Sunday, September 12, 2010


A vague feeling
has arisen in me,
with no real meaning
that I can think of -
and apart from any idea
I might have had recently,
but truly affecting and moving,
as with any other vision in life.

It prompts my mind to toil -
all thoughts tendrilling upwards
and outwards, trying to catch
somewhere - and take hold.

My mind fills with
some moonlit view
of barefoot wanderings,
and a distribution of figs
to the sick and dying –
their sweet, sticky lips
encrusted and tasting
of nothing but blood.

An odor of turpentine emits
from some dark alleyway,
where doors are open to show
dimly lit rooms divided by
unfinished canvasses,
wet with paint and going
white with mildew.

And there is not
an infinite number
of stars in the sky,
only a few large ones,
spinning and shining -
like dying martyrs,
and like living lovers,
eking out their incredible
days of pleasure and pain.

This vague feeling…
This stab in my heart.


Anonymous said...

I feel the march of time and the weight of the unfinished.

Vesper said...

Wouldn't this feeling be poetry?...

The images of your uncertainty are rich in hauntings, Kaye... So very beautiful...

Jinksy said...

You've described the feeling of a poem brewing, I think - tantalisingly out of reach until it crystalizes into words when the time is right!

Okie Prof said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Okie Prof said...

Your words, thoughts, images disturb me, reading deep inside for something I did not know was there, I have to read and reread, wondering at all the levels of emotion and meaning in so few words.

I'm fascinated and study by how writers write, and wish I could talk with you about how such a work of art comes to pass. I wouldn't want to invade privacy, but I'm mystified by how you do this. I understand struggling with watercolor and prose, and know a little about when craft transcends art. I suppose jazz musicians do the same as you have done here. A marvel to be reread, pondered, and wondered.

PS--submit it to the New Yorker, please, this week.


joaquin carvel said...

wow, k.

you knocked this one into next week.

i can also see this as the brewing of a poem - but then "any other vision in life" opens it up to all kinds of possibility.

i love how this is full of both ambiguity and immediacy - the "tendrilling" of thougts through such vivid and piquant sights and scents - and "spinning and shining - / like dying martyrs, / and like living lovers," is mesmerizing.

i think this is one of those poems that unfolds a little more each time through. just - wow.

Sheila Graham-Smith said...

What an odd coincidence. I bought a basket of figs a few days ago - I absolutely love them - and was sitting in front of my easel noticing the contrast between the sweet dusky smell of them, and the sharpness woodsy smell of the turps. My chair however, after sitting unused for weeks, was grey with mildew. I had to take it outside to clean it. Your vision sounds very disturbing, taking these ordinary elements out my day and shifting them into some vaguely nightmarish place.
Thanks for stopping by. I'm moving to a new address -
and hope to see you there.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Jason - there's always the weight, isn't there? Thank you.

Vesper - Yes, the feeling of poetry - and art, so closely linked, almost one and the same. Thanks, as always for your clear perception. You always seem to know my inner thoughts.

Jinksy - yes, "the feeling of poetry brewing" is exactly what I wrote about here. And you are right, just out of reach until - it all comes spilling out in poetic form. Many thanks for the insightful comment.

Terry - How can I thank you for such a fine compliment. I am glad this reached you on a deeper level. I would be happy to have a conversation about poetry, my approach and method, as unorthodox as it is. Thanks again!

Joaquin - Gosh....thanks!! Yes, it is a poem brewing, or thoughts stirring around in my head...but(!)
The obscurities here stem from realities. Those references are bits of things that I have stuck in my brain. Sometimes, they just coagulate to form one big notion or concept. Your careful study is so appreciated.

Sheila, Art imitates life - Life imitates art. Thank you!

Karen said...

Well,I see that my comment has disappeared, so it's been said. Grrr to Blogger!

I will just mention the brilliance of this entire poem - the fig and blood encrusted lips, sticky sweet and bloody; that's how it feels sometimes, exactly. Your mind -- toiling and tendrilling always seems to find something on which to catch and hold.

You are an amazing poet, Kay. You never fail to inspire awe.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Karen - I know - Blogger has been very erratic recently.

Thanks for checking back in and leaving another comment. I do apprecaite it. Thanks, too, for your unwavering support of my poetry. It means the world to me.

Julie said...

Brilliant and beautiful, Kaye. On each read, I am struck by the smells. Figs, blood, turpentine, mildew, wet paint. They are all strong smells and work powerfully. The wet paint on an unfinished painting is especially vivid. I feel like an unfinished painting, but I suppose we all do. That’s what we all are.

The second to the last stanza is also brilliant. I love how the rhythm and power of the voice builds to “And there is not/ an infinite number /of stars in the sky…” It feels like a powerful stamping of the foot and juxtaposes so beautifully with the vague feeling.

I enjoyed it very much!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Jules - I can't thank you enough for the astute thoughts. I know this was somewhat obscure...but honestly, I love writing ambiguously. I believe it is how I think - lol! Thank you, my friend and versifier!

Okie Prof said...

So, did you submit it or not? Why not?

unorthodox one, I salute you. The world needs no more cookie cutters, but mold breakers, and you are one.

Have you submitted it yet?

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Terry... er...not yet...but I am working on sending some things out. Thanks for reminding me and for your compliments! I do appreciate it so much. :)

Rick said...

This is really a lovely poem, K. It's a captive spirit.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rick - I am so very happy to hear from you. Thank you for such a nice comment. I know you have been very busy working on your book. I'm anxious to hear what you have been up to with your writing. I'll be over to see you soon.