Graffiti HeART

Jane Art

Jane Art Graffiti

Today I found graffiti penciled
on the bathroom wall
it says
I love you.

I wanted to scold you
make you clean the wall
but I think I’ll keep it there
watch it fade
as you grow taller

When I was in school
I never found such loving words etched
on metal bathroom stalls
or carefully carved on table tops

secretly I wished it was my name
carved beside some boy’s
a displaced longing for love

I wished to give my valentine heart,
and macaroni coated Christmas cards
to my mother
they never made it to the fridge for display
with sticky tape or food encrusted magnets
they merely
scrubbed away from public viewing

When I became mom-age
I spray painted a heart over my heart
left room for your own scented marker designs
and chalk drawings

That’s when it happened
finger prints
sand shifted into tiny colorful hand pictures
floor littered with Kleenex smile-kiss-prints
and teardrop smudged watercolor rainbows

you grabbed my hand
pulled me back from an impressionist’s rendition of love art
little finger dots
cool aide splashes
mother and daughter timelessly giggling
Monet would call it
woman and child in color
the scene did not change
but you did
in I-Spy fashion you saw it!

I love you too.


Bottled Water


Words come alive
passing from moist lips to any ear who hears
a kiss of thoughts

I died in 1993
and rose again a moment after
water cold
cleansed words scoured inside
rose like rivers in spring
and flooded
anyone who asked for directions
like miniature prophets
who hand out bottled water
on Florida streets in July

July is the anniversary of my death…

a pastor
a prophet
a homeless man

they really were three men
who looked like one in motion
pulling over at the bus stations in an old Ford pickup truck

the thirsty drank
and some died… the way I died
and words came to life
like this poet’s.

Beyond My Neighbor’s Fence

When I see you across denominationsImage

I miss you

hide my face behind Grandma’s Methodist bible

and secretly wish

there was no fence.


When I see you, hair flying

dripping wet in river

sand and summer

I know you carry a bucket

to share


One with the label peeled off

no price tag

no brand

just happy sand, river water

and shovels


When I hear you

I hear rivers rolling

laughing, living

beyond bank barriers

and no trespassing signs

because you…


you are welcome

to this wall-less mountain temple

to splash water

mountain air

smile sand scrubbed faces

you are welcome

to live beyond temples

city buildings, conversions of holy things

and simply be…


His brother

His daughter

His beloved

and my friend.


The Record Warden

Word stained paper

smudged fingerprintsGOD Is 'LOVE' - 1 John 4 verses 7-8

generations old

hang upon heart walls like museum halls


Love songs written like graffiti in the margins

of an ancient scroll

mothers and fathers old

living patterns emerge

like wrinkles on an old map


How long

will I carry such a map?

There is no treasure at the X

there is a cross

where I stand pondering

two perfectly framed pages ripped from a book


one loss

one love


One Love


Word stained pages

blood smudges

as old as creation

tattooed words stamped upon a man encasing a heart

all hearts, if we allow the image


Love words, like kisses, written between the lines

on ancient scroll

where only a word appears

breathing and heaving, alive


I will tear out the page

trade my map, discreetly folded

wrinkled and forgotten

and then we will sing through the halls

while jiggling keys on the ring

Love keeps no record…

Love keeps no record of…

Love keeps no record of wrongs.









The Convergence

The Convergence

Hoarfrost clings to treesSnowy Woods
offering holy hand prints upon branches
evidence of waiting
morning snow-mist
cloaks my form in sunrise shadows

This world sleeps as we walk
upon prayer mountains who shake off
nightsleep like too heavy woolen blankets

Time falls suspended with each carefully constructed snowflake
a message in a bottle within a million tiny crystals

more than a message
an act

Each icy star lives but a moment
words breathe through icy coldspeech,
winds hum psalms,
while unseen angels twirl unaccompanied upon mountain landscapes
as a single snowflake
rests upon my mouth


The Week Before School

Morning quietly lengthens holding sleepy heads in her lapschool board
like three week old kittens

