I am honored that poets and writers have made work inspired by my paintings and drawings. 

Angelica Lebre

Tree Trunk, 2020


The works below came together as part of “heartbeats.exe.” curated by Elae [Lynne DeSilva-Johnson] at Peninsula Art Space in September 2019. 

Violent Ode to Georgia Elrod’s Skeleton Prom Queen

shake that gauzy bag of bones

lemme see them thai ice tea thighs

crash along femur shore, that lemon rind

electric denim thick in the sponge of your gristle

you antique rose, unreachable beyond castle gates

so round and sweet and plump

I wanna slide a cold needle

between your nail and its flesh

just for the thorn of it, a sword of black

and grey to keep you still where I can see you.

ah, there you are.

now you can be full flower

you can peacock your petals

and shed them all at once

now the jellybean of you has a stalk

a spire to hold the cloud of your vertebrae

the best promise a man can make

to hold you up.

Ashna Ali 


Pain, it knows

how to network

better than you

do. It knows, too,

how to buy

an island,

its aqueducts

of pink shell flesh


every fault line.

When was

The last time

you ate from

your own apparatus?

Have you ever

seen the bone

I mean really

taken the bone


with the eyes?

I spoke

with a friend

about the blackest

blanket of blood

that rises up

more like a current

than like a garden snake.

She has parted

the guardrails

and she will do it


She is strong

like a keyboard

and powered

by a diamond chip.

“New York

is sharp

and I am sand,”

she says,


A persistent pain

in the fingers.



I did become


I did feel

the brain

send its charge

through the hands

and I did

feel the rug

send up its lightning

like some ugly

vulgar vitalism.

I had eaten those


and the spiders

rode the wind

as they always do.

In the park

I held my

own hand

and I died.

In the park

I held your hand

and I did not die.


Every few months

I dream a tsunami

on a beach

I knew by heart

in the last life.

Boardwalk high

on stilts

like a trapeze


The sand

cranes its thick neck

steeply up

to meet the town.

When the wave


in the distance,

there is time

to scramble

up the slope,

even with the sand

turning to cement

as it always does.

The wave crests

as it always does

at the boardwalk’s

sturdy edge,

laps at our desperate

dangling legs like a dog.

We are caught


We are killed



There are two kinds

of people:

those who make

burial rituals

to address the

human disgust

toward the notion

of being eaten.

And those

who think of fungus

as the one

and only funeral.


There are the poems

about being on drugs

and the poems

that act regular.

You might say

this poem has

no chill.

But it did

look down

and see its architecture

making room

for a fugue of worms.

It did look up

And see its own

its very own

two knees

inviting the sun

to make a burrow

where it lay.

And it did

look inside the spine

and say god damn it

child won’t you

put on something


don’t you see

the big wave

here it comes

Liz Bowen


It’s Never What You Imagine

Sometimes I want to trap

the light in

          your chest, devour

          my bones first and lick

them dry

          before I get to you.

I want you to want

this, to study

          light falling

on me, inside me

and not know if

          you want to hurt

me or love me

tenderly like cars

          driving down highways,

          oceans from far

away—birds or wind—

could be anyone, could

          be a spirit past—

could be trouble, could be

salvation—the one

you want, been waiting


          like waiting for who

          you are, where you

were always supposed to be.


In another version, I am brave.

I am braver

          than any teacher

could tell me to be.

In another version, I never say

          those things I knew

could destroy you

          like unwriting

a creation story

as if it never existed

          —the very feeling I strove so long

so emulate like an eternal


in a straight line, dressed

        all in black

as if for a funeral

        for someone who never

deserved a love

         like the end of the world

in slow motion. In


          version, I don’t buy

that pack of cigarettes

from the gas station attendant

who carded me ten years too


          I tell you to stay, round

and around and around

in vibrating circles

          like the shape

of you sharp as a knife,

ones like the X-Acto

          knife, other

                    found objects

I used to use; it was easy to hide

as an artist

           or someone who said

they were an artist.

When I tell you

           how I used to find

anything sharp so I could

                     cut into myself

looking for a sign

          of rain like I’m not

forgetting the obvious,

         as if it’s not

me who needed the saving

          once, as if it’s not me

who wanted that overwhelming

          feeling of something else

besides myself.

In another version, I am braver

          and I tell you how it felt,

what it looked like, how I curled

          up in the middle of

the carpet like a lost deer

          at night like a dreamer

          forgot how to breathe

and in another version,

you aren’t sitting next to

me eating ice cream,

          marveling at the lack

of stars and maybe they don’t

          exist anymore

because we don’t deserve them

          —and in another version,

          I am better.

Joanna C Valente