Warhol–Pop Art in Words

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Warhol

Maybe Andy was on
to something.
One-after-another
screen-printed cans—
Campbell’s soup:
red and white,
silver and gray,
navy blue with a gold seal.
An icon of comfort in
the midst of so much dismay.
Tomato, Chicken Noodle,
Split Pea,
Bean with Bacon, Pepper Pot.
Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Comfort.
Bring it on.

Did you ever stop?
Really look at art?
I mean art in a grocery store?
“Wake up!”
Andy would say.
“Look.
Listen closely.”

I pick up a navel orange.
Its dimpled skin
leaves a scent-mark
on my fingers.

“If you want to know me,
look at my art,”
“I’m a deeply superficial person.”

So I stare at him,
but he doesn’t glance back.
Eyes drifting to some
far-away place where
wholeness waits,
or to a party where
touching never held room
for emptiness.
The pull of gravity so great
the Mass collapses in
on itself,
Black Hole. Black Whole.

All that sparkles is
not diamond dust.
Even that wouldn’t adhere.
Your world
became glittered in so
much plastic.

Redemption plays in
pink and yellow
electric chairs.

Curl up,
snuggle in its lap
and die alone
while the nurse who
was there for you,
wasn’t.

Oh my God,
I am heartily sorry,
hardly,
heartily.
So much pain.
I repeat, I repeat.
Marilyn in
black and gray
and brown,
blue and pink.
We are heartily sorry
who we aren’t,
what we are
and what they made us.

The woman handed
the boy
a piece of dense bread.
“It’s dry,” he said.
“Dunk it in your soup,”
she answered.

I wrote this poem way back in 2010, around the time the Nevada Museum of Art hosted a Warhol exhibit. Many, perhaps unknown details underlie this writing. Here are a few of them.

  • As a child, Andy was sick a lot. His mother sustained him on Campbells soup.
  • He surrounded himself with celebrities, but never found self confidence or the ability to fill that empty space within himself.
  • He pursued adding diamond dust to his work, but had problems with making it stick.
  • He painted a rather grim series of electric chairs.
  • He died at a young age of complications from gallbladder surgery. The private nurse who was supposed to be with him had left the room.

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I would love to have you join us for dVerse MTB where I’m hosting. The theme is Pop Art.

 

dVerse OLN–a Whale of a Time

Image: BBC

Today, I’m linking a previously posted poem, one that I wrote using homonyms in the Sestina prompt, for dVerse OLN. It was the last, end-hour poem to go up. I am giving it a quick facelift. Coincidently, it is about whales. Thank you, Lillian, for sharing Provincetown with us–reminding me of my favorite, now-deceased poet, Mary Oliver.

A Mother Mourns
A Sestina

I saw her in the early hours’ mist,
just before sun broke through, heralding morn.
I heard a sound—perhaps a cry, a wail—
featuring pain that could not be missed.
An empty call of someone who must mourn,
a loss as deep as human, a grieving whale.

Who would expect such distress from a whale,
echoing slowly as though held back by the mist?
She shared her sorrow with me and I, too, began to mourn
the babe she held aloft in this quiet morn.
I thought of death—the one I loved and missed.
In silence I stood and listened to her wail.

Once again, I heard her, another wail—
the splendor of this creature, of this whale—
a mother’s angst that could not be missed,
so haunting in this atmospheric mist.
I’d awaited this day, a glorious morn,
but even breaking waves sprayed tears, as if to mourn.

She writhed in billowing whitecaps, her body seemed to mourn.
Above, a seagull cawed, squawked its own wail,
its flight toward the sun, toward dawning morn.
Below, a stillness shrouded mother whale,
in blue green seas, in dispersing mist.
Again a deep cry that I could not have missed.

I, too, have lost a child whose love I’ve missed.
Oh how I keen, and still I mourn
as I watch myself disappear into the mist
leaving behind my memories in an agonizing wail.
I think we are one—my spirit and the whale
as we both weep tears in this early morn.

As day moves on and leaves behind the morn,
we can’t stay fixed on what we have missed.
I bid goodbye to my mother whale
to face the present, so as not to mourn.
Then in a distance, I hear her–another wail
I carry it with me beyond the mist.

