K.C. by Steven McCabe
by Steven McCabe
Seeing the unseen between my eyes and outer space
I was a boy painting my sparkling new bicycle
With house paint
Squinting in the shade of a sunflower
Wiping soil and lumps of melted star off the brush
Aiming for that white-as-a-skeleton-invisible-sky-hourglass
Concept of two gods becoming one
Me and my bicycle at the intersection –
Red lights fading my pupils dilated
from Jawbone – Ekstasis Editions – 2005
When I was a boy in Kansas City, one summer, I studied the sky. It was a dull white far off in the distance, and yet up close ‘it’ was invisible. So it dawned on me to paint my new bicycle white; up close the bicycle would be invisible, at a distance everything would seem normal. My mother was more than happy to keep me busy and found the paint and a couple of large brushes. I threw myself into the task, painting the seat, the chain, the handlebars…everything! Sadly the next day the paint flaked off and my experiment failed. Several decades later I was reading a creation myth about two gods battling in the sky. One god lost a foot to a sharp knife and black ‘blood’ (night of course) filled the sky. I remembered painting the bicycle, and decided to harmonize both ‘sky’ narratives, intertwining them in a poem. My editor reviewed my work and, being a minimalist, took out her pen; underlining, crossing out, and circling lines. In the end I had a nine line poem.
stunning images which speak to the words – which came first?
Thank you Veronica. Glad you like the images….well, the poem was published in a 2005 collection, and the images I put together yesterday glued to the chair for twelve hours…It’s funny how things work – I didn’t have it in mind to post this poem / I just started playing with some old photos the night before and the plan sort of developed…
Great story! And it is scaled down beautifully.
These images are wonderful, Steven – I keep going back through them…
Thank you Karen. Glad to hear the editing works for you. The funny thing is that I can remember it like it was yesterday. The hot sun, the soil, etc….Glad you liked the images…something a bit new….working with one childhood photo and reworking it; layering with an abstracted mood…’memory’ mood…’myth’ mood….and I guess there was one webcam shot as well, a close up of eyes…Is it possible that part of the attraction for you is the idea of documenting memories?
I do like the idea of documenting memories, or going back and creating a sense of that memory – a feeling of it, which these images do wonderfully.
Plus, I loved being a little kid so memories of childhood seem so rich to me.
I appreciate that you feel these images work. The navigation aspect of this was like 3 in 1 oil: responding to the original story, the memory of the creation myth, and the edited poem. Your phrase ‘creating a sense of that memory’ is so appropos… & I love your last line.
The sky and the interstice between white and ravenous invisibility. Your editor must heve been a devotee of Dante (he had a thing for the number nine)!
Hi Prospero, She may have had a thing for Dante, I don’t know. It’s possible because she had these enormous blocks of knowledge that were connected invisibly. I was always
surprised by what she would deduct or add or use as a guidepost/rationale. ‘Ravenous invisibility’ – I love that, it sounds surreal. In fact, ‘The sky and the interstice between white and ravenous invisibility’ sounds like a poem.
Steven, your work, photography and prose, are excellent….awe inspiring, sublime. So enjoying your blog and your talent. Blessings, Robyn
Thank you for your thoughts and for visiting Robyn.