Field Workers Cabins, Those Silly Trees, Bird Watching

From Peggy McGivern’s solo show ‘Beyond the Iron Curtain,’ verse by Peter Stravlo, Opening Reception March 20, 6-9pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver, CO. Eastern European Folk inspired music by Mark Dudrow and Chipper Thompson
http://abendgallery.com/html_shows/15-peggy-mcgivern-solo/

Field Workers Cabins
The field workers cabins appeared around a façade of forest, ambled in the clear-cut, curving up up and away over a denuded landscape. Gray wood planks like chicken coops, troughs sloshing with river water. Maybe there had been a fire. Only two faces revealed themselves through the windows, lined and ashen, fearful, shirtless despite the chill. We imagined a sickness, a reason to be there, to look like that. We backed up, turned around, exited the muddy ruts we came in on. Or was it our own reflection we did not want to recognize, a sickness, a reason to be there, to look like that.

Those Silly Trees
Unusual shapes are disconcerting
Tones slightly different than your comfort zone

Walking under thin branches makes you skittish
Brittle sticks swaying wide and leafless over your head

So open your eyes, your ears, let the foreign air seep into your pores
Step by step, a few blocks, pause to take in the view, reminiscent of a childhood memory

You think the dining room walls would look great in those colors
Now you are in stride

A breeze plays with the branches
Their song stuck in your head

Those Silly Trees will flourish in your backyard

Bird Watching
Why, when we learned to fly, were feathers not part of the equation?
No flapping quick quick quick or one graceful slow manipulation of air soaring the miracle of feathers into wings.
All those elongated foreheads so soft and innocent like a child you want to reach out and run your fingers.
Beaks smelling and pecking and part-time feet hopping and jumping, but not a plane bouncing rubbery to a stop.
Primary colors much deeper than that.
In awe. A-gape. Agape.
The hair on my arms stand up but I do not leave terra firma.
Birds are not communists or capitalists nor do they share our religions.
Though it is impossible to imagine them without spirit.
My balding head white calves extra chin the curve of my paunch I insist on paving the ground and still wear shoes and the miracle is; we too are the same everywhere.

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Gypsy Camp, Potato Diggers, and Muddy Fields

From Peggy McGivern’s solo show ‘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
http://abendgallery.com/html_shows/15-peggy-mcgivern-solo/

Gypsy Camp
There is a man who thinks he knows everything, because he has everything. Gypsies clean the man’s stables and cook his meals for a pittance. Poor gypsies, he thinks, what were their lives before I came along? The man eats bland food and never indulges in wine, afraid if the gypsies realize the extent of his riches they will demand more for their labor. He convinces himself they cannot see him when, while in their camp a short distance away, singing and dancing and playing their music, bouncing their grandchildren on their knees, gorging on spicy food, drinking wine and making love, the man sneaks away to dig up his lock-box and pray over his money. But the gypsies could have stolen his money a thousand times; in fact they have taken some of it, but only what they need to eat and drink and laugh and sing and play and make love.

The Potato Diggers
It is not a burden
Rising with the sun
Digging forks into the dirt
The glances cousin Aleksandr throws our way

It is not a burden
Hoisting endlessly filled sacks
Old Mare baring her teeth each time we approach the wagon
Sister Mika being promised to the butcher

It is not a burden
Clumps the size of river pebbles clinging to our boots
Whispering where is handsome young Achilles today?
Papa watching us crossly

It is not a burden
Giggling like little girls
Old Mare testing her traces against her burden
Carrying more sacks because Mika was not in her bed this morning

It is not a burden
Grandpa snoring over the last morsel of goulash
Mending socks and sacks
Dreaming we could be so brave

Muddy Fields
He photographs a young boy and his father unhooking their wagon and harnessing a single metal plowshare to their stallion. Their women harvest earth’s precious bounty and the plow turns the soil row after row, season after season. A teenage girl in a thick skirt, her legs warm in wool and rubber boots, heaves a bulging bag onto her back, high-steps over the soft clodded earth, and pieces it into the puzzle of the wagon.
He wonders if she will stay or go. It is one thing to romanticize a way of life, to allow old timers to feel better about the way they’ve lived. But what happens when someone tears a knee ligament? Where does a parent turn when a child is born with a deformity? He struggles to remember seeing anyone in the village with a handicap.
The horse and plowman turn at the end of the row. The sun fails to shine through the clouds. He is certain; this simple, self-sustaining life will soon not be possible. They are all in this together, one big village.
The family re-harnesses the horse and somehow gets the plowshare and everyone onto the wagon. He takes another photo, checks it on the digital screen. In an attempt to capture everything he has zoomed so far away he does not recognize what he is witnessing. Maybe it is one of those scenes that needs to be a painting.
(From Peter’s novel The Age of Certainty)

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

PAUSING TO TAKE IN THE VIEW

Featured image

How many times
We watch a woman, children
A man, grandma
Grandpa, beast of burden
Pausing to take in the view

How many times
Can the same scene inspire
How many times
Can a view not grow stale

Maybe it is an excuse
To rest
Aching muscles
Aging bones
Hope

Maybe the grass is greener
Or it is wistful
Wishful thinking

How many times
Do we not pause to take in the view

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 info@abendgallery.com to be put on the early preview list.