poemimage

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

Tag: JFK

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.

 

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

How We Listened

after

Have you forgotten how we listened

spectral

to what was not being said.

colourful dream

The sun and the night both shining in Autumn.

sepia4

Shining upon what is concealed

after

& beneath the crossroads,

this is not d

a deeply buried wind

ruin 3

streaming through the empty house.

after

Dedicated to my (late) brother Larry, whose birthday is 2/22, who cried over his black fish floating belly up, who slipped climbing the crabapple tree & gashed his belly open with a nail. We passed through the cage of black & white TV broadcasting one Friday late into the night and throughout the weekend until a funeral on Monday.

sepia4

My video poem concerning this event: https://vimeo.com/11304739

colourful dreamspiral 2

I think I found the spiral Xray online a couple of years ago. Of course , neither am I claiming any copyright credit for the photographs of J.F.K.’s funeral. A detail from a still photo of a performer riding a horse in my video poem is also in the mix. I will take some credit for that.

spiral 2

November 22, 1963

I used excerpts from my mother’s journal(s) in some of the poetry. The Super 8 footage is from Kashmir & Europe in the 1960s courtesy T. Nanavati. I remember watching the family black and white television the night of the Kennedy assassination with my mother. The haunting never left me. The Beatles had not yet arrived. The war in Vietnam, ironically enough, was just about to kick in high gear. My father spent the weekend deer hunting. Years later, reading Robert Bly’s Iron John, this hit me like a sledgehammer. Although I view the event through a political prism I choose to deal with it in the context of mythic time.

tablet

Director: Steven McCabe
Director of Photography: Eric Gerard
Editor: Cliff Caines
Chanting: Sandra Phillips
Electronic/ambient music: DreamSTATE
Narration: Lynn Harrigan & Tanya Nanavati
Performers: Preethi Gopinath/Tanya Nanavati/Nicole Pillar/Paula Skimin
Poetry: Steven McCabe
Sound & online: Konrad Skręta

tablet

You Were Brave in that Holy War by Hafiz

too

You have done well In the contest of madness.

bath

You were brave in that holy war.

blue on blue

You have all the honorable wounds Of one who has tried to find love Where the Beautiful Bird Does not drink.

dancer

May I speak to you Like we are close And locked away together? Once I found a stray kitten And I used to soak my fingers In warm milk;

f2

It came to think I was five mothers On one hand.

garden

Wayfarer, Why not rest your tired body? Lean back and close your eyes.

shadow

Come morning I will kneel by your side and feed you. I will so gently Spread open your mouth And let you taste something of my Sacred mind and life.

feather

Surely There is something wrong With your ideas of God

new

O, surely there is something wrong With your ideas of God

shadow

If you think Our Beloved would not be so Tender.

scratched

– The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the great Sufi Master

translated by Daniel Ladinsky

trial and error

The smiling image of Jacqueline Kennedy in Dallas contrasting with the shock and horror she soon experienced has haunted me since my youth. Is it enough to say this Hafiz poem is about coming to terms with grief in a metaphysical context? I do not claim to be an expert on such things but with this project I attempt to address grief. I created digital variations of a coloured – pencil drawing of Mrs. Kennedy in Dallas, November 22, 1963. I used seven of these drawings for a collage series, including drawing & painting, on handmade Japanese paper for a 2003 exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of JFK’s death. The poetry video My Story Is Not My Own (below) continues the theme:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17LZ1XqubyU

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