Collage Artist

Collage Artist

What she eyes and what she sees, diverge.
She attempts to inventory the disorder by
applying the present before there’s a concept.
She reaches for the plastic cup of wine, realizing
that disorder is just another system and
fragments not willing to coalesce reveal entire worlds.

A red string, a shoelace without a tip, strands of wire
frayed and bent, that twisted shred of red cloth,
hounds-tooth texture, darker than the string,
its distorted reflection lacking all luminescence.

Magazine pages ripped from the binding,
burnt at the edges, photos torn free.
Sentences scissored from paragraphs,
laid across the table, like a parable
divorced from its lesson, or random anecdote,
needing no instigation.The narrative
of no narrative, links without a chain.

Something might have shape, something might have form
but until the right place appears in relation
to all the other places, these are only uncollected
items that happen to be here. Just space, things.
Now she knows it’s time to draw.

Pencils, pens, brushes in an array of widths
acrylic and oils, tiny jars and tubes,
crayons, magic markers, thick black chalk.
Sarcasm to balance out the spots and splashes,
hiding  autobiography inside untamed geometry.

How is it light and shadows can be translated
into this assortment of stuff and transparent glue.
The universe of a moment is her journey
to this studio, but not the journey itself.

The line becomes an empty but familiar visage.
That infant’s face, his plump smooth jaw.
What seemed like a smile became a wince
in the Mediterranean heat, now reminding her
of her mother’s blushing cheek,
another memory just as disconnected.

The Algonquin beads look like blood.
She found them at a garage sale
with the girlfriend who would break it off
the next day, going back to her husband. Now
condensing that sadness into a reference
she decides not to remember.

The eye of a Cabbage Patch doll, pink rabbit’s foot,
Wonder Woman pez dispenser, the trading card of
a soccer player, stats written in Arabic.
A rusty bottle cap she found near the railroad track
the day she knew she didn’t care about her anymore.
A blue pebble from a brook, a piece of broken glass.
The more she watches the canvas, the more she leaves out.
The waiting becomes easier if not shorter.

Truth is a primary color, mood the only meaning.
She’s telling the cops her story again,
after the neighbors called,
wearing her mother’s ruby earrings
shaped like drops, either rain or tears.

Why was no one coming when that child cried
not in Greenville, but Crete, his` pain echoing
the dogs and bricks and sky indifferent,
the mud on the porch the same color
as the clay now in her hand.

She knows not what it means, only how it works.
Quartz flecked shale, a dried maple leaf, a green button.
The sketch of the shore house,
here the summers were happy, one week a year.
Belmar waves curled on the sand then slipped away.
The salt water washing over her body.
Beach oozing from her fists.

Details of life without context
scattered across the canvas.
Something not yet remembered
because it has yet to happen.

Her mother prayed every morning.
She wanted to do the same, but
did not know what to say. Her mother’s
arm around her shoulder, whispered
through her smile, say the prayers
you have then listen to your heart.

Copywright 2016,  held by author