poemimage

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

Category: Poetic & Visual Narrative

Ceremonial (homage to Six Days on the Road)

The road less taken, pupil of the eye

Joseph Beuys’ hat, sparrow, rolling wheels

Tarkovsky’s camera, broom, levitating laboratory

Six days on the road I’m gonna make it home tonight.

More pet rock, more Jojo Rabbit

More The Ramones, more amnesia in blue fish

More candle flame within fossil-bed

More typewriter in fog

Six days on the road I’m gonna make it home tonight.

More icicle tattoo, more Pointillism

More recline on golden lion sipping absinthe

More maze of Byzantium, more obsidian telephone

Six days on the road I’m gonna make it home tonight.

More grasshoppers in her wondrous hair

More snow sharp as thumbnail, more invisible typhoon

more evidence of blossom, more tree root-rotting

Six days on the road I’m gonna make it home tonight.

O’ robe covered in black tar, O’ shadow like a cloak

O’ she spoke in truth, O’ I died in truth

O’ ironing board made of Noah’s ark

Six days on the road I’m gonna make it home tonight.

O’ heartbeat long for Jupiter, O’ broken thermometer

O’ heel on Beatle boots, O’ whispering, O’ dirty dishes

O’ blood on envelope, O’ cat staying out all night

Six days on the road I’m gonna make it home tonight.

Ceremonial aspirin, ceremonial clock-radio, ceremonial feet on the floor

Ceremonial Dharmachakra, ceremonial embroidery

Ceremonial right from wrong

Six days on the road I’m gonna make it home tonight.

Image: Wheel of Sun temple of Konarak World Heritage monument: Orissa, India

Almost!

A bit more, a bit more, soon finished.

A 33′ X 5′ painting on Fabriano mixed-media paper, a soft yet substantial texture.

Inks, water-soluble graphite, gouache, watercolour, watercolour pencil.

Mostly materials used for smaller works and yet here we are.

Blues. Druidic blue. Pictish Blue.

It came to me – how to complete this work. Soon the final section.

In progress:

A medieval hedgehog decides my painting shall become an illuminated manuscript
The original plan was to use hundreds of sketches (such as the ink drawings above) but it didn’t work out that way.
Soon I will deal with the final 36.”
How quickly everything looks like the scene of an earthquake!
Many hours crawling on the floor since April, 2021.

Heavy Paper, Deep Blacks, White Whites

Recent work I’d forgotten.

Heavy paper, deep blacks, white whites.

Came out more sepia-cream in the photographs.

Heavy watercolour paper.

India ink, white ink,

white gouache, black gouache.

Full-size works I folded then tore by hand.

Smaller now than a single newspaper page.

I don’t remember why.

Older phone camera can’t capture the

texture, depth & edge.

I like the mistaken sepia-cream.

Deep-sea psyche-diving during first lockdown.

Abstractions, realism, touch of symbolism,

the tactile.

Via disorientation:

Seeing as fins

fins as perception

perception as touch

touch as seeing.

Some daylight photos showing more detail:

GIF Experiments: 31 (Crack in the narrative)

Once I shattered my ankle. An ocean of cracks.

The shattered ankle followed two impossible years.

Everything started up again like a beginning.

Like some sort of symbolic ritual.

that’s how the light gets in.

A crack, a wound, a shiver, a doubt, recalibration.

Crack in the narrative.

In Neruda’s Ode to Broken Things: cups cracked by the cold.

Leonard Cohen: There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

Lennon-McCartney: I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in… and stops my mind from wandering.

I knew a video editor who referred to ‘artifacts’ when discussing glitches.

Artifacts… of subversion… create… a new version.

Versions... of subversion… create… a new artifact.

Pop goes the weasel! Crack goes the narrative!

Pop Goes the Weasel

A penny for a spool of thread

A penny for a needle

That’s the way the money goes

Pop goes the weasel ~

Johnny’s got the whooping cough

Jenny’s got the measles

That’s the way the money goes

Pop goes the weasel ~

All around the cobbler’s bench

The monkey chased the weasel

The monkey thought twas all in fun

Pop goes the weasel ~

I’ve no time to wait or sigh

No time to wheedle

Only time to say goodbye

Pop goes the weasel ~

All around the chicken coop

Ran the little weasel

The monkey thought he had him when

Pop goes the weasel ~

Round and round the monkey ran

Till he began to wheedle

Come and catch me if you can

Pop goes the weasel ~

And then the cow jumped over the moon

The cat played the fiddle

They all began to sing the tune

Pop goes the weasel ~

No time to sing have I

No time to wheedle

Kiss me quick and then I’m off

Pop goes the weasel ~

Triskelion

A rainy day in almost morning

morning in almost winter 

winter in a ruined monument raining 

upon, stained.

