Oddments

In search of story


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December 29.22: Coping, but barely

Jeweled confection —

how dare we bite in? —

so perfect a morsel,

toothmarks would be sin.

The art of the little,

meticulous craft,

we must linger over,

admire, fore and aft.

From various angles

its magnificence savored,

the eyes are the palate

to guess at how flavored.

To taste with the eye

is the manner of some,

while others prefer

to taste with the thumb.

To find telltale hole,

the proof of the borer,

causes mannered among us

to recoil in horror.

What weaselly ways,

what etiquette lack,

to know what’s inside

and then put it back!

 

You may recall, dear reader, the indignities of my youth, with blue jeans not allowed. Not proper, said my mother. And yet — and yet! — there were the Fannie May or Mrs. See’s chocolates all pristine in the aerial view, but — what’s this? — a hole in the bottom? A hole which just happens to be the exact same size as my mother’s thumb? This is proper?

Thus did I learn that proper is a relative concept. My mother being the closest of relatives.

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.


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December 8.22: Coping, but barely

It has been said —

and I think that it’s true —

for a writer to finish

it always takes two:

the writer declares

“I call it a day,”

but then someone else

must yank her away.

DONE is a word

that’s hard to pronounce

when you invest in your work

to the last little ounce.

So DONE is a laurel

that others bestow,

to help the imaginer

pack up and go

to the next inner road,

or mountain, or sea,

that summons our spirits

by endless decree.

Whether mural or poem,

ballad or quilt,

“done” can be said

without quitter’s guilt.

 

A writer can spend an idiotic amount of time on one sentence, one phrase, one word. That living, breathing language remains stubbornly imperfect. We don’t want to be quitters in our own eyes, so we keep at it. There’s always something that could be better.

I suspect that can be true for all creative endeavor. The artist, whether writer, muralist, quilter, musician, woodworker, can have a problem saying “it’s done.” But Dathan has said just that, and here, above and below, is the finished mural.

More thanks to photographer and reporter S.W. Berg.


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November 5.22: Coping, but barely

Look back or look ahead,

up close or from a distance,

it’s balance that we want

to give us our resistance

to unfinishedness of life —

there’s always something more

we could have done or should do;

it’s the Expectation War.

There’s ballast in the look back

at what’s already done

as we teeter on the edge

of what we’ve just begun.

An update from Bill (to posts 10/21, 23, 27) with more background on the mural. The shop behind the wall sells chrome wheels and tires, and it is the owner of this shop who had seen Dathan’s murals and commissioned one for his wall. Dathan took the wheel as his inspiration for the design. The close-up of the open door shows the merchandise in the shop, and it also shows the challenge going forward. Originally the mural was to be to the door, on a relatively smooth surface, but now he’s extended it and therefore must negotiate a totally different canvas of metal panels. Does he look ahead in trepidation and see how much he still has to do, or does he look back in satisfaction and derive energy from what he’s already done? Does the artist’s eye see something finished that might have been done better and ask himself if it’s really finished? Is this life or what?

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to artist Dathan Kane.


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October 23.22: Coping, but barely

The wall begins

its conversation

with multi-tasking

population,

engaging eye

and then the brain

with starkly pied

dreamlike terrain.

Abrupt and bumptious

in everyday city,

startling our inner

Walter Mitty.

A follow-up to Friday’s post is in order. Our intrepid photographer, S.W. Berg, aka Bill, returned to the muralist to see how the work was progressing and to find out more about him. So, with many thanks to Bill, I can now tell you that the artist is Dathan Kane, who earned his BA in Fine Arts from Virginia State University in 2014, and whose murals and canvases have been commissioned in Virginia and elsewhere. His website: http://www.dkaneart.com

Thanks also to the artist for permitting the photos.

As you can see, the mural has grown. The artist thinks it will be some time before it is finished, but I hope Bill can snag a photo at that time too.


14 Comments

October 12.22: Coping, but barely

The refined high art of breakfasting

cannot too much be touted;

its value to the day

ought never to be doubted.

In cherry tomato season

it’s especially exact;

one keeps the tomato whole,

juicily intact.

It’s cozied in the mouth

(don’t try to sing or whistle

lest you wing it into orbit,

the oops’d misguided missile)

along with crusty morsel

of sourdough browned just right,

one aims for balanced tandem,

the perfection in the bite.

The delicacy of timing,

simultaneous squirt and crunch,

requires selfless practice

sometimes ’til half-past lunch.


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October 2.22: Coping, but barely

We sculpt, we carve,

we draw and write,

enfleshing awe

for our mindsight.

What we think we know,

what we know we feel,

elusive, taunting,

unprovably real,

we try to capture,

to see, explain,

for eye that seeks

in heart and brain.

That eye wants form —

it matters not

that form derives

from mythic thought.

Thus the legend,

myth and lore

that spring from deepest

human core.

Because we have

this itch to see

every invisible

mystery.

 

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to artist Jeff Savage, whose sculpture marks

the headwaters of the Mississippi and the role of women,

the Caretakers of the Water,

according to Anishinabe (Ojibwe) belief.

Thanks also to the Minnesota Percent for Public Art and the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwater Center at Lake Itasca Minnesota State Park.

 


19 Comments

August 9.22: Coping, but barely

I am going to try to learn something new, dear reader: prose poetry. Apparently the main difference between poetry and prose poetry is form: whereas poetry uses word arrangement on the page to convey (or obscure) meaning, prose poetry is written in the plainness of paragraphs (I wonder if writers dream in alliteration).

Some of you have written prose that I think occasionally morphs into poetry, and I always have to read it over to try to figure out how it snagged me. The Poetry Foundation has an elegant example of Prose Poetry by Amy Lowell. It is instructive to me. Some of the other examples are not so helpful.

I expect my attempts to be awkward, but I want to see if I can figure it out. Consider yourself warned.

Maureen