pepek the assassin

I haven’t singled out a poet’s work and talked about it specifically, but Praise, by Joyce Ellen Davis struck me powerfully and I wanted to bring it up and see what feedback came in. I love the painting but it seems so idiosyncratic it surprises me to I find that others see what I see. I usually don’t title these image prompts. I like to see what people come up with. But I felt like Joyce (a.k.a. pepek the assassin) saw into the painting and beyond and came back and reported in a way that made me marvel at her words. Here is the image and the words they prompted. Others were wonderful, too, but this one really struck me. Joyce’s blog is following the little god. Comments?


and even if you haven’t asked
the ferocity I see in your eyes is really praise

the left eye overflowing with a compassion of tears
the right eye damned where the Father stands archived and

disguised the promise is that the hand that gives
takes away nor bird nor snake nor fish can stay it

nor ringed fingers nor hard stones nor veils
nor things visible or invisible nor words

nor the blackened silences of things half-formed
nor oaths nor obligations of a thousand years

of clouded windows and passing lovers or strangers
it is there in the etcetera of praise in ruined newsprint

lifted by the wind and blown and dissolved in a sea
of rain water and even if you haven’t looked

it is there in both the promise and the praise
it is there in all of these and none of these

it is Alpha and Omega it is the Beginning and the End
forgive me forgive me forgive me forgive me oh forgive




the backstory on the painting, for what it’s worth…

I found this canvas in a thrift shop and recycled it. The bright colors are showing through from the original thrift shop painting. I drizzled roofing tar on the canvas and then brought out some of the images which were suggested in the texture. The next day the aluminum particles in the tar had risen to the surface and the images were obliterated. I tried to force the drying but the images kept disappearing. I finally used a barrier coat of clear shellac to seal and stabilize the tar and went in on top of that with metallic oils to bring the images out again. The image above is the final image. It now belongs to Jason Bruno, Cynthia Webster and their beautiful, gifted children (my grandchildren!), Will Scarlet and Sabine. The painting has a wonderful home.

This entry was posted in art, callings, collaboration, collaborative storybook, ekphrasis, image prompts, joyce ellen davis, painting, pepektheassassin, poetry, stories, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to pepek the assassin

  1. Paul says:

    I saw quite a few versions of this painting in words and I agree this is a fabulous interpretation, the most moving I have read. The language is full and wonderful and the image has depth and precision. And I think this is a great idea, you highlighting the one that most fits your original idea or develops it, complements it. You continue to inspire and in more ways perhaps than you are aware.


  2. johemmant says:

    Yep, I totally agree Rick, this is an astonishing response to the painting and the perfect partner, it’s as if the reader is talking to that fiercesome face.
    I found Joyce’s writing last year through some prompt or other and was just blown away, she is an incredible poet (and she’s written novels too), she does what all great poets should, channels the energy that flows around and through us into words……I’m a huge fan.


  3. Rick, Paul, Jo, thanks for the kind comments! Rick’s paintings are always awesome and fun to work with, I’m sure you agree. Rick, thanks much for the shout out!


  4. And I will try to get my son to help me fix the link to my place–I have no idea … how. But I think he will.


  5. Arkay says:

    Absomalutely worth singling out. Truly incredible.

    And in reference to you allowing (inspiring?) such creativity here, along with your fantastic talent as an artist I have given you an award on my blog. (I hope that is ok.)


  6. rick mobbs says:

    It’s great work, Joyce.

    Thanks Arkay, that is a nice surprise. I’ll see what I can do with it…


  7. marlowe44 says:

    Incredibly touching and stirring poem, Joyce. It makes mine seem bellicose and rough at the edges. I wrote mine as the warrior poet, reflecting on the power of this Aztec god–but yours probes deeper, and it is lovely.

    I feel joyous and humbled to wander amongst you, you poets who hover out there, and who support Rick’s storybook, and respond with such intensity and fervor to his image prompts, his incredible paintings.



  8. Angry Ballerina says:

    I love reading about the whole behind the scenes of painting. It makes me envious. 🙂


  9. The problem with my link is that myunclepepeksjournal doesn’t work any more. works now, but you have to put it in manually again. (Most of the links people have now don’t work). If you physically put it in again, or bookmark it, I think it will work.

    Egad. I was afraid I had lost everything.


  10. rick mobbs says:

    Joyce, I changed the links so that they work now, at least on this post/comments. When you leave a reply under comments on a blog does it say you are logged in as ….? Click on that link and it may lead you to where you can update your address. It currently leaves off the “”. See if that works.


  11. christine says:

    Joyce’s words roll out like thunder, and seem to come right out of the mouth of the character in the painting.

    The character glows, and now we know another reason why- it is living a second life, and now a third, or even more! What a great back story on its creation.


  12. janetleigh says:

    Joyce has given awesome life and spirit to your incredible painting, Rick. Joyce has given your painting a voice, a voice of truth and universal wisdom; we love the words with the visual image because it speaks to our spirits, attests to its truth. My life is greatly enriched by your endless talent, Rick, and from those who contribute to your talent from their own word-worlds. This is truly a blessed site.


  13. But you know what? I changed the last line to:

    thank you thank you thank you oh thank you

    thanks works better after praise, yes? Anne Lamott said there are only two things you need to say in a prayer–one is please and the other is thank you. And thank you is really what I want to say. What do you think?


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