I’ll not forget mother whale who I met this morn.
Another day, in morning mist, I’ll think of all we both missed,
and learn how to mourn in a soundless wail.

 

 

 

A Mother Mourns

A Mother Mourns
A Sestina

I saw her in the early hours’ mist,
just before sun broke through, heralding morn.
I heard a sound—perhaps a cry, a wail—
featuring pain that could not be missed.
An empty call of someone who did mourn,
a loss as deep as human, a grieving whale.

Who would expect such distress from a whale,
echoing slowly as though held back by the mist?
She shared her sorrow with me and I, too, began to mourn
the babe she held aloft in this quiet morn.
I thought of death—the one I loved and missed.
In silence I stood and listened to her wail.

Once again, I heard her, another wail—
the splendor of this creature, of this whale—
a mother’s angst that could not be missed,
so haunting in this atmospheric mist.
I’d awaited this day, a glorious morn,
but even breaking waves sprayed tears, as if to mourn.

She writhed in billowing whitecaps, her body seemed to mourn.
Above, a seagull cawed, squawked its own wail,
its flight toward the sun, toward dawning morn.
Below, a stillness shrouded mother whale,
in blue green seas, in dispersing mist.
Again a deep cry that I could not have missed.

I, too, have lost a child whose love I’ve missed.
Oh how I keen, and still I mourn
as I watch myself disappear into the mist
leaving behind my memories in an agonizing wail.
I think we are one—my spirit and the whale
as we both weep tears in this early morn.

As day moves on and leaves behind the morn,
we can’t stay fixed on what we have missed.
I bid goodbye to my mother whale
to face the present so as not to mourn.
Then in a distance, I hear another wail
I carry it with me beyond the mist.

I’ll not forget mother whale who I met this morn.
Another day, in morning mist, I’ll think of all we both missed,
and learn how to mourn in a soundless wail.

I couldn’t resist trying another Sestina using homophones, inspired by Bjorn’s post. I’m linking it to the form challenge at dVerse Poets. This one needs some work.

Image: BBC

 

Enduring Love–a Sestina

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Enduring Love
a Sestina

You sit beside the hearth and dream
of years long past, of youth,
those days so filled with dance, with life
that you do not forget.
You walked in worlds of swirling greens,
gave birth beneath the sky.

You revel ‘neath cerulean skies
and catch a glimpse of dreams.
And thus the burgeoning of green
as you reclaim your youth.
Those signs of spring you won’t forget,
for you still pulse with life.

In aging, still you sing of life,
your eyes reflect the sky.
You smile at love you can’t forget—
those memories of dreams
fulfilled when you were full of youth,
midst flowers, in fields green.

You stood by him in days of green.
He held you throughout life.
You gave each other joys of youth,
‘neath bound’ry of the sky.
He was the answer to your dreams;
you never will forget.

A love that’s easy to forget
basks in flowers, and green
of grass and sun, the blissful dream.
Will these endure through life,
when clouds obscure the blue, blue sky
and aging foils youth?

How easy to enjoy one’s youth
and facile to forget
the promise made ‘neath azure skies,
delight-filled days of green.
Yet to endure the stuff of life,
we need more than to dream.

Beyond your youth, those days of green,
(lest you forget) the greatest life
soars to the skies, surpasses dreams.

Another Sestina submitted today to dVerse OLN.

Transience–dVerse Poetry Form: Sestina

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Transience
A Sestina—Iambic Tetrameter

How nature’s wonders haunt my daytime dreams,
ensnare my thoughts in utter timelessness.
They weave a web that captivates my soul,
a harsh reminder of life’s transience.
Our days are few, earth’s beauty delicate.
Creation holds the promise of demise.

A hawk swoops in, ensuring swift demise,
awakens morning from her sultry dreams.
soon feathers fly, then cries so delicate,
the world stands still, enwrapped in timelessness.
A fledgling dies—once more its transience,
a piecing wound emerging in my soul.

