poemimage

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

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

Walt Whitman in Stereo

‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’

‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’

 

 

 

How I (unexpectedly) Spent My Summer Vacation

An idea for a novel came upon / me.

Whoosh.

Two words.

The next night I dreamed the title.

Five words.

I didn’t see any connection

between the title

and the idea.

I wrote on paper with 3 holes / long-hand / daily, and typed those pages.

No matter the words – I simply transcribed.

If I heard it in my head I wrote it.

No argument.

72 days later I had a first draft. And editorial notes for each segment.

I stapled each batch and stacked them on top of a cold radiator.

The typed pages are in the computer.

I emailed them to myself daily.

I didn’t edit the material

or refashion it.

I treated it like poetry

with a germination period,

alone in the dark.

 Just allow it / to arrive

from surprise destinations.

It’s in the dark now.

Whoosh.

Out of nowhere / it never failed

to arrive.

Like arriving from darkness.

A novelist told me the first draft

is the most difficult part

of the process.

This didn’t feel difficult.

Perhaps laborious.

I hope this is a good sign.

A sign in the dark.

Follow darkness

until the sign

arrives.

Whoosh.

 

 

Drawing 14 assumes new form

After I broke (shattered!) my ankle I began drawing for long periods in bed.

I used a Sharpie marker on lined paper and numbered the drawings.

Sometimes I titled the drawings and indicated how I might use them, a linocut or a painting.

Drawing 14 broke free of its mooring and reappeared after traveling through several rooms.

I recreated Drawing 14 using digital tools.

1 + 4 = 5. Some people say 5 is a dynamic number of change. An indicator of flux, of positive movement,

& some things never reappear & you realize there might be something else, down in the roots, you need to want more.

And you experience both mystery and loss

while wearing wings and antlers.

Wherever those came from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The light is warm. The light is water.

Glass continues the journey of light –
flooding the walls & flooding the floors
with colour as light as air.

I am an apprentice.

Today my wedding day.

My master creates a window for the Magi.

I invite my master to the festivities.

After bidding my guests ado

I take my bride to the wedding bed.

The Magi (flooding light) flood my master’s studio.

The light is warm. The light is water.

Tonight I am the flood.

Might I ask of you –

Might you remember –

this apprentice,

on his wedding day

and say,

The light is warm.

The light is water.

Medieval marriage by Giovannino De’ Grassi

St-Gatien’s Cathedral, Indre-et-Loire, France (1300)

 

Later he pretended the moon was a mystical source of enchantment

He fell in love with a visionary


who cared for a tree.

Her visions became commonplace,
although beautiful,
as she cared for the tree.

The knight sometimes

aimed
his telescope

at a leaf dangling in the wind,
or a branch bent low, or bark,
or beds of moss
on the edges,
warming.


Invincible
sunlight
streaming.

 

Reposed in Flight by Ned Baeck

Basement bright with skin

shows dark, rapt faces.

They hold him

in their hearts and brains.

Someone whispered the world

is not worth becoming evil for –

On the ceiling, which is the maiden mother’s floor,

they pound, and pause, and pound again.

Blood pulsing in their fists,

the pierce of loathing under their ribs.

In a shadowed mezzanine

below the conscious mind,

they gnaw on river fish,

direct you to the wrong people,

put glitter in their eyes,

control the atmosphere,

arrange stillborn thoughts in old places.

Later they will say you brought down

the old, dull, rusted sword

with your own hands – and you did –

on the samovar that hid her hand

and the bed where she bared herself.

Motionless,

bird reposed in flight,

love for whose sake everything, murderous

and merciful, is done –

It’s so quiet now,

vouchsafed to a world of sullen depravity,

a few crumbs of dust for the broom.

The true operation of your mind – follow it –

 

Ned Baeck lives in Vancouver.

His poems have recently appeared in untethered, The Continuist and Sewer Lid.

His first full-length collection of poems is forthcoming from Guernica.

would you rather wake up or have an egg

My mother told me theatre is like a rooster
but film is like a hen.
She said would you rather wake up
or have an egg?

Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal

Cathy, I’m lost,

Cathy, I’m lost, I said though I knew she was sleeping
And I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why

(Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, JFK)

lyrics Paul Simon, America

Tilting at Windmills

Lyrics by Bob Dylan from I Want You & Don Quixote by Pablo Picasso