The Poetry of Mary K O'Melveny





I remember vintage matchbook covers

from my youth – Are You An Artist? – Find Out – 

Draw This Dog!  The promise always seemed so

unimpeachable:  mail in your picture,

after a few lessons, fame would follow.  

Canine profiles presaging masterpieces.


I never sent any drawings of dogs

or doorways or dusky landscapes.  Maybe

I hoped for more personal discoveries.

Like being snagged for film stardom after

slinging hash at some diner, the talent 

scout looking up from the Blue Plate Special.


Or maybe I lost heart when I wielded 

my paintbrush on our third grade mural,

trying to capture those thrilling moments

when Lewis and Clark reached journey’s end.

My schoolmate Anne caught their glint of eye

as I struggled to turn sticks into trees.


But now I have picked up my medium

pencil – a sturdy number two – paper 

and eraser.  I am trying to breathe

life into an old glazed white pitcher,

a small chunk missing from the lip, tiny

cracks barely visible to a naked eye.


Long gone its days as lemonade vessel,

ceramic luster caressed by sweating ice.

As light flows down onto a paint-splattered 

table, casting a thin shadow, I think

about how hard it is for three dimensions 

to evolve from two.  Just like poetry.



Woodstock, NY

my . artist run website