Reconnaissance, The Comet's Tail, Uncategorized

Invitation to Stillness

20180719_104853img_20180717_110132_894img_20180719_182951_13120180719_104809

It’s been over twenty-five years since I wrote these lines:

The doctors invited me to be still.
Then the X-ray revealed
one of van Gogh’s sunflowers
dying inside me, just beneath my ribs.
Not enough sun, they said,
prescribed antibiotics and suggested
lemon juice to ease the pain.

A few of the remedies worked; stillness came, then awakening. Just beneath my ribs, the sunflower lives, and so does the everpresent need to be still, to suggest bright petals and brave possibilities. Thanks, Vincent for this yellow.

Still, ever-spiraling.

Find the complete poem in Reconnaissance and more about doctors and prescriptions and journeys of other sorts in The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memoir.

 

Poems, Reconnaissance, Signed Copies, Uncategorized

the paraphrase of a quail egg

After Inspecting Brassaï’s Graffiti

At Musée d’Art Moderne
I notice the construct of silhouetted
stick figures juxtaposed above a door;
one’s triangular body tells me
to go into a different salle. There,
I find another version of graffiti
on the door in front of me as I sit down.
This is not art someone has written.
My bladder agrees, but against this angst
and all treachery of the world’s turmoil
another has revolted: Yes it is—
Art is what you make of it. Such words
delight me at first; they affect such openness,
pretend pluralism, and compel acceptance
of every sapling of discontent that arises
at seeing paint spread like entrails on the floor.
What you make of it . . . as if anyone could
wake and slither into anarchy and come out
with the paraphrase of a quail egg. I go out
and back to the exhibits, back to the violence
and spectacle of color and form. Seeking out
other dimensions, I walk into a room wrapped
in giant spools of gray, industrial felt.
At the end of one hall, a sculpture in straw
creates the illusion of an airplane; a thousand
pairs of scissors spear its shape. Art is
what you make of it? I need to go back:
digging into my bag and finding a pen
I scratch the last two words into blackness.

The poem is featured in Reconnaissance, published by Homebound Publications. For a signed copy (and free shipping), click the side menu and find “Purchase Signed Copies.”

Navigate to previous posts using the arrow on the right-hand-side menu.

blur chains chrome close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Four Blue Eggs, Reconnaissance, The Comet's Tail, Uncategorized

PechaKucha 20×20 Bridgeport Vol. 1

I have to admit that before the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport Connecticut invited storytellers to participate in their first PechaKucha night, I had no idea what PechaKucha was. It’s simple to describe: a slide show of 20 slides which progress through 20-second intervals–so a story in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. More than the slideshow, PechaKucha is an opportunity to gather with others and share. Developed by an architecture firm in Japan, PechaKucha translates loosely into “chit-chat” in Japanese. It’s taken off worldwide and the U.S. is starting to catch up.

I was happy to participate as the Barnum Museum hosted its first (of many) PechaKucha nights earlier this month (May 9). I told the story of how writing helped me recover from a coma–a story that I share in more depth in The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory.

Annotating the Self: Writing and Recovery  (or click the image below)

Nawrocki 015

I’ll be at Byrd’s Books again on Sunday, June 3rd for a Book Talk about The Comet’s Tail. Support your local independent bookstore and join us.

Byrds 5.19.18 2

Reconnaissance, Uncategorized

Proof of Existence

Distilling Sol Lewitt

Obliterate, says the line
curve the horizon, resist
tremors of an inexact hand
tap into the statuesque control
of an oblique axis, linger
in the infinite advance; find proof
of existence between the abscissa
and the ordinate, between Euclid
and Descartes, between an arrow
and its trajectory.

Sol Lewitt’s work is on permanent display at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; poem from Reconnaissance.

 

Reconnaissance, Signed Copies

First Editions

To celebrating the release of the second edition of Reconnaissance, enjoy this poem about first editions. Click the title to order your own first edition at a special discounted price.

The Thief

I apprenticed well. For a sixth grade project,
Mrs. Montecalvo taught me the worth
of a good forgery when she assigned
the footnoted history of a painter
and encouraged an attempt at imitation.

