Posted tagged ‘Elephant’

Pop Art – Serious Poem

October 1, 2011

Andy with Elephant

I am posting this in response to a dVerse Poets prompt to write something about Pop Art.    My illustration above has (ovbiously) quite a bit to do with Pop art, but nothing with the poem below.  (I couldn’t resist it.)

The poem has less to do with Pop Art, I suppose.  My excuse is that the prompt talked of writing about a cultural phenomenon.  I don’t know if this qualifies, so my second excuse is that I think of Pop Art, some times, as complex juxtapositions flattened out upon a page.  Here goes:

Train of Thought

I am thinking, as I sit upon the train,
that the person who invented rubberized eggs,
that is, those eggs that are scrambled, squared,
and then somehow boinged, for easy sale,
should be shot, or at least, forced to eat them, when
a woman with a rubbed-out face
steps onto my car.  She’s been burned badly,
her face segmented into angular wedges of scar that
web from one ear to the opposite cheekbone.
Hard to read the history
in the hieroglyphics.
An explosion on a stove?
Acid thrown in warning?  Retribution?
Her skin is tan, hair dark, but any particulars
of ethnicity scratched out. I go
for the acid, knowing that whether or not she is a woman
purposely victimized, there are such women.
She stands, her face turned
so that I can see only an edge of eye (though her eyes
are almost all edge).
I want to give her my seat, but the gesture feels
intrusive, a stare made physical, so I do nothing but wonder
about a world in which eggs are turned
into seamless elasticized squares, women’s faces into
a stitching of stiff triangles, and how our minds can hold such things at once–
the trivial, the tragic, this train. 

(All rights reserved.)


August 7, 2011


Dabbling in Painting Apps

June 4, 2011


As even non-Apple partisans admit, one of the appealing aspects of having an iPad or iPhone are the Apps.

As an Apple partisan, I freely declare that some Apps are pretty terrific. Some, such as the “Bed Bug App,” that I saw advertised on the NYC subway the other day, don’t seem terribly appealing, but others, like the Brushes App (a finger-painting app), have become tools that I use almost every day.

Lately though, as much as I love the Brushes App, I’ve been a bit curious to branch out.

The good news here is that most Apps are quite inexpensive (much much cheaper than comparable computer software) so you can try different ones without a huge outlay of cash. The bad news is that most of the art Apps I’ve seen do not seem to come with “user manuals.” Rather, they seem rely on either (i) pre-existing computer graphics skill or (ii) a lot of time spent poking at the screen and hoping that something comes out.

I’m not saying that I would actually read through a user manual even if they had one–but some of these painting Apps are extremely complicated and seem, to me at least, much less intuitive than Brushes. So I’ve downloaded a couple, like Art Studio, which look really promising, but which I simply can’t operate.

One that has worked better for me is Sketchbook Pro. It seems (so far) a bit more cumbersome than Brushes, but has definitely possibilities. It allows for text (which I do not have the hang of yet–see above), weird geometric templates (below), and (very cool) mirrored effects in drawing. (See the Siamese Elephant.). (I confess to having finished this last one on Brushes, because I couldn’t figure out how to narrow certain strokes–the air brush style–on Sketchbook Pro.)

At any rate, a very new and odd world for a dabbler like me. I encourage others to give it a try.



National Poetry Month – Day 12 – “That One’s Taken”

April 12, 2011

Day 12 of National Poetry Month.  This is also tax season!  A very busy time for me.  As a result, I’ve found that the only free time I’ve had to do my draft poems in the last couple of days has been on my subway ride to work.   The subway (if I have a seat) is actually one of my favorite places to work.  It is one place where you really can’t multi-task.  Someone else is doing the driving and your handheld computer/smart phone doesn’t work.   And, yet, if you are like me, you can always find something else to distract you, something to keep you from writing a really great poem!  See below.

