Wednesday, April 05, 2017


"Lateral Time" by Troy's Work Table.

Sidewalk chalk wash, sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, and charcoal pencil on 12" x 12" concrete board.


"I'd never held the ashes of a dead man but I'd always wanted to know a famous artist, so I reached out my left hand and she spilled him into my palm. He was flame-white, his flesh dust, he was tiny bones you could play with—they could be doll parts—peaceful in my hands like light."


"Now I've begun to write "NO!" on my body parts, small cross-stitched reminders to throw me back and hook another. Tattoo on my right breast, sticker on my colon, scribble of bright blue between my ovaries, hollowed out now of eggs but still handy to balance me out."

—from "Lateral Time" by Maureen Seaton, as found in Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (edited by David Lehman)


This is a perfect poem for Lent. There is death. There is dust and ashes. There is an embodiment, a celebration of flesh, followed by disintegration and an "en-soul-ment."


At first, I wasn't sure that this poem would "work." But then I read it again. And again.


Multiple readings allowed it to resonate. To take on flesh of its own.


This poem is filled with light.

(Not just the light of the bones, but the light of a television screen, light reflected upon the Hudson river, shimmering air, the light of dawn.)


This poem is about turning around—not turning back, but turning toward—and it does so through the things of everyday life, the things of the present moment.

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