Images of the City

In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the
street corner
the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the

Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
In a graveyard far off there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee;
and that boy they buried this morning cried so much
it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet

Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead
But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders

One day
the horses will live in the saloons
and the enraged ants
will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the
eyes of cows

Another day
we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead
and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats
we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue.
Careful! Be careful! Be careful!
The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm,
and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention
of the bridge,
or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe,
we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes
are waiting,
where the bear’s teeth are waiting,
where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting,
and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder.

Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is sleeping.
If someone does close his eyes,
a whip, boys, a whip!
Let there be a landscape of open eyes
and bitter wounds on fire.
No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one.
I have said it before

No one is sleeping.
But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the
open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight
the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters
…Federico Garcia Lorca..“The City That Does Not Sleep”

“The entire poem is a paradox. We all know that we do sleep, and we all know that dreams do exist. The paradox lies in the fact that we perceive them to exist, but all we know is what we have experienced.
Who knows whether the real world is truly the real world? We could be living the dream, and experiencing real life when we dream. Thus, we are not even completely certain of what dreams are. Hence, even though we experience them, who is to say that they really, truly exist?
The struggle of the journey of life is a major theme in this poem.. The images portray the intense struggle and pain that everyone must endure in order to continue on the life cycle and pass the time, which are both unavoidable and inextricable parts of life…
We never die because we are ever continuing along the path of the cycle of life, reliving the cycle over and over, attempting to find a deeper meaning to life. This is also emphasized by the reincarnation of the butterfly.
Careful! Careful! Careful! warns the reader that life is not going to be an easy journey, and that sometimes sacrifice is necessary in order to attain a true happiness..
Our burdens are felt by everyone; we all share each others pain. Thus, the pain in the world is a collective fate because we all share in its weight. The fear of death will always be carried, because one never dies
..Excerpt of a critical review on Elite Skills…

The painting came about after reading the poem and gazing from a window on the city….there is a river below and the light through the buildings emit a nightmarish quality as if the entire place were on fire…at night the city changes, in the fog buildings become ghostly forms…one wonders who is behind all those windows…are they also looking out and thinking the same thing?..Janis

Abstract in Watercolour on Arches Not Paper…View Large…

I paint in many different styles and feature a myriad of subject matter, which I show as individual collections….
I am inspired by the world interpreting it in brilliant colours, often influenced by the writings of famous authors and poets..
© All rights reserved. All images contained on these pages are © copyright protected by Janis Zroback and any use of these images in any form without her written permission will be considered an infringement of these copyrights.

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  • © Janis Zroback
    © Janis Zrobackalmost 2 years ago

    Images of the City

    In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
    Nobody is asleep.
    The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
    The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream
    …to learn more about this painting click description above..

  • Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
    We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth

    – © Janis Zroback

  • George Petrovsky
    George Petrovskyalmost 2 years ago

    Life is for those who dare to dream.
    Beware! Beware! Beware!
    The sky and dreams explode like shards of glass.
    Who now will dare to dream?
    Sleepless nights, staring at the stars.


  • Exactly so George… :))

    – © Janis Zroback

  • LindaR
    LindaRalmost 2 years ago

    your art drew me in ~ at the thumbnail I felt it was of another kind of place, perhaps even “hell” set aflame…your writing intrigues me even more, as the nature of dreams and reality, and knowledge beyond the senses, has been an inquiry of mine since I can remember…really wonderful work Janice and food for my morning xx

  • It is meant to provoke thought about the differences between dreams and reality….the city changes at night, yet the reality is that it’s the same, even though it looks different…our perception of reality changes at night too…everything seems a whole lot darker and more serious…comes the dawn we wonder why we were so afraid…the idea of the image being some kind of hell mightbe true for some people if not for others…thanks so much for your comment Linda..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Virginia McGowan
    Virginia McGowanalmost 2 years ago


  • Thanks so much Virginia…lovely of you to say so…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Jim Phillips
    Jim Phillipsalmost 2 years ago

    The imagery certainly fits the poetry… I think it’s more about the madness of reality we would experience if we didn’t release it in part through our dreams. Not to dream would make us crazy.

  • The madness of reality is a great way to express it…the longer I live and I am really getting up there now, the more I feel that the world has indeed gone mad, and maybe it’s my dreams that are the reality…thnks so much Jim…I’m really happy you like the painting..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehalmost 2 years ago

    Looks like a city on fire – the first thing that came to mind before I read anything. In such a case, there would really be nobody there. Whether the world we live in is real is often something I’ve imagined about as a kid – that I could be dreaming everything. Then I later learned about philosophers like Descartes, who thought along the same lines. Lovely painting – earth, air, fire and water are clashing…

  • Yes I think children don’t take things for granted as much as adults think they do…I believe I went about in a daze, which I now think was extreme heat as the island was always so hot..the kind of heat that distorts reality…plus the vegetation and the flora and fauna were larger than life…looking back on it now, it seems like I dreamt it all…I’m really happy you like the painting…thanks so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Heloisa Castro
    Heloisa Castroalmost 2 years ago

    great work

  • Thanks so much Heloisa…nice to see you..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • F.A. Moore
    F.A. Moorealmost 2 years ago

    I love your write up on this, including the poem, explanation of the paradox, and your view through the city, all culminating in this work. FANTASTIC. On first gaze, it seems like city buildings overtaken in an inferno— a fiery hell of a dream, out of which there is escape for “nobody”. After reading the description, it seems like… city buildings overtaken in an inferno— a fiery hell of a dream, out of which there is escape for “nobody”.

  • That is what my husband said…a fiery hell from which there is no escape…actually the city on certain winter nights can look like anything on earth…the poem is amazing isn’t it…I am so glad you like the painting..thanks so much Frannie…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Keith Reesor
    Keith Reesoralmost 2 years ago

    Incredible work Janis!! :)

  • Thank you so much Keith…very nice of you to say so..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelalmost 2 years ago

    Beautiful contrast and light, great composition, really powerful image!

  • Thanks so much Cindy…I am thrilled that you like it…I have lots to tell by the way…

    – © Janis Zroback

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