I was surprised and pleased to receive an email from Kristen at Visual Verse last week asking me if I would like to be one of the featured poets for July. She sent me the image, by Maria Victoria Rodriguez, and I sent her back my poem. You can see both here.
My poem “To Cleave” has been posted at Visual Verse. As I’ve done in the past, I’ve written a greatly distilled version, above. You can read the original poem here.
The art is my ink and neocolor interpretation of Tanya Layko’s prompt photo. I’ve been trying to do more work in my sketchbook, inspired by the journals of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. I got the book “Raggin’ On”, based on an exhibition of her work, out of the library. I knew her textile work, but not her drawing and painting. She often draws freely in ink, and then paints or draws or writes over and around the drawings just as freely. What I learned most from her work was not to labor too much, to get the essence down without trying too hard. Robinson had a full and interesting life.
Above is the original drawing I did, and below is Layko’s photo.
Sailing in potions. The aftermath transformed from apparition into gold. Navigating in the middle of above and below, breath and fire.
How to make a path through the shoreless sea. How to find what was left behind on its phantom boundaries.
Coiled and enclosed by emotions that have no name. Entangled in a web of circumstance.
To be alive is always a risk.
Who acknowledges your vulnerabilites? What are the objects of your devotion? When will your unknowable secrets be revealed? Where is the entrance to the far side of the darkest extremity?
Why? and why not?
We too are ensnared, following your edges into a maze of decay. We are unable to meet your gaze until it’s too late. We always search for you beyond the point of no return.
All those ghoststones, weighed down by too many betrayals. The intersection of desire and fear that paralyzes completion. The piercing shards of the broken mirror.
The spiral grows tighter, less controlled. The waves isolate and discard. The horizon is lost, the voices drowned in a desperate merging of man and beast. Which one remains after the inevitable inferno?
The distance between was always an illusion.
Last month Visual Verse had a very intriguing image, with a serpent like creature, as its ekphrastic prompt. Even before I wrote a response, I wanted to do a visual response as well. You can see the original image and the published responses here.
My prose poem wasn’t chosen for publication, but I finally made my collage and revised the text a bit for Tricia Sankey’s dVerse prompt exploring risk.