by Bob Sykora (art by Martha Wirkijowski)
The utopians are in love. They’ve sheared
off their feathers, started peeling away
the scaly, rotten layers we’ve been
bathing in. The utopians are in love.
They grind their bodies against the floor,
pray in new tongues, they sparkle
in their underwear as they wave gravely
at the sunsets in the basement. The utopians
are in love, constantly fucking, or never
ever fucking, they decipher the same ancient
phrases for their own purpose, polluting
the country with idealism, they craft a new
life from the words of crazed pastors
who keep getting run out of town.
The utopians are in love, and they can’t
get enough. They don’t tire of barking
across the city, gunking up the country’s
gears, dumping ideas for new ideas, always
changing, always thirty different colors
at once, never just fairies or star flowers
but so many different types of perfection.
The utopians are in love. Busy writing
and rewriting constitutions—they just love
writing constitutions. They’re men and women,
sometimes just a few, but always everyone,
eventually. The utopians are charged, positive,
the change is coming, the seas will turn to lemonade,
sweep you up, everyone will speak in blank verse,
and everyone, everyone will join.
Bob Sykora is the author of the chapbook I Was Talking About Love–You Are Talking About Geography (Nostrovia! 2016) and serves as a poetry reader for Split Lip Mag. A recent graduate of the UMass Boston MFA program, he can be found online at bobsykora.tumblr.com and @Bob_Sykora_.
(Artist) Martha Wirkijowski's extensive portfolio of oil paintings consist of luminous portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. Her work has been noted for its dramatic use of color light and shadow. Martha's artistic passion takes influence from her polish father and great-grandfather, along with her love for traveling. She was particularly enlightened by the mysterious atmospheres of Amsterdam and Providence, RI and seeks to translate these sensations into her paintings. In 2016, she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration. During her studies, she further explored the elusive medium of oil paint and continues to devote time in her studio every day.
Artist's Statement, "Fantasy", Oil on canvas, 12" x 16"
My oil paintings resonate from the influence of my conversations and dreams. My speech mannerisms, which I handle sensitively, are comparable to the ways in which I block in brush strokes in my paintings. The style of my work is mainly focused on simplified colors and shapes; so that I am able to visually communicate with every brush stroke.
Much like many of my recurring dreams, my paintings range from the foreboding to horrific. I create oil paintings that span from suburban landscapes to uncanny subjects such as ghosts and monsters. The tamer subjects look appealing, but become progressively macabre when further inspected; detailed with crooked geometric shapes and infesting shadows. My horror paintings are based off of the disturbing visuals I experienced in my dreams. As dreams are fragments of reality and imagination, the paintings are referenced from collage images and sketches which I then translate through my blocked-in brushwork.