“He’s Got it All” painting – “Hats Off” poem

This painting titled “He’s Got it All” was a piece dedicated to my wife.  It was part of a solo exhibit in Martinsburg WVa  in December 0f 2005 at the Daily Grind on Foxcroft Ave.   I held a writing contest whereas local writers/poets could enter a piece inspired by one of my paintings.  The winning entry was by Andrew Copenhaver.  He created a wonderful piece that I wanted to keep with the painting.  I am posting the poem and painting here so I do not lose it (as I just rediscovered the poem.)

Here is the painting:

Here is the poem:

Poem Inspired by  the painting “He’s Got It All” by artist D.J. Priest

by Andrew Copenhaver

Title: “Hats off”

Hats off


To the wind

To tonight

A flowing reflection of space

Which is a cold star-sparkling obsidian

Boundless and captivating

As moonlight spills across this sudden canvas

To drowned thick marmalades and lively umbers of the evening

Spent dancing with the last of the fireflies

That flash like neon sparks in the dark

Lighting up our atmosphere with silent fireworks

Once the sun and moon coalesce

And night and day pirouette

Hats off

To childhood and flying like a bird

A child’s treehouse is larger than any mansion one could ever reside

But he’s got it all outside

Tonight

Which is only the day staring down at us from beneath a thick black hood

With starlit eyes like silver embers from the fire of day

Are left for us to ponder away

Seduced by this awakening breeze

That tiptoes across each sole blade of grass

Like playful ghosts of children

Returning with wings and letting go of the past

Free and forgetful,

Hats off

The following is from a letter that I sent to the reporter that covered this contest.  At the end is the second place winner’s entry.

Spanning the months of November, December and the first part of January 2006 people were given a chance to let their imaginations and creative juices flow while sipping on good coffee at the Foxcroft Ave. Daily Grind and viewing a collection of contemporary art by a local artist.

This was his first showing in the area and to celebrate this the artist and My Art Brokers came up with the idea of hold a writing contest for the citizens of the Eastern Panhandle – if they were to hear about it.

The deadline was midnight on January 15th.  A entries came in a couple weeks before the deadline and then they trickled in.  We had forgotten about the Martin Luther King, Jr.’s observed birthday celebration and throught that we had gotten all the entries that we were going to get, but the day after the holiday there was a pile of envelopes waiting to be be delivered.

We were extactic by the quality of the writings, and the diversity of topics and styles of writing.  This contest has open up the flood gates to more possible writing contests in the area and we are thrilled that this area has so much hidden talent waiting to be discovered.

With this said it was very difficult to have to choose the “winners” when they all were exceptional (and this isn’t an over statement or a jurior trying to be polite!)  However, we did have one rule that writers were supposed to follow.  Contestants were to submit works of fictional literature and poetry “inspired by the paintings.” We were not so sure that some of these great writings were inspired by the artist’s paintings on display at the Daily Grind.  We were not necessarily looking for work that described the paintings exactly but rather that you could see how the writer was inspired by the content, subject matter or just the mood that the piece conveyed.

Because, of the quality of the work that was not selected we are doubly determined to find other ways to work with, and for these writers so that their work can be read and appreciated by others.  Stay tuned!!!

Comments about the first and second place winners’ work.

I picked the poem titled Hats Off by, Martinsburg resident, Andrew Copenhaver as the first place winner.  I picked his poem because of the way he crafted the words so as to take the reader directly into a majical world experienced only in innocense and recalled by childhood memories, which Priest, the artist, had captured on canvas with a bit of colored oil and bound bristle.  Andrew’s choice of words danced like living fireflies if in this case they hadn’t been frozen in time and space by the artist in the piece titled “He’s got it all” which was the inspiration for Copenhaver’s poem.  This poem could be a timeless companion to the painting if ever published together.

