Kelly DeMaegd’s “There Was No Craft Beer In The Land Of Sky Blue Waters” after Matt Everly

Art of Poetry’s Kelly DeMaegd and Betty O’Hearn have been forces to reckon with in poetry for many years in Hickory and the Catawba Valley.  They have been active in Poetry Hickory, various writing groups, sponsored poetry workshops, and cheered on many aspiring and accomplished poets.

Alas, both have decided to leave our area at the same time – one for the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, one for a Great Lake to which Kelly alludes in her featured work below. Western North Carolina is situated in between. We greatly hope these beautiful poets will come back to visit often for they leave a gaping hole in our poetry world.

Godspeed, ladies! All the best wished for you in your new locations!

imageKelly DeMaegd photographed reading her poem at the Art of Poetry event on September 16, 2017 at Hickory Museum of Art.

After “Beer Type Logos” by Matt Everley

we drank Stroh’s
from long neck bottles
housed in corrugated cardboard boxes
always threw a case in Paul Klimek’s van
anytime we hit the road

Dad drank Pabst
Grandpa drank Schlitz, sometimes Hamm’s
after his shift at the cement plant
stopped at the Dry Dock
pulled out a stool
ordered a Boilermaker
shot of whiskey and a beer
the one and one
sometimes called Block and Fall
drink two, walk a block and fall

the guy sitting next to him
talked about hauling a load of deer apples
putting a new roof on the cottage
when Grandpa was finished
he’d rise, declare, that hit the spot
wipe his mouth with his sleeve

robust, smoky, rustic, herbal, velvety –
adjectives he never used
he wouldn’t be caught dead
describing beer with those words


Betty O’Hearn reads a poem beside a photograph of sea spray. How appropriate!

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Brenda Smith’s “Weavers Call It Fugitive Dye” after Brian Lackey

imageBrenda Smith photographed discussing her poem inspired by Brian Lackey. Art of Poetry gathered September 16, 2017 at Hickory Museum of Art.

Brenda Smith
After “Past Lives” by Brian Lackeya

Particular sources of color, fugitive dyes
plants that stain
but do not stick around
unreliable, possessing no permanence
running from washing water
or dissolving into the light
gone, gone

The brilliant burgundy red of the beet
abhors light and hides
still there, but only an echo of its true self
a fugitive from the laws of pigment, it runs
runs from the surface of the fabric
fades into the illuminating light
becomes one with it
only the suitcase left behind

A fugitive, fading
running from its intended purpose
grasping true to the laws of nature
a prisoner escaping to freedom
through a light-filled window
leaving behind only a fading stain
a remembrance of its essence
the root, the berry, the blossom

Not even stains, these dyes
Memories, still fleeing


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Doug McHargue’s “Not Your Average Tree” after Joel Sartore

imageDoug McHargue is photographed at Hickory Museum of Art reading a poem inspired by the Joel Sartore piece at Art of Poetry on September 16, 2017.

Doug McHargue
After “Lion in Tree” by Joel Sartore

My aunt’s peacocks
would come to our house,
fly to our strangest trees,
gangly misshapen cedars,
and shriek ungodly cries
through dark
Flannery O’Conner nights.

Morning’s heat, they tip toed
home under an X-ray sun,
exotic feathers drooping
like dulled sparrows defeated.

I did not know these same
summer nights there was a lion
who took to leaf rich trees,
more royal than our backyard
grotesques, just the spot
where he’d find calm
from always looking
over his shoulder,
could peer down at us,
How about a little scratch
behind the left ear

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Melissa Hager’s “Okapi Comes A Knockin'” after Joel Sartore

imageArt of Poetry’s Melissa Hager sings her poem to the folks gathered September 16, 2017 at Hickory Museum of Art.

Melissa Hager
After “Okapi” by Joel Sartore

Okapi comes a Knockin’
Beatin’ at the door
1, 2, 3, 4
Not a hoof more

Okapi comes a Knockin’
With a long black tongue
Slurp, slurp, slurp
‘Cause lickin’ you is fun!

Okapi comes a Knockin’
On his head, two bones
Like a giraffe
They’re called ossicones

Okapi comes a Knockin’
With a bottom black and white
Slash, slash, slash
He’s stylin’ in his stripes

Okapi comes a Knockin’
Zebra meets giraffe
Try to imagine that
Don’t it make you want to laugh?

Okapi comes a Knockin’
Beatin’ at the door
1, 2, 3, 4
There isn’t anymore.

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Beth King’s “Misfit” after Paul Whitener

imageBeth King is photographed reading her poem inspired by Paul Whitener at Art of Poetry. The group gathered September 16, 2017 at Hickory Museum of Art.

Beth King
After “Outback” by Paul Whitener

Misfit – – Outback – – Outhouse
Enclosed in Grayed Ramshackle Beauty
Nearly Disconnected; but- Still Connected
Connected Still to the Words Inside Silences.

Misfit- – Outback – – Outhouse
Paused Amongst All Symbols
Sacred; Esteemed; Mystical
Intrinsic in All Universal Laws.

Misfit – – Outback – – Outhouse
Enclosed in Grayed Ramshackle Thoughts
The Imaginings Who Gave It Immortality
When Nothing Remains, but, Dirt’s Dust.

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Beverly Finney’s “Amends” after Joel Sartore

imageBeverly Finney shares her poem inspired by Joel Sartore’s amazing photography at Art of Poetry on September 16, 2017 at Hickory Museum of Art.

