“There is a Beauty in Strength and Usefulness”

10 04 2013

Hey everyone!

Well yesterday some members of the JVPC (George, Cheyenne and myself) decided visit the Birmingham Museum of Art to write some ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic is just a fancy schmancy way of saying “writing that comments upon another art form, for instance a poem about a photograph or a novel about a film.”    It was a very fun and productive trip that inspired several poems from each of us and I figured I’d share one of mine with you. If you want to hear some of the others conceived yesterday come join us at our reading this Sunday. It promises to be a blast.

This piece is written on “Laundry” circa 1934 which is a woodcut print by Frank Hartley Anderson.

“There is a Beauty in Strength and Usefulness”

The woodcut print is just as grainy

as  i’m sure their skin must have been,

those black women with their hands

in the starch, at the iron, pressing

and steaming out every unholy

crease until those garments  were

as wrinkle free as one of their

newborns. Infants chubby with their

skin stretched tight across rolls

as light as the palm of Grandpappy’s

hands. But they will darken in time

like their dreams as they come

to discover that for them,

life is a merry-go-round,

with increment ups and downs

but still stuck going in the same

circle. And circle, and circle

and circle, sandpaper swipes

smoothing out oak grains, stray hairs,

chipped nail polish and cracks

too small to see, but the block

pressed into our lives didn’t

distribute the ink evenly.

Anyway, there you go! I’ll give it to Adam to look over and he’ll probably slash it into an unrecognizable mess. But then again what’s new there?

Cheers!

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