Media: Sumi ink & alcohol ink on Yupo
ABOUT THE SERIES
My partner, Qayyum Johnson, and I have been honoring the moon cycle since the summer of 2019. Each new moon and full moon Qayyum writes a poem and I create a painting. Sometimes Qayyum writes the poem and I make a painting in response to that. Sometimes the other way around. Sometimes we both create from the inspiration of the moon.
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The poem that Qayyum wrote in response to this painting is below.
Fire & Water Moon
New Moon August 16, 2023
Bless confusion’s tempest
its arid calm & furious defense
the gray ash of loss
the fire bereft of unkindness
Kiss the cheek of a burned mountain
Caress wind & power blown down
Shelter the lost flooding to sea
Make a home in dereliction of duty
Figure that nothing makes sense
Take a break from responsibility
Forget identity & vow
Blaspheme parsley & tarragon
for their vulnerable habit of generosity
Resound cobbles with greedy complaint
embrace abject transference:
blame atoms, curse kernels
assault capital, greed & war
Give up on noble projects & wallow
like a splotched pig in a forest—
all nearsighted hunger & shadow
Keep no record of this
Make no artistic moves
Relinquish your vanishing point
such that the sky slants inward
to pierce the beating within
Allow fat gravy to stain your body—
afterward, remorse sliding free
of resolve’s adamantine core
Befriend no one
Allow the bottom to rise toward center
Finally, after touring hell,
invoke the name of just one being
whom you cannot hate.
Let them be an oceanic presence
where all is washed in grace
of one blue drop.
Let the briefest cool breath
go forth free of anger
to bless the next.