jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Art of Invisibility


I had a whole other poem planned, scribbled out in elaborate progression in my journal, but I couldn't get to the heart of it. As an artist AND a poet, this inability to SAY something about ART drove me crazy, to the point of stalling my writing. So, tonight, after a long day of teaching about Georgia O'Keefe and Henri Rousseau, I settled in bed with an art teaching book about stories in art. I stumbled on a painting by Marc Chagall called "Midsummer Night's Dream." All of a sudden, the woman in the painting started speaking to me. Thank goodness. I really needed a poem! Thank you Queen Titania!


The Art of Invisibility

If I hold my breath
I will fade into the distance.
Let the ass take center stage.

In my simple white gown
and veil, suckled up against
my lover’s brown fur face

and morning coat, what choice
do I have but to melt
like so much snow in Hell.

Melt like creamery butter
left out in mid-summer sun.
Already, my eyes are dissolving

in the artist’s titanium haze.
My face is a blur, my body flat
and boneless beneath this virgin robe.

Bottom, lover, man-donkey, is dark.
His strokes much deeper
than my own hesitant etchings.

We are complimentary, at best.
The heat of the ass’s red-orange gaze
melts my sallow oils, smears my cool

blue undertones. Make no mistake.
No red devil floating at my head,
no hair-faced donkey, no King of the Fairies

will smother my ghostly form.
I will take this blue fan, rub myself out,
off this fading canvas. I will become Queen

of enchanted nothing, bright as light
high in the green branches
of a pink stained tree.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Kimberley McGill said...

Bravo!I like your take on this piece.
She won't be outdone!

11:25 PM  
Blogger Poet with a Day Job said...

Such a great piece! I love "let the ass take center stage."

I saw that Chagall at a retrospective in San Francisco a few years back and remember liking this painting very much!

11:57 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

i love the line about the blue fan.Titania was held captive by the spell. Your poem shows that perhaps, even enchanted, she is not suited for the role.

great poem for this painting!

12:12 AM  
Blogger Marcia said...

I have trouble looking at the painting, I just don't like it, but your poem, while capturing the painting,is beautiful to me.

12:31 AM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Thanks everyone! Marcia, maybe why you don;t like the painting is the "back-story" titiana was tricked, actually punished, by her King into falling in love with the man-donkey. Perhaps you can sense her sadness in such deceit? I think Chagall captured it well. I mean, really, what girl wants to be married to an ass?

7:35 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Your poem goes really well with the painting!

10:31 AM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

{applause} Well done!

1:00 PM  
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

The detachment og Titania is visceral and palpable both in the picture and the poem... well done, indeed. I felt her helplessness so strongly here...

1:31 PM  
Blogger Carolee said...

i love this piece of art work and the artistry in your words, as well. whatever frustration got you there, kudos for pulling through it!

and all this talk about fading ... it's a fantasy worth indulging. of course, it can be interpreted as a bad thing, too, if you want to have presence. but when you just want to dissolve ... aaahh.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Carolee said...

p.s. you know all our talk about us having parallel lives? you're writing about titania and her man-donkey. earlier this week, for this prompt, i started writing about the matisse paintings of Pasiphae. she was the wife of king minos cursed to desire the white bull and subsequently give birth to the minotaur. i love that story and all the back story and all the side stories.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Rob Kistner said...

Very nice!

4:00 AM  
Blogger Clockworkchris said...

Letting you know-I am planning to write quite a few poems for Thursday, I may not get to your line by then but I will. Keep an eye out.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

Jill, I'm carrying your words and this image with me today... deeply stirring.

And thank you for allowing me to "lift" one of your lines into a new piece of mine, which is here.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Tangerinetinselbreeze said...

I might have to buy this print to think of your poem or maybe I should print the poem to think of the print! That was great.

12:20 AM  
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4:37 AM  

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