Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Review: Poetry

I recently had the pleasure of reading Platos De Sal, by Matthew Hittinger. It is number two in the Editor’s series of poetry chapbooks published by Seven Kitchens Press. The poem beautifully explores the occurrence of same-sex love and longing in two generations of a Hispanic family against a backdrop of sun, desert, and beach.

We are introduced to David, a student whose lover Juan, is off to war in Iraq. Their union is unknown to his (conservative) family, though his grandmother, Rut, shares his secret. During conversations with David she quietly reveals that the union of David and Juan mirrors her own long-ago love for another woman, Mara. As Rut sits knitting, David, perhaps inspired, describes his relationship with Juan as two quilts together, the squares face to face, what David calls Juntar (as in to join): ..knit together alma to alma…not knit on one edge, but all four corners sewn up—two sides hidden, dos exposed…The hidden sides of the quilt facing one another, closed to the outside world, mirror the hidden selves, the secret love of David and Juan.

The love between the two young men is potent force that effects Rut deeply. She carries an old shell in her apron, a cherished relic of her past with Mara. It is a past haunted by tragedy, but her memories are tempered by time, wisdom, and the union of David and Juan. Touching it, she thinks of Mara and regards David’s apt description of his relationship with Juan in terms she understands well, her mind awash with memories. She shows the shell to David, the two young men fixed in her mind as ideal lovers in the same setting where she came to love Mara: the seashore.

Platos de Sal was in part inspired by two episodes from the Christian bible, the book of Ruth, with its themes of sacrifice, familial duty and steadfast love, and in part by the book of Samuel, with its story of the deep, abiding bond between Jonathan and David…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David…(Book of Samuel, 18.1).
Hittinger’s beautifully clear style of writing suits the way in which the story of David/Juan and Mara/Rut unfolds in a bright but uncertain present full of longing, interspersed with the unclouded memories of the long-ago and more recent past.

Platos de Sal is a beautiful piece. It was a pleasure to read over and again, each time Hittinger’s writing revealing more subtleties, more depth. Mention must be made of the craftsmanship of this chapbook, put together by hand, the binding sewn, the cover image striking. I love small press editions and artist’s books, and I am delighted to have experienced this one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A working poem--

This is a new poem, unrefined, but I thought I might share it--

dark stars circling

it’s my turn-let me be the devil
theatrical like the night like this:
the air cool and still
and you alone and lonely and lovely
you hate me again
i’ll come unwelcome but gently insistent
let me take it out of you
i want everything
every heartbreak
as i kiss your pursed lips
every small slight
as i caress your warm inner thigh
the quickening heartbeat of rage
when i tongue your ear
each bit of sadness
as i enter you like a slow train
the excited jealousy i inspire
expressed by your quivering member
the flashes of hatred caused by my fingers
playing across your back
the knowledge of infidelities
expressed in your moan as i thrust
your abrupt whimper of willful abandon
when i say i love you
the lights are low your eyes glow preternaturally
i repeat those words of ancient magic:
i love you
i love you
i love you

