Poems written for Creative Connections 2011

I was asked to write a poem of up to ten lines in response to each of four visual works by artists with disabilities. I was given a brief biography of each artist.

These works may not be reproduced by any process, including printing, without permission. First published in Creative Connections 2011 anthology. Images are reproduced here by kind permission of Creative Connections and the artists.

Painting by Adrian Chadwick (visually impaired)

painting by Adrian Chadwick

This isn’t for looking at
but someone is watching. Someone is always
watching. This is my sound / my dance / my joy / breathing
pine needles and old rain / with old bass rain my blood / dark
electric berry stains and bright lemony squirts / this is my pink
tint of spiders singing / my nightwings
ruffling in the violin wind / I spiral
and slide and curl and sway and nod / alone
in my difficult deep dance bliss

Mixed media by Robyn Edwards

Mixed media by Robyn Edwards

We be three confident chicks
with midnight feathers ’n’ legs like sticks
On cobbled land we strut ’n’ frisk,
pose for the cameras, take a risk
We relish ’n’ polish our personal flaws
in this stony zone where nothin’ grows
but we, dancin’ under radical skies
with tails a-wag ’n’ comin’-at-ya eyes

Collage by Karen Forbes Smith

Collage by Karen Forbes Smith

From our central curl
we send across the floor our various breaths,
our bits, our strips and feathers. Deployed
on the clean orange space
they cluster in yellow and blue
with a green flag, a pink wink and a purple teardrop.

Their tendrils extend, quietly,
over the hard white walls
into the blankness that frames us

and make shadows there.

Painted with the feet by Lisa Bernic

Painting by Lisa Bernic

at my feet,
a sunlit sea-garden of warm wet translucence
tight and branched corals and long shifting fronds
dark eel places and cray places
happy anemones and quick fish

this is a snapshot of my habitat,
a corner of my complexity,
a mirror of my mystery

if there are any sharks,
they are a long way from here