poemimage

Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary.

Category: Ekphrasis

Hoax

The chandeliers hung like earrings above the empty ballroom

A saxophone home to spiders

One bare shoulder on a marble bust.

 

‘Miro and Klee Influence a Painting’ by Tom Gannon Hamilton

Yes and the form once liberated from the laws of physics

and the conventions of decor can create its own ungrounded, untethered place

in the viewer’s imagination…

stimulating synaptic firing and creating new neuropathways

with much the same vitality as lyrical music and dance.

The discovery of, as well as through, Klee and Miro

thus frees the apprehending subject from the representational,

its associative shackles on the one hand, while on the other,

offering refuge

from the psychological desolation many people suffer

when confronted by pure abstraction.

My mother, forever painting under great tutelage:

Arthur Lismer, Kryunsic, Toppham-Brown,

introduced me to both Klee and Miro

before my soul-crushing experience of grade school.

I found as well in Calder’s mobiles, a similar approach to the form,

at once animated and authentic.

I like in your work, the agreement between image delineation and colour choices.

I too am drawn to the language of blue, an entire lexicon unto itself.

Its relationship to white and near-whites — eggshell, plaster, bone

in juxtaposition with material expressions of light such as mustard and yellow ochre,

generate a synergy of comfort for the viewer so the eye feels at home and lingers,

as one might on a desert retreat.

Founder/Curator/Host of the Toronto Urban Folk Art Salon, TG Hamilton has been published in numerous Canadian and international lit.reviews/anthologies. His poem suite El Marillo won 1st prize in the 2018 Big Pond Rumours Chapbook Contest; his book Panoptic (Aeolus House 2018) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Gerald Lampert Award; The Mezzo Soprano Dines Alone was selected for the distinguished John B. Lee Signature Series (Hidden BrookPress 2020). Dr. Hamilton’s MA Thesis (Inside the Words 1984) and PhD dissertation (A Poetics of Possibility, 2001) reflect his lifelong passion for poetry.

Painting by Steven McCabe, done the other day. Water-soluble graphite pencil & acrylic paint + watercolour paint in an 8.5″ X 11″ sketchbook. The Naples Yellow turned ochre-ish blending with graphite.

 

 

Neolithic

Watching you in the shadows rip your poems into pieces, tossing them like blossoms cascading into a bucket of glowing coals.

The shadows of your hands flutter perfectly against the wall, the shadow of your fingers tearing shapes into pieces, tossed up & falling down, the sun at two o’clock highlighting shadows like birds sliding down the wall.

Nobody imagined your face streaked or the palms of your hands covered in coal dust.

One torn fragment flies through smoke and sticks to your streaked face in the shadow of a cherry tree, the bucket heavy as an anchor, the last of your words going up in smoke.

I fell in love with the maps of distant time, unexplained distant time & the Neolithic, I fell in love with the Neolithic – your dark hair,

Dark as some mystery strain of ancient wheat shimmering in the coolness of twilight, pressing your toes and fingers into the clay floor, stretching your body from horizon to horizon

Balancing a voluminous golden disc upon your delicate, curving spine. I’ve learned the language of discs and cherry blossoms, your fingers and smoke. I bury my animal cry.

Your shadows are hunger.

The eye blinks once in the gloomy shadow of the soul’s laboratory. A shattered disc showers fragments. Clay – no, not clay – gold. Hollow doors open and close, concealing this world. You seize the universal remote. Your fingertips press TV channels bright as a sun. The Clay Channel. The Gold Channel.

You gave me an indelible precision I mistook for esoteric ambiguity. Shadows conceal and reveal. I gave you tools for repairing machinery. You asked where this machinery might be found.

In the Legion parking lot snakes fall from the sky. You sing them down into the branches, how you sang! They wound themselves down, sliding and wet, their hearts tinted with gold, zigzagging into liquid angles and spitting hieroglyphics, falling upon your shoulders like rain loosening your hair.

Cauldrons along your spine bubbled over spilling gold. I was drawn as if by a magnet to your magical hysteria on the night you promised you would never shatter again.

You raved about a coastline where we might find ourselves half-buried.

You ridiculed mannerism in cinema but never did you ridicule Suprematism. In the shadow of a tower you open a drawer filled with soft gloves and the sounds of night. You pull charcoal up to your elbow. The Suprematism of your eyes lined with kohl.

A movement crosses the palm of your hand dividing stone from water. Your breath fills your spine with heat, a motionless reflection shimmers, spreading to the edge of a stone radius.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Your blood has not forgotten this stone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I read Neolithic in full in February and it took me ten minutes to read with a fairly brisk delivery. I have edited it substantially (and spontaneously) for this posting. I hope I have conveyed the essence of the poem even knowing how much is missing…

 

Rice Pudding and Rumi

All I wanted was a can of rice pudding. After a long day I wanted a reward. Not a drink. Not dope. Just some rice pudding.


In other stores I’ve seen cans of rice pudding beside the Devon cream near the condensed milk or in the baking goods section.


I thought of her, who I lost, and how she would heat pudding and serve it topped with Devon cream. I wondered who she was serving now.


The staff had no clue. One said aisle 13 with a blank stare.
‘Isn’t it with the pudding?’ said the one with centipede eyebrows.
I was determined to find the rice pudding section.

A woman without a shopping cart or purse or umbrella studied a jar in aisle 13 and then a bag in the organic section freezer. I figured she was the store detective or an immigrant figuring things out or maybe somebody lonely looking to get picked up.


I checked every possible location. No luck.


I walked away half an hour later in the rain wondering what sort of loser looks for rice pudding at ten o’clock on a Saturday night.


