Here’s another ekphrastic poem inspired by the art installation at ArtSpace – “On Materiality.” Thanks go to David Havird for leading the workshop and for his help in crafting it.

By Shanna R. Dodd

I found myself alone in a poverty of reason,
wandering down wide, emptied streets,
dark and shining in their slickness.
There were, of a sudden, subtle pools of light
in colors primal and beckoning.
Bubbling up. Oil on the water.
I bent my curious head to see and fell.
Into an echoing.
Rising I stood in a chamber of ordered chaos.
Stark white and sterile.
Giant wombs with pulsing veins stretched from the dark
above to the cold hard floor. Sentinels.
Some were grayed with age, bristling
and bloodied, beautiful
and bruised. Others had the deep
glow of passion in purples and blues.
One, smaller than the rest, pale and pink
Pure as morning’s first light.
Women with great leaves gathered
at their feet like tears of stone
stood apart from them. Proud.
Bare boned as trees in winter.
Silently screaming. Wrapped
in rich gossamer, their wounded souls
cutting and sharp.
Seeds, big as a fist, cupped or rounded.
Phallic. Hard as bits of bone. Vibrant
as gemstones. Gathered as a rising
and whispered among themselves
of little births. Little deaths.
Grayed grasses climbed the far wall. Weeping and ashen.
Nestled among them were patches. Squared.
Fray-edged. Veined in gold
and throbbing. Testaments.
Talismans of the future’s past.
Waiting, waiting.
Far off in the glittering distance, houses stood
basking in pools of light.
Yearning. Filled to bursting
with pebbly neon memories. Tangent.
Touchable and prickly. Panting,
I shook myself and
drops of light like water flew
out. Riots of color exploding
Blinding me.
Neon yellow. Cerulean blues. Bottle greens.
They flared only to die.
Dissipate. Leaving smoke
and shadows. I looked behind me at
great blocks of ice
stoic and unyielding.
Wisps of winter danced
round them in the dark. Teasing.
I turned away.
Visions came then. Startling and intense.
Of primal jungles pungent with the smells of life,
of rich red soil breaking through icy ground. Crackling.
And green. Green like leaves unfurling,
curling vines like muscles wrapping,
twining around rough trunks
of giant trees reaching up, touching
the roof of the world and still.
A rooted wildness filled me.
Spinning, spinning, skin and bone peeling
away. The trappings of my Self ripped
from me. Thrown violently, they flew
now as banners above me. Tangled
and wind torn. Bared.
Trembling, I raised my leafing arms.
Freed! I cried out
in an ecstasy that woke the world
and echoed in waves
against the chamber’s walls.