When time turns in upon itself, you question everything

I’ve been on a new trajectory. It’s great; it’s weird, It’s new. I love new.

I also love Old. That’s neither here nor there. I’ve been feeling like a teenager again, lately. In the sense where I’m acutely aware how temporary so many people in one’s life tend to be. It’s not a judgement call; only acknowledgement of reality.

Most folks are temporary. There’s a time during which you overlap. It ends.

The thing to always remember is that you’re permanent. Be permanent to yourself. A solid. And recognize those who exhibit permanent qualities in return— they’re your rocks. Will help get you to your True North. The Keepers.

 

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Summer swords

In summer my fingernails
grow like weeds—
just grow and grow and there’s
no stopping them.
All that vitamin d; sunlight
so I have to clip, trim,
file. Sand down the edges
that snag on my shirt or a
neighboring nail.

They’re long now, but instead of
cutting, clipping, reigning in, I
have the urge to paint them.
The brightest color I can find.
I’ve no patience for that
occupation. Always I ruin
the lacquer, a fidgeting sitter,
and even when I don’t, the color
soon chips away. My hands
are tools; these nails are daggers,
diggers, makers.

But I chafe at practicality
in back-to-school season.
So I’ll color instead of clip
and wait for them to chip—
a reminder that nothing lasts
forever, not even lacquer, or
fingernails, and definitely
not summer.

An architecture of isolation

 

houses and wiresThe wires are a connective element; a conduit of civilizing electricity, yet there is an insistence on isolation inherent in the design of some of the houses here. Beyond an eye toward privacy, they sometimes feel fortress-like, extending a feeling of invitation only to those already familiar; only to those whose homes they are.

On a grey day, after the season has come to a close, these intimations feel exaggerated, thrown into relief, creating a different sense of drama— the sunny delights of summer recede, leave behind arresting silhouettes along the shore and among the stands of trees.

A house in the pinesWires and branches

The hum in the wires

Wires on a barrier island

There is a hum in the wires. It’s faint but if you close your eyes it’ll find you. It was there before the wires were strung, but in them it found a conduit. It’s elemental, but not the way you may think. It’s not the wind, either. Those forces are altogether different to what sings along these undulating lines.

Elegant instruments, arrayed in bowls

A sculpture in Florence
A sculpture in Florence

There is a room full of young women lounging in or at the edges of inviting pools of water. The room has an otherworldly atmosphere, with dim, colored lighting and biomorphic curves in the walls and ceilings. It feels, looks like a grotto; like some ethereal rendering of a subterranean brothel. On low ledges all around there are sleek bowls containing delicate and beautiful shapes that look at first inspection as if they are made of glass, but they feel gelatinous. There’s liquid or water in the bowls. The shapes float like jellyfish.

They are ornamented in impossibly-detailed patterns. I ask one of the women what they are, pointing to one near her; bell-shaped, and small. She informs me that this particular model is for cutting off one’s arm. I ask “Why on earth would anyone want to do that?” She doesn’t answer, but nearby I suddenly notice a bowl of fingers, small and red; transforming the liquid like ink blooming in water.

Insistent with my inquiry, I ask her how such a thing could possibly cut through an arm, or anything at all, as I lift one of the instruments out of a bowl and display its gelatinous quality, how soft and malleable. It has only enough density to hold its intended shape. This seems to interest her, and she looks at the object as I hold it, but doesn’t answer this either. I wonder if there’s some quality about the material of which I’m unaware— if sudden pressure is applied, perhaps it becomes more rigid, like quicksand, but maybe fine or sharp.

It remained a mystery, as did the nature or reason for the room itself, the girls, and the the other instruments. It struck me that some of the glass tools looked vaguely like those long-ago diminutive shoes for the footbound.

.

(~2005; recently edited)

The shapes created by the spaces between things

watercolor painting of poppies in sunlight
Poppies in sunlight (watercolor)

One of the reasons I enjoy poetry is because it comprises all of my favorite ways of making. It’s creating images with words, yes; a kind of storytelling. But it’s about so much more than just the correct or precise words —more than denotation or connotation— it’s also about design.

It’s about how the words interact with the space around them; make a composition, make aural and visual rhythms; remainders as important as omissions.

As in any kind of composition, the negative space is crucial.

watercolor painting: fraternal twins
Fraternal twins (watercolor)

Things bound with waxed sail thread and resin

drawing of mountains, riversMy subconscious has been working on a thesis for me lately; broadcasting things which on the surface (flattened and simplified by my waking mind) appear disparate, but on closer inspection are stitched together by a continuous thread.

Its thesis is about crafting sensible (or at least legible, recognizable) solutions, guides, codes to amorphous and unformed problems. Striving to find concrete solutions to riddles or puzzles only hinted at. Trying to map a place whose geography and even location is ever-shifting.

A reminder that, sometimes, the answers one wants or needs are unattainable because one is asking the wrong questions. It’s telegraphing this to me visually; that’s how I best understand the world. And the message coming through: I must widen my frame of reference, my view, in order to ask the right questions.

‘Maps for cephalopods’ is perhaps the most obvious— my subconscious’ version of hitting me over the head; a wry attempt at a movie-montage or voice-over exposition— and its point at least two-fold;

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