“With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones”
Gone silent. Unseen.
Dark, cold, hard.
Unchanting verses of stone
through fossilized eyes.
I’ve gone back to Day Three of Jane Dougherty’s Month with Yeats. The references for the drawings were photos of medieval sculptured faces.
And a shadorma for Shadorma November.
From of killed but spaces why? morning reply no what.
Where? more it when? tomorrow killed has and.
Black another questions wear gun color of sorrow and again just;
Remain will the empty.
I wanted to acknowledge Las Vegas. The dVerse prompt to ignore grammatical rules seemed a good way to reflect our country’s continued loss of syntax. But when I went to write something it just seemed I had nothing more to say. A quick look through the MTM archives counted at least 13 previous posts related to gun violence. Remember the shootings in Kalamazoo in February 2016? That’s what the black grid above was done for.
The two faces above? Victims of Dylann Roof in 2015. And below, cops killed while sitting in their patrol car in NYC in 2014.
Gun of again another why? color more empty is sorrow remain.
Of killed killed;
From what and the just black spaces;
Has and will no it questions shots unfilled.
Morning where? when? Tomorrow
Every day 88 people die by gun violence in the United States.
To make the poems above, I took what I had written for Kalamazoo, and plugged it into the Dada Poetry Generator. I did it about 15 times; all the results were pretty accurate as reflections of my jumbled feelings, and I chose two to use in this post. You can see the original poem here.
Jimmy Kimmel said everything I want to say and more in his monologue the other night.
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/2006
Daniel Barden, 9/25/2005
Olivia Engel, 7/18/2006
Josephine Gay, 12/11/2005
Ana M Marquez-Greene, 4/4/2006
Dylan Hockley, 3/8/2006
Madeleine F Hsu, 7/10/2006
Catherine V Hubbard – 6/8/2006
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/2005
Jesse Lewis, 6/30/2006
James Mattioli, 3/22/2006
Grace McDonnell, 11/4/2005
Emilie Parker, 5/12/2006
Jack Pinto, 5/6/2006
Noah Pozner, 11/20/2006
Caroline Previdi, 9/7/2006
Jessica Rekos, 5/10/2006
Avielle Richman, 10/17/2006
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/2006
Allison N Wyatt, 7/3/2006
Rachel Davino, 7/17/198
Dawn Hochspring, 6/28/1965
Anne Marie Murphy, 7/25/1960
Lauren Russeau, 6/8/1982
Mary Sherlach, 2/11/1956
Victoria Soto, 11/04/1985
once again we ask:
why? no answer. no words left.
a prayer: have mercy.
All art from previous posts on the occasion of death by gunfire in the news.
Working on a mystery, going where it leads. Into the great wide open under skies of blue. Will you sail into the heavens, constellations in your eyes? A red-winged hawk is circling.
White light cuts a scar in the sky. Take it to the heart; face up to your soul. Stand in the moonlight. You belong somewhere you feel free.
The shape of the mist–
feels like something from a dream–
you’re learning to fly.
Songs quoted: Running Down a Dream, Into the Great Wide Open, The Dark of the Sun, You and I Will Meet Again, Luna, The Waiting, You Can Still Change Your Mind, Only a Broken Heart, Wildflowers, The Waiting, Learning to Fly
Words from Tom Petty and Colleen’s poetry challenge.
Water, and fire above it
How I say to you the truth as I know it.
How I am lost in words.
Subtle gradations implications explanations.
Do they reveal tenderness or terror?
Do they echo feeling or imagine it?
How to adjust memory.
How to maintain and reflect.
Erasing magnifying refining touching failing.
Safety features are not built in.
Evidence is not self.
To delete is to open.
I wanted to do a final self-portrait inspired by Paul Klee. There are so many wonderful Klee works to choose from, but I chose this one because of its title: “Seventeen, Insane”. I didn’t put the geometrics in, instead choosing to try to replicate the feeling, with loose ink portraits of myself now and at 17. I think the feeling of being unable to understand what’s going on is an apt one, and Klee seems to me to be indicating that age doesn’t really clarify things at all. I agree.
For the poem, I took one from my early 20s and revised it, but only a bit. Mostly I redid the way I had the lines set up; rather than breaking up each thought into several lines, I made it into a single one. I eliminated two lines altogether and changed 3 or 4 words. And then I broke it up into stanzas. And yes, that’s my original title. And yes, also, I wrote that last line in the early 1970s, before “delete” and “open” had the meanings they hold in this digitized world. That’s pretty strange.
My notebooks from then contain notes from books I was reading (Otto Rank with this one–we were reading him in a class I was taking), and poems mixed together. From what I could tell, I started with a title, and had a complicated system of construction involving numbers, syllables, and first letters of each line. I have no idea how to replicate it, because I don’t remember where it came from, and it makes no sense to me now. “Insane” indeed. (but I still like to play with numbers of syllables and words, so…)
You can see the entire self-portrait series here. Above is the drawing I did before simplifying it for the painting. Somehow I managed to make the present “me” look much younger in the process as well…
Some more family paintings from photographs I’ve been going through lately. This was a great shot of my mom but I turned her inadvertently into an older lady.
