poemimage

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

Tag: widow

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.

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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

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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;

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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.

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– 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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My Story Is Not My Own (a film poem concerning Nov. 22, 1963)

The same film with subtitles:

still with credit

In 2009 I created My Story Is Not My Own, a metaphysical & surreal film poem concerning the Kennedy assassination. My statement concerning this project is beneath the video on the YouTube page.