This weekend, I enjoyed my first art opening in a decade. I love to play with word and image. I'd like to think I just brilliantly think of metaphors, but I don't. I simply am drawn to an image and then over time I notice the idioms, the parallels and finally the metaphor-- the layers of a symbol that seemed to chose me rather than the other way around. One of the best ways to think about a symbol is to paint it. The other way I love, of course, is poetry. Here in my blog I hammer out a rough version. Then later I revise them, after they have a chance to sit and age awhile.
out of a book of squares
just like me
a cavernous hole
I'm lifted out
by hands with wings
Blue-eyed Edmund, we loved you so-- each and every freckle!
Poor, middle child, we understand you
wanted attention, but why did you ever enter that sleigh?
Why eat her poison, no matter the lure of pink delight?
You missed Mother didn't you? That's what you really wanted.
Poor, blind boy, needing more love than we could give.
You swallowed poison to carry your tortured mind to
sleep and dream. Ah, you thought you were dreaming, didn't you?
You went to Death's table but a lion-maned son cut
a deal for your life- one body given for you.
Funny how you became King, all forgotten and forgiven-- But back
in the real world. How are you really doing? How do you live every
day a traitor-king, a Judas forgiven?
Last week I read a picture book to my little one about a dragon who wants to make friends. Afterwards we couldn't help rewriting a sequel about what we would do if we actually had a dragon. Dragons are something I didn't know I loved until my best friend from college came to visit and challenged me to an all night debate on whether dragons exist. Since then I've started a whole fantasy series of novels about dragons and what they mean and what they are. Something so deep of course, I've only begun to scratch the surface and -- only completed half of the first novel. Regardless, I secretly type out conversations with dragons in my novel folder and have spent the five years or so since then researching dragons (only a few more years to go).
Here is an old snippet I found from 2002 in my poetry journal during my "feminist" period that proves I loved dragons before I even knew it... Sometimes even the clouds look like dragons which smoke filled nostrils and wispy tails and even the stars frown at what I say against God & Man
At the art studio, I'm working on a collection of paintings I'm calling the Love Stamp series. They commemorate important occasions in our life, we want to remember. Whether bad or good, I think how we remember something is what makes us human and what forms who we are. Sometimes we need to commemorate an occasion to forget it and move on; to reopen our calendar, wash it clean from past traumatic events. Here is a quote from my poem called, Archive,
Some insist memories stick to our subconscious like stamps on a postcard with Jungian script-- Dear Ego, . . . . Love Id . . . .
So three years after this poem, one of my paintings commemorates the journey of love, with a series of stamps. Stamps are a great symbol for the subconscious message, the dream, the idea, the window to the soul. In looking through my love poetry to help with my love letter pairing, I found it lacking. Here is my poem with some of those thoughts in the subtext as I keep processing. Poetry is healing they say and so is art. I'm hoping to do both together.
Lie to me now
They say liars don't use metaphors,
can't use metaphors because
how would they know?
You can't describe something
poetically that never happened
that you've never felt.
So liars are not poets
or poetry can't lie?
They say metaphors
and rapid eye movement can
heal you 96% of the way
to wholeness from Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So the doctor will let you
fill in the blank with
with a blue screen behind
their white helvetica font.
You'll stare at a white dot. Run
your eyes from left to right
while metaphors bloom
in your mind like
sunflowers after a late
summer rain. Metaphors
that heals all your cracks
bring back to life your dry
dead stalks. With a little
green in your heart again.
You can breath. It's
really just writing poetry.
Running your eyes from
left to right over and over
writing and rewriting
metaphors like working
out a knot in the yellow ball of
yarn that your darn cat unraveled on the floor. Yellow for
fear of course, because that's
a metaphor too.
Metaphors inhibit lying, or
maybe they are more true
than regular truth. It's safe
to say-- you can't lie and write
poetry at the same time.
The truth comes out whether
you want it to or not. Whether
you can see or it or not.
I mean, please-- No one write
love poems using plastic flowers
and radishes as their metaphors.
You've got work to do.
Metaphors can heal you
96% they say. So Love,
go for the other four.
Last week I entered some poems about motherhood in answer to a call for poems. I edited my rhyming poem about Morning Glories into something I think is stronger, doesn't rhyme, and fits better with my new mode as a single mother. In writing this poem I dug into the famed Greek myth of a certain flower and found it belonged to the daffodil family. I also discovered the following flower was also called a paperwhite. Funny as I had been wanting to use the image "white as paper." This happens a lot in poetry. Turns out the poem is already half written and you just research to give yourself permission to go ahead and write. Here's how one of them turned out.