words of ecstasy destruction despair
words to wash us up on a desolate shore broken and bewildered
a web a box a cage an iron maiden of the heart
i rise up a dark bird of lust
you a sweet nest of despair-a torn prey
i’ve broken our hearts again
dropped us both on the rocks i’ve flown us above
i’m a fool-a waste of evil and intent
-oh god, i don’t remember our innocence
and you’re covered once more in a veil of despair
a cold winter’s bride
i don’t remember the first blush
the glorious green spring of you
can’t recall the first kiss on your soft neck
the first time i smelled you
the first taste of ear lips tongue
my pride at your side
things no lover should cast aside
can only grasp here and now and frantic feel you in my arms
here’s a devil in love and afraid and lashing out blind
desperate tonight looking
for original us
as you make me ache with weakness
we become a single creature on the bed-a vision a revelation
two romantics on that dark island of themselves-a deadly combination
the sensitivity the vivid passion too much to bear
the flowering of florid purple prose written on the heated body
springing up from gorgeous legs
and the fateful dance, the list of downward-sliding moments
here it is all melodrama and tic by tic read it:
-a tiny deceit born of jealousy
-a fearful need-a sudden irresponsible longing
-a slow realization in texts
-a surprised glance from across the room
-a brief passing, the air alive with scent electricity longing-or was it only lust?
-a dashed hope a butterfly trapped forever in chrysalis
-a grey morning’s regret that begins to eat and eat
-a darkening symbolist dream of want and need where nothing ends in happiness
-a martha and george passion-play
-a great novel of inexplicable love a twisted tale a cruel coup de grace
yes, all that all that we are-graceless
hopeless and ecstatic and afire with it
we cannot help it we cannot let this go
i am the devil and i love you
in all my-all our complicated ways
and we both know sometimes
something so heartbreakingly beautiful
must be destroyed
over and over again

dark stars redux: the other side of the black hole:

today i found part of a page you once tore out of my journal
and hid in the joy of cooking where the cookies start:

this morning i heard him sing in the shower when he thought i couldn’t hear he says his voice is terrible and god love him yes it is but over the sound of water there it rose plain and lovely and in the door i stood listening caught by what seemed to me the most beautiful sound i think i have ever heard i almost started to cry…

Please do not repost text or photos without express permission from the author/artist--

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

AIDSwalk Atlanta 2009

I am Captain of a team for AIDSwalk Atlanta 2009--Our Team is called Mixed Company--This event takes place every year in October to raise money for AIDS awareness and research--I hope to personally raise $1000.00 dollars and encourage everyone to support us in this very worthy cause--I will update our team's progress regularly as the walk approaches--wish us luck and help us out!--

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Camping Weekend
L to R: Dave S. Tim O., Me., and Mike L.

Little River canyon

The Watering hole

I recently had the pleasure of going to Desoto State Park in Alabama (2 hrs from Atlanta) for a weekend of camping with 5 friends--I haven't camped out since I was a teen, and it was a wonderful re-introduction to the experience of sleeping under the stars (albeit in a tent)--the weather, though warm, was cooperative (we had rain 1 night)--The park was clean and not overrun by visitors--we spent an afternoon at this fantastic watering hole with a nice waterfall--it was a treat swimming in the cool water and soaking up the sun with a few other hardy souls who made the treacherous trek down--otherwise we hiked and did a scenic tour through little river canyon national reserve, stopping at all the points along the way (we came across wild turkeys at the edge of the road--cool)--going into town on Saturday night to eat out, we found that all the restaurants closed early--we ended up at Western Sizzlin'--a chain I thought had long ceased to be in business--but there it was, and the buffet was, well, filling, to say the least--our campground was within the state park and we had access to electricity and water, etc.--they had excellent bathroon/shower facilities as well--we pitched our tents on two adjoining lots and had happy hour every afternoon and evening--when it became sticky and hot in the late afternoon, we piled into the car and headed to the public pool run by the park--A great weekend, though I did come back with four spider bites, and my tent-mate had two--totally worth it--

Check out Desoto next time you want to try camping-- --also Little River Canyon--it is absolutely gorgeous--

Ribbon: The Art of Adornment featured in Elegant Bride Magazine

The Summer 2009 issue of Elegant Bride magazine is on the newsstands now, featuring a 4 page excerpt from the book--go out and get a copy!--