Seeing Monet’s Westminster Bridge reprinted
in Reader’s Digest, I modeled my own
with schoolgirl brushes and an aptitude
for blending. I typed his biography
on a blue Remington, stenciled a title page,
punched symmetrical holes and glued
the masterpiece into a pocketed folder.
I never got the stink of acrylic off my fingers.

 

bridge 1 3 001
After Monet: Westminster Bridge, Acrylic on paper, circa 1985 

 

Audacity and small victories: these
are gateways for any scavenger.
Once one is secure in the false flat
of a sloped horizon, transformations
are easy: an open book, so to speak.

I pocketed the Collected Poems
of ee cummings wholesale, tore
the bar code from the last page
and slipped its frayed spine between
loose-leaf sheets of unlined
but perforated notebooks. Long after,
the card catalog entry went away too.

Like other trophies, I just stored it,
held it in a box of pressed flowers
and half memorized poems, among
generous piles of pens and paint brushes,
newspaper clippings and dirty love letters
scribbled on the backs of postcards.
For these corruptions I’ve paid only
in callouses and broken pencil tips.
Despite my best calligraphy,
slippery pens have crossed out
entire lines carefully typeset in Linotype
or Century Schoolbook, my marks bleeding
through pages now unreadable.

In the gray area between homage
and sacrilege, I thieve too much:
red wheelbarrows pile full of leaves and dirt
and burnable logs pressed into the pulp
of scrap paper or woven into stretchable
canvases. Little I see in nature
that is my own. I stole van Gogh’s sadness
and painted it on my shoulder.
Like Olympia, I learned how to stare.

Next time, let me mimic the syntax of bridges
and throw sand over wet, stolen ink.
Let me trust in surveillance. Once the thief
learns to discern original from run of the mill
everything is a first edition; everything
is one of a kind.

 

 

Reconnaissance, Uncategorized

Sculpture

DSC_0480 (3)

Dodeca Hexahedron with Blood Orange, Amy Nawrocki, Origami paper and rubber cement.

The sculpture is sixteen triangular hexahedrons glued together created a twenty-four sided sculpture, inspired by the geometric insight and modularity of artists like of Sol LeWitt, Alexander Calder, and others. “Dodeca Hexahedron” is a guess. Soccerball was the alternate.

Here’s a poem from Reconnaissance (2015 Homebound Publications), inspired by LeWitt’s work.

Distilling Sol Lewitt

Obliterate, says the line,

the curve of the horizon; resist

tremors of an inexact hand;

tap into the statuesque control

of an oblique axis, lingering

in the infinite advance; find proof

of existence between the abscissa

and the ordinate, between Euclid

and Descartes, between an arrow

and its trajectory.

Four Sided Pyramid Sol Lewitt

Sol LeWitt, Four Sided Pyramid, concrete blocks and mortar, National Gallery of Art

Reconnaissance

The Rothko Conundrum

20170109_123104Many thanks to a little boy named Ezra (and his expert crocodile tears) and Mark Rothko for filling my time at AAA as I waited to get my new 44-year-old license. I have to admit that it felt a little awkward giving up on Lucretius, who got me through a registration renewal at the DMV last year. But Rothko’s The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art gave me encouragement

“The Truth of Art is foremost. . . . This artistic conscience, which is composed of present reason and memory, this morality intrinsic to the generic logic of art itself, is inescapable” (“The Artist’s Dilemma,” chapter 1)

Thus, musings from Reconnaissance:
The Rothko Conundrum
the Phillips Collection
1.
binary hypothesis
recognizable. a door
two mirrors. eight cauldrons
a house with its roof
green wishing away a marooned horizon

a blood puddle laying
on the upturned walkway
the puddle pretending a dance
the mirror between

2.
an upside-down paragraph
hapless bronze fire
waking the vertical

bottle glass wishing away a citrus horizon
unfinished books. the last pieces
of paper left on the floor
perpendicular mischief

3.
lost fish music. horizontal longing. orange and red on red
wishing away a missing horizon
lost in watertight cathedral windows
burdenless aches. plurality

the singular capture of loss
knowing or not knowing the ending

4.
the house next door
a second window, serenity
ochre hallelujahs caught
on the windowsill
kneeling inside emptiness
sore fences. twice pink horizon

where seraphs go
why envelopes open
quadrilaterally quiet
five times red

mark-rothko-room-2006-lautman_1