Crossing the Danube, West Coast of the Black Sea, River Runs Through Onesti, Rovinj

From Peggy McGivern’s solo show at Abend Gallery, March 20, 6-9pm, Colfax and York, Denver. Verse by Peter Stravlo, Eastern European inspired folk music by Mark Dudrow and Chipper Thompson. Dracula’s Blood wine.

Crossing the Danube
Each border guard said the other would let us in, but not out.
You cannot drive here, Croatia says.
You cannot park here, Serbia says.
We thought they had settled all this with a war.

Three hours in no-man’s-land before heading to Belgrade, where scattered lights twinkle like failed constellations, a million falling star headlights racing past. We are lost.

Dawn reveals a merry-go-round of smokestacks, exhaust, oppression, overlapping signs like washed out frescoes on concrete walls. For hours it seems no stars are possible.

Exit and return, exit and return; Belgrade means roundabout in a language we do not fathom. Surely it will be no mistake, to cross the Danube into Transylvania. Can we not at least read each other’s palms?

West Coast of the Black Sea
Feel every angle of the world
Catapulted like languages
Shadows and rooflines
Between Asia and Europe

Taste salty wind
Stinging
A vulnerable cheek
Of indeterminate color

Hear waves of thought
Mingling together
Through straits
Of millennia

See Greek-marbled blue-green
Slavic-jeweled red
Gold Persian myths
Mosaic as Byzantium

Witness galleons, cruise ships, and dreadnoughts
Crashing into dachas
Tourists and religions
On the West Coast of the Black Sea

River Runs Through Onesti
Find a little boat and let us take a fairytale trip
We’ll fall out of the Cuic mountains
Down the Trotus River
Float by exotic oases of history and imagination
Open your eyes
Shhh… the beauty of places so hidden
No one but us will know

Rectangles, triangles, rhombus ribbons and almost perfect circles
Turkish and Gypsy and Greek and Magyar and Serb and Slav
Not quite white, or red or green or yellow
But blue and sienna and ochre and browns of all flavors
Shaped like the people of Ottoman bridges and Greek statues
Welcoming our flotilla of one
With plates of mittitei and pârjoale and you must have a cup of tuica
And another before we flow tipsy into the Siret and start all over again

Rovinj
We like our boundaries, right angles snapped together in overlapping simplicity along an artificial shoreline
Raw sienna and yellow-clay Legos with blue-squares and shadowy reliable passages

Solid little rooms vetted by generations
Miniature green savannahs and forests, contained in comfortable garden beds
Things we can stand on, lean against, grasp, walk around

But be careful, waves form and foam and dissipate
Like reflections in a mirror threatening to swallow, distort, reveal, wash away our beach head
We listen to rhythmic crashing, and imagine standing, leaning, grasping, walking around
As if abstract form meant permanence

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Park in Zagreb, Red Bags, Motovun Wedding

From Peggy McGivern’s Beyond the Iron Curtain, verse by Peter Stravlo, Opening Reception March 20, 6-9pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver, CO. Eastern Folk inspired music by Mark Dudrow and Chipper Thompson

Park in Zagreb
We only had a few hours
To complete our feelings
Paint and canvas packed away
Pen and spiral temporarily satisfied

A sidewalk café
A glass of white wine
Watching a rendezvous
A cigarette smoking

The best time
To walk away from shopping
A statue of someone we have never heard of
With a pigeon on his head

Unfamiliar leaves
A bench
A bag-lady feeding pigeons
Cobblestones

Our final memory
Park in Zagreb
Where errands lose their purpose
And a cloud plays hide-and-seek with the light

Red Bags

She never minds walking
With a few friendly gestures

It is not that far
Across the cobbles

Up the hill
Dodging lorries

Waving at uniformed children
The occasional cup of tea

And conversation
Better than television

Wedding in Motovun
Ancient stone walls brittle and worn
Tender new buds on every tree
Dancing heels echo in the carefree village
To music so traditional it cannot possibly sound the same
Her virgin face demurs behind the veil
Following steps of countless ancestors
To a Wedding in Motovun

Milk Delivery, Chicken Feed, and New Laying Hen

From Peggy McGivern’s Beyond the Iron Curtain, verse by Peter Stravlo, Opening Reception March 20, 6-9pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver, CO. Eastern Folk inspired music by Mark Dudrow and Chipper Thompson

Milk Delivery
Wagon rolling on truck tires
Traces of nostalgia
Mother’s milk at your doorstep
The oldest profession

Personalized service
Hand hewn more collectible
Stonewalling for generations
Offspring replenishing

Hands are a unit of measurement
Distance a measurement of time
Progress a unit of distance
Time a measurement of progress

‘If I were a rich man,’ from Fiddler on the Roof

Peggy recently re-worked Milk Delivery. The image is essentially the same, but she was never happy with the tone of the colors, and I believe she now feels the pallet is truer to her vision. I always loved this piece, it was hanging in our Taos house. I hope it doesn’t sell.

Chicken Feed
It does not cost much to make a game of it, this serious business of feeding
Skip like chicks playing Follow the Leader
Sing the rhythmic pecking of Ring-Around-the-Rosie
Fling Chicken Feed from cockscombed fingers like a magician conjuring money out of thin air
Simon Says cockle-doodle-doo
We all fall down

New Laying Hen
More than a distant cousin having a new baby I love it when Mama has that wrinkled grin. Make sure the coop is warm, it says, and I will bake you a loaf of bread, one that tickles your nose before you open the door. My favorite is fresh yokes sitting high and rounder than a haystack, the whites like a clear skinned girl sizzling in the pan. Maybe in a few weeks Mama will surprise me with a new pair of shoes bought with money from the eggs.

Saturday Night in Lunca, Dinner, and Road to the Truffle Restaurant

Satruday Night in Porec
A cell tower sits bored against the low sun’s chill
Cowbells clang like toddlers learning to play the xylophone
See his blue coat against the dark plaster wall
Before the longing pattern of light and shadow like live leather
Reminding him tonight is a glass, maybe two, of plum brandy
Rush hour before the Sabbath, watch where you step

(Scroll down to see Dinner and Road to the Truffle Restaurant)

Please attend the Opening of Beyond the Iron Curtain, paintings by Peggy McGivern and verse by Peter Stravlo, with music based on eastern European folk tunes by Mark Dudrow and Chipper Thompson. March 20th, 5-8pm, at Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver CO

Dinner

No hurry, the wine is either red or white. A simple luxury, this fairytale home-restaurant tangled in the roots of cedars like truffles. Leftover tablecloths red checked clean faded stained and beautifully threadbare. The waiter has his own agenda, the menu indecipherable; we do not yet speak the language. Sip and wait, wait and sip. Until, silver headed and winking, as if we always knew it was worth the wait, dinner arrives.

RoadToTruffleRestaurant11-22-14

Imagine a two-seater
Fenders like sumptuous thighs
Playing nostalgically over cobblestones
Top down falling
Left into dark pine scents
Engine purring right
Up lush gear pattern
Worn smooth from shifting
Breezes overpowering
Straightaways nonexistent

Our own truffle Sommelier
Sniffed out of roots
By hounds barking through mists
Like souvenir volcanic rocks
Black and rarer White
In the birthplace of Mario Andretti