Naming the Paintings

Tuesday was our 36th wedding anniversary. Don’t worry; I won’t bore you with schmaltz. I will say that after Julie’s eight-year illness, each morning she gets up is a gift.

45 was at his worst this past week, which means he was the same as every other week. Something on that at a later time.

Right now we’re in the midst of the delight of the final (Well, they are never final.) touches in our new home. That means deciding where to hang the artworks.

You know that painting with the dogs playing poker? I love it. As we hung the work of so many marvelous artists, I kept thinking how 45 would call them losers, mutter that ubiquitous “A child could paint that,” award a second medal to Tiger Woods, and hang the poker-playing mutts throughout the White House.

Here’s a “Museum of Imagined Art.” Let each title bring the painting into the gallery of your imagination.

Naming the Paintings

1. Snow in Early April

2. Kind David’s Lust

3. The Dog Sleeps at His Master’s Side

4. Young Girl with Ball

5. Dinner Conversation

6. The Yellow Chair

7. Middle-Aged Couple with Car

8. Self-Portrait without Shape

9. Nude Lovers on Dump

10. Still Life: Fruit and Whip

11. Sunrise over Larry’s

–Jack Ridl

First published in Free Lunch
Subsequently published in The Same Ghost (Dawn Valley Press)

I received Taking in the Seasons by Jeanie Mortensen, a beautiful collection about which Philip Sterling writes, “In the square dance of poetry, Mortensen is a world-class caller.”

If you enjoy the annual Reading at The Red Dock, this year’s will take place on August 13 at 6pm. This year I’ll be joined by D.L. James and Mark Hiskes. Come early for music, food and drink, and a good time on the high water harbor!

On August 20 at 7pm, I’ll be reading with Greg Rappleye at The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague. Talk about a place where the atmosphere alone is a joy, let alone the food and beverages!

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.


16 thoughts on “Naming the Paintings

  1. I am imagining after walking through this gallery, in my mind, and viewing all these fine works of art The Louvre would be envious of your mind blowing masterpieces!


    • I just got up from falling on the floor laughing. How did you know
      that the Louvre has been after me for years to give them these works!!!??!!

  2. My Grandma TenBrink had four poker-playing-pooch paintings in her basement. They always seemed so scandalous as my grandparents didn’t smoke, drink, or gamble. As grandkids we spent a lot of time imagining they harkened to some part of our grandparents lives we weren’t privy to. Truth is, she probably earned them with her S&H green stamps, frugal woman that she was. Happy Anniversary Jack & Julie!

    • Oh do I love love love this. It’s an entire personal history. And don’t ya love
      wondering yourself what this cultural juxtaposition is all about. I also love
      your using the word “harkened” It also says something about them. AND!!! S & H~~~!
      I would help my gramma stick ’em in those little books. Thank you so much for
      sending this story that has me smiling as I type this.

    • I am laughing and will keep laughing at your photo. YOU named it~~~!

      Glad to know it was fun for you to take those titles and imagine the paintings
      and also see the parody within the whole list.

      thank you for asking after Julie. She’s doing okay. Now we hope the protocol works.

  3. You’ll plotz when you hear my persona poem . . . Just going on record that I’ve written the poem before reading this blogpost. 😏

    Sent from my iPhone


      • We think of you each time we cook & eat one ! This is such a fun memory you shared with us. We badly miss you but we do remember so many conversations we had about little things that make our lives what they are…

      • Same here. And we get all wistfully goofy as we watch
        those wonders, your daughters, become and become and become

  4. Dear Jack,
    Being a true blue Teuton my imagining pictures is like a broomstick at tango, I’m afraid. Interesting for me was your 36th wedding anniversary – congratulations from across the pond – because my wife and me had ours in March. A long time it seems but since it is composed of so many times it seems more like a texture.
    I’m sorry, I did not know about your wife’s illness. Please extend my greetings to her. From time to time I pray. I will include her and the two of you.

    • Dear Reinhard,
      You are what my friend poet Naomi Shihab Nye refers to as “An instant friend.”
      Thank you for celebrating with us. Your word “texture” is stunningly revealing, accurate.
      And so much better than “It seems like only yesterday.” Of course it seems like yesterday: love
      is not made of time.
      And thank you for extending greetings and prayer for both Julie and the two of us. I, too, from
      time to time pray, more to be “in prayer” than the usual reasons.
      As for that paintings piece. I can see my mentor crumpling it up and tossing it into the closest
      wastebasket. “That’s not poetry.” I don’t mind agreeing with him. But oh it was fun.
      With deep gratitude for you,

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