Censored Art—

Janine Arseneau & David Lenz
Katy Phillips & Angel Troyer

These two pairs of poem & painting are recent examples of censorship in Wisconsin. Katy Phillips tells her story to the right. The story of Wishes in the Wind emerges in Janine Arseneau's poem. Censorship isn't just something that happens somewhere else, as Phillips explains.

Wishes in the Wind, by David Lenz, painting

The Casted Outs: Wishes in the Wind

Inspired by JSOnline article: "Artwork shuffle at governor’s mansion raises eyebrows," June 4, 2011, with deep gratitude to David Lenz, artist, whose painting, Wishes in the Wind, is so filled with love and promise, it could melt stone.

They weren’t castaways…
We know that.
They did not cast themselves anywhere.

No, they were casted out.

In the beginning,
They were cherished and wanted
They had a home in a beautiful mansion
Where everyone who visited
Could warm themselves in the glow of three children
Playing, blowing bubbles, kissing life
Visitors, welcomed in the people’s house,
Could smile at them,
Give them words of praise
And encouragement
Wishes in the wind, that was their name
And together, they were the collective conscience
Of a community of brothers and sisters, citizens
Bonded in common purpose, to respond to the common good

No, they were not castaways then,
Not in the beginning…

But things change:
Priorities change
Values change
And when the new occupants of the people’s house
Decided there was no longer room
For three beautiful rainbow children
They became, not castaways, adrift
But something far worse and far more telling:
Casted outs

Three beautiful, beautifilled,
Life-yet-to-be-lived filled
Stories-yet-to-tell filled
Were ejected, evicted, jettisoned from
The governor’s mansion

I suppose
They and their wishes in the wind
Could have landed on the curb
Or in the rubbish heap
Or in the mud…
Or impaled on a Charlie Brown kite eating tree

But, at least for now, they have
Landed in a new home

Milwaukee’s central library took them in

Bubble wands in hand,
They greet visitors,
Reminding those who need no reminding
That the least among us, those with no power
And no voice
Are the ones we,
Citizens and elected officials alike,
Are the most accountable to

Our children, these…
And Scott and Tonette Walker’s too…
Wishes in the Wind, indeed

—Janine Arseneau, Milwaukee, WI


Mars, Wait! by Angel Troyer

Mars! Wait!     

Can’t you hear us calling?
Hold your torch higher.
Lower your sword.
We are not the enemy.

We are the faithful ones
who spread destruction and ruin
under your banner,
went to our deaths whispering
your name.

We took you from the fields,
named you a god.
You promised protection
and greatness,
victory against our enemies.

Why do you fear us now?
Why do you run,
bare-chested, gasping for breath? 

Your torch flickers weakly,
casting long shadows.
Soon it will go out. 
We will be abandoned
to the dark

Left to face alone
the chaos created
in your name. 

—Katy Phillips, Milwaukee, WI