This, my favorite hour, because everyone is safe
and dreaming

Summer dreams retreat into early fall shadows kept crisp
like newly pressed wild flowers

Clocks tick without school bells
or rushing
Deep sighs

I want to remember sister disputes, games and new-to-them ideas
I want to hold the memory of big hugs, hand holds and tickles in my skin
and wear them like a new fall wardrobe

This will be my favorite summer
when we refused the amusement parks for
nights cuddled on the trampoline beneath a
magnified star filled sky

We each believed we saw more stars than anyone

when we dreamed and made up stories on
the big cheery red couch, or read books quietly beside one anotherBri and ti school
sprawled out on the floor

Coffee with the chickens and morning talks, my new favorite ritual, in nighties
and muck boots
legs crossed like princess farmers

My heart is ripe with love                                                                                                                                                                       my branches heavy with the fruit of our summer

Fall stirs, tossling the hem of my gown

the week before school.

Darcy Downing © 2013ImageSchool

Her Ireland

A song awakens the voice
An ancient voice
And somehow her air reaches me
Cool, mist and breathing
Living without land

Voices haunt me
I long to know you
how you loved him

In my spirit
I am certain evil slain you
Because you were so close to Love
Prayers whispered the night you died still linger in my soul
Though I never knew you
My blood does

You are great and grand to me
A mother to my soul

Songs come to me in night
Though I am woman
Scripture escapes my lips
As I preach through song
In the night
By the light of the drink
I weep for your sons

Never before have I yearned to know this past
Until tonight
Seven sons and a Methodist minister
With a strong Irish name
What kind of curse has visited your post
And did my own love of One
Break it?

©2009 Darcy Downing.  All Rights Reserved.

The Revision

The Revision

I opened the book
tucked between Suppression and Conclusion
It read like a novel
Even though it was a romance entitled How To

The pages contained pictures
Intricately drawn, some old, some new
The dichotomy of good and evil
Visible throughout its pages
It made me want to skip to the end

But I didn’t

Visible to the eye was a pop-up-perfect woman
Beyond the overflow of woods and swords and men
I wanted to touch her, speak with her… be her
But I couldn’t get in
Until I was furnished with a special pen,
a quill with red ink, old but never used
And without trying to sound cliché,
The ink smelled of roses

I noticed a change in the pages
The more I wrote
And I tried to invent the perfect word
A magic word that would give me power
And not acerbate the new life flowing through my
Paper skin

As I made room for my story, writing between the margins
I flipped to and fro from the story to the woman
I took great thought and consideration as I wrote
And somewhere between the pages of good and evil
I found myself
writing on a stone
The book still with me

I stood stepping
on moss and leaves, some old, some new
And gazed into a pond
An actual woman peered back through its waters
Glaring at me, angry and dark at the
trap I’d set with words
she became the underlying meaning
now buried in waters and myth

I stood tall
Taking my place as the pop-up-perfect woman
Beyond the overflow of woods and swords and men

©2008 Darcy Downing. All Rights Reserved.

The Drawing

Feathered lines penciled in on white hillsides she walks
snow falls like tears down the cheek of a woman
her wing, broken and mended too many times
drags in snow leaving behind
but broken lines

maybe an angel will come this time
lift her from cold and ice
hold her
say nothing

her heart is swollen with Winter
words can’t get in
if you look into her maybe she will weep this time
and spring will come

Between the Bookends

One more book filled the shelf

tired, old, worn

antiquity framed the pages

gilded like so many lover’s shields

and this on pages


Rhymes float from one to another

a dialogue of love and hate,

perhaps new

only phrased differently,


like the words we should not have spoken


Even the written word can sound loud


But always is the apology

in each book, novel, journal

of why we write

what everyone is thinking


Pictures portray themes

slices of reality shaded then faded

not accurate really

only, hopeful reality


Questions remain

answered or unanswered

still I return

looking for more

flipping through pages

of you


So many books of reason

lit dimly by my reading lamp

but titles become clear at daybreak

its own table of contents.