Queen of Keys

Work details

Queen of Keys series

I have been collaborating with the very talented Marya Stark over many years now. We did a photo series together in my studio, just to do it, with no particular goal in mind.

A while later I started playing with the photos in the digital collage realm. I processed the photos in Adobe Lightroom, brought some into Corel Painter to employ its brushes and developed layers in Adobe Photoshop. A related set of images evolved and became the Queen of Keys series.

When I showed them to Marya she was inspired to write a song based on the artworks. I sent her some words, some poetry that came to mind for each image and she crafted a song, layering her voice and adding minimal instrumentation. Both Dhiren Dasu and David Earl helped create and produce the audio.

I then made the video Queen of Keys to the song, simply using the set of images and nothing else.

So this production is an example of dynamic collaboration between women artist/es. Each one’s creativity spurring the next round of creation.

Link to song: https://maryastark.bandcamp.com/track/queen-of-keys

Images – Captions and poetry

These poems below were written by me and sent to Marya. This is a slightly revised version when I came back to look at the quick writings I did to serve as inspiration for the song. I offer them as they give another layer in the interactive creative mix.

  1. The Secret Key

In the waiting room of silent thoughts,

what portals open the crypt of me?

Down corridors of ancient memories,

the black and white pattern stretches

a light and dark symphony.

Like Alice awaiting the Looking Glass,

I balance my dreams like a key.

Down the corridor of time gone by,

which door will open to the depth of me ?

Am I the lock, Am I the key?



  1. Queen of Keys

Holding the chessboard of all my deeds,

all the light and dark of me,

my own queendom shall set me free.

As time melts in the memory

I contemplate the great mystery.

Am I but a piece on the board of life,

or am I the shaper of destiny?



  1. Key Holder

I looked through the gaps

In the world of experience

And saw myself

Through the filigree..



  1. Queen of Keys

She takes her vow

of service at the interface

She the Queen of Black and White

Holding the key

Resolving duality.



  1. Open Sesame

In the house that Alice built

There’s a key that fits every keyhole

And when its turned

Nothing remains the same.




  1. 8. Key Change

The changing of the guard

The guardian of the change…


And reconsolidating


The still point

In the turning gyre.



  1. 10. The Game of Life and Death

I am the Red Queen

Crowned in the blood of martyrs

The red rose

Flaming at my feet…

Blowing kisses

From my red lips

To every player’s

Freedom of choice.

Down the rabbit hole

Or back into the womb

All wormholes open

Beneath my crimson cape..



  1. The Magical Pill of Non Duality

I am the swallower of dreams

And the birther of new realities

A storm is brewing

On the game board of duality.


  1. Melt Down

I am painted

In the language of opposites.

an optical illusion

A veneer to cover

My naked heart

As so called reality



  1. Red Bird _1
  2. RedBird_2
  3. Red Bird_3

As the red sun rises

And the full moon is eclipsed

The Red Bird

Cries tears of blood

Her wings aflurry

With her swan song.


  1. Ravishment

Melted by scarlet

Ravished by red


  1. Scarlet Turns

As she looked back at me

Her presence

Smudged the air 



  1. Ruby

I didn’t choose red

It chose me

And now I claim it

As my own


  1. Portal of the Red Rose

Opening to the bliss

of blood and roses


The color of passion


  1. Red Portal

My mind melted

My dragons flamed

And my feathers dropped

Like a red bride’s confetti

To the ground.


  1. Checkmate

Looking down

At my own reflection

I saw fragments of past experience

Reflected in the checkered pool



  1. Multiple Choice

When all doors are open

Which portal will you choose ?


24.Key To My Heart/Open Heart Surgery

I unlock my heart, I turn the key

Performing open heart surgery

Spilling the blood of ages

Opening the flower of life

Such a painful entry

To birth my bliss

My heart wears a crown of blood


  1. Ravishment of the Rose

The ravishment of roses

Brings fragrance to

This checkered life…


  1. Ravishment of the Rose_2

…And now

The rose and I

are one.