That One’s Taken

On subway mornings, I try to write,
to jot down something new and bright.
My brain fills with a melody,
however, most unfortunately,
it’s not composed by me at all,
but from some Broadway musical.
Worse still, I find I’m doomed to hear
the jangling in another’s ear.
Their iPod’s turned up way too loud;
they’re making music for the crowd.
Though that’s just what I long to do–
to be heard by more than one or two–
my spoken tune, my thoughtful rhyme,
some memorable (I hope) line–
I cannot think for all the din,
the pre-played music out and in,
and when I try to write a poem,
I’m stuck in someone else’s song.

All rights reserved.  Suggestions welcome.

Friday Night With iTunes

March 25, 2011

Religious Outrage – Elephant Dung

September 10, 2010

We live in a country where you can use the Bible as toilet paper.  You can even post a video of this use on youtube.  (I hope not.)

It’s a country where you are allowed to draw horns on the President, a country where you do not generally have to memorize poems for fear that your scribbles will be discovered by the local police.  (The downside of this is that no one is much interested in poetry.)

It’s also a country where silly self-promoters, like Terry Jones and several other copycat “ministers”, have a right to do silly self-promoting symbolic things.

Of course, the rules that allow for Jones are also the rules that allow for artists and writers, museums and collectors, many of whom are also self-promoters, some of whom are also foolish.  (Some not.)

Remember Chris Ofili and the Virgin Mary painted with Elephant Dung, part of the Brooklyn Museum’s 1999 show Sensation, which exhibited works from the collection of Charles Saatchi.  Ofili’s Virigin Mary caused such a….sensation that it inspired then Mayor Giuliani to start a lawsuit to evict the Museum, the Museum to countersue Giuliani, and all kinds of politicians, artists, religious groups and concerned citizens to speak out.  The U.S. House of Representatives (typically!) passed a nonbinding resolution to end federal funding for the Museum, the City of New York actually stopped the Museum’s funding; a federal judge restored it.

I am not sure that people around the world, Muslims particularly, understand this aspect of our culture.

I’m not sure that many of us always understand it.  Especially some of the ones doing silly symbolic things.  (And why do so many have to center on 9/11?  Ground Zero?  Do these people even like New York?)

But what do you do?  We live in a country (thankfully) where people do not have to swallow their poetry, but can post it on the internet.  Even though no one is terribly interested in it.  With or without elephant dung.

More tomorrow.

Prom Season (With Elephants)

June 4, 2010

June Prom

The skies take a short break, waiting for the hair.
In one case, it is fine, sleek hair
which will only stay up till
the photo’s click, less than the time
I’ve stood behind the girl, working with
bobby pins.  “Wispy is good,” I say as
she fumbles in the back for smooth.
The make-up is smooth; two-toned
eyes converge with Egyptian directness
onto the shade of dress’s shine.

Skies grumble.  “Maybe
you better hurry,” I say.
“Why did I squeeze it?” one wails.
I palpate tint and powder onto a spot on
her breastbone, repeating a mantra
of don’t worry, it won’t show.

Another wants to keep the price tag on, tucked
inside the dress’s backless back
because it’s the most expensive she’s
ever owned.   Mid-twirl, she cries, “oh no!  It smells
like smoked fish.  Why does it smell like smoked fish?”
I tell her it’s fine, but offer perfume.  The one with the squeezed pimple
leans in supportively:  “I can’t smell it.”
“Oh God,” the twirler moans, “I
can smell it from here.”

Lips stretch shimmer
onto smiles perfected
over eighteen years.   And then, the camera
down, they really smile, not bemoaning
their lack of dates, only—and that less
and less–the possible scent
of smoked fish.

Darkness greets them with what sounds like applause.
I chase down a cab, then, umbrella in
each hand, ferry them one at a time,
hovering over hair, shoulders, skirt.
Slippered feet glisten through the tarred, watery drumroll,
as if made partly of glass,
the other part celluloid.
I laugh with the doorman as the taxi pulls away,
taillights as bright as Christmas in this storm,
the mother, the friend’s mother,
the one left to put away
the little jars, hangers, bobby pins,
to scoop from the floor the finally cast-off
tag, happy to be needed
by these large, beautiful, creatures,
happy to be out of the rain.