Friday, February 26, 2010


The Dual
oil on canvas by Merissa Gilbert Garrison


Something’s at me today -
a tearing of form,
a stitching of words,
a definition of hours,
like a quiet folding
or unfolding
of the thinnest paper.

It’s like sitting with my back
against my own back and
trying to wrest something
from the sweat of my skin
and the salt of my bones.


trooping with crows said...

Well, first I will say briefly, how totally honored I feel that you created a poem with my painting as your muse.
The POEM! The frailty of it makes me hold my breath while I'm reading it. Love "back against my own back" a great line. This poem has the right words, conveys the right emotion and is just really really dead on! I love it Mom
thank you for being my biggest fan)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I love this one so much for the composition and because Emily is the model. I remember when it was in the show at the AFA Gallery - Cash and I discussed it several times that evening, even though he wasn't two yet. lol

Since a slide of this artwork has just been sent to Art of the State in Harrisburg for possible selection in the juried exhibition, I thought I would conjure a little positive energy around it - not that you need my conjuring.

We have never really talked about the deeper meaning of the unbelievable as that seems, so I am glad I caught the essence of it with my few humble words. <3

Coffee with Clark said...

Moving, disturbing, touching deep inside..."frailty" is such the right word, art and art intertwined...stunning... together they weave a heart spell of imagination and emotion and wonder

thank you artists, and good luck in the state compettion

Karen said...

The painting is stunning. I wondered who the model might be, so thanks for the conversation/background. Everything about that painting is compelling, including the title, both for the meaning of that word and also for its homophone and all it implies.

The poem is perfect complement to the painting. I love the "stitching" and "folding and unfolding" of "thinnest paper." The fragility of those lines makes me think of peeling skin away. Then you become a little more agressive with the last stanza - "trying to wrest" the very "sweat of my skin" and "salt of my bones." An effort is here, confronting the fragility and trying hard to separate from yourself.

I don't know if any of that makes sense, so suffice it to say that these are both moving, beautiful pieces of art.

(Good luck to Merissa in the juried competition.)

Bob said...

I love this... I love a great opening line in a poem, something that intrigues and makes me want to read on... brilliant as always, I'll be reading this again a few times today :)

Anonymous said...

I say this with no embellishment: this might very well be my favorite one of yours that I've seen. First line: killer. Choice of images to expound upon it: perfect. (Those lines themselves are like the thinnest paper, unfolding...) Description in the second stanza: wonderfully indescribable. Go forth and publish! This is absolutely superb.

The painting is also excellent! You guys make an awesome team. :)

Margaret said...

Merissa's painting is absolutely outstanding and you've done great justice to it with your excellent poem K.
I think we all get days when we feel the intensity of an undescribable feeling or presence which leaves us feeling frustrated. Your choice of words are amazing!

Mother and daughter - an awesome team!!

Anonymous said...

Then I wish you a helping of glue.

Or a flower to press between the thin pages.

Julie said...

Both mother and daughter are so talented! Merissa's painting is amazing. I can't stop looking at it. I love the touch of color between the faces. There's a lot of story going on in that picture. I know you must be so proud, Kaye. Beautiful work. Please keep us informed about the juried exhibition. I wish the public could vote, because I'd definitely vote two thumbs way up.

And you know I always vote two thumbs way up for your work! The poem complements the painting so well. The phrasing is beautiful, yet there is a wonderful tension that's not overdone. I love that you use the "thinnest of paper." The "sweat of my skin and the salt of my bones" is awesome. I feel like I have my "back against my own" on so many days:) Excellent work!

joaquin carvel said...

that is an amazing painting - just amazing. and the poem, too - there is a tension in that fragility that is palpable - i think i know that "something", and you've captured it perfectly. stunning.

Rick said...

Pardon the language, but damn this is a great poem!

Sarah Hina said...

I felt an inner squirm in this one, Kay. It's a dark, crawling energy you and Merissa have painted together. For some reason, I heard a fly buzzing somewhere in your words. I feel like this when I've been stagnant for too long. It's a push, but it's not pleasant.

I love how you dug beneath the skin to connect the salt of sweat with the salt of bones. Perfect.

trooping with crows said...

I want to say a heart felt thank you to everyone here for all the nice things being said about my painting. Your support means the world to me. Mostly because I respect what writers say ALOT! I feel like we're an on-line family sometimes!
Really, thanks all!


K.Lawson Gilbert said...

EVERYONE - I apologize for not responding sooner to your comments. I am having major issues with pain in both hands, esp. the right one. So forgive me for not responding sooner or getting around to your blogs. I'm leaving shorter comments these days.

Terry - I appreciate your wonderful words. Thanks so much!
I like that - "weave a heart spell of imagination, emotion and wonder." (Keep your fingers crossed.)

Karen - Thank you so much. Yes, Merissa's title for the painting is clever, I thought, too. Thanks for your close study of the poem. Yes, confronting the fragility and trying hard to separate... I value your comments so much - you know that.

Bob, Thank you my friend. You are one who knows about brilliant opening lines...your poetry is filled with those! Thanks a bunch!

Joseph, many thanks for that excellent compliment! hahaaa..I *will* go forth and publish - Thanks!!

Margaret - Yes, that's it ...the intensity of an undescribable feeling or presence. I really appreciate your comment - as always.

Jason - I'll take them both - thanks!

Julie - I will let you know! what a relective line -wonderful tension that's not overdone. Thanks for your understaning in all things poetic.

Joaquin - yes, I imagine that you do know that "something". I have detected it many times in your illustrious work. Thank you.

Rick - Language pardoned...thank you. ;D

Sarah - I appreciate your careful look here. Yes, inner squirm is it. I like - I heard a fly buzzing somewhere in your words. Thank you, Sarah.

Margaret said...

I really hope it's nothing serious with your hands K.
My prayers are with you for a quick recovery. Hugs..

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Margaret - how sweet, thank you very much for the well wishes and hugs. I'm sure I'll be as good as new one of these days - just have to rest my hands as much as possible right now. It's a hard thing to do. Thanks again, Margaret. ;)))

Aniket said...

No need to reply, Give your hands some rest. We can chat via telepathy. :P

When I first read the credits to the photo, I thought must be some other great painter I know nothing about and the rest of the wiser world does. And was pleasantly shocked when I went through the comments. :)

Talented genes your bloodline has. :D Loved 'em both the painting and the words.

Take care.

catvibe said...

K, first, I wish you recovery in your hands, I know how awful body pain can be. Don't over do it!

I am just blown away by your daughter's astounding talent, coupled with yours and this is just a masterpiece. I like the uncomfortable place the words leave me in. The duality.

Love to you K.

Vesper said...

Kaye, wow, just wow!
I was reading this poem again and again, not getting enough of it, thinking that I'm in there too, that that is exactly how I feel, how I am, today, or maybe not just today, but everyday. A brilliant poem.

As for the painting, it is superb!

I'm very sorry that your hands bother you. I hope you'll feel much better soon.


Ghost Dansing said...

the picture and pome and the paper and folding and such reminds me of origame... おりがみ

Marinela said...

Merissa's painting is really great and the poem is just lovely :)

Daniel Dragomirescu said...

Nice, interesting and so feminin. Congratulations.
Daniel D. Peaceman, writer and editor of CHMagazine

Anonymous said...

Hope you're doing okay.

joaquin carvel said...

me too. hope it's just busy - hate the thought of you in pain - but just wanted to let you know we're thinking of you, and that you're missed. take care.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Thanks to all so very much. Surgery in late April for carpal tunnel. I have missed everyone. <3