NaPoWriMo 5: Unprompted Art Poetry
Paul Jenkins’ ‘Phenomena Secret Cargo’ – but not as we saw it in the gallery…Which is right?
Day 6 of NaPoWriMo – I’m still brewing a cinquain from yesterday (which are HARD!) but here is a non-prompt piece inspired by a visit to the gallery in Cardiff (Wales, where I am today). I’m writing overlooking the Wales Millennium Centre (with its Gwyneth Lewis quote writ large on the front: IN THESE STONES HORIZONS SING) from a lovely cafe called Kemi’s in Cardiff Bay.
So my NaPoWriMo efforts might come a bit out of sequence (I am one behind!) – and that fits rather well with today’s atemporal slightly-experimental back-to-front work. (I’m not sure it does ‘work’ yet – but in the spirit of keeping on keeping on for NaPoWriMo, here it is anyway…)
A brief explanation: a friend and I (hello Rachel if you are reading!) went to this exhibition at the Wales National Museum Gallery and both really enjoyed the picture (above, kind of). But when we Googled it, it was upside down. Or the one in the gallery was. And really, really different because of it – not the same painting at all.
So I wrote an upside-down art poem about the incident. Here it is:
After seeing Phenomena Secret Cargo by Paul Jenkins
or, Up Way Which?
We part ways
and on my screen,
a satellite-line paints itself,
writes itself, unseen
blue, through the city
to this bay.
So we go to the desk
to ask a lady beneath an i
if she knew why
the Internet said
it should go up
the other way?
Drinking tea, we talk about writing
and find the picture, Googling on
gravity-sensing devices. But the
thumbnails show it upside-down:
Cargo Secret Phenomena.
In the top gallery, we talk about
Yves Klein Blue and layers
of paint in original Rothko. Then
Phenomena Secret Cargo
by Paul Jenkins. It looks like wings,
we say, like butterflies, like feathers.
How the brush sweeps up:
like it could fly.
One artist had refracted the stairs
in kaleidoscopic photographs –
(‘to make us question public space’)
curving up the walls.
Back through time,
we take pictures of
Mammoths, in panoramic mode
(which I just showed you how to use)
then make our way to the gallery,
strolling through Geology.
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