Lately, I've been considering the fun of collaboration. My new friend Emily is a painter who has similar obsessions with folk and fairy tales and the like; and right now she's mulling over a few poems of mine to illustrate. I can't wait to see what she imagines visually from my words. Not to mention how flattered I am that she even wanted to use my poems as inspiration. I've often said that one of the reasons I was drawn to poetry as far back as I can remember is that I have no talent for visual art. Poetry allows me to express these often very visual ideas that I have, but with words rather than line and color and texture. I'm excited to see the reverse of this, to see what someone else sees when they read my poetry, to see what I could not draw or paint on my own.
While I'm waiting on that project, I decided I'd try it the other way around: write a poem based on one of Emily's paintings. Ironically enough, I had actually started a poem a few months ago that corresponds perfectly with Emily's painting "Tomato Birth" (I think, anyway). So, I took that forgotten fragment back out and worked on it a bit more.
"I'd like to mention my rag time."
-Sandra Cisneros, 'Down There'
the earthen red
of an old wheel barrow,
an empty flower pot.
Then the blood
like tomato soup
from the mad-sad spleen,
pulpy and hot.
Well, it's still just a fragment, though a bit more substantial now. I've hit a block with it again, and I think it might be that I don't really want to work on that one right now. But I have had some fun with it. The title is the term for the biological process of making blood. I found it a fun word to play around with and it worked so perfectly with the images from which I was drawing. Inside haematopoeisis is "mato" (as in "tomato") and "poeisis" (as in "poesy"). The inscripted line just below the title is from Sandra Cisneros' poem "Down There" which is a wonderful exploration into the imagery of menstruation. Lovely and gory and unfeminine.