I look to nature to caress my soul,
to find an answer in the bird’s demise,
to understand this brutal transience,
her need to shatter hopes born of my dreams.
A full moon whispers silent timelessness,
like breezes sifting sand-thoughts, delicate.

A meadow boasting colors, delicate;
her flowers wave their greetings to my soul.
Year after year they speak of timelessness,
return to face, once more, a quick demise.
Within earth’s womb, do seedlings dare to dream,
accept their fate, their fragile transience?

All life is brief, a cruel transience,
the thread that holds me here, so delicate
almost as though I am, myself, a dream,
a mere illusion that contains a soul.
I can’t ignore my soon-to-be demise,
would I could float in blissful timelessness.

The truth imparts ecstatic timelessness,
enduring words that trump mere transience
and thus outweigh the harshness of demise,
imparting strength to spirits delicate.
Though understanding little of the soul,
I dare to touch eternity, to dream.

My nighttime dreams give way to timelessness,
delivering my soul from transience.
This beauty, delicate, knows no demise.

I am sharing an older poem for the Sestina Challenge at dVerse Poetry Forms. I hope to write one using homophones sometime this week. I will be away for a few days and will catch up reading your sestina next week.

Winter-Spring Walk–dVerse OLN

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Scotch Broom Shrub

Winter-Spring Walk
a Dizain

In spring, scotch broom yields mille fois yellow blooms.
Breezes caress our trees, leaves swirl and dip.
A heady scent fills the air, sweet perfumes
tempt, beguile, offer memories: your lips
on mine. But you speak only of friendship.

The winds pick up. You shield your face from mine,
hold fast your hat and turn away—a sign
that love is fragile? Hawk flies in place, flails
against late winter storms. Clouds block sunshine.
(I long to yield my being to the gale.)

I was unable to participate in the earlier form challenges at dVerse, so tonight, for Open Link Night, I am attempting a Dizain…not an especially easy form. This is a first draft.

Blue Skies Tinged with Gray

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Lake Tahoe

Blue Skies Tinged with Gray
a Sestina
Iambic Tetrameter
Revised 8/19

This morning I painted my world in blue,
new days in a dream beneath clear azure skies.
I floated in mem’ries of life borne on waves—
the summer we spent making love by the lake,
when our love sang so sweetly of hours in the sun
and clear water soothed pain that I saw in your eyes.

More often was hope gleaming in those deep eyes,
clear mirrors of mys’try—not silver, not blue,
reflecting the brilliance of summer’s lush sun
this faith that I found in those cloudless, pure skies.
We washed away fear in our bay at the lake,
floating hand within hand on her cool, gentle waves.

Sometimes we are crushed by the force of life’s waves
and excitement can wane, dull the spark in your eyes.
Then return to those days of our love by the lake
to renew what we knew when we dreamt dreams of blue,
streaked with hues of Payne’s Gray as we looked to the skies,
adding depth to those moments of light in the sun.

Summer’s end soon drew near and our time in the sun
gave way to the wind, to the chill in the waves.
Autumn clouds came too soon, hiding blue of the skies,
cast long shadows on joy, dimmed the glow in your eyes.
Succumbing to dark, nature cast off her blue.
Thus we tasted the close of our days at the lake.

Arid sands took you far from our love by the lake.
In Iraq you would know desert dry, scorching sun.
Did that world of brown erase recall of blue?
Did you dream of the days we had shared in the waves?
Or did you forget, horror blinding your eyes
to all of the plans that we held ‘neath blue skies?

For my part, I still hope for the day when the skies
shall return you to me, to our love by the lake.
When you rush to my arms will the tears in your eyes
still be there as they were on that day in the sun
when you told me they called to you over the waves
and you walked from my life for the red, white and blue?

I still look to the skies, shield my eyes from the sun,
wait for days at the lake, for the calming of waves,
lose myself in your eyes, wrapped in dreams painted blue.

For dVerse Poetry Form Challenge–this month the form is the SESTINA. This is my second entry for which I did some revisions on a poem I had written a while back when De Jackson gave us a “blue” prompt. The sestina is a complex form but give it a whirl and link to dVerse where this will be open for one month.