When I created the ‘wordless poem’ Never More Together (120 linocut prints – The Porcupine’s Quill) in 2014 I sometimes needed to answer questions like, ‘How is this a poem?’
So I wrote the poem Meditations on a Wordless Poem. In earlier versions I related it to the silent process of carving in lino and creating non-linear poetry via images. I recall describing how I warmed lino under a hot lamp (during a heat wave!) so it would be easier to carve. In the poem found below I abandoned such descriptions, focusing more on the metaphysical. One thing leads to another.
In 2020 Konrad Skreta and I co-directed a 32:28 poetry/art (animation) video based on this poem. Because of Covid, and disruptions, or so I tell myself, I am just now getting around to submitting the video (titled Ode to a Wordless Poem) to festivals.
I watched it again today. Konrad embellished my poetry and images (text-art & visual poetry) by composing ever-shifting & evocative geometric and organic designs. & Within a landscape of psyche, perception and shadow the music too, as well as Konrad’s soundscape, is hypnotic. One thing leads to another.
Meditations on a Wordless Poem
The poem is an image & the image is a poem
Poem is an image passing through the body.
Image contains the rhythmic incantation of voice manipulating shapes
And visual balance –
Image passes into and through the body, embracing rhythmic incantations.
The alchemy of poetry transfigures a blank page into a sequence
Of comprehension –
A sequence of psychic incantation configures the blank page.
The process of transfiguring dross and creating gold
Is recorded two-dimensionally –
A sequence of shapes and visual balance enter your body as
Symbols meet texture in a relationship spanning theory and time.
Theory and time, in place of words, pass through your body.
Epic poetry resembles line and movement
An ancient voice extends invisible realities into song
Songs of prehistory rush forward, intersecting with our surveillance state.
A visual poem is like a city
As the lights go off, a new sound emerges of all that has gone before
Missing words, animals, plants and civilizations are replaced
Epic poetry rushes forward containing new information.
Poetry, pulsing, aims within a sequence of images
Invisible line responds, summoning persona, questing,
Transmitting erotic signals
Light hollows any false reflection
New information transmits erotic signals
The lights in a city fade
Street by street.
As the image is read the pulse of the work transfigures
Surrealism speaks of fragrance and desire
Alchemy embodies fragrance
The alchemical poem juxtaposes human need and the impossible
Human desire interfaces with the surveillance state
The white of the page recorded two-dimensionally
The fragrance of light a dreaming of desire.
Subconscious language is dream entwining both image and word within
Phenomena as natural as the elements.
Original idea & mind entwine both image and dream
Negative space surrounds the image suggesting a missing fragment of verse.
Ecology and psyche blur in the composition of the wordless poem
Suggesting a missing fragment of verse.
The alchemical juxtaposes with the social.
Missing plants and animals pass through your body, a type of social architecture
A type of shorthand evolves, culturally recognized as poetry.
Stanzas and passages translate visually within atmospheres of memory.
Images float in a psychic space of precognition.
Pictograms evolve in the composition of the wordless poem, as ecology and psyche blur.
The fragrance of light is an image passing through your body &
Recognized culturally, in social architecture, as a poem.
Blink your eyes while you turn the page in torchlight & you realize
You are within early cinema.
In the traboules of the Croix-Rousse
the shuffling silk weaver
the bile of vertigo rising in his throat moves left
in the stairwell only the balls of his feet
on narrow circular steps
(from Lyon, Pierre L’Abbé)
Pierre L’Abbé is a poet and fiction writer, he recently translated Palestine, a novel by Hubert Haddad.
I’m glad I was able to post a GIF today. I was working with a large volume of images interpreting five lines from Lyon by Pierre L’Abbe and need more time. I will (knock on wood) assemble that GIF this coming week. In the meantime I offer this ‘slow-moving river of a GIF’ featuring (ostensibly) The Ronettes, although they too were code for something else I suspect, considering when I drew them.
THIS GIF HAS SUFFERED SOME SORT OF DAMAGE OVER TIME. EACH PANEL IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE THIS (BELOW). I WILL FIX THIS (REPLACE) AT SOME POINT.
This one has a humorous air to it to go with the pathos of solitude. The ‘face’ of the striding emperor (can you see it?) is the same as the harlequins in the procession with yellow flags. I created a series of pages with that face & design. A shape accidentally happened, I noticed it looked like a face and saved it – it reminded me of my (deceased) brother.
I ‘sign’ these GIFs same as I would a drawing or painting. It’s not egomania that makes me put my name in there.
Although the title in the GIF looks like a book and the GIF looks like a book trailer it’s not. However I created poetic text after the fact.
The Light Brigade
Let There Be Light.
The mechanics of charging light.
Witness traction activate
Clouds of unknowing known
As muscled determination.
The mechanical opposite to A sucker born every minute.
Touch your tongue to the tent of your mouth. Announce
Let There Be Light.
Notes on the GIF: Intimations of Runic script transform into curvilinear vegetal design indicating a charging beast. It happened visually by itself (so to speak) during the design process.
Finding ‘his’ footing. Gaining traction. The irony of a ‘massive’ beast doing double-duty as charging light. Charging like flashlight beams in a force field? Surely he is not disembodied.
This GIF ponders our pressing situation, universal as it is, and the question of something, anything, out of the blue in reply.
The Augustinian Francesco Petrarch travels backwards into the Dark Ages and witnesses President John Kennedy trying to calm Lyndon Johnson. Kennedy senses the unknown. The King of Naples in 1341 appoints Francesco Petrarch Poet Laureate. His sonnets, some say, become the model for lyrical poetry. He writes a book of imaginary letters to Saint Augustine. He writes about this experience. Kennedy considers the known and the unknown.
No martyr is among ye now
Whom you can call your own
So go on your way accordingly
But know you’re not alone
from I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine by Bob Dylan
I wasn’t able to find the name of the artist (painter) or photographer. In any case I do not claim copyright for the images used for non-commercial purposes of commentary and refashioning new art works.