Girl,

girls in swimming

Girls in Swimming Costume, by Sonia Delaunay – Orphic Cubism – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/21040323235207482/ (More on Orphism at: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-orphism.htm)

no one will complain about your massive ass, your wilting tits, the rolls of skin bulging under the pressure of your elastic costume.

Forget your meaty elbows.

Focus on the interaction of color and crowd. You’ll soon understand that geometric  designs, even contrasting ones, can be as moving as sunlight in mid-winter.  Like a tropical Lycra swimsuit, your shape is stunningly loud, gorgeously enormous.

Girl, who told you you ought to feel naked and awkward and ashamed for your display on the pool’s deck? And how dare they?

Inhale the perfume of heavy afternoon, the scents of chlorine and jasmine and cut grass promising a lazy summer.

Girl, you’re all that.

Strut the pool deck’s catwalk.

 

  • Write an ekphrastic prose piece to start a story.  According to the PoetryFoundation (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/ekphrasis): An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning. A notable example is “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” in which the poet John Keats speculates on the identity of the lovers who appear to dance and play music, simultaneously frozen in time and in perpetual motion:

    What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

    Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
    Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
    Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
    Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
    Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
    Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
    For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

    Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
    Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
    And, happy melodist, unwearied,
    For ever piping songs for ever new. . . .

 

 

 

 

Hilo Rojo

hr1hr2hr3hr4hr5hr6hr7

I saw the show Hilo Rojo 3047: El Río de Mujeres by Ornella Ridone at the Oaxaca Textile Museum, http://www.museotextildeoaxaca.org.mx, Museo Textil de Oaxaca, A.C., Hidalgo 917, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca de Juárez, México
C.P. 68000

This is, according to the artist, more than an exhibition of embroidery; it is an autobiographical journey depicting the women in her family. She says, “I transform embroidery into its own language.”

Walking through the breathtaking exhibit is somewhat like wandering through someone’s clothesline. In fact, part of me wishes the show was hung in this manner.

Another part of me was stunned by how it simultaneously felt like moving through an ethereal crowd. The one fan in the room hardly moves the clothes, but so much so that it was sometimes hard to find an image I saw–or thought I saw–again.

Of course there are many ways to tell a story, and they may or may not include words. While a couple of the pieces feature words: one about a brand of sewing needle, the other about soldiers killing women, the other pieces resound in a different way.

In fact, they are reminiscent of tattoos or scars; there are clearly complex stories (some visible, some buried beneath the surface): of survival and triumph, of love and fear, of despair and tremendous joy.

Butterflies
–Paula Bohince

The hole at the center
of the galaxy is a black butterfly,
large and dominant, off-kilter.
From her, others emerge,
encircling her at birth, tethered
forever to the spoke
and word of her…
See the rest at: http://poems.com/feature.php?date=16832

  • What visual display could represent a family’s story? It is a sort of collection as the sticker book referenced in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/magazine/marie-kondo-and-the-ruthless-war-on-stuff.html?_r=0, or is it a radical lack of stuff that might say even more?

Paz and Graffiti

A man paints Oaxaca wants peace (Oaxaca quiere paz) in the streets as traffic persists. It appears to be futile endeavor as the paint smears into the intersection, but he is determined even in the face of fast taxis and bus barreling up Reforma.

I try to imagine working in spray paint, writing in a much larger font…

Even the hottest nights, I mask my face with a bandana, shroud myself in a dark hoodie, put on my fastest tennies, arm myself with my favorite colors of paint: red or those who they tried to eliminate, black for the lost ones they want to quietly efface.

For them, the oppressed, the unjustly imprisoned, the dead, I paint reminders of their names, these veterans of this millennium’s wars, sketched on the city’s vacant canvases, on the walls of banks and businesses that will try to whitewash my missives, but I will return the next dusk, for I refuse to be erased.

 

From Beyond Words

Mudd Club 4th floor gallery
Manhattan, April 1981

If you bomb
the IND
or tag the 2
downtown
—gallery-bound—
dousing it in tribal
shrapnel, you’re it
—the shit—
If you can lie
between the rails
—Please Stand
Clear the Closing—
or press yourselves
betw. train
& the wall
spray can rattling
like a tooth—The roof
the roof
 
the roof is on
fire—soon
the 6 will whistle
* Read Poet Dennis Schmitz’s collection, The Truth Squad, Copper Canyon Press: https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Squad-Dennis-Schmitz/dp/1556591829. What is the truth? And, how will you spread/spray/shepherd it?

Hawk

HAWK1

Saúl and Alma Aragón Ramírez  (http://blogs.sjsu.edu/casa/tag/alebrije-artisans-saul-aragon-ramirez/) are artisans from the town of Arrazola, Oaxaca.  They create alebrijes.  Alebrijes are elaborately decorated wood carvings that are made from the wood of copal trees.  They typically are constructed out of one piece of the wood that most carvers will explain inspires them to draw the creature out of the wood.

When Saul was in Sacramento last fall presenting his art form for my college, some of the people who viewed and purchased his work wanted to have a hawk, our campus mascot.

Saul, Alma, one of their daughters, and I met for dinner one evening, and Alma and Saul presented me with this hawk to bring back to my college to share with the campus president and my colleagues. They told me they had been working on the piece since we last met: carving, sanding, curing, and painting it.  And, they wanted me to carry it back as a gift, a symbol of our friendship.  I accepted the treasure, the time and distance and camaraderie this stunning figure represents.

HAWK2

764%

Harrahs764%I found this vague sticker in a restroom stall, up high–where the ceiling met the wall, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.  Its lack of information hooked my attention.  It’s the area code for Daly City, CA. There’s an Ironworkers union under that number.  A Boeing 764.  And, 764 is a good (although not “very good”) credit score.  But I think it is the mark of Kode3, an artist of tattoos and rap music from Fresno CA. Search: Kode3 Real Fiction on iTunes. Amazon music. Google play. Worldwide. 764%.  Check out: http://kode3.com/2013/05/23/see-me-for-tattoos/.