poemimage

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

Category: Visual Art

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.

1/10 complete by one unit of measurement

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.

30″ X 40″

Finished this last summer and spent the last two days ‘touching it up.’ More like completely reworking it. It’s part of a ‘blue-ish’ series called Welcome to The Ice Age.

I needed to do something tactile after an overwhelming slew of ‘conceptual’ stuff generated piles of paper (& text) over a month or more. And then the GIF experiments.

What’s strange about Photoshop is how it reveals something when you manipulate the image. Now I see a Druidic figure in the upper right  observing the central image in the painting.

It seems he was there all along. And horned no less. I didn’t notice. Cernunnos? Celtic shaman?

*

*

*

 

In the Temple of the Cauldron of the Garden of the Sun

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.

 

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…

 

JFK at Woodstock

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.

 

HABITS by Majlinda Bashllari

Around here we measure everything

words, costs, speeds–

so nobody gets hurt

be sorry et cetera.

Define and predict: the span of germs,

the time of dinosaurs,

the era of humans.

Expiry dates on foods

favour short-lived romances

over the lifetime ones.

We’re being practical.

We measure tumours.

Sizes disturb us

same as their unyieldingness.

We keep notes. Calculate and file.

Out of stubbornness

we look for equals.


The whereabouts of clouds

we know precisely. Not so sure

about our thoughts,


we get near them,

they dodge

and wave –


young hands inside a steep creek.

Realm of flesh fingers that measure

the cruelty of flow.

Born in Albania, Majlinda Bashllari is the author of two poetry collections, Një udhë për në shtëpi (A road to home), published in Tirana, Albania (Morava, 2007) & Love is a very long word, published by Guernica Editions in 2016. Bashllari’s work has appeared in numerous Albanian art and literature magazines and in Albanian anthologies of essays and short stories. She lives in Toronto.

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

From Satire to Symbol to Where is the Poem in That?

4 in 1 two

Recently in Canada we had a minor brouhaha in Parliament.  A satirical magazine depicted the former Leader of the Opposition wearing a neck brace with his caucus in body casts, wheelchairs, etc…

circle 23

I cropped the photo in a circle & added text to make my own satirical statement. No. I decided. Something else. So I began to manipulate the images. Emerging psychedelic shapes with the politician becoming 19th century-like wearing a clerical or clown collar.

4 in one

Shapes emerged as I worked intuitively with Photoshop.

circle 7

A symbol began to emerge. Or something that looked like it wanted to be a symbol.

with bordersymbol of om

Recently my investigations have led me (in books & online) to India where the Celtic God Cernunnos is preceded by a similarly depicted figure revealed by artifacts from the Indus Valley.

cultural contrast

The similarities of the visual language are striking. Mythologies are a bit like dreams, arising from the same ‘bedrock’ of consciousness. Or from somewhere beneath the bedrock.

green man in India

Jokes also lead to interesting places. And who might be both psychedelic and from an earlier century while wearing a clerical – clown collar. The depictor. Or the depicted. Or someone else entirely. And where is the poem in that?

where is the poetrywhere is the poetrywhere is the poetry

Original photo credit: The Beaverton