I thought of Rumi saying sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
But I didn’t have any cleverness to sell.

Ruminations on Discarding a Drafting Table

Was it a mistake to throw out the old drafting table during my decluttering blitzkreig with its thousands of hours of receptivity to mark making, creating & colouring upon a flat screen opening to the unknown through seasons of catastrophe, celebration, and hope

Only to discover new ones at the same price, half the size, rickety, like stacking plastic toy soldiers until they fall to the floor beside the laundry and a coupon expired

Standing half as tall – is this how people live today – cramped / like ceilings pressing at odd angles, like too much irony or TV news or variety shows with varieties of one crop farming

In the city I discarded what I could squeeze into a hole, after it made itself known, who could fail to notice this hole, brazenly tapping at the doorway like trance drumming & insisting on action

As loud as a hole can be without attracting the attention of other shapes competing for psychic food although that might be a personification best for allegory or proverb

& Even vibrations (especially vibrations!) passing into wood or metal created in the right spirit, I’m sure it was the right spirit, know they are the right size for the hole, the circle, the absence, the sun

Though saying goodbye to memories vanishing into & beyond the hole might be a mistake, if there are mistakes in the ecology of memory and in the shadow of labour – no I am sure there cannot be, and a goodbye is never a forever, yes it often is

In this new world, either squatting, or hiding from the enemy, or working within form shrinking from moisture or heat or time, one realizes a newer price will have to be paid for a full size, it’s no longer one size fits all, it’s no longer all at all

One might reclaim discarded memories in the hole though they float away forever, but the idea of agreeing, I think, is to create another hole, a flourishing courier system arriving in the future at the other doorway, or now, and how can any mistake be made while awaiting couriered delivery

Of it all & with a great sadness, goodbye

How I (unexpectedly) Spent My Summer Vacation

An idea for a novel came upon / me.

Whoosh.

Two words.

The next night I dreamed the title.

Five words.

I didn’t see any connection

between the title

and the idea.

I wrote on paper with 3 holes / long-hand / daily, and typed those pages.

No matter the words – I simply transcribed.

If I heard it in my head I wrote it.

No argument.

72 days later I had a first draft. And editorial notes for each segment.

I stapled each batch and stacked them on top of a cold radiator.

The typed pages are in the computer.

I emailed them to myself daily.

I didn’t edit the material

or refashion it.

I treated it like poetry

with a germination period,

alone in the dark.

 Just allow it / to arrive

from surprise destinations.

It’s in the dark now.

Whoosh.

Out of nowhere / it never failed

to arrive.

Like arriving from darkness.

A novelist told me the first draft

is the most difficult part

of the process.

This didn’t feel difficult.

Perhaps laborious.

I hope this is a good sign.

A sign in the dark.

Follow darkness

until the sign

arrives.

Whoosh.

 

 

Later he pretended the moon was a mystical source of enchantment

He fell in love with a visionary


who cared for a tree.

Her visions became commonplace,
although beautiful,
as she cared for the tree.

The knight sometimes

aimed
his telescope

at a leaf dangling in the wind,
or a branch bent low, or bark,
or beds of moss
on the edges,
warming.


Invincible
sunlight
streaming.

 

Reposed in Flight by Ned Baeck

Basement bright with skin

shows dark, rapt faces.

They hold him

in their hearts and brains.

Someone whispered the world

is not worth becoming evil for –

On the ceiling, which is the maiden mother’s floor,

they pound, and pause, and pound again.

Blood pulsing in their fists,

the pierce of loathing under their ribs.

In a shadowed mezzanine

below the conscious mind,

they gnaw on river fish,

direct you to the wrong people,

put glitter in their eyes,

control the atmosphere,

arrange stillborn thoughts in old places.

Later they will say you brought down

the old, dull, rusted sword

with your own hands – and you did –

on the samovar that hid her hand

and the bed where she bared herself.

Motionless,

bird reposed in flight,

love for whose sake everything, murderous

and merciful, is done –

It’s so quiet now,

vouchsafed to a world of sullen depravity,

a few crumbs of dust for the broom.

The true operation of your mind – follow it –

 

Ned Baeck lives in Vancouver.

His poems have recently appeared in untethered, The Continuist and Sewer Lid.

His first full-length collection of poems is forthcoming from Guernica.

would you rather wake up or have an egg

My mother told me theatre is like a rooster
but film is like a hen.
She said would you rather wake up
or have an egg?

Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal

Ark

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Both on the material and the spiritual planes the ark symbolizes the power to preserve all things and to ensure their rebirth.

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Biologically speaking, it can be regarded as a symbol of the womb or of the heart, there being an obvious connection between these two organs.

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The basic symbolism of the ark is the belief that the essences of the physical and spiritual life can be extracted and contained within a minute seed…

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until such time as a rebirth creates the conditions necessary for the re-emergence of these essences into external life.

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The ark, during the cosmic parlay, floats on the waters of the lower ocean.

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The rainbow, in the realm of the ‘upper waters,’ is a sign of the restoration of the order which is preserved below in the ark.

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Both figures together, being complementary, complete the circle of Oneness.

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They therefore correspond to the two halves of the ancient symbol of the ‘world egg.’

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As a symbol of the heart (or of the mind, or of thought) the image of the ark is similar to that of the drinking-vessel, so frequent in medieval mysticism.

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from A Dictionary of Symbols by J.E. Cirlot

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Images: Photographs of political hip-hop artist Keny Arkana in montage with a page from The Lindisfarne Gospels, an illuminated manuscript created around the year 700.

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