Friday, November 16, 2012

triptych

Today, I work on part two of the three-part poem that will culminate in a fourth part. Confusing.

I posted the yellow poem earlier this week.

I've been battling the pink lines for days now. Don't mention the blue or I might have a coughing fit.

What the hell
what the hell are you
what the hell are you going
what the hell are you going on about?

School.

If I think of the poems (index card exercise) as three parts of a triptych, maybe I will find a way to order the seemingly unrelated lines that relates them. The leaps must happen in my head before they can happen on paper. This Jon Foreman song playing on my computer ("Southbound Train") helps.

In class, we have been reading David St. John's latest collection, The Auroras. DSJ talks about this book in three parts as if it's a poetic triptych. But it doesn't feel like one to me, and I said so in my required book review. It's not a terrible book, but it feels lazy to me. I will write more about that for class. This is not the place for babbling on school work, though school work is everything. Except when it's not.

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My daughter is in AP art this year. She has several required projects that are to contain specific elements but that she can render in any way she chooses. A three-part self-portrait she completed early in the semester won a best of show award at a local juried art contest. Her latest project is to illustrate a piece of writing. She asked me if she could illustrate one of my poems. It's such an honor, you know? I know I'm a major fuck up in a lot of ways, but this kid proves that I have abilities.... or, no, it's all just her.

I sent her a sampling of five poems with a lot of rich, visual imagery, three of the poems a little lighter than my usual grief-riddle crap. I thought she'd pick the one about my childhood, a scene when my little brother was chasing lizards. She chose a sad one. But I know why. The poem is about an experience I had with her granddaddy about a week before he died. She's been wanting to illustrate this poem since I first began drafting it. She's seen several versions of, and she loves it. It's fantastical and sad and filled with weird images that cross over into another realm. She's planning a sort of pop-up book or poster, she said, and she described some of what she will do. She asked me to write an "explanation" that she might incorporate into the drawings, but when I started writing that, I felt so sad I had to stop. And that's when I understand that this idea of saying the unsayable in poetry is exactly right. I can write a poem about the moment I realized my father was about to leave me. But writing it in straight prose without ..... Oh. I don't feel like going on about this any more.

It's a lovely thing that my daughter wants my art to be part of her art.

*

The top index card in the pink stack reads, "My daughter's hair is [like] a forest." The next card is a quote that I will not include here. It's something a real person said that I wrote down on the card. I feel a link between the two cards, though I can't yet figure out why the lines are linked. The quote is devastating. The hair is a forest. The words are vines? Anger in the forest. Words the speaker can't take back. An ending.

How cryptic is this?

*

bye now