  1. Phantom of the White Rose

 I am the spirit

Of the rose

The scent that lingers

Long after the rose has lost its form

There is no decay

In my timeless world

Where ashes and decomposition

Smell sweet as a summer bloom


  1. Captured in Amber

Caught in a moment

Frozen in time

I am forever Amber


  1. Harlequina

I have a coat of many colors

To wear as jester, harlot, saint

Ancient, modern,

Dipped in art



  1. The Checkered Serpent

The serpent so feared

Is but the mix of light and dark

Is but the game of life we play

To embody it all.


  1. The Red Queen

Between Twin Pillars

Of light and dark

Her gaze pierces

The heart of the rose


  1. The Red Queen_2

  1. The Red Queen_3


  1. Rose Caress

‘To hold eternity

In the palm of the hand’

To caress the moment

As it passes

Elusive as perfume


  1. Velvet Rose

I open my arms

And I reveal

The crimson rose

I can’t conceal

My velvet underground


  1. Our Lady of the Portals

Holding aloft the universal key

I am but the interface

All mystery resides in me.


  1. Phantom of the White Rose_2

I am the ghost

Of roses past

The remembered kiss

The lost embrace…

The skeleton of a flower

That blossoms unforgotten



  1. Attar of Roses

To distill the essence

You have to be drenched in it



  1. Attar of Roses_2

To be an alchemist

You have to sublimate



  1.   Letting the Feathers Fly

Red hot Phoenix

Quivering cape

Loosing wisdom

Glowing feather embers

Falling all around


  1. Ecstatic Portal

Shakti pouring

A waterfall of feathers


From her portal.


  1. Talking to Myself_1

Big Alice, little Alice

Depends which pill you take


44. Talking to Myself_2

Which realities you blend


45. Talking To Myself_3

In a realm of illusion

There is only one fixed point

Which is who we consider our self to be


  1. Integration

As Lady Justice

I am blindfolded by duality



The scales lifted

Now I can clearly see


  1. Key Bearer

     I travel with the speed of light

               To bring the magic key

Its hearts to unlock

That sets me free


  1. Mergence

When blending realities

Is a fashion statement


  1. Scarlet

A lady in red

Is a lady in red…

Is Lady Scarlet


  1. Harlequina_2

Her laughter

Caused psychedelic ripples

Effecting everything

With levity


  1. Through the Fire


Into my Phoenix power

I am set free

And hotness is my nature



  1. She Turned into a Rose

As she turns to leave

She reveals her inner form

Not wrought from flesh

But from the garden drawn

The fragrance of the rose

Still lingers in the air

Long after her fond farewell


  • 01_The Secret Key

  • 02_Queen of Keys

  • 03_Key Holder

  • 04_Queen of Keys

  • 05_Open Sesame

  • 06_Key Change_1

  • 07_Key Change_2

  • 08_Key Change_3

  • 09_Game of Life and Death

  • 10_Game of Life and Death_2

  • 11_Magical Pill of Non Duality

  • 12_Melt Down

  • 13_Red Bird_1

  • 14_Red Bird_2

  • 15_Red Bird_3

  • 16_Ravishment

  • 17_Scarlet Turns

  • 18_Ruby

  • 19_Portal of the red Rose

  • 20_Red Portal

  • 22_Checkmate

  • 23_Multiple Choice

  • 24_Key To My Heart_Open Heart Surgery

  • 25_Key To My Heartwaves

  • 26_Ravishment of the Rose

  • 27_Ravishment of the Rose_2

  • 28_Phantom of the White Rose

  • 29_Captured in Amber

  • 30_Harlequina

  • 31_The Checkered Serpent

  • 32_Red Queen_3

  • 33_Red Queen_2

  • 34_Red Queen_1

  • 35_Rose Caress

  • 36_Heart Rose

  • 37_Our Lady of the Portals

  • 38_Phantom of the White Rose_2

  • 39_Attar of Roses

  • 40_Attar of Roses_2

  • 41_Letting the Feathers Fly

  • 42_Ecstatic Portal

  • 43_Talking to Myself_1

  • 44_Talking to Myself_2

  • 45_Talking to Myself_3

  • 46_Integration_1

  • 47_Integration_2

  • 48_Key Bearer

  • 49_Mergance

  • 50_Scarlet

  • 51_Harlequina_2

  • 52_Through the Fire

  • 53_She Turned Into a Rose

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