This one was identified correctly by my husband. I’m not sure if it was because he saw the photos I was working from. Both of these have a resemblance of my mother but just a bit. It’s more a feeling.
Mek at Work in Progress (10000hoursleft) recently received the One Lovely Blog Award and invited us to also post 7 facts about ourselves (3 1/2 each). Luckily we each have half a fact that works with the other to make one!
Kerfe: I begin every morning with coffee (cream, no sugar) and Brown Cow vanilla yogurt with fresh berries (blue, straw, black or rasp). I like iced coffee in the afternoon and herbal tea before bed.
Nina: I was skipped twice in elementary school thereby missing the basic facts of mathematics. To this day I count on my fingers. I was always the youngest kid in the class and graduated high school at 16.
Nina: One of the times I got skipped was (I think) because of a drawing I did of Kate Smith sitting on her moon and singing “when the moon comes over the mountain”. I wish I still had this drawing and for that matter I wish I had all the drawings I’ve ever done.
Kerfe: I was voted “most artistic girl” in my senior class of high school. But I really always wanted to be a cheerleader.
Kerfe: My first job (after babysitting) was working for my older brother at the University of Maryland, where he was a student employed in the physics lab. I can’t remember how much I made, but they couldn’t find any college students willing to take the job at the salary offered, so it couldn’t have been much. My brother asked me if I would like to try, so I worked on Saturdays during the school year, and during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. I measured data graphs with an instrument that traced the contours, doing several readings of each to make sure they were correct, and typed punch cards for the computer (this was 1968). We lived in Bowie, Maryland, at the time, which was near the University, but moved out of working range in the middle of my junior year–thus ending my career in science.
Nina: I’ve been playing the guitar since I was about 12 years old. That would make it around 56 years of more or less playing the guitar all the time. I bought a Martin with babysitting money; it’s a small parlor guitar and not worth a lot of money but it’s my favorite possession. It never goes out of tune.
Fact 1/2 plus 1/2:
Nina: I received a BFA from the University of Cincinnati in 1969.
Kerfe: I attended the University of Cincinnati in 1970-71.
I was a student at FIT 1971-73, graduating with an AA in Fashion Design.
Nina: I received an AA from FIT in 1974.
The universe finally got its timing right around 1975. We were both employed as textile designers at Fair-tex Mills, Kerfe in knits, and Nina in prints. A friendship was born!
Our Wordpress avatar, above, which you may recognize, was put together from drawings we did of each other in 1978 (Kerfe by Nina on the left, and Nina by Kerfe on the right). The drawings that start this post are our 2017 updates, 40 years later. We look just the same, right? (or maybe even better).
Another enigmatic family photo. What is Blue Gate? Where is it? Cute how there’s two shots of Jane framed within this doorway or porthole. I’m thinking I should paint the outside black.
The photograph. Undated but she looks around 17 here, maybe older.
I’ve been to sea before
I’ve been to sky between
I’ve gathered gifts of air
the road under my skin
I’ve asked the why and where
the where of going round
the why of what I seek
the where of why I’m bound
I’m bound to sail away
my mind tells me to roam
but anchors pull my heart
and sing my wandering home
I’ll sing a lullaby
of needle under skin
the waves will help me fly
the spiral shell within
I had been working on this collage, so the dVerse prompt for a song spurred me to finish it. In our mid-teens, my best friend Alfie and I would play our guitars with the radio on and write our own songs for hours, either at her house or mine, but I haven’t written any lyrics since then. Where are all those songs now?–I don’t know, although I do strangely remember one, a love song I wrote for her when she had a crush on a boy she met over one summer.
And Joni…this song (and album) are just about perfect. Always lodged in my brain.
Alfie and Joni:
Here is a shell for you
Inside you’ll hear a sigh
A foggy lullaby
There is your song from me
I forgot how much I like Pelikan watercolors. They are very immediate in that you don’t need to put water on all of them first to “warm them up”, so to speak. They go on very easily and the colors are great.
I did a brushstroke of each color and it reminded me of a bunch of heads. The drips were accidentally on purpose.
My new Pelikan set. Highly recommend these if you’re looking for a set of pan watercolors.
Lune shining through me
like a galaxy
Wings I can not see
This self-portrait uses the same Klee painting for a reference as my last one, but I have done it in collage, as I said I hope to do. I’ve taken more liberties this time as well. The round face reminded me of the moon, and that was my inspiration for my choice of collage papers.
The poem uses the lai form, which I saw on dVerse in early June, but did not have time to attempt then.
It’s a New Moon today…start something!
You can see all the self portraits so far here.