For the second place position I chose a more modern avante-guard type of piece that was very inspirational to me and thought provoking to boot.  This piece titled: Cranberry Hand Grenades, Neon Stallions: Stories from the Dakota Moss Message Board was crafted by Falling Waters resident David Byers.  In his letter to the artist, along with his entry form, Mr. Byers provided a bit of a “making of commentary” describing the way his piece came to be.  The wonder piece was more than a creation inspired by a single painting in the show but rather a piece that captured most of the work currently in the show.  I feel that the piece is not complete without this “behind the scenes” introduction because of how intense and sincere all of his words are.  At first his piece took me off guard, as his letter was attached to the end of the story rather than at the beginning.  So on first flance over I believed that I was reading a collection of writings and random thoughts by an online community tied together only by colorful words, some decriptions of old junk and a character named “Dakota Moss,” but in my defense – I was tired that night!  When I read it a second, third and fourth time over, I discovered what the writer was really doing.  The writer was creating a stained glass reality whereas each time the reader peers out onto what seemed to be a different scene (supposedly written by another chat room buddy), he or she is actually peering at the same scene just from a very different perspective, or rather, looked at through another color; In reality though when the reader takes his hands off of the window and steps back, away from the window in order to be able to view the whole window in it’s entirety, it all comes together – the master piece of a story.

Honorable Mentions go out to these fine writers:

Jennifer Lynn Fountain for her piece titled “He’s Got it All”

Earl Ray Hairston III for his piece titled “Coming to the Light”

Lisa Linn Arroniz for her piece titled ” Mountian of a Man”

Victor J. Banis for his piece titled “Welcome to Antoinette’s

Marianne Elizabeth Tomasic for her piece titled “The Cold Room”

John E H Bacon for his piece titled “He’s Got it All”

Artfully yours,

David Heatwole

Founder – My Art Brokers

Item 3:  First Place winning entry  (this entry is supposed to be setup as center justified)

Poem Inspired by  the painting “He’s Got It All” by artist D.J. Priest

Title: “Hats off”

by Andrew Copenhaver

Martinsburg resident

Hats off

To the wind

To tonight

A flowing reflection of space

Which is a cold star-sparkling obsidian

Boundless and captivating

As moonlight spills across this sudden canvas

To drowned thick marmalades and lively umbers of the evening

Spent dancing with the last of the fireflies

That flash like neon sparks in the dark

Lighting up our atmosphere with silent fireworks

Once the sun and moon coalesce

And night and day pirouette

Hats off

To childhood and flying like a bird

A child’s treehouse is larger than any mansion one could ever reside

But he’s got it all outside

Tonight

Which is only the day staring down at us from beneath a thick black hood

With starlit eyes like silver embers from the fire of day

Are left for us to ponder away

Seduced by this awakening breeze

That tiptoes across each sole blade of grass

Like playful ghosts of children

Returning with wings and letting go of the past

Free and forgetful,

Hats off

Item 4:  Second Place winning entry(this entry needs an introduction as the letter that came with it explains it’s development and creation)

“Some images from your artwork really stuck with me, like the swirling (portal-like) colors of ‘Gatekeeper Guardswell’ and the vase in ‘Thru the Window’.  I kept thinking about paintings and colors and stories- was there a way to create a story that “feels” like a painting?  Thinking, thinking, art on the brain, thinking ….”what makes a painting a painting?” Hmmm… I went back to The Daily Grind and looked at the artworks again, wondering, ‘what makes a color a color?  How do we make sense of the way colors “work together”?’  Obviosly, science can explain this- but what if there’s another fantastic explanantion?  Maybe colors define themselves and “work together” becuase they speak, they tell stories.  They interact like people on message boards.  They live.  And ther she goes, Dakota Moss (possibly a color, possibly a real person, or both) – traveling through fantastic portals into this modern life, finding meaning in windows and vases, modifying her world.  A weird approach, but hey, real life is pretty bizarre too.

My car has a broken CD player.  However, the cassette deck still functions, so I’ve been scavenging thrift stores, Goodwill, and flea markets for tapes.  I tried to include a lot of “old item” references becuase I like repositories of forgotten stuff.  All these things once had an owner- it’s like looking at a little bit of someone’s past, a living chunk of scrapbook, a photo object.”

