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Barbara Daniels

Unknown American Paintings

Williamsburg Housing Project Murals Paul Kelpe Americana Barbara Daniels "Unknown American Paintings" poetry all forms & styles
Untitled from the Williamsburg Housing Project murals by Paul Kelpe

At a flea market I turn through
paintings, pretend I’ll buy them

just for the frames. Lilies bloom
where dust dulls the surfaces.

Some blooms split open, paint
chipping and flaking. We haven’t lost

everything, not even close.
I have albums of photographs, just

not the heart to turn plastic pages.
I kept satin dresses I wore to weddings

and dances. White graduation heels,
short skirts. I read advice to treat

the body like a Jaguar, Lexus,
Mercedes Benz, choose the best fuel,

the right gentle cleansing.
I’m an old Rambler, dented, peeling,

holes in my floor. Shall I choose
the trompe l’oeil pocket watch

snapped closed, its varnish discolored?
I touch straw that fell into paint,

a tree’s misted shadow. Shadows of flies.


About the writer:
Barbara Daniels’ Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has recently appeared in Concho River Review, Dodging the Rain, and Philadelphia Stories. She received four fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Image: Untitled from the Williamsburg Housing Project murals by Paul Kelpe (1902-1985). Oil on canvas. 98.7 × 95.9 inches. 1938. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporationsupporting writers and artists worldwide.

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