My Grandmother’s Kitchen

By Hayley Kritchels 

Its a long thin room with the working oven on the left and a dining area on the right.  The kitchen cabinets are well polished, medium brown wood.  There’s one strip of pink floral wallpaper running across the middle of the wall.  I peeled a section off when I was 3, but they fixed it.  Next to the fridge is a small table with a blue plasticky tablecloth, above it, the highlight of the kitchen: a large window into the cat room.  Various cats have sat here over the years.  Cobby (White albino, rescued from vet school test lab) Tess, and most recently Buster.  With this placement, they can lounge belly to the glass and feel a part of meals.  I love her cats enough to want them near my meals.  But fear them enough to appreciate the glass.

Manuel Aragon
Untitled

By Emma Acheson

My grandma’s kitchen is and always had been a warm space, a safe space.  As soon as you enter, the scent of something will hit you.  Sweet aromas of pumpkin pies, cookies, and cakes mix with fresh corn and green beans on the stove from the garden.  I can see my grandma positioned next to the stove, pen and paper in hand.  She could never do just one thing, baking also meant writing as she would switch between the stove behind her and the table in front.  Her weekly letters to the long list of friends and family get written from this special location.  To this day, each letter I received from her carries this warmth from her kitchen.  This is a space where grew up, where my mother grew up, where people grow together.  This is where my personal love for food and the art of cooking blossomed.  I can see perfectly the late afternoon light coming through bay window as we drink sweet tea and play cards.  THe soft glow of evening light as we sit down for supper.

Manuel Aragon
Old Kitchen

 

By Ashley Frazier

the old kitchen was old.  It’s always been old.  The floor, I remember it was a flat mix of reds, oranges and yellows, made of linoleum.  Linoleum is easy to clean, but always looked old.  The cabinets were a good match for the floor.  They were wooden, but an orange color of wood.  On the linoleum floor, there was a black jagged mark where a knife had fallen.  No matter how many times we cleaned that floor, that black, jagged mark was always there.  The new kitchen had porcelain floor.  Porcelain so the knives could not pierce through when they fell.  The old kitchen was old.

Manuel Aragon
Hilda with Wings

Michael F. Sperandeo 

The tile was the focal point of my memory.  Orange - yellow- tah- floral.  The countertops were full due to the modest size of the space.  The residual smiles from acted as particles in the air, catching the rays of light that peeked through the window, similar to me peeking around the doorway, unable to contain my curiosity?  “What is that smell?”  How is she so focused” “When do I get to help?”  The freedom in her eyes stays close to my heart.  Its amazing to think of how many hours must have been spent in there.  Cooking, working, loving.  The kitchen was her cocoon.  She would spend days preparing for her metamorphosis, blossoming from her kingdom as a butterfly, just like the butterfly magnets that clutter the refrigerator.

Manuel Aragon
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.