Cranberry Hand Grenades, Neon Stallions:

Stories from the Dakota Moss Message Board

– by David Byers

Falling Waters residents

linkwraypresents      GREEN

Late night, I share highways with drunks, truckers and cops (bad pun: mug shots make for arresting images).  Riding shotgun is the stuff I bought today, a trove, honestly: photos of Curtis Harrington on the set of Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (Curtis went on to direct episodes of The Twilight Zone, Dynasty, Charlie’s Angels, and Wonder Woman), a few vintage Portland Trailblazers jerseys, homemade fudge, 1960’s wrapping paper with interesting lime colors, glass Avon locomotive cologne holders, Carlos Cruz’s Tijuana Brass Band cassette, and a Dakota Moss Modified Vase which I was hesitant on purchasing until Dakota Moss herself explained,  “You buy this vase and set it in front of a window.  Now look again.  You’ve bought more than a vase; you’ve purchased a new way of looking outside.  I don’t sell old interiors.  I sell new exteriors.”

kubricker*01     PINK

The Traveling Flea Market’s in town!  Hooray for trinkets, baubles, funnel cakes, hand-me-downs, gypsy clod hoppers, starry eyed miscellany, cowpoke .45’s, just lookers, knick knacks and slushies!  Dakota Moss wants to sell you an original (pristine) Bossa Nova inflatable pink railroad spike.  Remember that hipper-than-thou designer profiled in Time magazine two decades ago, or…

gate@keeper     YELLOW

…remember those supergroove sprayalistic freedom summers?

A pile of LP’s suddenly bursts alive, no!, it’s a woman wearing vinyl.  She’s melted old records into a fused shirt & pants combo.  Hey pa, gosh that’s neat!  She shuffles downtempo like a 50’s robot or Bride of Frankenstein and flops with surprising elegance onto a thin yellow strip, like a fighter jet landing on an aircraft carrier.  Swift!  The strip is duct taped with hundreds of record needles, hazardous assorted wires threading to cheap amplifiers and towering wood grain speakers.

Behold Human Mash Up.

Peep this ridiculous sonic cacophony imitating a tumbling trashcan.

As she rolls end over end, Dakota Moss recognizes The Beatles morphing into Beethoven’s Ninth, then somebody got the blues on Heaven’s dance floor, banjos dueling synthesizers as choirs of operatic comedians cleared throats and whispered static.

“This is what a highway hears,” she thinks, “those endless snippet songs passing above.”

Kids love noise and parents can not deny a bargain- though they foresee interminable Saturday afternoons of take it outside, Modified Slip & Slide’s a steal at $29.95.

Shoots a spring loaded magna funk heat ray to the coldest heart, eh?, blissed out surely from multi-dimensional action haggles?

You know what I think?  What pa?!  Hooray for infinite groove nation because…

raven’s(^)kiss     VIOLET

Dakota Moss hit rock bottom in 90’s L.A., subsisting on Taco Bell and cappuccino while photographing riots for OSTENTATIOUS magazine.  She spent long, thought drenched apartment nights staring at ancient air, candle sealed.  When wax burns you can see the past: ten thousand ghosts dancing on a single purple flame.  She began visiting her blind landlord, Franz, a former circus strongman from Austria.  He told Dakota Moss about Bearded Lady and Lobster Boy and asked her to read stories from yellowed, disintegrating magazines- Thrilling Tales, Children’s Armchair Detective, Perilous Peril- they all contained variations on a theme:  two meddling kids and a plucky basset hound solve ‘The Stolen Pearl Mystery.’  The kids (usually twins) received clues from the enigmatic proprietor of Elm Street’s Curious Goods Shoppe and scraped at least one knee (or elbow) climbing into trees with binoculars.  The culprit was always an organ grinder’s mischievous, cigarette smoking monkey.

Franz cried at the end of each story, saying, “That’s so beautiful.  Although the monkey never gets punished, which troubles me.”

77harmonyCORP     RED

Dakota Moss cobbled together her SpectraCycle from pawn shop purchases:  (1) 1979 Sears exercise bike;  (2) novelty toy loom;  (3) 19th Century bronze diving helmet;  (4) Technics record player;  (5) original Nintendo Entertainment System w/ Mega Man cartridge;  (6)  aquarium pump;  (7) Casio scientific calculator;  (8) 12 gauge Remington shot gun;  (9) assorted lamps;  (10) extension cord.

