Tomorrow morning I leave for LA to take part in a showing of my video translations of poems at the Palm Springs Art Museum. I am so looking forward to this trip, I get to hang out with three amazing poets, Elena Karina Byrne, Maureen Alsop, and Louise Mathias…… I made the videos I am showing for the poets over the course of the last 2 years. I met Elena at the American Writing Professionals Conference in Denver, Colorado in 2010. I was introduced to Elena by Maureen Alsop, whose work I discovered in Drunken Boat, which is this wonderful literature and media arts Journal. My meeting of Louise Mathias is anything but typical, but shows just how small the American poetry community truly is. I was married to poet Karla Kelsey in 2003, Louise attended our wedding in Seal Beach, California with Poet Richard Greenfield, Louise is good friends with Maureen and Elena, Louise and I exchanged emails in 2010 and I asked her if I could make a video from one her poems.
It seems the world of artists is equally small, but I am such a recluse that I am not really connected with many artists as I am poets. So it puts me in a strange place, I am not a poet but I make art about poetry and I feel as if I am outsider with the art world because I am much more connected with poetry then art. I guess I am much more concerned with how my work will be read, rather then looked at.
In Whitman’s Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking, he writes and explores the complexities of human memory; the poem is about the act of remembering remembering which is in and of itself a wonderful exercise to engage in. Remember when you remembered the days when you remembered and remembered remembering? This is all a step away from the immediate, from the moment but then the act of remembering becomes the moment. It’s how some of the art work I am drawn to seems to read, Polke’s This is How you sit correctly (Goya), is an image that allows this, at first giving the reader of the poem an image of a girl with a chair on her head, while at the same time sparking an image that links to the remembrance of a Goya painting that can be remembered and read from memory of the seeing of that print or the actual painting. That is how he first line reads, while the second line is a woman opening the door as a snake exits the open door. Is she letting the snake out ? Is she opening the door unaware of the snake ? Polke does not give us any idea; instead he leaves the image like a memory over lapped and covering the image of the girl with a chair on her head. As I am writing this I am writing about the image from memory, and I am also remembering a poem written by Mary Jo Bang, who made an Ekphrasis about this painting. I wanted to search and look for Bang’s poem, but instead the act of remembering the poem, and even the act of remembering when I remembered her poem when I saw Polkes painting and remembering who I remembered the Polke painting are enough for me now.
It’s all a dream now, before it has even happened, my trip to Palm Springs to visit these poets. I am remembering the events of an event that has not happened yet. The Video Poem I made for Elena is a video that works in memory born out of drunkenness and cigarettes. My friend painter Veronica Violet Rainbow Reeves and I made part of the video while swelling beer and chain smoking cigarettes, the video consists of four layers, the first layer is a series of 800 collages that I linked together for animation, and the other three layers are a result of the collage that Veronica and I created. I am writing about my own video from memory now, and soon I will post the video on this blog and I will write about this writing from my memory.
O past! O happy life! O song of joy!
In the air, in the woods, over fields,
Loved! loved! loved! loved! loved!
But my mate no more, no more with me!
We two together no more.