Friday, March 4, 2011

His Heart Is One Color

Elizabeth Peyton, "Kiss (Tony)," 2000, lithograph.

Impecunious he leans against the wall
Knee to chest, Hand to heart,
A tear on his cheek, trying
Hard not to caterwaul
Thinking of his idols -- Kabuki-faced
Indomitable heroes who never fall

Note: Written as an exercise at a workshop called "High Art/Low Language: Experiments in Poetic Style," conducted by Eileen G'Sell at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, where Elizabeth Peyton's exhibition "Ghost" is currently on display through April 18.

In brief, the exercise was to look at one of Peyton's prints representing someone from "low" culture, in this case a young man wearing a t-shirt with a picture of the rock band Kiss on it, and write a poem in response using words drawn from our own observation of the print as well as randomly chosen "twenty-dollar words." (The randomly chosen words that I used were "impecunious" and "caterwaul.")

A further challenge was to attempt a traditional verse from such as a sonnet. In the short time in which we had to write that didn't work out so well for me. I did manage to rhyme "wall," "caterwaul," and "fall."

A fun exercise and a great workshop.

1 comment:

  1. Here are/is mine. My two prints were one of Julian Casablancas and one of a man and a woman in viking costumes singing a Wagner opera. I wish that I had time to do something like a sestina using the "high" and "low" words. Anyways ...

    The gesticulation ready for its close-up
    Elemental rendering of an
    Elemental rendering we know
    This tired form some thirty years old
    Mic and mouth ululate
    Yet it is the soporific eyes of all things
    That beat the time to a warm red glow

    Next door they think him a dirt bag
    As if he car-keyed their image on
    The egg shell finish of a Lexus
    "We're not dorky, sweetie, just still
    Without the flesh of contrivance. Years later
    Our helmets iconic, we shall have our 'Wow!'"