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The Dog Prince


Beware the lord who asks of wolves what he would of men:

‘How dare you come here and insult me in this way?’

~ The Iron Mountain Clause


At the end of the world nothing is more precious than secrets and every Warlord is master of one: Men are singed, biting hogs in the sun. When the bellows of the hordes peel for killing, the Warlord keeps bellies warm with fire.

That is why the arrival of the Dog Prince is bittersweet. For tired guards and bone men, gaunt mechanics and skull hunters, the sight of those dogs in formation is wasps in the eyes. Columns of war brutes with nail-spiked collars. Shepherds and sight hounds sleek as night rain congeal at the Dog Prince’s side. He stands there, as usual, with that panting statue the wolfhound.

He steps down from his skeleton sled and drops a palm of rag beans to the team in harness. They eat with green eyes fixed on the Warlord’s men, a gawking ring of leathery fear armed to rotted teeth with hunger—and not just for food. Some of the men notice how far they have shrunk in the presence of all of this fanged discipline.

And yet, the arrival of the Dog Prince also bodes well—fuel cylinders wet for the taking, a finger smooth crate of hand grenades in an un-buried train. Perhaps a newly fallen bull, its flesh whispering to the nucleated morning. A vaporous feast for flies. Dreams of unknown stores to be sniffed out by a Dog Prince-for-hire. That’s what the temporary humiliation of seeing such well-fed dogs means to men. They would rather eat than bow to dogs even as they make way for them now. Those dogs, stout and fierce, their gauntleted paws slicing hot sand. The bearded wolfhound, tall and stately gray, marching dutifully behind his master to meet the Warlord on the black steps for terms.

The Warlord grunts behind a plexiglass vaporizer: “Have your dogs found food or fuel for us this time, Dog Prince?”

The Dog Prince has a winding sheet on the color of the desert. The straps beat a rhythm against his chest in the wind. Only his mouth peeks through the wrappings around his face. Goggles mute his eyes. When he speaks, it is only Babylon.

“Babylon!” screams the Dog Prince.

Whispers from the men.  What? Who is that?

Again, the Dog Prince yells the name and again the Warlord is left to mime the confusion of dogs, tilting mottled horns at the oddity and adjusting his vaporizer with a snap of the side mount.

A hundred times before, the Dog Prince had come to mount the black steps and to paint his teeth with the same soot as the Warlord. They had struck the usual terms many times before but never had they howled them in this way. And men, like dogs, react to new or loud things with much flinching and some shame for having flinched. All of that thickens the leaded air of the black steps.

“What is this Babylon?” growls the Warlord after the third shout, which prompts a fourth from the Dog Prince.

This time, the Warlord notices the gesture the Dog Prince makes as he shouts. A splaying of the hand. Flesh exhaled, as if the wind should name its accuser with men’s fingers. The gesture is clearly directed at the wolfhound.

The Warlord turns to face the horselike creature whose steady black eyes make him laugh, cough, and then look away.

The Warlord’s vaporizer muffles sacred words. “Babylon be damned, Dog Puke! Have you lost your mind? You dare come here. Insult me in this way?”

The Iron Mountain clause.  Shifts in the sand. Well-worn handles on makeshift crossbones and spears—the whole scene a tableau of grip and fidget, sunsear and dogswatching.

And then the Dog Prince bows as Babylon clomps forward. The dog’s black eyes hold steady behind grey whiskers that curve with his gait like tusks.

The Dog Prince speaks from his bowed position: “Babylon. New leader of the family and first in line in all things. Babylon.”

Spiders and rust in the Warlord’s vaporizer: “Am I to make terms with a dog?” Laughter from bellies used to howling. Brown teeth, yellow, and none, all showing. Black eyes watch.

Louder then from the one still bowing: “Babylon. New leader of the family…”

“Fine then,” through the Plexiglas vaporizer. “Which is it, Baby Loon, food or fuel?”

Even louder from the one still bowing: “First in line. In all things.”

“Terms. Terms.” The Warlord says while pulling the strap away from his lips for the dog to hear, and the dog hears less than it smells from the Warlord’s lips. And that is all it needs to know.

Babylon is a Minotaur indifferent to bulls and men. He is hungry only for vaporizer and bloody plexi. There are no more terms or messages to be exchanged. Each leather sleeve is an envelope in grease, posting flesh. The dogs race to read their grim letters—the arms and legs of those who only moments before had been dreaming of dog livers charred to the dunes with butter rock and smoke stick.

At the end of the world dogs come to terms better than men. This is the last secret. And it is his alone. Still bowing before the carnage, the former Dog Prince holds on to it with little concern. The places where his eyes had been scream inside his goggles, but he is still hopeful for a place in line.

A beta nips him up and so he stands. His nose turns to the sky mindful of the Western crag along the horizon. There, the salted fires of the next camp of men make eyes for the night to see us with.


Rustic Birch Stick Frames for Abstract Art (on denim!)

Here are ideas for frames that are more artful than they are limiting.