Monday, May 11, 2009

Keith Haring at work, above

Another Poem from recent reading at Outwrite Books

This poem was inspired by the photo I posted recently of the Artist Keith Haring, taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair years ago--

discovering keith

struck, i tore a picture of you
out of vanity fair
he one taken by a. l.
in a setting you painted
crouching there on an ottoman arms wide
naked but for paint
on your long body
looking at the lens directly
a simple gaze touched by slight irony
a gaze that said (said)
i am here now, this moment-fully here
look at me, i am here
and i thought, wow, this is beautiful
i knew just a bit about you
dead now, time gilding your life and work
you there looking like an exotic insect or native
from an impossibly remote tribal culture
i remember playful drawings
deceptively simple images
paintings that on closer inspection
teemed with complexities
graphic, exhuberent, alive
tumbling head over heels spilling across paper wood canvas
filled with happiness and life and sex and death
ubiquitous in the 80's
when i was willfully distracted
by the morose palettes and dark interior dramas
of symbolist painters
so i tore you out and put you up
on the bulletin board by the bed-the big one
where everything important or inspiring goes
my visual journal my cork-wood muse
and i looked at you for two months
i didn't read more about you
i didn't look at your art
i only regarded you
the body the face
how you became part of your painting in a.'s photograph
which (let's face it) was clever (a lot of that in the early 90's)
but a well-done cleverness i couldn't ignore
nothing hindering your enigma or daring or vibrancy
allowing you to reach through the past (as photos do)
to me now
more than a visual pun
on your own work
more than a naked man
and i choose the word naked over nude
i think that's what you were in the instance of the photo
when you say with a gaze, again
look, i am here
yes, there, an artist divorced from the nude
nudes are aloof, remote, descended from the classical
nudes manipulate and titillate
but nakedness, the very word i love
say it aloud or under breath and listen: nakedness
something real and human and warm
by turns frail and defiant and yes, so funny (grin)
i think you knew with slight humor in your timebomb body
that no amount of paint
or styling in a studio lights bright then dim then flash
could hide
what you wanted to say
what you lived everywhere you could
in the subways on buildings on t-shirts in your store
every bit of you of you out there
so beautiful-and
to bring me that word in an image so many years later

--Timothy Wright 2009
Please respect the copyright of this work--do not reproduce without express permission.

For more about Keith haring and his work, visit the Keith Haring Foundation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Article: Art and Violence

For Arte del Mundo I recently wrote a short essay on several questions about art and violence, the connection between the two in our world today, and the role art serves in response to violence and change--Check out the article here-- the site is mostly in Spanish so you will need to scroll down to find the piece--

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cool Read: Salacious--

This is not a new book (2005), but for some low-brow (always fun) entertainment, I recently read The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Wilson, by Robert Hofler, Carroll and Graf, publishers--The book uncovers the life and fascinating career of the man who discovered Hudson, along with scores of other Hollywood hunks of the 50's and 60's such as Tab Hunter and Troy Donahue--After World War 2, Henry Wilson created a whole new genre of male actors using his own fantasy of the perfect all-american male as the template--He adored his "clients" and was on a never-ending hunt for the next big idol-or conquest--Acting as father-figure, confessor, acting and grooming coach, and not above cohersing sex out of his new clients, the man was a ruthlessly driven, complex star-maker--One of the most powerful agents in Hollywood, Wilson had extensive connections in the studios, the media, even the mob that he used to further (and in the case of blackmail, save) the careers of his famous male clients--The author has filled the book with delicious tidbits and first-hand accounts of the private lives and sexual peccadillos of stars like Rock Hudson, Guy Madison, and Tab Hunter, the male "hollywood set" of the time--A fun, entertaining read--clearly not Proust, but worthy of the beach--

Monday, April 20, 2009

Poem 3 from recent reading--

This is the third of the poems I read that evening--I wrote this short one a few years back for someone I adored--

For N---

i want you beautiful as the moon on water
pale skin glowing eyes twinkling stars
above the reflecting plains of your moist
undulations no harsh voice of crow echoing
over this land just the delicate rustle of ibis
legs in grass on the marsh of this bed my
reeds grow in the warm divide of you
your mouth sweet like a spring your exhalations
wings of a mourning dove in my ears

-Timothy Wright April 2009
Please respect the copyright of this work--do not reproduce without express permission--

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My favorite quote--
From the amazing Emily Dickinson:

Nature is a haunted house--but art--a house that tries to be haunted.