necessary whispers

observe. connect. make new.


Justine Otto



She collected recollections

From the past

As though they were

Trinkets from a shop

Where antiques—

Roughly used and rusting—

Lay waiting,

Lay trusting

Their time would come again.


Again yesterday came

But with a different name


So she sat with her


Stoic and measured

With a grip not to lose

For if she loosened her hold

They may drip away.


Away from the darkness

Of her previous losses

She looked toward the light

Lost her sight

At the brilliance it held

Shuttered with fear

Melted with doubt

Stifled her silent shout

With a thought.


The thought

A question

Singed with intention


Like the barrel of a gun

Prompting her

To run

Instead of stay—

But she stayed.


Stayed in the place

Where she planted the seeds

Grass to grow

To overthrow

The things it seemed

She could not let go

Like a patient

Patiently awaiting



Death that rides

On the back of loss

That stabs at the fear

Of drawing near

“Don’t move from here”

She whispered out loud

And hoped the desire to move

Would evaporate

Like a cloud.


Clouds of then

Filled the present

A fog in this room

Invaded by the presence

Of shadows—

Not men—

Only places

They may have been

Had they stayed.


Staying threatened her breath

As the air turned white

The longing for safety


By this encroaching night

The fear of losing

Being lost from her sight

As a struggle to gain

Awoke to the fight.


Fighting for air

She stood to her feet

Considered her options:

Victory / Defeat—

Destruction seemed easy

To fail is so clean

Triumph unknown

Invites mystery:

Shrapnel of

The unforeseen.


Unforeseen was the way

Mighty was the day

When the roots that held

Were cut away

When her voice


Found the breath to say,


is where my future—




copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Photo Credit: This beautiful piece is by German artist Justine Otto.  Titled: Fourth Corner, 130 x 180 cm, oil on linen, 2013.  To view more of Justine’s work, please visit her website and Facebook page: Justine’s Website , Justine’s Facebook Page .



I Will Tell You What to See



I will tell you what to see—

Everything but me—

A variety:

First, the shape my lips take

When I smile

Then, only aspects of my style—

The ones that deceive the senses

Lower your defenses

Make you wonder

Confidence thrown asunder

A breeze

Whizzing by your certainty

A tornado—

Or a reverie—

Where the facts

Are art-i-facts

Designed to twist

To burrow in your mind

Then to grow

Into trees of truth

Where flowers of falsified youth

And branches that carry the load

Explode into blossoms and




Time evaporates into years

My collection has piled

Your recollection defiled



Into unknown

Unsuspected, unsuspecting

Wisdom flown

From your mind

And into my hands

Like clay

Shaped, reshaped

The size of the holes

On either side of your nose

Where what you see

Is only dreams—

The ones I dare to


Deflected from the truth

Reflected onto the marquee

Like a refugee memory

No longer sure

Which way

Is home.



I will choose the color,

You will trust my hand

Not because your will is irrelevant

Only because

You cannot understand—


You trust

The choices

I make

Wait for the plans

The paths

That I take

Like a child—

Hope outstretched

Faith recklessly displaced—

Still you smile

And wait to see

What you will be-come

When the operation in done

Your vision restored

To my point of view

The illusion of Truth

Wrapped inside

Like a film reel


My cinematic lies.



The seed is sown

The deed is done

Now water it with your tears

Blink until you make it your own

Follow my finger

First up and then


First left and then


“Don’t fight

let it be

trust me

I know the plans

I have for you:

to kill the boredom

to steal the dream

to destroy the blinding vision

to replace it with soothing

fabrication and


for today.

Today is all that matters.

One more spin

Your view will be new—

you will thank me

when I am through.”



“I can see”

said she who trusted.

“Thanks for your selection.

How can I repay your

close attention,

touch easing apprehension,

voice soothing

the searing dissonance of


She wiped a tear

From the corner

Of her newly installed




She who answered

Leaned in



Bestowed the wages

To be collected on

Another day,

“Only three things I pray:

go further than you intended to go

stay longer than you intended to stay

pay more than you were willing to pay.”



I will tell you what to see—

Everything but me—

I will whisper in the breeze

Rolling from the sea,

Caress your lips

From a hot cup of tea,

Sing in your ear

On the notes of a melody,

Just as long

As you agree


To set me free.


-copyright Jill Szoo Wilson


Photo Credit: this poem was inspired by German painter Justine Otto‘s piece, New Shine. 120 x 100 cm, oil on canvas, 2015.  Please explore this amazing artist’s work at her website or on her Facebook page: Justine’s Website , Justine’s Facebook.

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