poemimage

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

Category: Poetic & Visual Narrative

Double-Sided Images for ‘Book’ in Progress

The double-sided pages are numerous sheets of paper laced together. I soak the papers & they dry warped and crinkly. Eventually all the pages (more to come, some with text) will be attached and ‘foldable’ with a back and front cover. Sort of a very loose idea of an accordion book.

It’s All Too Beautiful

Across the years I return again and again to hear The Small Faces sing Itchykoo Park. It all seems such a dream. Steve Marriott’s pleasure and Ronnie Laine’s pleasure and their back and forth expressions. Their Carnaby Street fashions.

I argue with myself and contrast realities. The rebellious joy in Itchykoo Park juxtaposed with Joos de Momper the Younger documenting great Babel. Soon to crumble. Soon to fall.

The laboratories & the madness of Babel. Soon to crumble. Soon to fall.

No Wonder My Hand Looks Old

I took photos this summer of flowers. They looked like flying bees. Or bee-like entities.

Sitting outside in a cafe patio this past weekend with my Hypnogogia Book 1 & Book 2 drawing collective buddies Charles and Marc I touched a tickle on my knuckle. Then a yellow jacket bit me. I think he bit me and stung me. Didn’t feel bad at first. At three in the morning I woke up with a swollen hand filled with pulsing needle-like pain.

Made a paste with baking soda. Soothing. The paste was dried in the morning on the plastic lid like terrain on a fragile planet. The powdery planet or maybe the paste planet.

My hand puffed-up like a blow fish. From one little bite! Or sting! Or both. What shocked me the most was how old my hand looked. How both hands looked old. The bigger and the lesser. In other news Bob Dylan is 80.

Last night I watched one of those ‘reaction’ videos. Younger people react to older songs. One guy loved Dylan singing One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) in Rolling Thunder Revue.

Dylan brought his Rolling Thunder Revue to Toronto Dec. 1 & 2, 1975. One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) is on the playlist both nights. I don’t remember which of the two nights I went. It was a long time ago. No wonder my hand looks old.

Watch here

When I was a boy in the Missouri Ozarks I disturbed a yellow jackets’ mansion down some secret hole in the dirt. They attacked. At that moment the mailman walked up and said, ‘You’re not going to let those little things bother you are you?’

Well, yes.

I remember amber-coloured sorghum syrup in a tin gallon can. Maybe aluminum. I remember tapping down the lid. We spread sorghum on bread and poured it over pancakes. Sorghum likes to grow in thin clay soil. Missouri has a lot of thin clay soil. When they boil down the grain for syrup it’s called ‘the long sweetening.’

I said this to myself right now in the cadence of the voices I heard as a boy. The long sweetening. Sounds like a phrase from long, long ago. No wonder my hand looks old.

One Thing Leads to Another

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

Two-dimensional alchemy.

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.

Bird Vision

I did this painting titled ‘Bird Vision’ this summer on a large sheet of mid-weight mixed-media paper. I liked the paper’s softness. I tacked it to a piece of plywood resting that on my easel. Then just started. The artist Marc Cohen described it as ‘Neo-Neolithic with a touch of Fauve.’

GIF Experiments: 27 (Run For The Exit)

My (old) Photoshop 5 program became impossible to work with. Some issue with ‘scratch discs.’ So I worked on a 33′ X 5′ roll of Italian paper for a few weeks and developed some writing ideas.

Then I remembered my blog (!) and made this GIF circumventing the ‘scratch-disc’ issue with a simpler arrangement of frames.

GIF Experiments: 25 (Exploring Five Lines from Lyon by Pierre L’Abbe)

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.  

July 10, 2013

I am working on a new GIF to accompany 5 lines from Lyon by Pierre L’Abbe. The stanza he sent me is so evocative I keep creating new images. So a few more days until I post that.

In the meantime, in a file folder, I found a poem & drawing from July 10, 2013. Close to eight years ago. My dryer was broken, though not the washing machine, so I went to the laundromat with bags of wet clothing. I brought a pen and paper.

The memory of writing a poem in the laundromat impacts me more than re-reading the poem. The poem touches on loss. It was a big deal at the time. As big as the universe. The drawing seems to be about the future. And loss as well.

He examines something, a memory, maybe it belonged to somebody, while his body transforms. He’s growing wings made of fossils or maybe a spiked spinal column has departed. Disappearing. His tears fall channeled into ancient patterns. Or maybe those channels teach him new patterns. Giving him fuel. Leaves, or flames, grow from his eyes. A drawing about vision.

A quickly sketched ink drawing might express many secrets. Something unknown always at work.

GIF Experiments: 24 (The Ronettes… although)

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.