Look, mam, I’m sorry for the short call but I have to go. Was just about to eat.”

                  “No worries. Are you coming to Mikey’s birthday Thursday coming?”

                  “I’ll try. I don’t have a gift.”

                  “You don’t need to have a gift. We can put your name down for ours.”

                  “Thanks, ma’. Really.”

                  “You’re welcome dear. What are you going to do today?”

Classically she was continuing the call after it was supposed to end.

                  “Stuff. Bit of work.”

                  “How’s your project coming?” Sandra looked over at the sticker-laden laptop, precariously sitting on the edge of the desk. She’d barely opened it for a month to any actual work. Hadn’t dared to touch those files. It was mostly used to store her Sims saves these days.

                  “It’s coming.”

                  “That’s good to hear.”

                  “I have to go.”

                  “Of course dear.” Her mother waited silently.

                  “Love you.” Sandra said after a moment.

                  “Love you too, dear.”

– – –

Next exhibition theme: HELL

Deadline: Midnight, April 18th

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

March 22nd, 2021. EARNEST

– – –

"Meaningless" by M.A.A.
<fascinating what this person says about faith,
presenting something so applicable
as merely a set of practice,
fixed yet varied, forming patters in vain
like loops on a textile -
but was it not inevitable, then,
our metaphysical exile?>
 
a wish written on a soiled flag
waiving along the border
polearms towards the heat
a hole in the corner
grabbing onto the rim
my hands sliding away
what a failure of your theory
ridiculous, meaningless, but fiery
 
there may be a way out for us all
but it certainly isn't here
there maybe a revolving portal
but behind a wandering mythos
some leper knew, wished 'so long'
and left without a trace
now we try every way
every meter
every material
every moment
to see them one more time
 
there may be something essential for us
but certainly not here
amidst this earnest fear
innocently plaintive
quietly defeatist,
at the end of the pike
worn by its fight;
if we told you to stare into irrelevance
now it's only for perseverance
and if there is something so strange
even a gnostic loses their mind
there must be something so obvious
we cannot tell it from a lie
 
yes, the world already ended
and it made its point clear;
peregrination foiled -
what a failure of your theory
ridiculous, meaningless, but fiery

– – –

“Untitled” by Vian Borchert

– – –

"Verses Written on a Play" by S.J. Saighead 

Like you man in the play with two names,
Leading inevitable to confusion comedy
Leading two lives, one here, one there;
A life married and of course, sodomy.

You could pass on the street and not know,
So well the mask covers, though who Earnest is
Remains the topic of speculation, idle gossip,
The Truth forever and endlessly his.

The dramatic irony, how important this name
And the virtue it points to, classically comical.
Behind the curtain of course, a man with a name
Playing a man with two, and all of them hiding
something

– – –

"Missing Earnest" by Vian Borchert
When I was young I read the novel by Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest, 
I loved the writings of Wilde
and how deeply they delved in their study of the human character
I wondered though how many people are sincerely Earnest 
in this world 
around us.
This made me ponder
the question 
Are there any earnest people out there?
I hope so
For humanity's sake. 

– – –

Next exhibition theme: SLEEP

Deadline: Midnight, April 4th

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

March 8th, 2021. STYLE

“Man of the Hour” by Vian Borchert

– – –

"A Nocturnal Pact" by M.A.A.
swirling around
like a snake,

going through the cupboards

dust propelling
into the air of haste
what you are looking for

I must have run out
a long time ago
the deal cannot go on,
surveying the place
out of boredom
or disappointment

or both - as we tend to like it-

takes a small toll, as we call it


a nocturnal pact won't do
manuscripts switched

a slight disturbance
race to brainwash
each other
in the seas

of adversaries,

(a knower is he who’s
dry in them all...)

- not necessarily cruel
or that tender
first a bit of magic

to raise the mood


what's in the cup? a wormhole
where does it lead? no clue
I swear I closed it once
at least
deep deep deep
hole into
so so distant
yet familiar space,
winds full of rhymes
a little regret
lesson learned, future
has a dangerous lure


we are only in text
it seems - sharply observed,

not sure how to feel,
certain style in adapting
to alien temples
were we to lose

these papers
there's one more

for the reserve,
even with the guns
we are manning
every discussion
ends in a hanging


how difficult it is,

to brush the fields

with bright tone
with a hue of Sun
upset the palette
embarrass it,
there is admittance;
- what would we not do,
to mask our time

out of the gates?
how important it is
to mute the aesthetics,

this weighting sound;
rattling of sticks
between those

who can't afford sabers,
so meagre is the being
of a toothless beast


even if
it's a call-to-arms
it's actually a hoax
falsely advertised risk
covered in foam
and as such
no clear canvas,

washed with a tint of absurd
glaring into mystery

standing together aren't we both aware
under a reliquary, of the order of things,
hand in hand should we not
with something close but far peer behind the boredom
I know what it is - and learn
our forefathers' past from fiction?

– – –

“Details” by Lúnasa

– – –

"Blind Lust" by S.J. Saighead
You know he knows you know
but still you watch it grow
and grow it does you know
you know you watched him sow


the seeds of needs and want
through sordid deeds he'd taunt
but stop it you did not

for deeds of needs and want


are deeds of which the heart
can carry, watch them start
to grow you know it's wrong

to love the boy so,
so write it in a song.


