It has been a long time between posts, and is so often the way, the longer you go without writing, the harder it is to begin. Even more this time, for any explanation I should give would seem to drag out my soul and lay it bare for everyone to pick over. Some might argue that this is what I do with my art, so why should writing it be any different?
I don’t know. It just is.
Perhaps the gulf would have become all together too large, and maybe I would simply have ceased this blog, slowly letting it fade, but for a chance moment. A choice to step out of the small cocoon I have been inhabiting to visit an exhibition opening.
It was there, at the opening of the immensely talented Janusz Wozny’s first solo exhibition that I saw how I should proceed. Janusz includes poetry in his exhibitions; these are the words which intersect with his amazing images, which, it seems both inspire the images, and are harmonized with them. They are powerful, and the depth they imbue is gritty, honest and rewarding.
For so much of my work I have written poetry that is an integral part of my images, and yet until now I have never included any of these words on my blog. My poetry is not grand in scope, it doesn’t seek to set the world on fire, it is a journal of my feelings, fears and experiences. It is me, in a nutshell. Not Hamlet, just a pair of ragged claws, exploring my silent seas, trying to understand, and in understanding, to move forward.
In a book which I am sure I will quote far more of in future, “Still Life with Oysters and Lemon” Mark Doty wrote that
“A still life is more like a poem than a portrait”
I found this so touching, as if it twanged a sensitivity in my creative side. For it is in my still life series that I tend to include my poetry. So it is true. And yet it is so very not true, because my poetry is in fact a portrait: an intimate, challenging self portrait. And my still lifes, contrary to what so many critics hold, are narratives – of time, self and alteration.
Life has been hard for the last month, simply because it is my life. And sometimes I struggle to live it. Here are some words – in the form I love best – to go some way to explain how and why.
Sharing will not flow one way.
The ghosts have gone to dust now, so
There is only space.
My hollowness is mute.
Without the memory of communion
There is only lack.
Without the veneer of empathy
The sofa beckons
Once these words are numb.
But the surface does not
I am empty.
Time does not change me.
It does not even make the
Doppelganger more palatable
Still, step to step
The madness tingles round the
And the anger sniggers.
So little greatness,
But so much washing.
Time disintegrates the illusions,
But it does not
Is the future really this inane?