Beverly Finney
After “Overpass for Wildlife Near Banff, Canada” by Joel Sartore

The bridge across the trans-continental
highway in the middle of wild country
is not for the convenience of humans.
It is a narrow lane of safety for the wild
things who do not understand this ribbon
of asphalt through their native lands.
It is a token of concession that the powerful
have intruded, disrupted what was once unfettered.
It’s an appeasement for sins of desire and fracture.
Once again, we who have power take what
we want, think of it as our right, grinding
the conquered under the heel of our boot.
Now, this pale blue dot, wounded, pillaged,
scarred and poisoned for convenience, profit,
and power, for the taking as if there is always more.
How will we make amends for this carnage?
Will it be too late when we realize we must,
and hindsight, then, is all we have left?

Note: “Pale blue dot” is scientist Carl Sagan’s
description of our small living planet hanging out
precariously in the vast expanse of the universe.

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Betty O’Hearn’s “Ninkasi’s Brew” after Matt Everley

imageArt of Poetry’s Betty O’Hearn kicked off the museum tour with her poem inspired by Matt Everley’s beer logo on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at Hickory Museum of Art.

BettyGrace O’Hearn
After “Beer Type Logos” by Matt Everley

Many people enjoy this sudsy beverage.
The earth’s most widely consumed libation of
alcoholic content goes way back to as early as
Fifth millennium BCE.

The Great Pyramids were built by slaves who
were given four to five liters of beer daily,
crucial to the construction to provide
nourishment and liquid in tortuous heat.

The Goddess of Beer, Ninkasi put the
recipe for Samarian beer on a tablet in
1800 BCE. A goddess born to sparkling fresh
water, her favorite drink was beer.

Through centuries, cultures developed
their own recipes with various alcohol
content along with addictive herbs. No wonder
people loved beer!

Huge profits were made on the high seas
from ships from around the world bringing
different brews. Pirate’s monitored shipments
and took over beer cargos.

Orchid Island, FL was the sight of a hurricane
landing in 1715. Ship manifests noted it
was a huge cargo of beer from the colonies
to Spain.

Looking at this sign makes your tongue curl
for a cold one as you sit on the pier on a
hot summer day. Don’t forget to thank

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Kelly DeMaegd’s “Back To Life” after Brian Lackey


Art of Poetry’s Kelly DeMaegd reads her poem inspired by a Brian Lackey collage at the June 17, 2017 event at Hickory Museum of Art.  The next tour through the museum is September 16 beginning at 2 pm in the front lobby. We will expore the Joel Sartore Retrospective as well as many other exhibits through spoken word. Join us!

Kelly DeMaegd
After “Past Lives” by Brian Lackey

Collage makes poetry with the prosaic fragments of dailiness.
-Donald B. Kuspit

you may think this is rubbish
an old receipt, ticket stub,
blurred photograph,
corrugated cardboard,
scrap of Masa paper,
the word
“mortal” ripped
from a dictionary

yet artists like
Picasso, Braque,
Johns, Krasner
used scraps like this
clipped and ripped,
assembled and glued

not from loss of innovation,
not from deteriorating skill,
not from a hand too unsteady
to paint a fine line

no, they took
a past life
and with subtle care
a new kind of reality

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Brenda Smith’s “Every Seventh Word” after Brian Lackey

The next Art of Poetry tour through Hickory Museum of Art will be September 16, 2017 beginning at 2 pm. All exhibits are up except ENDANGERD: Joel Sartore Retrospective which will debut on the tour date in the Coe Gallery. A binder to peruse for inspiration is available at the 2nd Floor Reception Desk . Submissions for the September Art of Poetry are due September 2, 2017.

Art of Poetry is very excited for one of our contributors, Douglas McHargue, to be releasing her first book of poetry in November from Finishing Line Press. To pre-order “The Woman In Happy Dollar” go to this link:

imageArt of Poetry’s Betty O’Hearn is photographed sharing Brenda Smith’s poem inspired by Brian Lackey at the June 17, 2017 event at Hickory Museum of Art.

Brenda Smith
After “Past Lives” by Brian Lackey

Blessed, blameless, steadfast Lord
Seek nothing
Lie down obedient without shame
rabbits to spring from hands
and sugar-bowl lids as hats
Breasts and bees do adorn your being
Geometry in your cheeks
Holy collar covers
a necklace of blue bruises
and your hips swirl
into legless wonder.

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Doug McHargue’s “How Does It All Shake Out” after Brian Lackey

Doug McHargue

Doug McHargue shares her poem inspired by the Brian Lackey collage at Art of Poetry on June 17, 2017 at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Gin Hurley.

Doug McHargue
After “Past Lives” by Brian Lackey

I always heard the book of life
held everything you said and did,
and here it is, ruler included,
talk about precise.

Parts you’d rather forget
painted brown,
maybe they’ll flake off,
just swish them away
with this brush fine ladies
swept their cutwork cloths,
got rid of crumbs,
little sins loitering.

There are darker sins.
Use this knife quick,
before the ledger maestro
sees, cuts them out,
you know the kind,
when you stole blind
Willie’s money, or took
your sister’s man,
or the day you shot
an arrow straight
through a robin heart.

And what about those shelters
where you mopped all the floors
or the boy with no feet
you swirled around the prom
or those dying desert babies
you held all night long,
these are in orange
like every fine sun.


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