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
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

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


Beyond the Iron Curtain: Solo Exhibit by Peggy McGivern, Verse by Peter Stravlo

Beyond the Iron Curtain: Reflections in Paint and Verse
Peggy McGivern Solo Exhibition
Verse by Peter Stravlo

Mar 20 – Apr 17, 2015
Opening Reception: Mar 20, 6-9 pm

Artist Statement:

I have found in people all over the world that same native self reliance I feel deep within myself. The Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, Chilean Mestizos, or Gypsies in Romania, as unique as we all are, I see myself in them, and whatever it is, it colors my work.

It has taken years to formulate this show, for the paintings and poems to help resolve our feelings about the people and places. Now we invite you to join us for Poetry and Paintings and listen to hauntingly beautiful Eastern European folk music by Mark Dudrow and Chipper Thompson played on the traditional Romanian Bouzouki instrument, so you too, can travel Beyond the Iron Curtain.

Please email us at to be put on the early preview list.



Should I cover my eyes with my hands when I look up, palm fronds undulating burlesque on ocean breezes, coconuts like phallic maracas on leggy candy cane trunks, icky odors titillating my senses, wondering my wicked smile if the reason everyone is looking and grinning is the same as mine?
Painting by Peggy McGivern, Opening Reception Friday May 16 5-8pm Abend Gallery Denver. Readings by Peter Stravlo

Fun Facts and Fiction

Fun facts to consider before voting:

Over the last 50 years Republicans have occupied the White house 27 years, Democrats 23. During that time the US economy has created approximately 46 million jobs during the Democrats time, 23 million during the Republican occupation.

From 1948 to 1973, American worker’s productivity increased by 100%. During this period, the average worker’s hourly compensation ( wage plus benefits) increased by 100%. This period witnessed the largest growth in wealth ever in the history of humanity, as well as the largest expansion of the American middle class. With tax rates higher than current rates.

From 1973 to 2006, the year before the recession officially started, American worker’s productivity increased 80.1%. During this period, American worker’s average hourly compensation increased 10%.

The other 70% of weatlh generated during this period increased the wealth of high-income individuals and corporations, while tax rates went lower and lower, and the middle classs shrank.

The average American worker hasn’t seen a real gain in her or his purchasing power in over a decade. The way Americans have gotten by over the last 4 decades is by putting a second bread winner to work and borrowing more.

The last three recoveries from Recession has been ‘jobless.’ The Stock-Market has recovered; corporations have done well, and the jobs that have been created have been low paying jobs.

Americans work more hours, and spend less time with their families, than anyone else in the developed world, except China.

There is not one example in history that I can find where austerity measures alone stimulated an economy and increased tax revenues. In the one case most commonly cited, Ronald Reagan’s presidency, President Reagan cut taxes in 1981, then, when the deficit soared he raised taxes in 1982. It’s that tax increase that spawned the famous ‘Read my lips, no more taxes,’ statement by Bush Sr.

I suppose the other fact demonstrated here is that people don’t vote based on facts.

That’s one of the ‘flaws’ of Democracy, and one that I am willing to live with. The US experiment in Democracy is a leap of faith, a belief in something like Christian Charity, or the Islamic principle that you have a moral obligation to feed and shelter your fellow traveler.

Will we live up to our religious principles?