Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Paying Attention

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

Paying Attention

i.
I lean
against the telephone pole
at the bus stop.

ii.
I almost see
crows flying
in the overcast
above the parking lot.

I almost see
crows come down to ground
black dots
scattered on the asphalt
reflecting pink
neon from the shopping center lights.

I almost hear
crow voices carried over
but they are shouted out by
the bellow wheeze of the bus
grinding down to the curb
pulling away before I reach my seat.

iii.
The crows lift off
calling to each other
in the overcast
above the bus plodding down the road.

4/8/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 18

A few new: Shadorma 365

Some of you may know that this summer I have been struggling with eyesight issues for the past three months or so due to infections in my left eye. Yesterday I had surgery to deal with complications and I hope everything might be on the mend now (crossing fingers).

I wanted to keep the poetry-writing string going with something new each week, the procesds I’ve been following for a while. A routine is helpful when things are kind of shaky.

This shadorma deals with another result of my surgery…a slight change in my appearance, thankfully temporary…

Shadorma 365

A purple
of that exact shade –
Long pursued,
never found –
Now – it stares me in the face.
My black eye. Oh dear.

9/15/21

Shadorma 317, Haiku 858, Tanka 196

From the poetry collection published in 2021 containing poems written in 2020, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Shadorma 317

pink headscarf
delphinium dress
ink black tights
arm in arm
with her suit and high heels friend
they laugh and walk on

Haiku 858

symptoms of polite:
you won’t ever talk to me
but you smile and nod

Tanka 196

Her last thought it was
an egg-shaped brainwave shell cracked
and in the sizzle
a grease-fire-fried runny yolk
incinerating the pan

All poems written 9/10/20

Imperative

Imperative

I need to make money.
I stand waiting. A lot.
Anxious.
Waiting. Could they send me home if.
I need to make money.
Shift over in less than
One hour.
I need to
make money. Anxious.
Waiting. I need
I’m called. Pick up the bags
Start moving the cart. I need
to make money.

9/19/19

Tanka 193, 194, 195

From the poetry collection published in 2021 containing poems written in 2020, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Tanka 193

your blasé landlord
sits smoking in the backyard
next to the birdbath
that no longer holds water
fat ass in a webbed lawn chair

8/31/20

Tanka 194

And so outrageous
flamboyant raucous gaudy!
No lie about that
right? There’s nothing better than
a good loud garish, is there?

8/31/20

Tanka 195

old guy on a bike
rattles it through the rough grass
flings it on the ground
leaps out into the sunshine
reels off fifty jumping jacks

9/10/20

Finity

Finity

That peanut butter cookie
a flour-crumbly salt peanut
gritty-sweet fat and sugar
delicious that

I ate it too quickly
to understand
how much I liked it
until there was one bite left
that I divided into two more bites
and then two more again

9/19/19

Tanka 143, Shadorma 235, Haiku 734

Tanka 143

A thunk and thunk thunk
A bridge reconstruction job
A back-up beep sound
mixed in with non-stop curses
loud and clear. Can’t be good news.

9/11/19

Shadorma 235

Spatter-brown
spots marked on yellow
half-curled leaf
Weeks before
the rest it lets go and drops
beside my left foot

9/11/19

Haiku 734

gasping splat splat splat
of the cleaner’s spray bottle
she wipes the tables

9/19/19

Sinking In

Sinking In

you don’t think I can get myself out of this
the guy cradles his phone against his ear
eyes dart around gaze settles tabletop
you don’t think
breaks off the sentence
well how about Saturday or Sunday
pauses
spells out his name
listens
sips his coffee
gazing at the table’s scarred surface
not seeing it
because he does not think he can get himself out of this

9/19/19

Little Vines 9/9/21

Here we go with this week’s selection!

5183.
faint music from the house next door
I think about you a lot
Friday night pistachio ice cream and pinochle

5184.
he sits on the bench strumming his guitar
living in this new age has made him
blues about everything

5185.
anyone in the building can tell you
the rows of lamplit windows on a snowy winter night
make this old place look almost like a home


5186.
a well-connected ghost like you
with a whole paint-chart of white ectoplasms
to choose from
and you pick the shade called “Cotton Sheets”?

5187.
smokestack
doing the backstroke
downstream from the factory
after the tornado

5188.
at work
he was universally thought of as
a perfect taupe on a scale of taupe to taupe

5189.
because I am so lonely
I remember you
even though it was all so long ago

5190.
now we’re divorced –
the lunar surface of our marriage
pocked by that one meterorite too many


5191.
she arrived home and immediately set to
polishing up the mood of her husband
into something chile pepper piquant

5192.
I guess, huh,
my lips sort of killed the mood
when they said no to your marriage proposal?

5193.
Consider the rigid décor demands
of greige the tyrant
who enforces drab as a way of life

5194.
the chain reactions of winter rhythms
might pull us down for a while
but the melody is clear if we will hear it.

5195.
a bakery box. a pair of pink iced cookies.
a chain of events that will culminate in a wedding
begins today.


5196.
the music is louder
everyone is loosening up
the festive throughput pulses. Let’s dance!

5197.
a calculating operator
collecting unpleasant invitations
and turning them to her advantage

5198.
The oven gives in
decides not to burn the casserole
given the stakes surrounding tonight’s dinner

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: In the House of a Family Friend

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

In the House of a Family Friend

In the cool dimness of the early
in the hour before the day starts

In the house the curtains are closed
the slow light outside
creeping along from window to window
finding no way in. The house settles
blue and green room to room
and silent: breathing slow and relaxed.
The carpet in the living room
ready
It will be kind to bare feet
making their way to the kitchen

but not yet.

4/8/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 17