The Names - Billy Collins
Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.
Suggested to me by an anonymous reader who likes Collins' poetry as much as do I.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The bald facts of Mario Sanchez's life are much like anyone else's who had the good fortune to be born in Key West, live a full life and die there. In this case 7th October 1908 till 28th April 2005. 96 years well spent.
Luckily for all concerned Sanchez devoted a large portion of his life to his art, which like all good art in my opinion started as a way to please himself and such was his pleasure it made a name for itself.
The Art and History Museum has an exhibit devoted to Sanchez and his particular way of recording his daily life in Key West. No pixels and web pages for Mario Sanchez. He worked with wood and chiseled out a record of town life through the 20th century. There is even a video of the young(er) artist discussing his work.
The intaglio art of Sanchez was recognized in 1996 by Folk Art magazine which is, according to the Gallery on Greene, quite the bee's knees. Check their website.
Also in the museum they have recreated his unique outdoor studio. The writer Hemingway's penchant for writing while standing is widely reporters by the guides at his former home. Back problems suck! But Sanchez's studio was in itself a perfect representation of that which we enjoy about the Florida Keys.
In a state devoted to all possible denial of the outdoors and the natural, the land of enclosed malls and "swamp" drainage we in the Keys have the chance to enjoy sea breezes and the smell of salt water and the silence of empty back streets. In a peninsula that encourages development over reflection, Sanchez's work and the manner in which it was produced is a reminder, in wood and color that a contemplative way of life is possible in Florida's southernmost islands.
Whimsy and animals, magic and then unexpected are part of Keys life, ably represented in Sanchez's work.
Part of the joy of the work is the ability of the observer to recognize parts of Key West. Like everything else in this constantly evolving town, memory is hip. The further back you can remember the more "street cred" you acquire. I find this need to prove oneself rather tedious but my earliest memories of Key West only go back to 1981, and not much do I remember of that first visit (by Vespa as it happens).
There's lots of Sanchez to see at the museum and it's website.
I leave you with an image of "la flaca" enjoying coconut ice cream. Such was her appetite she ended up "la gorda." Sanchez's observations were not trite or saccharine. They hint at the daily struggle of living in close quarters on a small island. Everyone knows your business. And some people appreciate it.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad