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Word Art: Peering Through the Eye

At this point, I don’t have my artwork framed professionally but make use of standard photo frames from thrift shops and dollar stores.  Not only am I too broke to afford much more, I prefer to be able to remove the art easily in order to scan it or make minor corrections.

I picked up a frame on one of my thrift shop runs that resembled a television screen and made an earlier attempt to fill it with words that would look like static but I got bored with what I was doing about a third of the way through it and abandoned it.  I started again, this time coming up with an eye design in GIMP and tracing the printout.  I got about halfway through it and set it aside before finally finishing it up over a glass of bourbon at a brewpub within walking distance of my home.

Peering Through the Eye

Peering Through the Eye

There is a barrier.

It is this thick.

It is made of magazine pages and television screens, layer upon layer upon layer.

Something like glass.

What is seen is distorted.

You ripple when you move.

It makes you beautiful.

I am a part of the swirling crowd.

We struggle to get close enough to touch, or at least to see just a little more clearly.

You are surrounded from so many angles and each flat image provides an addition to a composite assembling in my mind.

I try to even take in the ugly moments, the pettiness, the flaws and fumblings.

They console me so, remind me that you are human, and I am given a sense of being close enough to see you vulnerable, even as I am not the only witness to such things.

It can still feel like a secret that has been shared just between the pair of us.

At times it can feel as if my broken up places are known just as clearly to you, in the ways you sing or speak.

These are only illusions.

And yet we crave them so.

I use the newspapered pages to patch up the cracks in my heart.

I weave your glamour into a net in order to hold myself in place.

It is a willing sort of bondage.

Indeed, you never even asked it of me.

And yet I am yours to call upon.

You ask so little of one who would give so much.

A moment’s attention would be such tiny payment in exchange for all that I would so gladly provide.

And yet there are many others who would do the same and all those tiny moments add up, become minutes, become hours, become days and you would have no time left to do anything at all.

And so those flickers of your regard become as precious and rare as jewels, cut to shine, treasured and worn as symbols of status.

We sometimes carve ourselves some kind of semiprecious substitute out of daydream and creativity.

(It is a harmless enough practice as long as one is not foolish to the point of delusion that they are the same as the genuine article.)

There are days when I dream of ascending to the ranks of those whose moments of attention are carved into jewels.

I dream of being surrounded by the same layers that surround you, the screens, the pages, the camera lenses.

I dream of being that much closer to you, close enough for you to see me clearly.

(And yet I know that if I am to have any hope of that I must turn away from facing you and turn to face myself.)

Until then, I settle for the fishbowl flickers when I get close enough to press my hand against the glass.

It seems warmer where you are.

Do you really see me when I stand so close?

Can you see me ripple when I move?

Am I, dare I hope, made beautiful?

The first seven lines had been composed in my head as the start of a poem and stayed in limbo for many years.  Writing them down as the start of this piece forced the issue.  I did a bit of notebook drafting for this one but, as always, the words tended to shift a bit between initial composition and execution.

Is it about anyone in particular?  It is, in a sense, about a lot of people, about the nature of celebrity obsession as I have experienced it and witnessed it.  I can’t imagine a better frame for it, really.

Prints of this work are available here.

The original is not for sale.

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