When I was young I painted a woman.
I called her Our Lady of Manhattan—
just an ordinary dark-haired mortal, her hand raised
in blessing. What was she blessing?
Motherhood is the basic means by which life continues.
Birth is messy. Life is messy.
What child is this? Blood, the darkness before light.
Hold the light. Hold the shadow too.
The sun dies and is reborn inside its own ashes–
I stand on the edge inside the mirror that reflects both ways.
The narrative enters, fills me with all that I will never comprehend–
bones brimmed into silence, mind beset by stars.
The shelter of trees, the shield of a raptor’s wing–
the cover of the night sky, the protection of the moon–
it won’t be long before all we have lost will be forgotten,
visiting us only in strange incoherent dreams.
They were merely stories superimposed on infinity–
currents traveling through veins beneath transparent skin.
How can you reproduce the alchemy of angels?—
In the beginning, the blood of roses—ever after, the crown of thorns.
My poem Between Silences, a response to the above painting Hymn to the Virgin, by Theodoros Poulakis, was published at The Ekphrastic Review on Friday. I have been thinking about that painting, which I did in the late 1970s, and I went to the storage room to look for it.
I was amazed at how many paintings from that time that I thought were lost were packed away in garbage bags and in boxes. I brought Our Lady back to photo and hang in my office, as she did so many residences ago. One of my projects for 2023 is to go though all that old art and photo it too. Besides the paintings there are about 15 portfolios which I think contain mostly collages, but who knows? I often look at things I did only 5 years ago and have no memory of doing them at all.
My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for her continued support of my work and the interaction of visual art and words.