S.McCabe

I’m young again she’s making tea

with orange rinds and sweet spices

washing her brushes in the sink

I yawn, breathing triskelion-shaped air.

prehistorical

She wonders have you seen her Franz Marc book

I’m sure it will appear like magic.

S.M.

The oil paintings of Giorgio Morandi on canvas

remind you of winter or rain

somebody tearing a hole in paper begins by folding

tears dampen her cheekbone

G.Morandi

inanimate centipedes in rust skitter-slide down the cave wall

triskelion-shaped jewelry ceremonially worn adorning collarbones

slides beneath half-shadow on the bumpy ledge

S.McCabe

warmed by the deafening sun aiming into, yes

well-aimed, as eagles soar hunting, 

the solstice passageway,

beneath watery golden rays

G.Morandi

the young man touching thumb to index finger

inhales glorious lungfuls of the older air 

unfolding arms and legs within the invisible rays 

of a triskelion sun

the carnyx sounded deep in memory

S.McCabe

the young man conceptually dimensional

observes cascading swirls

spinning like the arms of a forest

prehistorical

weird-wind. winding along. line-of-sight. exposed pattern.

disassembled. reassembled.

knotted. unknotted. sacred formula. column of fountains.

S.McCabe

o mystical nature o expressive runes o modern art

o animals o mystical bond o nature o modern art

o mystical nature o expressive runes o modern art

o animals o mystical bond o nature o modern art

S.McCabe

A blue horse gallops into the hollow

turning round and round

blue shadow envelops blue shadow

foreshadowing the fate of the animals.

I drink tea with orange rinds and sweet spices

I said the Franz Marc book appeared like magic

but my phone disconnected

the carnyx overwhelming the air.

S.M.
S.M.

The young man eating bread

younger than darkness

how darkness might have felt

how quickly one is young, then as now 

how quickly one is younger than darkness jauntily

wearing the scarf lightly 

forgetting how darkness felt.

.

Listen to the arrangements of roughly-cut spirals

made of paper or thin mimeograph metal

humming

OM

framing the passageway he lingers beside within

as the young lightly follow a spiral into the spiral heart 

pulsing before columns aligned as a proposal

a monument to the deafening triskelion.

prehistorical

The young man wearing a scarf

replaces the ink ribbon in his typewriter

determining pathos comparative to bathos

bathos comparative to pathos

I look up the meaning of both words

peer between sheer curtains

patterned with triskelions falling like snowflakes

prehistorical

outside my window frosted with feathery ships

lightning strikes in a series of strikes

the snowman falls like a banished patriarch turned to salt

or a birchbark canoe floating in white foam

the children of prophecy barely visible in candlelight

continue in silent procession

S.McCabe

I taste clove oil on my fingertip – over the telephone we make a plan

the operator interrupts – I look out the window

somebody sitting on top of the telephone pole raises an Iron Age carnyx

animals listen at the edge of the city

twelve angels in a diagonal pattern 4 4 4 fly overhead in a grid

I said to the operator confirmed

she said have they apprehended you-know-who

I said yet to be determined

G.Morandi
G.Morandi

The paintings of Giorgio Morandi remind you of pathos or bathos

I said you left the water running in the bath

you looked at me like Bathsheba startled

o mystical nature o expressive runes o modern art

folding the letter written in shy cursive

the small-time & sly dealer, off to incarceration

said goodbye

cautioning you meeting with me.

S.McCabe

The train pulls away from the empty station 

embers spark, quieting, burn out on the clay-bed

& carved upon the locomotive’s obsidian gleaming surface

incised triskelions sparkle like stars.

