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Word Art: Blue Blazing

Writing in tiny wee writing is particularly well suited for framing in tiny wee frames.  One of my thrift shop runs provided me with a rather elaborate frame with a two-inch-by-three-inch window.  I decided, as an experiment, to see if I could fit a poem in it.  Since the poem itself wasn’t that long, I added some white space in the shape of a flame with the help of the French curves provided by my father.

The only word I had to omit from the original poem for it to fit the boundaries I’d set was the word “perfect.”

Blue Blazing

Blue Blazing

It could have been a warehouse,

or somebody’s loft.

I remember brick walls

high ceilings,

dirty industrial windows

and hints of paintings in the shadows.

The room was lit by candles

and by a bowl of blue flames in the center,

sky and cobalt flickering.

When the candles died, the light left us underwater.

If you touched the flames in just the right way, you could scoop some up

hold it in the palm of your hand,

roll it up one arm,

down the other, barely feel it was there.

I saw someone juggling three bits of flame

faster and faster

until they were [perfect] curves of neon,

and for his finale, he threw one up, let it fall

caught it in his mouth

and swallowed it.

There was a girl in the corner,

holding a bit of flame in her cupped hands just up to her face

like she was telling it a secret.

Her dark hair spilled down into and

it caught

clambered up,


She blazed.

Her head was a halo and all they could do was stare

at how brilliant she was

as her mouth stood open in a halted scream

and she slowly burned to death.

The world has edges

and they can be fallen off of . . .

The poem had been previously published (albeit with a line missing) in the Java Monkey Speaks Volume One, which was an anthology of poets who had featured at the first two years of the Java Monkey Speaks reading.  My life as a poet has been a scattershot one, but I mark that as an achievement worth noting, up there with being published in another poetry anthology a few pages away from Neil Gaiman and having the opportunity to recite my work in front of a Basquiat painting at the High Museum of Art.

It’s one of the only free verse poems of mine I have memorized, so when I mention I did poetry at one time and people ask “So, what kind of poetry?” I’ve been known to recite that one and then say “stuff like that.”

Prints of this work are available here.

The original is not for sale.

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