Self Portrait #14: More Man Ray (Revisited)

man ray head shot comp

I started with a question, as I so often do:  what kind of alive am I?  A black and white head resting on a mélange of pattern and color—my mask, the face I offered to the world, was meant to be unnoticed.  Fade to grey, merge with the background, don’t draw attention, don’t stand out.  Could I change?

Alas, my clothing choices have remained much the same since I questioned them in 2016.  Black, black and more black.  A brightly colored scarf, perhaps.  I still wish to remain unperceived as I make my way through the world.  But now I wonder:  is alive only visible on the surface of things?  Or can we gift the world with rainbows from the inside out?

unseen waves absorbed
reflected transformed singing
colors dancing light

head shot close up s

For Kim’s dVerse prompt:  Snapshots of our Lives.  You can see the original post with the complete self-portrait collage, as well as the Delmore Schwartz poem that inspired my original poem, here.

My 100 Self-Portrait Project is still stalled at #21.

a toast

a toast comp 2s

shall
we drink
to our fears?–
summoning lost
solidarity–
drowning pain with spirit
voices that echo and join
each other in chorused silence
broken like the bread we wish to share

A nonet for Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday, inspired by the photo provided by Padre’s Ramblings, above.  The artwork has no direct relation to either the photo or the words, but the wish to merge in our isolation runs parallel to both.

I haven’t been happy with most of the art I’ve done in the past month–I was really having trouble focusing even before the world became so uncertain–but one thing I did to try to get started was just some random drawing.  This is the before and after of one day’s work.  I drew with pencils and then used neocolors dipped in water on top.  I can’t say I’m satisfied, but maybe with some stitching on top…(the solution to many dilemmas I find)

Veteran’s Day 2019

dad and grandpa s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fathers of fathers
a photograph, a silence—
echoes enduring

My father and his father drawn from a photo–circa World War II.  Must have been right before my father left for Europe.  My grandfather remained in the States for the Second World War.  He also served in WWI.

veterans day 2015 2s

We clothe our dead from the two World Wars in nostalgia, but conflicts since then have become more frequent, and murkier, and today’s veterans have suicide rates that keep rising, despite sporadic efforts to find a way to help their troubled lives.

“More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (NY Times, November 1, 2019)

veterans day 2015 1s

I wrote about this issue for Veteran’s Day in 2015 with the embroidered newspaper article about one Marine Regiment and the mounting suicides among its members.  It was a heartbreaking read, and I made a nonet from phrases taken from the text.

veterans day 2015 4s

He was doomed. Doomed to watch his friends die.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
He never mentioned the war.
The funerals after.
He was still alive.
He did not care
to try to.
Gave up.
Scared.

Eyes
empty.
What they saw.
Directionless,
but what choice was there?
It becomes part of you.
He never mentioned the war.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
Only regrets and flashbacks remained.

The very best way to honor our veterans would be to find a way to avoid the need for their sacrifices in the first place.  But given the likelihood of that occurring, we can at least acknowledge their pain, attempt to support them, and try to find a way to return some source of connection and meaning to their lives.

veterans day 2015 5s

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Linking to Frank Tassone’s #haikai Challenge #112 for Veteran’s Day.

 

 

self portrait

self portrait comp

Once again
I study the lines
on this face,
reflecting–
depending on the angle
both parents appear.

At different
ages both of my
daughters looked
like I did
in those black and white photos
I inherited.

How do we
become who we are?
cells that form
shapes of hands,
a certain transcribed motion–
time in a mirror.

Ammol at dVerse has asked us to write a portrait poem.  In the past I’ve done a series of self-portraits in the style of other artists (with poetic accompaniment), but in this case I just took 3 recent drawings in my own style, an occasional morning exercise.

hand s

I also like to draw my hands.

 

severed

torso 2s

to set in stone–
the whiteness of marble
polished, glowing,
rendered with light

an image meant to be immortal

plundered and abused
by the movements
of men and time—

faceless and unlimbed now

the imperfection of decay–
reassembling beginnings
over shadows
of the end

Merril is the host for the dVerse quadrille, using the word “set”.  I drew this Greek sculpture torso a while ago, and added some watercolor on top of the drawing.  What remains of the original figure has its own beauty.