I’m young again she’s making tea

with orange rinds and sweet spices

I said I mean the sink

but my phone disconnected

the carnyx overwhelming the air.

manuscript illumination
G.Morandi
G.Morandi

The paintings of Giorgio Morandi remind you of bathos or pathos

I said invisible ink is made visible using heat

you looked at me like Bathsheba covering herself

o animals o mystical bond o nature o modern art

folding the letter delivered by courier 

the director of the museum of phenomena

summons you

communicating secretly

only you immediately might save the mystery.

S.McCabe

The train pulls away from the empty station 

embers spark, quieting, burn out on the clay-bed

& carved upon the locomotive’s obsidian gleaming surface

incised triskelions sparkle like stars.

I’m young again she’s making tea

with orange rinds and sweet spices

I said plug in the iron to read the words

but my phone disconnected

the carnyx overwhelming the air.

I determine to read

The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel

supposedly soon

But something sooner may appear:

an almanac of magic numbers within a weathered spine

or a mist above the bog appearing out of nowhere

as if in a thought 

or your long-lost triskelion pendent

reminding the telephone operator to

attend night school.

prehistorical

Perhaps The Power of the Powerless is written in the power of iron 

an iron sun lost in the bog

or simply an iron moon.

S.M.

Something occurred ~ this morning as I yawned

listening to the bird ~ egg and nest 

serenade curvilinear branches ~ of the triskelion tree

overhanging the ancient ~ enchanted landscape

prehistorical

A dozen points converge instantly 

a dozen arrows reach the target

emotions, subjective and objective realities, & art forms converge 

without convergence there is no memory. 

S.McCabe collage manuscript illumination and vintage photograph
S.M.

Here & now we see & feel the flying grid of twelve angels

blissfully wed to bone-like shapes 

their nature triskelion-like

prehistorical

washing in the wind ~ sounding the carnyx

washing in the river ~ washing in salt

warning of the psychological dislocation of a society without convergence

verily, verily I warn thee.

S.M.

The messenger drinking water from the canteen

treasures the distance between buried clay hills 

racing the wind he throws down his arms

kneeling to press one ear beside clover blooming

voices darting through viridian-green weeds 

ivy-like spiral at the base of round towers

echo inside the curving walls

spinning like the green & brown arms of a forest.

Wind

prehistorical

rising to soften the contours of mounds (blurred)

sustaining the triskelion river-sound (preserved)

dividing above carved log-boats on the river afloat

fishermen cast lightly into the gloaming

the great kerbstone looming

a fountain of clay polishes the worn stone axe

I telephone you.

S.M.

You are born as promised in the embroidery of magicians

Steven McCabe

down around the roots of hollow reeds

you divine

dig wet sediment bare-handed

dedicate yourself to ancient law

Down around the roots of hollow reeds 

each innocent assigned twelve avenging angels

down around the roots of hollow reeds, the

sediment coughing up stones for shelter .

prehistorical

In the beginning was the word

buried in the manuscript of river-clay

spinning three-sided.

S.M.
S.M.

12/12/21 – 1/2/22 equals 21 days & All Best to You!

Update: I spent the last three days editing (in ‘real time’ on this blog) the poem that started as Ventilator, changed to Starlight, and ended up as Conversation With a Tree. I have a bad habit of posting first drafts then editing over the next few days.

Update: On June 2, 2021 I posted this: https://poemimage.com/category/x-steven-mccabe-1-10-complete-by-one-unit-of-measurement/

I was at that early point 1/10th complete painting a 33′ X 5′ roll of Italian mixed-media paper working left to right.

Today I am 75% complete. Gouache, watercolour, inks, water-soluble graphite crayon. Blues, whites, shades of black. Working title: Druidica Blue – Deja Vu. The themes of this painting carry great meaning for me.

I see light at the end of the tunnel. Soon 80% complete.

A slew of other things also require my attention.

I wish you well over the Solstice, Christmas and Hanukkah season. If I’ve missed your religious experience forgive me. I look forward to your postings when I return.

All best to you!

Conversation With a Tree

I was walking down the street on my way to the club,

though it was a bit early,

to see if my connection in the underworld

could score me a certain device

when I heard my name.

I looked up and saw a big face.

Tree said, ‘Where are you going?’

I said, ‘Canterbury.’

Tree said, ‘Wrong way. And you’re not Chaucer.’

I said, ‘Blake lives down that laneway. Maybe I’m William Blake.’

Tree took a step back and said, ‘William Blake!

Imagine I told you I was a reindeer or a shaman wearing

an enchanted curvilinear headdress.’

