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Heart Series
Poetry/Pathology 2018

Each print 14.5" x 10.5'

The Poetry/Pathology series was born in the waiting room of the hospital after my mother’s aortic valve replacement surgery. The miraculous three-hour procedure enabled my mother to return to her active life of five years prior. 


I love the terse form of poetry and how it can express oceans of feeling with few words. I searched the archives for poems and dialogue which concern the heart. At my mother’s final check-up with her doctor, I read him the poems, asking him to identify a pathology for each one. 


I used the poems as an entry into the images and the pathology as a rough determination of each image should appear.

A Heavy Heart Bears Not
A Nimble Tongue

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

5 Heavy Heart_Hypertrophic Myopathy_edit

I Am Sick At Heart

Infective Endocarditis


My Heart That Used to Pump Along So Pleasantly

Atrial Fibrillation


A heavy heart bears not a nimble tongue.

“Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare

Francisco“For this relief much thanks. 'Tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart.”

From Hamlet , by William Shakespeare

Heart Poem by Mary Oliver

My heart, that used to pump along so pleasantly, 
has come now to a different sort of music.


There is someone inside those red walls, irritated and even, occasionally, irrational.


Years ago I was part of an orchestra; our conductor was a wild man. He was forever rapping the music-stand for silence. Then he would call out some correction and we would begin again.


Now again it is the wild man.


I remember the music shattering, and our desperate attentiveness.


Once he flung the baton over our heads and into 
the midst of the players. It flew over the violins 
and landed next to a bass fiddle. It flopped to the 
floor. What silence! Then someone picked it up 
and it was passed forward back to him. He rapped the stand and raised his arms. Then we all breathed again, and the music restarted.

6 My Heart is Bleeding_pericarditis_edit

My Heart Is Bleeding 


Bleeding Heart 
by Carmen Giménez Smith

My heart is bleeding. It bleeds upward and fills

my mouth up with salt. It bleeds because of a city in ruins,

the chair still warm from sister's body,

because it will all be irreproducible. My heart

bleeds because of baby bear not finding mama bear and it bleeds

to the tips of my fingers like I painted my nails Crimson.

Sometimes my heart bleeds so much I am a raisin.

It bleeds until I am a quivering ragged clot, bleeds at the ending

with the heroine and her sunken cancer eyes, at the ending

with the plaintive flute over smoke-choked killing fields. I'm bleeding

a river of blood right now and it's wearing a culvert in me for the blood. My heart

rises up in me, becomes the cork of me and I choke on it. I am bleeding

for you and for me and for the tiny babies and the IED-blown

leg. It bleeds because I'm made that way, all filled up with blood,

my sloppy heart a sponge filled with blood to squeeze onto 

any circumstance. Because it is mine, it will always bleed.

My heart bled today. It bled onto the streets

and the steps of city hall. It bled in the pizza parlor with the useless jukebox.

I've got so much blood to give inside and outside of any milieu.

Even for a bad zoning decision, I'll bleed so much you'll be bleeding,

all of us bleeding in and out like it's breathing,

or kissing, and because it is righteous and terrible and red.

I Have A Heart Broken and Destitute

Takatsubo Cardiomyopathy

A Poor Torn Heart - A Tattered Heart

Cardiac Rupture

1. Broken Heart_Takatsubo_edited.jpg
7 Torn and tattered_Cardiac Rupture_edit

I have a heart

by Sayeed Abubakar

I have a heart
broken and destitute; 

I fear to show her.

She may turn away her face
if she ever sees it. 

A poor—torn heart—a tattered heart

by Emily Dickinson

A poor—torn heart—a tattered heart—
That sat it down to rest—
Nor noticed that the Ebbing Day
Flowed silver to the West—
Nor noticed Night did soft descend—
Nor Constellation burn—
Intent upon the vision
Of latitudes unknown.

The angels—happening that way
This dusty heart espied—
Tenderly took it up from toil
And carried it to God—
There—sandals for the Barefoot—
There—gathered from the gales—
Do the blue havens by the hand
Lead the wandering Sails. 

Heart Valve

Aortic Stenosis

Heart Valve by Elizabeth Arnold 

They told me there’d be pain


so when I felt it, 

sitting at my beat-up farm desk


that looks out glass doors 


onto the browning garden—plain sparrows 

bathing in the cube-shaped fountain


so violently they drain it, 


the white-throats with their 

wobbly two-note song 


on the long way south still, 


and our dogs 

out like lights and almost 


falling off their chairs


freed of the real-time for awhile

as time began for me


to swell, slow down, carry me out 


of all this almost 

to a where


about as strong a lure as love.

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