It is not a willow green but empty cascading
pausing to catch her breath
pulls aside her buggy bulging with groceries
so I can pass chest deep in freezing waters
wearing a necklace of antelope teeth.
It is not a willow green but empty crouched like guardian stalactites
the lady said we all make one big mistake
look at me now
I cannot walk to the store
mountains of ice destroy the great cities.
It is not a willow green but empty burning like a sacred candle nine minutes north
I brush my hand against green leaves
on the less-dignified bush mere shrubbery
encroaching upon the sidewalk & bleeding on strangers
I said green arrives each spring
in oceans of hope
the heart balances the head
one wonders why.
It is not a willow green but empty shimmering like a waterfall
aiming directed breath like a mastodon
she inhales tottering
she said the shadow words green but empty…
I reach my hand into the city bush green but empty…
stretch my fingers into spaces large enough to fill a universe
stems, twisted branches and shadows
impersonate an atom
a pearl in deep space.
It is not a willow green but empty looking straight ahead like a god
we dance at each other stomping
I cast shadows over the sidewalk
my heart balancing my head
are you a poet
in cave language her shadow replies
I say only it is the truth
pulling her buggy into a mist made of pearls
one big mistake.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.