External Stimuli

So much of my time is spent inside my head. Thoughts ricocheting in all directions—fears, goals, ideas, projects, timelines, and more rushing at me. I have multiple “To-Do” lists with many tasks that never get done (one list for work, one for life and family, and one for writing and art).

And because I am so scatterbrained, I often instruct myself to “slow down, look outward, pay attention, and observe.” In other words, to pause the internal conflict by seeking external stimuli.

And recently I was rewarded by discovering some visual and verbal creations in the course of my daily meanderings.

While walking to work one day, I saw artwork installed in the window of the former business Eureka Crafts on Walton Street in Armory Square. Numerous pieces were on display, but two large-scale, mixed-media objects caught my attention.

Enjoy Art 2 / Life (POJ) by not_miscellaneous.

The style reminded me of Andy Warhol silkscreen prints—most notably the Mick Jagger series.

Mick Jagger series by Andy Warhol.

The dynamic colors and composition of the works captivated me, but what kept me at the window for a few minutes was the intentional gaze of the subjects looking at the viewer—giving me the sense of the “observer being observed.” In this sense, the artwork connected to its audience.

Enjoy Art / Trades Only by not_miscellaneous.

I didn’t see an artist’s name or titles listed. But there was a QR code that read “WINDOW ART AUDIO TOUR,” with the word Midoma. I did some research and found a Midoma website with a heading that reads: “A Curated Selection by New York Artists for Fashion, Art + Beauty Lovers.”

The artwork is for sale here.


My second discovery came in one of the lobbies of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse in downtown Syracuse, home of the School of Design at Syracuse University, and where our SU marketing division is housed.

I saw a few copies of the student-run publication Perception spread out on a small, circular table. I grabbed a copy of the Fall 2022 issue.

The cover of the Fall 2022 issue of the student-run literary magazine Perception.

I haven’t had time to read the entire magazine, but the first poem I flipped to hit me hard with its brevity, rhythm, and raw language. I call this kind of verse a “thunderbolt poem,” because it slugs you in the gut and flings an arrow to the heart.

A classic example—Langston Hughes’s poem “Suicide’s Note”:

The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.

Though not in the same style as Hughes’s masterpiece, the poem “Rapacity” by Madeline Rommer provides the same effect. It drew me in because I don’t know what a “carbon dioxide sunset” is, but I love the imagery. And the power of the last two lines stuck with me.

The poem “Rapacity” by Madeline Rommer.