Nearer the end than the beginning in my ‘wordless poem’ book Nevermore Together, the protagonist (who is nameless, well because…) escapes from a prison. The floor cracks – opening to a tunnel. A tunnel that whooshes him a very long and winding distance, sort of a ‘birth canal’ or portal. But he doesn’t reappear as a newborn. Perhaps, though, he engages the world in a ‘newly born’ fashion.
I purchased a 33′ roll of Italian paper substantial enough to receive water-based materials: ink, gouache, watercolour, aquapasta medium and water-soluble graphite. The idea is to work in sections and following each section to pause, reflect on the work, and cross-reference it to what I believe to be relevant source material.
I did a new painting. With acrylic paint and water-soluble graphite. The size is 30″ X 30″. The day after it was finished I made three changes.
Working the woman’s body it became a tree body with a bird. To break up the vertical line of the cartouche I added a bird (looks like a blue jay) entering from the left. To delineate the ‘leaf-flower’ zapping the tadpole-comet-sperm sphere with its tongue I gave it a serpent’s eye, added a white line to the tongue and reworked the sphere.
A friend of mine from Romania refers to the accordion book above as a ‘cartouche.’ I feel like an archeologist discussing the cartouche in my painting. This cartouche contains a number of diagonals that lead the eye to her arm. The white of the cartouche jumps from her arm to the white of her face.
These photos are not professional quality but they do show decisions about content and composition.
In ‘real life’ the painting is not quite as turquoise but it’s also more vibrant with texture and depth. It shines brilliantly.
I will return to a regular posting schedule on this blog soon. My plan is to create linocut prints and small paintings on paper to go with poetry. My computer is slow now, older, and not syncing well with WordPress. I will put Photoshop files on a thumb drive to increase computing power.
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…
Just before Jimi Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner
A wave went through the crowd. He’s here.
Sleeping girls with feet caked in mud stirred.
Boys asleep with long wet hair awoke. He’s here.
Potheads spinning up looked down.
Potheads coming down looked up. He’s here.
Country Joe and Buffalo Springfield and Melanie
saw something moving like a river & coming into view. He’s here.
He spoke without using a mic. Ask not what your country can remember for you. Ask what you can remember for your country.
The crowd applauded and gave him a standing ovation.
‘Inauguration Day man,’ the guy next to me said.
I looked at him closely.
The pottery in the next to last image is of Cucuteni-Trypillian neolithic heritage. I thought it played off the idea of ‘pothead’ as well as being a vessel the motorcade passed through. The images superimposed over JFK in the third image are the Sri Yantra diagram and a detail from the Book of Kells representing JFK’s ancestry. JFK loved poetry and read for pleasure so these are perhaps fitting images of tactile and spiritual deep time.
I do not claim copyright on original images. I have created new, non-commercial artworks for the purpose of parody or commentary.