poemimage

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

Category: Memoir

page 52

I saw a concealed camera. The building owner said, ‘Keep this to yourself. I can give you a better deal.’ They were trying to catch whoever pulled the fire alarms. I took a two-year lease on a bright, spacious studio. New owners took over. My lease expired. They showed me an abandoned studio containing a four-foot high plaster bust of John F. Kennedy. I wrote the artist a letter. His uncle took me to a basement apartment in Brampton. The artist had been living in his mother’s house. Dishes filled the drainer beside the sink. His thin leather coat hung, buttoned, on a wire hanger. Augustin Filipovic won the Mayor of Rome’s Award. His art embellished the cover of Canada’s Centennial Book. Augustin looked like a movie star, wearing a tuxedo & waltzing in the spotlight with a pretty girl in white.

from my book Meme-Noir (2019)

page 62

My father brought home FBI WANTED POSTERS his friend, the agent, gave him. I spread them out on the bed and frightened myself with aliases, previous crimes, and last known locations. What is white slavery? He has a bazooka? The square inked fingerprints looked like Neolithic patterns connected to the criminal’s inner mind. Photographs were specific yet vague. He could be at the music store, in line at the Frozen Dairy stand. If a car slowed down, surely one of the most wanted had followed me – possibly for hours.

from my book Meme-Noir (2019)

Towers of Cake in Byzantium

I meet an old friend for coffee and cake

we discuss the symmetry of

consequence, the coincidence of

symmetry.

After we stand on the corner

I visit two bookstores

near one another in The Annex,

mostly second-hand

books I will thumb through

a hundred times (knock on wood)

finding inspiration

sifting subconscious & mythological elements

a chapter here, chapter there

traipsing the curvilinear imagination.

Birds fly low magnetized by subterranean quartz

wings whoosh, swooshing

miraculously, above the roar of wind,

I hear their soft instruction.

A young person, in motion a river,

photographs the books

over my shoulder.

Humming a tune

I contemplate pages

on the subway train.

Or so it seems, the way she steadies her phone

visible out the corner of my eye –

my station approaches.

I said this image is four, maybe, or five-thousand years old

she said I saw the books.

She said something, maybe, what

she read or might be reading.

Maybe she mentioned Byzantium.

I understood barely anything almost nothing,

with her speaking through a mask,

the subterranean ambient noise,

additional my normal hearing trouble.

She repeats a word, I tilt my head

like a bird

darting

the door embellished with golden mosaic tiles,

sliding closes in my face.

A vast dimension

composed of light-years

descends upon me.

The sound of her mystery words

accentuates her aura

like a river in motion.

I repeat rhyming words

the consequence of symmetry

the symmetry of coincidence.

Thank you, she said.

I dart for the door again

climbing tiled stairs

beneath vast archways

tasting cake.

Birds swoop above & below a quartz-river

flowing from the sun.

The Idea of the Book in the Middle Ages: Language Theory, Mythology and Fiction by

Jesse M. Gellrich –

Sun, Moon and Standing Stones by John Edwin Wood –

Inside the Neolithic Mind by David Lewis-Williams & David Pearce –

A Search for Cave and Canyon Art: Voices From the Stone Age by Douglas Mazonowicz – (signed by the author)

String Theory

I introduced the poetry project to the high school class. A boy, who seemed to be the class leader, didn’t see the point of it. I told him to knock on his desk. I said, “What did you touch?” He said, “Wood.” I said, “According to physicists at the University of Moscow exploring String Theory you just touched an elementary particle existing in 11 dimensions. Physicists at the University of Moscow exploring String Theory are now aware that elementary particles communicate with each other. Great poetry has come from Russian poets aware of scientific discoveries made at the University of Moscow.” He said, “Okay, I write.”

From Meme-Noir, my 2019 book of autobiographical vignettes. I bluffed my way through a possible rebellion. I remember the students reading aloud what they wrote. It was all very real. They followed his lead and he made it work. Somewhere he must be close to 30.

GIF Experiments: 11 (A recent image conveys the past & the distance in-between)

A couple years ago, after decades and half the continent away, Howard visited. We walked around the bay down by the lake. His wife waited on a bench. They took me to an Indian restaurant for dinner. This GIF tells one story about our youthful friendship. I’m in the hat.

 

GIF Experiments: 3 (My brother’s fish & my father’s funeral)

 

My brother cried, ‘Popeye is dead. Popeye is dead. He was inconsolable.’ His little google-eyed black fish perished overnight and floated in the bowl. At my father’s funeral the stress of the previous day’s open-casket visitation almost pushed my siblings and myself over the edge. We sat in a row along the pew, waiting for the minister to speak, our strange hushed laughter bubbling.

 

 

I appreciate the support given to me by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Originals program in funding this GIF project based on text (with added images) from my most recent book Meme-Noir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIF Experiments: 2 (Five Works)

 

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I appreciate the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Originals Program support for this project.

 

GIF Experiments: 1 (Four early works)

 

 The Canada Council For the Arts ‘Digital Originals’ grant program has funded my project creating GIFS using text from my recent book Meme-Noir.

 

 

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