This Book Was Stolen

IMG_7033morning kept isolated,

the sunlight was heavy

and carried

between her sweater and coat.

Following the only other living thing: the bitter wind

visible, immeasurably glad.

There was time, couple of hours, a few minutes to feed her.

I used a page from the short story “Lie Down with Lions” by Ken Follet from the book Best Sellers from Readers Digest Condensed Books published in 1986. I used lead pencils to create a blackout poem and then I went over it with a set of childrens’ Crayola brush pens from CVS and water to get a soft watercolor-like effect. I then created a collage with famous stolen paintings and the old illustrations from the book itself.

In looking at the words I saw singular images and word combinations that I liked and I started to pair them together. “morning kept isolated” was one of my favorites that jumped out at me immediately. The next one was the idea of carrying sunlight underneath a coat, and the ending image of someone eating time and letting the minutes and hours feed her. I didn’t set out to write this poem based on personal experience, but by letting the words on the page jump out at me in no particular sequence I think I captured a mood that feels familiar. The final product is something that emerged out of a little homesickness, and the fact that I was missing Lake Michigan and the feeling of eating lunch on the beach in the middle of January with friends. Everything looks dead in Chicago in the winter, the only thing that makes the whole scene come alive is the movement of frigid January air.  Surreal or abstract art always evokes a feeling in me more than it does a complex message, but it has the potential to be equally powerful.

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