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THE ANNUAL ART-POETRY COLLABORATION was on exhibit last month at South Seattle Community College. For me and other artists and poets it is also the imagination challenge. My interpretation of Lily Men-Sin’s poem “Hallucination” is above; a mixed media piece using photography, newspaper, and acrylic on gessoed chip board. The excitement for me, at least, is creating art that I would not have thought to create. I’m guessing the same is true for the poet’s as well. I hope that this tradition continues far into the future; it is an immensely enriching experience.


A crash
Disturbs my presence
I look over
At a site that shocks me
A conflagration
Across the Seattle skyline
The sight of my town
Being annihilated into bits and pieces
A great hullabaloo catches my attention
Helicopters flying in circles
But not helping put out my city
I have never felt so malevolent
I had a plan
The fractious side of me has taken over
I wanted the helicopter to go down
Down and burn along with my city
As I scamper over to a shop to take a weapon
Someone bumps me
Back into reality
The crash I have heard,
Were just kids skateboarding nearby
I look over at my city
And enjoyed the sweet simplicity of life
                                  —Lily Men-Sin


A pastel painting of an old abandoned Dodge truck was my submission to the poet. Lily wrote a poignant poem of remembrance. The painting was inspired by a photo I snapped an of old truck at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near of Phoenix, Arizona several years ago.


This Old Dodge
My grandfather’s truck was precious
He would take me out on school nights
For a smooth ride downtown
On summer days we’d go out to a drive-in movie
Laying on top of the hood
After my grandmother died
We took turns crying on each other’s shoulder
Today, I have no one to cry with
I have yet to shed a tear
Trying to stay strong for my own sake
Walking into my grandfather’s house
Has never been so hard
I take a step outside for a breather
I walk around and spot an unfamiliar rocky trail
I walk
And walk
Until the trail ends
A rusty old blue dodge
Parked ever so carelessly
Buried inside uncut grass
Memories overflow my brain
My legs automatically walk slowly towards the car
The loud screeching noise as I open the door
Chase crows our of the trees that surrounds me
My body perfectly matches the indented seat
That he eventually made for being in this car so many times
I open the glove box
Tears deluge my eyes
Inside is a candid picture my mother took
Of me and my grandfather laughing hysterically
Sitting on top of his precious old dodge
On the back of the picture was a note he wrote
“I love her more than this car.
The older it gets, the rustier it is.
While older she gets, the more beautiful and strong she is.”
I cry
And cry
Lily Men-Sin