Monday, July 11, 2011

My Poetry Year: Entry #48

In which Your Humble Blogger attempts to sketch a portrait of someone painting a picture:

"The Artist Tries to Capture a Scene"

Today, the world begins at a window
Through which the artist sees a big woman
Walking a small dog. The artist, feeling
The knot in his palm, has known for some time
That people can be seen without his eyes
Seeing them, and the world will continue
move if his hands don't move to catch it.
But he still has to try. Two hours later,
He remembers: To work is to suffer.
He has suffered in the form of one line
And is now taking a break. He goes out,
Checks the mail, comes back to drink a soda.
He fidgets at the dim bathroom mirror.
In the glass is a very old man with
Stiff shoulders, his face broken by the cracks
In the sidewalk where, before, the woman
Walked her dog. The artist is afraid of
The mirror, because the mirror is a
Window through which the line on his paper
Has started to follow the sidewalk's line,
Disappearing into parts of the world
That he might never get to see.

* * *

I skipped around in my notebook a bit this morning. There are a lot of poems in there that I don't like, and I wanted to spend time with one I liked at least a little. One thing I've learned so far from this blogging experiment: I have a lot of poems in which I try to force together words that don't normally go together, just because I'm intrigued by the way they sound next to each other. I end up enjoying those much less than I do poems in which I tell a story with simpler language.

I will say, though, that I think that being in a poetry mindset for a while has given me a new way to find ideas for short stories. Had I been in a fiction frame of mind when I wrote this one, it could have ended up as a fantasy story, with the artist's line literally traveling out of the window, into the world. As it is now, it's just poetic description. But it's interesting to me how the images that get used as metaphors when working in poetry can just as easily become the stuff of substance in surreal fiction.


  1. Ooooh, I want to read that story! That would be a very cool experiment -- taking the same idea and duplicating it across several art forms...

  2. Heh heh, you know what else would be an interesting experiment? Following up on all the ideas that you've said would be cool and collecting them in one book. I can see it now -- a simple hardcover, embossed on the front of it in gold foil: "The Matwichuk Chapters." ;)

  3. I know, I'm great at coming up with all kinds of spare time for other people, eh? Is that obnoxious or what?! ;)