Slush

By Amparo R. Humphrey

 

~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~ ~ ~~~ ~~~ Slushsshshsh . . . ~~ ~~ ~~       ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~  ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ Slushshshhshh . . . ~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~Slush rushing slush . . . ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ slimy, slippery . . . ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~blood stained slush . . . ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~

~~~~~~ ~~~~down the gutter going ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~

~~~~~ without pause, but . . . WHY, HEAVENS, WHY!? ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~~ ~~  ~ ~~~ ~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~A black fist emerges

~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ from the bottom up~~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~not begging, not pleading ~~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~  ~~~~ determined to stand. ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~

~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~ To stop slush from going~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~down the drain at once~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

~~~ ~~~  but raise to the surface ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~

~~~ like all human kind ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Manuel Aragon
Of What Remains

Editor's Note: This piece was created during a Citizen-inspired writing session at this summer's Shade exhibit at the Clyfford Still and Denver Art Museums. 

By Sumi Lee

“Black was never a color of death or terror for me. I think of it as warm—generative.

But color is what you choose to make it.”

– Mark Bradford

“When you talk about art,” you say, “you are glowing.”

It isn’t until the memory burns into something as unrecognizable as its black residue that I see what the moment meant. Some of these colors are ones that I must keep burning, the ones pulling deep from the elements of the sky that I roll over onto its tender belly, add a fistful of sticks, stories with thick skin. I must keep building the fire, keep stirring what is there: to see what is ready and what needs to be turned over with words, kindled with a log of childhood, the pages of experience. If I can step closer.

The embers glow.

I warm my hands.

It takes time to learn about my own life.

What I have here is the soot of the fire, of what remains, after the talk and the song and the howl until the midnight rain cools them out. The fire encased in the warm womb of the dark glow. The messages are burned inside its matte black body. These are the remains—black, charred, scarring and scarred, the color that smears to the touch, the color that writes.

Manuel Aragon
Butch Queen

Editor's Note: This piece was created during a Citizen-inspired writing session at this summer's Shade exhibit at the Clyfford Still and Denver Art Museums. 

By Max Malament

Skin crawls in whorls and folds

Past stitched under

Copper frowns crackling through the dark

Power lines spark the miles and

Coffee-stained teeth promise

A future, even now

Splintering down falling

Into fissured glaciers settling

Tiger’s eye and granite

Luminous, cold, burning, holding,

Drifting, blending, breaking into

The tilt of her lifted

Arm curled into a brittle

Amen

Goddamn Resilient

Editor's Note: This piece was created during a Citizen-inspired writing session at this summer's Shade exhibit at the Clyfford Still and Denver Art Museums. 

By Michael Sindler

I will not be washed away.

I will not be broken.

There is no wind strong enough,

nor can all the water in the ocean 

take away the memory and life

of this, my crescent jewel.

Anyone who bets against me 

is nothing but a fool.

Cultures blend in this delta

and flow outward like the water

to fertilize the entire globe

from this, my maze-like quarters.

The music beating in my veins

that trumpets through the streets

is stronger than mere rains and tides-

with it's triumphant beat

my wards full of survivors

will patch me back together.

I'm the Spirit of New Orleans

and there's nothing I can't weather.

 

Marble Chaos

Editor's Note: This piece was created during a Citizen-inspired writing session at this summer's Shade exhibit at the Clyfford Still and Denver Art Museums. 

By Ahja Fox

The flames are made up

of charred flaking skin,

a thick viscosity of oil slick nature.

 

He calls to his brother,

waking the opulent pearl ghost

who crawls from the popcorn

ceilings down in between the toes.

 

He calls to his brother,

Snapping the bones of the monster

who bears scars of lightning. Some

healed to reflect the middle brown,

some fresh, bleeding god’s wrath

or infected daffodil.

 

He calls the scabs of bluish-bruised

paper scattered all over the tobacco

streets, calls them back

to their mother’s aching breasts,

the original tree of life, to feed

unworn and unwritten.

 

Within the frames, he calls to his

brother, severing an arm

and maybe one too many limbs.

Shade Me Blue

Editor's Note: This piece was created during a Citizen-inspired writing session at this summer's Shade exhibit at the Clyfford Still and Denver Art Museums. 

By Lacresha Fox

My soul sees blue

shades, sinned bruised souls.

Moving trees – some light, some dark,

so many shades in between. I say,

what does this mean?

I see the shade

black overtake part of the souls.

Oh Lord, what does this mean?

I want to fall

to my knees and pray. I want to wail,

in tears, to help the small thin

line of light, life bring light to the sea

blue sinned souls. I choose

the thin line, Oh Lord. I love

blue sinned tree souls.

The light.

Colocado en la Tierra

Editor's Note: This piece was created during a Citizen-inspired writing session at this summer's Shade exhibit at the Clyfford Still and Denver Art Museums. 

By Yvette Lonteen y Torres

the constellation of Ponderosas:
tight thickets,
a relational geometry,
broad swaths gridded deep,
metallic speckled earth.

decomposition:
fallen fruit, fallen birds, fallen fawns,
failing to thrive,
insects ceasing to move,
absorbed and digested.

the spade. a short hickory handle. sharp blade cutting the dirt. penetrating. the earth wet and heavy.
pitched off to the side, unshaped clay on a potter’s wheel. landing with a thud. and so the pile begins.

jumping on top of the spade. push of weight. quick to sink. a deeper bite. left hand grabs the handle low,
close to the blade. pitch the dirt to the growing pile. over and over. percussive. chugging air. sliced earth.
sweat runs down the forearms and palms.

the worn hickory becomes sticky. grasping fingers soon to prune. hair slicks to the back of the neck. sweat in
eyes. stinging. salt rings rise and stain.

a sluice box of sweat and dirt.
as i dig
as i dig
as i dig
as i dig

a rectangle the size of a casket, more or less. under the Ponderosa.