Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Pursuit of Human Perfection

The Pursuit of Human Perfection

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With eyes closed, reaching into the dishwasher,

hand over smooth and pricking mountains,
curve and point, spoon and fork
unknown to me, feels like
a tactile attack.

I hold the fork firmly, bow my head,
and say a silent prayer —
the woes of here and yesterday,
the cold utensil in hand,
the welcome flash of a baby I kissed
in this morning’s dream —
that same preciousness
transferred to the prayer,
to the clasped fork —
I am metal, and hope
and dream,

I alone converse
with the creator of the universe;
I have also burned black
the toast.

 

ABOUT THIS POEM

You know those moments where you’re doing something routine, such as taking a shower, or washing dishes, and you mind daydreams? While taking dishes out of the dishwasher, with the sun streaming through the window, I paused and appreciated the simple present of being alive. The final stanza reflects that moment being interrupted, peace and human infallibility coming together.

Aubrey (graphite drawing)

Aubrey (graphite drawing)

Aubrey

 

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

Graphite on paper. Made from a reference photograph on 6/18/2015. I’ve been working on short session portrait sketches. This one took an hour, and as you can see there are lots of marks. It is not finalized. I’ve been trying to develop my eye — being able to sketch from a reference photo without getting a ruler out and pre-measuring. I start with loose gestural lines and add more details from there. It’s coming along really well. I still have a lot of work to do with getting hair right. But I am learning and finding a kneaded eraser to be an invaluable tool.

Filed Under: Art
Emiliana (graphite drawing)

Emiliana (graphite drawing)

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ABOUT THIS PICTURE

Graphite on paper. Based from a reference photograph. I’ve been enjoying making portraits lately. The human face is so intricate and fascinating. I spent a bit more time with shading for this practice, particularly evident with the lips.

Filed Under: Art

Don’t Bring Your Love to a Gunfight

Don’t bring your love to a gunfight
among strangers, barricades on the boulevard,
bloody and bold, with windows into skies
I held you with an army inside,
the pounding pronounced
and promising,

down the streets of existence,
where resistance was built in bitter
moments stacked like lost bodies
entrenched, there is a climbing

that final wall falls
on the crypt of my failures
as I run with the unicorns,
mythic steps ascending,
for the battle of the heart.

 

ABOUT THIS POEM

I questioned what the battlefield of my own emotions may look like. Images of a fantasy land with unicorns, alongside blood and real-life battle strife came to mind. That rivalry between real, concrete images of horror alongside a mystical, soft dream land intrigued me. This poem is a small snapshot of that juxtaposition.

The Chapbook Challenge: a poetry playlist

The Chapbook Challenge: a poetry playlist

I have seventy poems selected for my chapbook, all approved, edited, and ready to be finalized! They date within the last five years. It’s hard to look at my life in terms of title, theme, and symbolism, and not feel a little self-conscious. I have been exclaiming to myself, “Did I really write that?” and “Wow. I must have been going through some serious mood swings.” The dates and oscillations are profound to me. It’s odd, having to be critical of what are for me highly-emotional expressions. My poetry is confessional, and seeing my life stamped out in poem form, cumulatively reviewing with an editorial eye, has a third-person quality which makes my skin crawl.

I have reached the ordering process, the placement of each poem within the book. The best advice I’ve heard pertaining to this involves printing out every single poem, spreading them out on the floor, reviewing and ordering them, something akin to sequencing a mix-tape for a friend. What themes oppose each other? What titles merge well, making additional symbolism? Where is the low point of the collection? Where is the climax? On what emotional note do you start and end the work?

Within seventy poems, and the additions of some drawings, I have to craft an entire experience. I like that this has fallen on me to do this. It gives me a great sense of control, but also connects me to my potential reader. It forces me to re-experience my work (and by extension, myself) in a tactile, loose-but-stitched-together way.

I like this idea a lot — after all, what could be better than a ‘mix-tape’ of poetry?

Purple Vase with Roses (pastel)

Purple Vase with Roses (pastel)

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ABOUT THIS ARTWORK

Soft pastel on pastel paper made in February 2015, taken from a reference photo of a purple vase filled with and surrounded by roses. It’s one of my first attempts at a pastel work. I found building up the colors a bit tedious and very messy, but that’s likely because I haven’t practiced enough with the media yet. Pastels present a lot of potential for showing loose, energetic lines and bright color. I am particularly pleased with the purple vase, and the white glint reflection.

Filed Under: Art
The Beginning

The Beginning

just-the-beginningA month ago, my editor at LBME Publishing set this blog up for me. He said it would help my readers get to know me. So, here goes. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Frankly, I spent an entire month being intimidated by the mere existence of this site, contemplating and agonizing over what I was going to say, what I was going to do. Sure, I write poetry and dabble in some other creative forms, but what makes me qualified to talk about it and share my emotions and process with others? Qualified is such a strong, off-putting, knock-the-courage-out-of-you, authoritative word, isn’t it?

Even though my two decades of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse are many years in the past, I still have great difficulty waking up in the morning and regarding myself as human. Sometimes, I think I am incapable of breathing, but then I see the demonstrable evidence; I am irrefutably alive. Yet, in spite of all the insecurity inside of me, I feel an immeasurable joy.

So, what am I going to blog about? Well, during my darkest days, I spent countless hours searching desperately for someone to speak for me, through a poem or a story, someone to give voice to my hopelessness, anguish, loneliness, and despair. I needed the comfort that could only come from a fellow-sufferer. Sadly, apart from a couple of artists whom I now call friends, I came up remarkably short. Worse, many of the resources available focus on descriptions of blood, gore, and atrocities, which are anti-healing.

We all cope with the effects of our own past-life, every day. This site will share how I cope with mine. It is time for me to open up, to share my poems, artwork, and writings, in the hope that others will find in them what I searched for so long: a voice for the heart and a hope for the future.

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