Art Conversation Gallery: Volume 30


by Jiliann Wierenga

Can I Pet Your Dog?

by Justin Woomer

Part 1:
Can I pet your dog?
Is a question my dad is never asked.
Cause he carries his life around in a black trash bag.
I’m a black lab
with no collar or no leash
A piece of rope
Works good enough for me.

My dad holds a sign that reads
In need of food, please my dog is hungry too.
His moldy sign goes unread,
Ignored by the masses so he stays unfed.
But I never go hungry,
He feeds me even though he has no money.

He was in a war he said we didn’t win
He screams at night for all his fallen friends.
My dad isn’t clean and
Kind of likes to drink.
He is good to me
And it shows
when he
Scratches my nose
Or, pats my head
And calls me a
Good boy
Before we go to bed.
He’s my best friend.

There is nowhere better for me to sleep than
Laying with my dad on the cold concrete.
Can I pet your dog?
Is a question never asked
To a dirty dog
with a homeless dad.

Part 2:
Can I pet your dog?
Is a question I’m never asked,
I’m just The crazy guy
Eating from the trash
With my bed
and my life rolled up tight
In a bag,
Loyalty by my side,
He’s a small black lab.

I spend the day holding up a sign
Loyalty laying by my side
In the fall sunshine
When people walk past,
His tail begins to wag.
In the hopes he might just get a scratch.
He is ignored, so he comes to me.

Laying his grey and black head at my feet.
I scratch his nose, as he looks up at me.
Yellow eyes
Holding on to mine.
He sighs in content.
My floppy faced savior
Is my best friend

Are his favorite food,
When I have money,
I always buy him two.
On the nights when we have no cash
I find him cheeseburgers from the trash.
Even if I go hungry,
There is always something for
My little buddy

Loyalty isn’t welcome
At the homeless shelters,
So, I won’t go,
Loyalty the Labrador is my soul,
Holding my heart
He is my home.

Can I pet your dog?
A question we don’t need,
A man and his dog
Living on the streets.

Angie’s Room

by Mui Easland


someday i shall be fired clay

by Lili Pearce

take me back to the first day
of my intro to ceramics class
where i lacked the knowledge
philosophy and theory
of being kindled.

when i first held raw clay-
it was a sphere of sorts
(now that i think about it,
“held “ is a strong word choice
it merely existed in the proximity of my grasp.)

i let it rest in my palm
angling, tilting my hand in such a way
that the godless orb
took on the curvature of my palm.

as i noticed the form taking
i gently lifted the fleshy existence
with my pinky and thumb–

yet despite my attempt at delicacy
i pinched its sides,
defacing the orb which lacked.

it was in this moment i realized the power i had on the contents of the earth.
how i could leave impressions on one.
and how i, myself, am impressed.

this humble realization of how i am
the clay that i hold-
and how
this clay is i-
astounds me.
i begin to examine
the fingerprints which compose me.
everyone, those faint and those which stabbed into my core
created me.
i lacked identity,
of my own.
so i took my helpless, pleading hands
and thrust them into my chest
digging into myself like
my fingernails hollow out the clay

i reach for something greater than myself
there is a void i’m trying to fill. though, i know
through a process of discovery, molding,
and fire:

i shall be kindled.
i will be kindled,

ready to be held,
but not molded.




by William Boechler

Strawberry Letter 22

by Jay Hernandez

Treetop bombings that flood the ground.
Strawberry letters kissed with mint Chapstick prints.
Flavor-laced disco.
I fantasize about chocolate tangerines,
a purple shower haze.
I do manifest truth and love
and had dreamt future affirmations glazed my hair:
Your strands shone like a coconut white,
golden in mine eye and heart,
snow-beige in the sun.

Kisses that score 22 from ten,
I awake after blinking away the residue of your lips.
Yellow candy fingers glisten in the wind,
ink smudges from a cobalt pen.
How is it autumn? How fast springtime fled!
I bought seven presents for you on the fifteenth of the month
and will see you the nineteenth.

Agony ciders in the afternoon.
Postpartum cries from my poem’s bloom.
When will I write again when Icarus flew?
Purchase a crimson blouse that blares your body’s sounds
and I’ll consume off of you the music harmonized by your anxious bones.
No more will there be apologies made too late at night.
Alone, though, in the dark
my lonely splinter is a lovely sight,
a reminder
of when I was outside with you.
I cry for your cherry clouds

to bump my chin
and paint my blemishes
into a skyline gradient.

Fifty green acres of my envious mood
as the bare floor you travel barefooted upon
is now my skin alive in nudity and wake.
I fantasize about blue shoe tongues and pink conversations
in the daytime when you’re away.
Oh, if only you’d stay.
This pain is not from you, nor for.
I’d die without the agony in the afternoon and the wait for the freedom babe
who’s to blaze the fall time gray with mandarin-slice clouds
and purple sundress fabric
at 7 P.M.


by Ryan Valhuerdi