I said, ‘You could easily be

and still be Tree.’

Tree stepped back once more and said,

‘Imagine enchanted space all-round, horizontal & vertical.

Me pumping air, enough, for the two of us –

both of us, Blake & reindeer & shaman too

day & night.

So tell me what you really need.’

I considered the question and said,

‘ More so than a certain device

I need the light of one star

flooding my plum, smoke-swirled heart.’

Tree said,In this you are not alone.’

Tree huffed & came up close again curvilinear & vertical

Pointing away, far, to distant golden sand,

horizontal beneath vast night, black as smoke, arcing.

Tree said, ‘Over there. Those three figures

on camel on foot

swirled up & fishing about

aimed into a brilliance

& trudging below,

sloughing into the vast night…’

Tree said, ‘Go.

And while you’re at it, stay away from the underworld.

I know about your connection.’

I said, ‘Okay Tree.’

Tree said, ‘Okay,’ also

in a voice rough as bark

familiar with the underworld.

Two Images in Combination, a Quote From Krishnamurti, the Missing Word Recovered + Yin Yang

One empty space binding two sounds

Two words bind silent-space sound

Three words missing in the empty field

Four words found in neighbouring silence.

It is no measure of ______ to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly ____ society.

Combination _____.

___________ image.

Monday Report

My posting last week (Bring Out the Trees in the Heart) went from jumble to rumble. From first draft to resonance of final draft in real time over two or three days online editing.

I decided to make chicken soup yesterday but found one potato only. Should I walk 20 minutes & save 1.00 on a bag of organic potatoes or 40 minutes & save 1.75 at a small store I like. Instead I went down to the lakeshore with my artist friends Charles and Marc. We walked around in biting wind & driving thin snow discussing, among other things, the artist Cecily Brown.

A young artist this past week told me about the new movie Trial of the Chicago Seven and wondered what I knew about the subject matter. One thing is connected to another. It brought back a flood of connections I shared with him.

I had an old doctors’ bag like this, although black, the summer I was seventeen and headed out for California. Instead I ended up in a traveling carnival, one of the many that no longer exist, working for an artist who had a psychedelic tent show and two other attractions. I met & dialogued with the (late) artist’s daughter on Facebook.

I remembered the doctors’ bag after watching a few clips of the movie Trial of the Chicago Seven on YouTube and instinctively compared now to then.

Mixed-media on cardboard 8.5″ X 11″ 2020

From jumbled mass

In biting wind & driving thin snow

intuitively

one of the many that no longer exist.

The reason I remembered.

Cha

Bring Out the Trees in the Heart

The unseen has now been seen

Bring out the nets braided with theory

Theories made of thread

Threads made of air

Bring out the threads made of air

One filament of ornamental air encoded within a supposed entity

Transmitting thirst

Hail the laws of Cyrus!

A juror concealed within valves of light

Whistles alarm sound-song sharp as a needle

Revealed

In mound-like hills

A supposed entity carries forward the encoded cylindrical laws of Cyrus

The unseen has now been seen – running upon a wall

Place the ladder beside a wall

Bring out the trees in the heart 

Bring out the heart in the psyche

Forgotten in the garden light-years away

Bring out the ladders built of light-years

One filament of ornamental air encoded within a supposed entity

Transmitting hunger

Hail the laws of Cyrus!

Laws made of ladders reach into star-cycles

A juror concealed within valves of light

Whistles alarm sound-song sharp as a needle

Revealing

A supposed entity carries forward the encoded cylindrical laws of Cyrus

The unseen has now been seen – moving its lips

On TV – remember TV?

One filament of ornamental air encoded within a supposed entity

Transmitting

The unseen remember justice

Ten by ten the innocent fall

In a garden light-years away

A supposed entity

Chanting

Bring out the nets braided with theory

And theories built of ladders

Hail the laws of Cyrus!

A juror concealed within valves of light

Whistles alarm

Within a mound-like hill

Law encodes a star-cycle of justice

One by one the guilty await

A supposed entity

Carries forward the encoded cylindrical laws of Cyrus

Chanting

*

*

*

I juxtaposed stills from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) with stills from a televised theatrical production of Twelve Angry Men (1954). I used the copyrighted images under fair play provisions for educational or commentary (& non-profit) purposes.