For the last several years, ViVO Contemporary Gallery on Santa Fe’s famous Canyon Road has staged an interesting show in which local poets (of which there are many!) compose and read a poem related to works of one of the nine artists who are members of the coöperative that owns the gallery. I have been fortunate to have been asked to participate in the project for several years.
Two years ago, I worked with Joy Campbell who fashions sculptures from old books. She folds the pages of the books into intricate shapes that merge into beautiful and amazing constructions.
Here is the poem that I contributed to give a verbal link to Joy’s lovely work:
Folded again and again
until words disappear
and letters turn to lacy ribbons
hiding the work of
poets and professors who
had filled glacier-white pages
with thoughts and ideas
they hoped would last forever.
Black lines trapped their musings,
held for all to see,
bound together, edged in gold,
scented with sweet musk of leather.
Pages yellow, words fade,
and the book becomes a tattered relic
on a high shelf – the words forgotten.
Just when the trash heap seems certain
there is new life.
Pages, words are folded on themselves,
lost from sight and touch.
In their place are
phantasmagorias, towers of Babel
that transcend language,
visions not communicated
by words alone.
The creator knows what I can only guess.
My memories are inky letters on a page,
the convolutions of my brain and buried
deep within the fissures.
Those memories grow more difficult
to see and hear.
At times they disappear,
hidden by ribbons woven
of spider webs and mold.
Still, they are not ready to be discarded,,
and ask to be transformed, renewed,
if that is possible.
The Creator knows what I can only guess.
This year I am working with Vincent Faust, a sculptor whose media are hunks of steel, metal pipes, cables, and steel rods. His tools include welding torches and foundry equipment. He finishes his pieces with an industrial process that uses powdered pigments. The results are incredibly complex pieces in vibrant colors.
I don’t know yet what my poem will be. I only hope it grabs the ear as strongly as Vince’s sculptures grab the eye.