Chicago area fine art exhibition in the northwest suburbs. Submit paintings, drawings, mixed media, ceramics, fiber art, sculpture, metal. Contact Kathleen & Joe at submissions@culturea for details. 
Heading image by Alan Thomas


​The ecstasy of honey,
of petal, 
                    of wing encircles her

Death is ahead, yet death is behind

                    erased in happiness, flight of faith

The world is teeming with tiny joys
hidden tragedies, 

                    and insistent small miracles 

to overcome

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

​​Inspired by Primavera. Artist: Jennifer Schneck

Take Back the Beach
Tetrapods unite

Drive back the apes, we cry as one
from the sea
                    to the shore

These aren’t people. These are animals.

We send our best. 

They bring drugs, they bring crime.
They’re rapists.

And some, I assume, are good people. 

They do nothing for us. They do nothing 
for us.

We have to break up families. 

I can never apologize for the truth. 
It’s a horrible thing we have to break up families.

They are the most unwanted people. 
What can be more simply or accurately stated?

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

NOTE: This is a collage poem. Most of these lines are excerpts 
from quotes attributed to our current president.

Inspired by Propoganda. Artist: Robert Kelsey


We are our homes.

        Each of us is a house connected to another, 

        a caravan traveling within the blanket sky.

We are the walls, 
we are the borders that divide us.

We are more than forbidden footsteps in a field;

            we are children of earth, 

            but first, we are sons of water, daughters of the air.

These are the elements that fill us, that make us

            a universe all our own.

Wherever we walk is home.

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

​Inspired by Caravan. Artist: David Feingold

Conversation Piece

The masks we wear are clichés waiting to happen. 
They take our words and replace them with someone else’s.

We give our voices willingly. 

I remove mine, you replace yours, it’s a dance, as they say. 
The dancers change, but the music is the same.

I’m dancing, but my legs are still. 
I’m singing without notes. 

Obviously, this has all be said before. 
That is the requirement now.

But every cloud has a silver lining.
I’m thinking without pause, 
no thought is unaffirmed by the outside.  

Their stories harden, their features decided, 
their face is not mine, but 

I crave recognition of the other, 
I need to be seen as not me.
Opposites attract.

These masks are clichés I wish for. 
It’s hard to choose only one. 
Why do I have to be me, when I can be everyone?

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

nspired by Conversation Piece. Artist: Kimberly Rodey 


The songs all say I won’t forget you, singing: 

Red, red wine, it's up to you
All I can do, I've done
But memories won't go
No, memories won't go

But I’ve managed to trick myself another way,

tricked myself into blending into the gray, 

I’ve kept myself from picking up the glass before me
The one that promises everything, but
delivers headaches, creates excuses, makes me want to shower
for an hour, no two, in a bathroom that is not mine, 
never mine, 
to wash away all the ruby promises, until

they vanish down a sacred drain as the cleanest of whites.

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

Inspired by Contemplation. Artist: Jessica Smit Mattingly​

Chickens In Hell

…And you clutched the rain as if it was
your last dying breath.

Fire was the farthest element from our souls. 
We soaked in the safety of who we were.

We knew nothing.

There are no chickens in hell.

Fear is a constant friend, 
a reliable confidante.

And I wish I knew fear, 
and I wish I knew fear
back in that absolving rain.

But the rain came early, 
and the fire late. Together, 
we must wait.

From fear comes wisdom, 
a knowing of all that is beyond us, 
and a knowledge of God that is terrifying, 
save for the gift of compassion.

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

​​Inspired by Chickens in Hell. Artist Leisa Corbett

Words Escape Me

They leave me 
without a sound. 

Do words exist without sound?
No, I hear them in silence, 
hear them on the page, 
as thought, as self.

They leave me, 
yet they stay.

Words ink thought to page, 
They rule us, letter by letter, 
our definitions define us, 
keep us bound. 

Words replace me as they leave.
More present than air, 
it’s easy to suffocate on thought.

Once released, they never really leave.
Escape is a lie.

Do words expire? 
Once released, do they continue
into the world, out of the world, 
into nothing again? 

They say God spoke and made man.
Some say we made ourselves.
If the first word was life, what will the last word be?

The beginning and the end are the same, 
Each moment is a murmur of hopeful dreaming

that chants: you live, so live, be alive.

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

Inspired by Words Escape Me. Artist: Karen Schuman

Three Color Sentence

We read all the sentences together, 

        as if reading were a team sport.

I blew it when I couldn’t pronounce the words,

        they were older than I was, ancient sounds
that had seniority over me, my schoolgirl dress, my class.

My sister’s words traipsed into the room neatly as a newly cut lawn,
whose scent is refreshing shade of green.

Her ease was the most intimidating, not mom’s.

        Mom we always expected to be excellent, 
so we never noticed.

​Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

Inspired by Three Color Sentence. Photographer: Harold Rail

They Just Want to Look in the Mirror

People say:

    The horror is real. 

    The humor is fake.

People say:
They want to know someone - really know someone,
but they just want to look in the mirror.

That way, someone is always looking back.

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

Inspired by They Just Want to Look in the Mirror. Artist: Frederick Walter Nitsch

Too Much Pain

If I close my eyes

        I won’t see the pain.

If I close my mouth, 
    it won’t escape.

Some say pain is red - 
but misery invades as deceiving blue, 

deepening, it overflows 
    like the most awake 

of silences, fathomless in night, 

        as you wait

for the buoyant bell-ringing
        of bird song in darkness.

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson

Inspired by Too Much Pain. Artist: Dawn Shekut-Mucha

Naming the Unspoken was curated by Joe + Kathleen Isacson. 

Find out details about us & other exhibitions at our home page

All copyrights for writing and images remain with the writer/artist who created the work

Kathleen Sullivan Isacson 
About the Naming the Unspoken:
BosmanBury ShawCareyCorvusDenofrioEaslerEwert
MitchellNottinghamRekenthalerShapiroSmithSullivan Isacson