Art looks best when framed. But what is a frame? An ideal border, a frame proposes those parts of an artwork which are deemed, more or less, central. By the fact of the frame being a limiting device, art pushes somewhat against the concept of a frame. Art, like the American poet Walt Whitman, wants to kick down the doors, opening up to the world. Frames say, the art stops here. Art doesn’t want to talk about endings or edges in such simple terms.

With such different intentions and outlooks, It’s strange that art and frames would ever get along at all.


We prefer frames and grounds, which are the surfaces an artist paints on. that agree with art. These artworks are original landscapes. Some are visual poems as well as paintings. The natural materials express freedom of form, both the organic world and its impending limits. The frame co-creates the effect of the view. This is what a frame ought to do.


You might say, our frames go out on a limb.

explore more

Biography of the Blade Back Girl Published as Chapbook


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We are thrilled to have our collage published in the form of a small e-book. Admirers can have a copy of the poem that is also a collage, a graphic narrative, and a fairy tale about a woman finding her voice.

Partly published in Redivider and the New Delta Review, originals were exhibited in juried art shows:

Gender in the Balance, August – September 2019 Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie NY

The North by Northwest (NXNW) Exhibition  July – October 2019. Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT

Get your e-book here:



Paintings of Authors in the Snow

Winter is especially inspiring for the artful and art-minded. Absence of chroma leaves room for the mind to imagine colors impossible to see in June.


We spend winter looking for view. Pardon the bacon, by the way, the blueberries don’t mind. We’ll hike through our backyard with Vegas in tow, looking for sights as we crunch through the snow.


Sara pauses to see a poem.swell your essence

And then Vegas smells another volume of poetry in the willows.


Back inside, we sit with books. Faulkner is there. But we keep a close eye on him.

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Hemingway is there too. He is orange inside a stuffy old house in winter. Though mini, this Hem has a big head for outside adventures.IMG_0346

Uh-oh, mini Hem establishes himself against forbears and compeers alike.  Harry Bloom, who wrote all the diagnostics on this kind of conflict, would thank Oedipus for Hem’s aggression in the snowball fight that ensued. IMG_0656

Take that Hawthorne!


Here he is, King of the Mountain. IMG_0652

We’re not sure we can keep this one on our wall for long. Perhaps, you’d fare better. If you’d like to have your own adventures with one of these roguish authors, apply here.

and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Mrmaxchi Michael Chaney Art


Collage, Poet-Portraits, Fragments & Words, Words, Words

Sara Biggs Chaney and I have been busily working with papery word fragments, piecing them together, layer upon layer, until greeting a face.

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Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Elizabeth Bishop, and HD. These are poets we admire. Their words forge textures on the page. Each one is an 8×10 artwork collage ready to brighten any room. The beauty of words and faces, of fragments and figures, shines through the glue in each portrait.

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Gwendolyn Brooks

You’ll notice how the titles of the books in the re-worked photo above are comprised of more lines from Brooks’ poetry…. And by the way, for now, our favorite adhesive is liquitex matte  glaze.


Lucille Clifton

There are stiffer papers used in the Clifton collage above. Collage challenges the camera and our eyes to see things normally perceived through touch–like contour, edge, weight.

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We selected our subjects for the force of their original poetry. And we wanted to memorialize great poets.


Elizabeth Bishop

We prefer mod podge and home made mixtures for other projects, but these were perfect for the matte glaze. The paper and words are the focus of these portraits.

We hope you like them.

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Michael and Sara

To purchase one of these portraits or to see more,  visit the shop




new visual poem in Florida Review

We are pleased to have a visual poem up at Florida Review online or Aquifier with Sara Biggs Chaney

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New Collage published in New Delta Review

Some intricacies of cut paper appear in the latest issue here


check out more here


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see more on our collaborative website here

Where to Submit Visual Poetry

Here’s a new list of magazine rankings for those poets who traffic in the pictorial…


And check out our Biography of the Blade Back Girl. It’s in the form of a small e-book.

Art for your holiday season

I have been making art for many years.

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I began painting as a child. My mother taught and encouraged my brother and I to take our art-making very seriously.

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Masked Birches and Orange Winter Window

My latest pieces feature foraged materials and poems by my co-artner Sara Biggs Chaney.


A close up of “New Ember” (as in November)

When seen up close, they offer intimate reading experiences. At room distance, they liven up any wall.


I paint all of these with oil paint. Most are on stretched denim or jeans fabric. I enjoy the ridged effect of the denim as a ground for painting landscapes especially.


I paint landmarks from Cleveland and Vermont–my two homes.


Birches and Big Fun–a Coventry-neighborhood icon in Cleveland

The two places mingle well together when outfitted in the same durable gear.


Peaches and Wood        9 inches by 9 inches

The wooden frames distinguish the art and highlight the fabric it is painted on. In the end, it is about making art that I can share with others.

Hence, this post–as well as the etsy shop where all of these works can be purchased.

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Stop by and let me know your favorite:…





Ten Best Visual Poems

Check out the latest list here


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