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LOCAL FLORA

Careful how you peel it, succulent as it looks. No doubt it is foreign, but not completely unfamiliar. Juicy, seductive, already there is a bite out of it. Surely you want to taste before judging, so search your memory, maybe deep in the tangles there is a useful experience, a reference point to pivot from. If not, open wide.
From Cuba: An Adventure in Image and Word, Opening Reception Friday May 16 5-8pm Abend Gallery Denver. I’ll be reading at the Reception.

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PALMS

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

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TIN FENCES

The light has to be just right, to experience this sheen of blue from corrugated tin. In pure form they are primary, abstract. Alloyed together tin and blue become harmonious, useful. It’s not difficult to build such a fence, prop it up, cobble it together, let its sadness wash over you like the setting sun.
From Cuba: An Adventure in Image and Word, paintings by Peggy McGivern and verse by Peter Stravlo, Opening Reception Friday May 16 5-8pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York Denver. Peter will be reading at the reception

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ABOVE IT ALL

Above It All
Evolution can occur in a single lifetime, like learning a ritual. What’s important is to dance without spilling, learn to keep your head and wits about you. In school we memorize those illustrations of man through time: monkey to Homo sapiens; daughter to mother; dreaded chore to responsibility; schoolgirl to matron; childish game to purpose in life. See how poised we are through time, ladylike, proud, playful. Isn’t it grand to be Above It All, to be able to go both directions?
From Cuba: An Adventure in Image and Word, paintings by Peggy McGivern and verse by Peter Stravlo, Opening Reception Friday, May 16 5-8pm, Abend Gallery, Denver. I’ll be reading at the reception.

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WHITE ON WHITE

There’s no urgency, she’s getting her work done using a minimum of resources, living and working at the same time. Airing her laundry on the balcony, she’s my doctor or my waitress; my neighbor. We all live in the same kind of apartment, wear similar clothing, eat the same food, enjoy free education and health care. We are democratic. Instead of competing with each other, we are all in it together.

From Cuba: An Adventure in Image and Word, paintings by Peggy McGivern and verse by Peter Stravlo, Opening Reception Friday, May 16, 5-8pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver. I’ll be reading at the opening.

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HER FIRST PONY

They are the same size, with pink boots and similar expressions, acting grown up, like friends who consult before deciding what to wear. The muddled road, bright strip of sunshine, variegated shades down the street, a taste of blue Caribbean sky, is not a suburb or equestrian center. Tomorrow he’ll take her to school before pulling a wagon full of goods to market. Her gaze is serious, eyes focused, unsparing and unspoiled. The fondness will wane the way her coveted boots are outgrown, handed down. Her first pony is every child’s fantasy, but she is just as happy not living in a virtual world.

From Cuba: An Adventure in Image and Word, Paintings by Peggy McGivern and verse by Peter Stravlo. Opening reception Friday, May 16th, 5-8pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver

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Red Pants

The rooftops are a stair-step to my childhood home, a time when Mother washed me and my clothes, was always there when I looked up, making sure I was safe. There’s that gate of thin scrolling metal I couldn’t resist playing my fingers through until my hand got caught, the dank garage where I wanted to leave the light on so I wouldn’t have to overcome my fears next time Father sent me to let Fido out to do his business, the red pants that signaled from several streets away how much further I had to go. The way the wood slats creaked under my feet on the balcony, the smell of fresh sheets still makes me sleepy. I imagined jumping like a superhero into my red pants while they forever hung over the balcony. Sometimes I dream it and because they’re still damp they melt into my legs like cotton candy on my tongue. Mother always warned me to be more patient.

From Cuba; An Adventure in Image and Word, Paintings by Peggy McGivern and verse by Peter Stravlo inspired by our trip to Cuba last year. Opening Reception Friday May 16th, 5-8pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver CO I’ll be reading at the opening.

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BEDDED DOWN FOR THE NIGHT

It was a crumbling two lane road at dusk we saw their silhouettes on a ridge. Blacktop shadow leading us down the middle, fading to gray-green and peach and rays of blue like fingers losing their grip over the mountain, blood-orange grass calmly striving through patches worn by time. The whine of our small engine fell quietly into neutral so we could slow, turn, gaze in peace. That night all the hotels were full. It was the first night of many someone took us into their home, fed us, gave us a pillow.

From CUBA: AN ADVENTURE IN IMAGE AND WORD Opening reception Friday, May 16th, 5-8pm, Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver CO. Paintings by Peggy McGivern. Readings by Peter Stravlo

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SCHOOL BOYS

They look more grown up than I think they should be. Maybe I’m afraid they won’t need me before I’m ready. It’s comforting they can tie their own neckties, are willing to walk under the hubris of the same green shirts and red hats, pants that don’t allow the individuality boys by their nature of wanting to be men covet. Look at their strong hands, masculine shoulders, the confident way they swagger and gawk. They’re friends, thank God, and beautiful, with so much to learn it makes me jealous.

From CUBA, AN ADVENTURE IN IMAGE AND WORD Opening Reception at Abend Gallery, Colfax and York, Denver, CO Friday, May 16th, 2014. Paintings by Peggy McGivern and Readings by Peter Stravlo, based on our 2013 travels in Cuba

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CUBA: AN ADVENTURE IN IMAGE AND WORD

Peter Stravlo's Blog

I’ll publish pictures and verse each day for the next couple of weeks from Peggy McGivern’s upcoming show: Cuba: An Adventure In Image and Word, opening Friday, May 16th at Abend Gallery, on Colfax and York in Denver. The pieces by Peggy and verse by me are based on our trip last year to Cuba. It’s an amazing place, a time capsule full of beautiful people in a beautiful place

Habana Sites

It’s not about the famous Tropicana
Skimpily costumed on the delightful edge of propriety
With dancers like giant gaudy birds
Floating in numbers orchestrated
In the late night of the past
On the currency of Germans and Russians, Chinese and Japanese
And now again the Americans
From across the Florida straits
Foreigners riding in communist busloads
To experience the revolution
Not knowing the difference
Between Guevara and Bautista

Nor is it the Castillo de San Carlos de la…

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