You know he knows you know
but still you watch it grow
till he came, salt in hand
and turned oasis into sand.

– – –

– – –

"Stylish!" by Vian Borchert
I saw him that day
we went for coffee
he always looked dashing
with his dapper sense of style
he observed mine carefully
I had made sure to make an effort
to dress up for him
to be extra stylish
since I knew he’ll notice...
He did!
He remarked on one my lemon colored shirt
and how it compliments
my honey colored eyes
I must have been clever that day
I got him to notice
the little details
that looked so effortless.

– – –

Next exhibition theme: EARNEST

Deadline: Midnight, March 21st

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

February 22nd, 2021. HEART

“Out With The Hearts” by Vian Borchert (acrylic on canvas)

– – –

"Mountain Leaves" by M.A.A. 
 carving scripture on the bark
 the next moment it's gone
 lonely words 
 from a lonely son
  
 Why does it tilt like that? Sky bent, like to cover it from rain.
 Underneath lies a pitch-black hold, communion of hooded folk
 as confused as I. They look at newcomers and ask
 "why does it tilt like that?"
  
 hovering around the glimmering stone, man-made tool,
 what use for those wordings?
 it calls each of us one by one, a pyre in the eyes of a fool,
 what use for those telltales?
 gentle curses at the whims of the steppe winds, 
 what use for those empirics?
 tragedy, I tell you, that it only speaks to us in looks,
 what use for those hooks?
 gossiping hearsay of mountain leaves, 
 how come it's dead, yet it moves?
 mammothing visions of burned stone and scythe, 
 dialog with oneself, as large as life
 as wildly immense, each breath wheezes a sigh
 walls gasping for air in this house of maniacs
 they retreat as I approach, 
 I tell them a few things
  
 This globe too, is but a thing sometimes told. Narrators urgently needed, 
 lest we lose the core. A melted continent stood behind the gates.
 Drank it, hear it, reject the approaching Fall - tell it begone!
  
 is there a world after symbols? what happens when they shatter?
 what can one do to make it all matter?
 only after the end, honor enters the frame
 those poems of a failure, now from a legend's pen
 the greatest magic trick to behold - ramblings turn into wisdom
 when the body's no longer around, fleeing mind’s fiefdom
  
 it pumps blood like it pushes the soul, I've had enough of its stare
 passionate glow, yet smells fowl... old and worn out, 
 flailing like reeds, hidden in plain sight, nothing leaks - 
 no matter how much I feed the machine
 it serves no purpose, yet we all stand around and wait
 expect it to provide some comfort, but tell me,
 what sort of pitiful daemon takes no offering,
 promises affection but merely banishes words
 into hells under the tongue; orders a pause, 
 lasting so long, as if there was more to it?
 I looked at them, and they looked at me
 while hovering around the glimmering stone, 
 what is this, then, and why does it care to be,
 wanting to hear stories but remain alone?
 how come nothing that goes by 
 is foreseen? one replied: 
 well, this too, 
 is but a man-made tool
  
 Ultimately there are only two things to live for:
 curiosity and love. When slipping way, must they be projected
 into something called art. No one tells you to get back from the woods;
 make your stay there pleasant. No beacons nor direction, 
 but exposure and errands. Cover your grounds well,
 beware the old inhabitants of the soul -
 hide your heart from them.
  
 I carve scripture on the bark
 it disappears with the same touch
 but must it hurt so much,
 though? 
“Woods” by M.A.A. Photo by Grace B.

– – –

“A Visit” by Yakov Syskov

– – –

"O Heart Do Stop!" by S.J. Saighead
O heart do stop! I know it's the end
I embrace this sure dark as a good friend. 
My vision is fading, my breath escapes,
My Body embraces what the mind shapes. 
A car on the road or some sudden sound
Will jolt this life from where it's bound.
Each hand is shaked, as though fond of a drop
My heart is sore, always threatening to stop. 
Just leave me to rot in my fort polyester
a shell of a human, taken to fester. 
There is nothing to see, nothing to be found
simply a mind untethered, stranger to the ground.

– – –

– – –

"The Shape of My Heart" by Vian Borchert
 The shape of my heart
 had fallen into a square
 a box of a square 
 since your departure 
 My poor heart was hurting
 I felt it failing
 for a second, I even thought
 I’ll have a heart attack
 from a broken heart
 how can this heart 
 be healing
 from such a shock, a hit to the heart
 How this heart has endured
 the games 
 you played
 and the scissors you took
 to cut up shapes in my heart
 I felt it shredded
 my beating heart
 with every beat
 since we fell apart
 How much this heart 
 has endured
 Yet, in its every bit of a frailing state
 It stood strong
 and always open for love
 this open heart! 

– – –

“Mon Coeur” by Athena

– – –

"Flaming Canopy" by Eric Ryan
 Twisted gold tears through my heart,
 Digits shudder, sapphires dart.
 Those sounds cut steel as out they pour,
 A legion of utterings through red door.
 Sparks roll round in graves of stone
 And ashen cloths on frames of bone.
 When beacon's lit and all was done,
 I juggled your fears 'till rose harsh sun. 

– – –

Next exhibition theme: STYLE

Deadline: Midnight, March 7th

Submit at: artisticdifferencesproject@gmail.com

More information under ‘Submissions’ tab

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