Self Portrait #14: More Man Ray

man ray head shot comp

What kind of alive am I?
Each morning, nothing new:
I drink coffee, I drift into the usual black.
Can I change into colorful costumes?  Can I?
Today a gypsy, perhaps a fortune teller too,
surprise myself and try something new,
an animal, a vegetable, an entire zoo:
I could become the old lady who
doesn’t care what other people think or do.
I could ignore them and be free
of any laughter or unkind words that come my way.
Can I sing and dance too?
Be the mask and have the mask be true?
Words have feelings,
and feelings have words:
but both need to sing
and both to begin
without self-censorship or fear.
Innocent joy: I want to
find that lost
forgotten what to do.
I’m not sure how
to make this change of black to red or blue.
Yet it’s false, not right
to pretend I couldn’t choose
bright colors
if I wanted to.
I could give out rainbows;
I could create a few.

i am cherry alive illustrator s

Today is selfie day, and not only have I channeled my inner Man Ray once again for self-portrait #14 in my 100 Self-Portraits series, I’ve channeled my inner Delmore Schwartz for a riff on his poem “I am Cherry Alive“.  When I found the print out above from a long ago Illustrator class that used Schwartz’s work as a source , I knew where this selfie-with-poem was going.

k head shot s2

Anyone who knows me is aware that 90% of my wardrobe is black.  It wasn’t always that way though…

head shot close up s

In this portrait I tried to give myself a little color, while also honoring the way I might have actually dressed back in the day.  No, I don’t think I have the nerve now, but it’s a nice thought!

Delmore Schwartz, supposedly the model for Humboldt in Saul Bellow’s novel “Humboldt’s Gift”, was a gifted New York writer of short stories, poems, and essays, an editor, and also a witty conversationalist.  He had early success, but like so many before and after, abused drugs and alcohol and suffered from mental illness in later life.  You can read more about him, and read more of his poems, here.

poetry month

 

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38 responses to “Self Portrait #14: More Man Ray”

  1. alisonsye says :

    Love these collages

  2. Catherine Johnson says :

    Great portrait and poem 🎨

  3. jessevanwagner says :

    “…surprise myself and try something new,
    an animal, a vegetable, an entire zoo”

  4. Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash) says :

    You look awesome in full color!!! 😉💕 hehe…this is amazing. LOVE the riff on Man Ray of course, and your poem is wonderful. You are definitely creating rainbows today with these!! 😃😃

  5. Jodi says :

    My hubby is always on me to wear more color as about 95% of my wardrobe is black too – but I feel all colorful inside! Love everything about your collage and selfie and words today. need to read every day! 🙂

  6. memadtwo says :

    I know you wear black jeans every day but personally I feel you could carry this look off. There’s a whole movement to older women dressing up (Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, The Advanced Style Blog, Iris Apfel, etc…why not, Kerfe? The poem is great, by the way, you really are becoming a fantastical poet.

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks Nina…practice makes perfect! I’ll stick with colorful scarves, I don’t have the nerve to do more I don’t think. You do pretty well with color though!

  7. Teresa Robeson says :

    I LOVE your selfie!! I prefer to wear black now, too…it goes with everything but I once wore fuschia in my youth. 😄 So sad about Delmore. Many artistic and creative types are prone to depression and self-abuse.

    • memadtwo says :

      I really did dress in a similar way to this collage when I was young. Now I don’t really want to be noticed…
      I’m not sure early success is the best way to be an artist of any kind. And yet it’s so easy to get discouraged without at least a little positive feedback. Always a dilemma.

  8. Sharon Mann says :

    Haha Kerfe, what a joyful post. We all need more color daily!!

  9. Jennifer G. Knoblock says :

    “I could give out rainbows;
    I could create a few”

    Yes, you do! 🙂

  10. Susan Feniak says :

    A colorful selfie! Yay! Cool

  11. lesliepaints says :

    Oh! Your self portrait is so cool! Thank you for sharing this. I want to try something like this this summer. …and you have given me an idea for our watercolor plus class coming up. Thank you!

  12. merrildsmith says :

    The poem and collage sing and dance with color. You have definitely created rainbows and given out a few. Love it!
    You can always stay in black but add colorful jewelry–I can imagine you making some yourself.

  13. Elusive Trope says :

    the poem the selfie so awesome…and then the added layer of the Delmore Schwartz riff, all blended just right. Thanks for the heads up on Delmore Schwartz, i hadn’t heard of him…

  14. Lynz Real Cooking says :

    I really love everything in this post! Very creative!

  15. Myriam (Myr's Bytes) says :

    Very cool collage and poem :-). And your inspiring artists are very interesting too. I agree with not being super fond of wearing flashy clothes in public, but sometimes at home I like to mix up the bright colorful patterns.

  16. YesterdayAfter says :

    Awww this is awesome Kerfe full of creativity and colors! I love the combination of images in your abstract collage nonetheless the great poem! 😉

  17. stevetanham says :

    I really enjoyed reading these.

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