Should SpectraCycle’s trial run occur on a dark & stormy night, with lightning spotlighting your face like a stereotypical mad scientist, gale force winds batting trashcans through alleys like giant, wide mouthed mice?  This wasn’t in the fold out schematic, Dakota Moss thinks, furiously peddling, waiting.  Waiting.  As one of Franz’s magazines, Fantastic Invention, explained:

…the colors drained from your face reappear elseware, perhaps in leaves suddenly turned crimson.  Conversely, your blushes drain color from another source; the same leaves turn gray or a fire hydrant loses its lustrous red. SpectraCycle allows you to witness the world’s harmonious transmission of color

mr.molecule     GRAY

I took more from this world than I gave, which is natural, really, since the world replenishes itself in ways I can not, will never. Rain slapped Franz’s window, drops the size of fingerprints.  So this was it, palms pressed to glass, finality.  Something shook in his bones and ceased.  The ‘ol ticker, moaning.  Poets and pop music had not prepared him, their vast themes and webworks of meaning completely neglected the image reoccurring in his mind for the past two weeks:  a handful of multicolored strings released beneath water.  Franz spoke these last words to the palms waiting at his window, “

23skidoo     BURNT UMBER

DIANA ROSS RHYMES WITH DAKOTA MOSS

kevinkevinkevinkevin     BROWN

I’m writing this on toilet paper in a cheap hotel while channel surfing when I see a go-getter with sleeves rolled above the elbows I think just wear a short sleeved shirt OK you wanna dress to impress display beatific calm like these beautiful nuns on channel 67 doctors tell me its graphomania compulsive urges to write and I do it everywhere my shower curtains kitchen cabinets plates 3,045 ninety-nine cent drugstore notebooks covered in text the pizza guy arrives and I eat and scribble on the box and lick my words covered in dark grease and stare out the window at factory smokestacks and daydream and write on the sheets so I will eventually sleep in my words but my dreams are silent so quiet and there are is no writing just pictures brown plateaus splashed with green and instead of writing in my dreams I name colors and the brown with green is always dakota moss and I picture the color alive and human outside of the night dakota moss driving a car going grocery shopping reading other peoples writing and one day I searched for her online and found this message board and knew you all had my dream that you saw brown plateaus splashed with green and that everybody

albatross0     PINK

Everybody thought she was crazy, a starry eyed wild child with stories of cranberry hand grenades, neon stallions, silent films projected on pink blimps.  Something strange happened to her out West, but what else would you expect from L.A.?  They surf on Christmas.

shoegazer     YELLOW

“As Franz passed over, SpectraCycle discovered life.”

Miss Bliss tells me this while quick-drying her nails in a Modified Toaster.  I’ve come to Traveling Flea Market to find and interview Dakota Moss.  Meanwhile, Miss Bliss has been trying to sell me the snack food equivalent of picture-in-picture TV: potato chips with multiple images resembling other potato chips with the single image of a famous person.  I scribble ‘oven baked People magazine’ in my notepad.  Miss Bliss points to a faded photo of two families gathered around an old Philco radio.

“Gandhi, Babe Ruth and Orville Wright passed over in 1948, same year the Polaroid instant camera was invented.  We lost icons of peace, baseball and airplanes- but gained the ability to become icons ourselves.”

Miss Bliss radiates a vaguely modern yet hippie-ish vibe, like sitars played in a Lexus.       Some kids are trying to send Shark Boy back into water at Modified Dunking Booth.

“Dakota Moss became fluent in languages of hue, texture, depth.  More than shifting colors, she witnessed the world’s harmonious transmission of image.”

Miss Bliss adjusts Modified Toaster, begins quick-tanning her arms.

“There’s a story behind every color,” she says, pointing to a glossy, vinyl hazmat suit rolling end over end down a yellow strip.  “Dakota Moss just…listens.”

I must take my hat off to this writer as he wrote this wonderfully fun piece that was inspired by many of my paintings in the show.

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~ by David Heatwole on January 26, 2006.

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