breaks over like waves rushing to shore.
We try to be the girls in the back of the classroom with
blush left over from the night before, furtive when our
dads stumble home from work, but we’ve come this far
as canny and precocious and barefaced. We sound like
a chorus of clicking pens and nail files, chattering over
$10 wine purchased with a fake Louisiana license that
your mother said would only trick the bouncer if he was
legally blind in ten states. We have Ella on in the corner,
crooning with Louis and the band, and detonate one
bomb after another: my mom dreams in Hillary
conspiracy theories, everyone lied about that green
juice bullshit, we each kissed a girl this year but nobody
knows if the smoking gun is at the dinner table with us.
We spear cheap marshmallows on wooden skewers
and dip them in chocolate, grown up campfire treats,
until you mistake your cigarette for dessert and
tap the double burner full of ash. Better in there
than in your lungs, we all shriek as we light up another.
–after Rufino Tamayo’s Pintura académica, 1935
Lightning strikes yes sometimes
the artist catches burnt
without scarring but sometimes
high tides with rocks pocket
full of ovens in the head
or bridges to fall what
I mean to say electricity
can surrogate Venus no
but half shell yes and away
I pen I palette the tickled
pink of slipping and standing
still bringing down to earth still
light touch as vulnerable
in one’s disarray juggled
step stumbled right up
release the sprung glimmer
desire sometimes mismatched
collaborate mind could be all
Matthew Woodman teaches writing at California State University, Bakersfield and is the founding editor of Rabid Oak. His poems appear in recent issues of Sonora Review, Oxidant/Engine, S/WORD, Sierra Nevada Review, and The Meadow, and more of his work can be found at www.matthewwoodman.com.
Lorelle Otis has been a painter, illustrator, and graphic designer for 45 years and has taught art and design for 32 of those years. These poems are from an ongoing project, A Few of the Ten Thousand Things. All works are watercolor with personally designed and hand-drawn type, composited in Photoshop.
Artist’s Statement: I discovered mindfulness meditation through painting when I was a teenager. Walking in nature, collecting treasures, drawing, painting, and writing help me to get away from technology and experience the world around me.
This second edition of Willawaw has emerged as a rich, inspiring journey of pairing poetry and image. From Lorelle Otis’s Rose of Sharon to Sue Parman’s This is Not a Poet, the rich creativity of art and text invite us to consider both words and image in other ways. I am looking forward, dear readers, artists and poets, to your further explorations. Imagine words tumbling down waterfalls, dropping like autumn leaves, or hiding in the trunks of trees. There are so many amazing ways that words can be woven into image.
The breadth of poetry in this issue is wonderful–so many strong, clear voices with powerful stories. Thank you for allowing us to put your keen observations and well-crafted words into the public eye. As I scroll through this issue I can’t help but feel that I am on a rich and precious journey with your art and poetry, like a great book I don’t want to put down.
We had many more submissions for this issue than the first and it has been quite an adventure reading them all. Thank you for sending your work to Willawaw Journal, and please continue to send us your best!
I, too, appreciate the bounty of submissions we have received for this issue, many of them diving into the melding of art and poetry–from Eleanor Berry‘s anvil-shaped stanzas, so specific in their imagery that we can’t help but walk into the painting by Jim Shull which she almost leaves behind to Debby Bacharach‘s surreal response to Keiko Hara‘s installation, Topophilia. Diana Pinkney conjures the interior landscapes of the figures in the paintings of Edward Hopper. David Felix shares his mastery of visual poetry. Linda Cheryl Bryant collaborates in a broadside with artist Zsanan in an ambitious blend of artistry, imagery, and technology. Please take notice, too, of the delicate painting/poems of Lorelle Otis (cover art and back page) who successfully combines digital art and lettering with her watercolor images. There are several more equally effective “hybrids” in which the word and image combine to create something greater, a third communication, if you will, which is my test for a successful ekphrastic poem–these I leave you to discover as you read.
There a handful of other poems that stand out for me, personally: Joy McDowell‘s Aristotle’s Lantern (–did you know that is the name of a sea urchin’s mouth?). She is one of a handful of poets in this issue who leans into science as she writes. See also, Amelia Diaz Ettinger and Brigitte Goetze, for intance. Doug Stone‘s At the River’s Edge, M. Johnsen‘s Mother, and Linda Chery Bryant‘s Summer County Hospice share a common theme. Jerri Otto‘s Vixen, Darren Demaree‘s The Best Wounds…Now really, I’m listing every poet. Better you just take your time and scroll through each page at your own pace. I promise you will find treasures.
In addition to many submissions, many strong submissions, we found remarkable geographic diversity in our contributors. We heard from Denmark, South Africa, Australia, Bogota, Sicily, India, Canada, the Pacific Northwest, California, Ohio, Nashville, and Massachusetts, among others. We also received pieces from emerging as well as established artists and writers. Word is out; the williwaw of poetry is gusting through our global community and right onto the page.
Thank you for reading what we have gathered. And in keeping with the holiday spirit, on this, the longest night of the year, please share what you like with your friends.
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Willawaw Journal requires no reading fees for submissions. If you would like to make a donation to support the running of Willawaw Journal, please email us. Thank you!