The Arrow of Time

As part of the Draw Write Here project, Sue Blaustein and Thea Kovac collaborated as writer and artist responding to the a topic in their medium, swapping work and responding to their partner’s work, creating illustrated stories. This conversation began with Sue’s poetry.

What are screws and bolts,

and washers?

What is thrift? What is order?
What is “class” and what’s

true flavor?

What’s “before”? What is “after”?
Is “now” always stuck
between the two?
Can they change places?

How does it matter?

Someone’s packing up a workshop,

cleaning a garage.

Someone is sorting and deciding.

And says:

Don’t toss those, they’re still OK.

Take them to Goodwill.

I got

twenty inch-long
hex-head bolts,
and nineteen lock washers
in a sturdy, shapely

glass jar.

I liked the jar.

The plastic top is red
and says “High Point”.

I set my Google search terms.

“High Point”
“glass jar”

High Point

was a brand of instant decaf!

Came out in 1980…

That explains the swagger

of the typeface.

High Point commercials
featured Lauren Bacall.

They’re on YouTube.

YouTube – the past-on-demand.

I watched.

There was my jar!
Touted by an icon

for my parent’s generation,

whose golden age
stretched
into my time.

Class, sass,
sophistication –

I don’t need the caffeine…

She winks.

I’m active enough, thank you.

It’s 1981 on my screen,

2017 where I sit.

Who can choke down instant decaf

anymore?

But when

Lauren vamps, and lifts the handsome jar,
and shows us the brown crystals,

and tells us:

The flavor is deep

and rich,

you almost wish

the brand hadn’t been pulled

in 1993.

It’s 2017.

Look at what I learned

in minutes!

My transparent jar
must be at least 24 years old.

Still good for something –
the threads on the bolts

are fine.

Take them to Goodwill.

So – what are screws and bolts,

and washers?

What’s “before”? What is “after”?
Is “now” always stuck between the two?
Have they changed places?

How does it matter?


This is Thea’s response:

Kovac5


by Sue Blaustein
Artwork by Thea Kovac
In H. Fischman (Ed.), Draw Write Here, Volume 2, Issue 2. Blaustein, S. & Kovac, T. (2017)

The item, from Goodwill, that began Sue & Thea’s artistic conversation:

 

© 2018 inwantofjasmine.com All individual works copyrighted by their authors; all rights reserved. All poems and essays are works of the imagination. While the perceptions and insights are based on the authors’ experiences, no reference to any real person is intended or should be inferred. The views expressed on this website may not necessarily reflect the views of In Want of Jasmine: Journal for the Written Wor(l)d.
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On Picnic Day

As part of the Draw Write Here project, Sue Blaustein and Thea Kovac collaborated as writer and artist responding to the a topic in their medium, swapping work and responding to their partner’s work, creating illustrated stories.

On Picnic Day by Thea Kovac

On Picnic Day

We ride elephants
to our rock
on picnic day.
When we arrive – at our boulder –
we dismount
and the elephants

stay there.

They won’t leave
without us.
They wouldn’t,
but it’s not like
waiting. They don’t wait.
They abide where
we are; and when we’re ready
to be somewhere else,
they’re ready too.
That’s how it feels.

They sway their trunks
in rhythm, back and forth
while we unpack
slices of bread.
We lay the slices
directly on our boulder,
because it’s inexhaustibly clean.
The minerals it precipitates strengthen us.
Napkins and paper plates don’t.

Elephant skin is gray, folded

and complicated.

The boulder is textured too.
Its colors are subtle.

Charcoal and rose.

There are little marks, runes
on it – each of us has a favorite.
One looks like part of a crawfish!

We open jars.

We have miraculous spreads
for open-face sandwiches.
Every sort of fruit

and its color, blended.

Orange peel, lemon peel… lime wash.
Deep raspberry thinned to pink,
creating stripes along Concord grape.

The spreads look like sherbet,
but they’re warm – not icy,
not silly. Our sandwiches
look like the sky between
park trees in the east, backlit

in April at dusk;

or the tentacles of anemones

in tide-pools.
We’re calm

because of the colors, calm
from the minerals
and the elephants.
We’re calm from
the antiquity and subtlety
of the markings on our rock.

Others lived.
So can we.


by Sue Blaustein
Artwork by Thea Kovac
In H. Fischman (Ed.), Draw Write Here, Volume 2, Issue 2. Blaustein, S. & Kovac, T. (2017)

The item, from Goodwill, that began Sue & Thea’s artistic conversation:

Kovac1

© 2018 inwantofjasmine.com All individual works copyrighted by their authors; all rights reserved. All poems and essays are works of the imagination. While the perceptions and insights are based on the authors’ experiences, no reference to any real person is intended or should be inferred. The views expressed on this website may not necessarily reflect the views of In Want of Jasmine: Journal for the Written Wor(l)d.

Dust

a play-poem in one act

Act One

Scene: A Prairie, open and sprawling. A run-down house on a patch of sun-cracked dirt, porch sagging, the screen door hanging by a single hinge. A young boy hanging laundry on a clothes line. A wolfhound old, wild, mangy.

Not far off, a fire raging across the plain, the dry grass fueling.

Wolfhound

Kid’s table or
kids at a table
where they are ignored
by aunts or servers,
hungry
until they are noticed by
annoyed neighboring tables.
Complaints & heavy sighs & eye rolls.
What ever happened to the kid they used to be?

Boy

The kids we once were
are riding their bikes
down alleys of abandon.
You grew up. I refused.
Dilated dialogue into
mazed stories. Tell me, how
High are the bills piled?
What did you make for dinner?
How clean & empty is your plate?

Wolfhound

There is no more trading your
aggie
for their jasper, or for lost
summer days by raging rivers and tempting
river boats.
Whitewashing means something different today.
I can throw away my plate because it
is paper,
or worse.
Cheap ceramic, new ones on sale
at some Walmart.
Plates are no longer treasures to
cherish.

Boy

I fold paper plates into origami swans.
place them in canals disguised
as rivers. Watch them float, and soak
up water until they sink.

I dig graves for all the porcelain
I’ve lost. I break just to buy.

You tell me to clean my nails.
I beg you to get dirty.

Wolfhound

Then promise me secret signals &
passwords, handshakes &
little gifts. What kind of dirty?
There is no drive or need to run whiskey or numbers
these days. Our lives are no longer
innocent, and our heresies are
profitable. Don’t blame
technology for our cleanliness.

Boy

I’ve never taken the time to place blame.
There’s a speakeasy under your floor-
boards where I polish glasses in my down time.
What kind of dirty is there
but teeth gritting – mind numbing self-control?

Day in, day out, I cut my fingers
on dollar bills left as a tip
of impression. I serve with a smile –
but pray to you:
What god judges
heresy other than ones who can’t
hear their call?
My knees are red from bending.
My fingers are cemented in intertwine.

Wolfhound

Birth, or
heaven,
or motherhood, or children, or
child rearing…anything other than childhood.
There is no god of childhood.
Childhood doesn’t need one, except
to tear off tie & Sunday shoes an hour after
service to run barefoot in the mud and chase
river boats. Don’t worship
me.

Worship the child who lets their Sunday best
get covered in mud, who accepts the devil’s punishment
and does it again the following week.

Boy

We worship what we’ve lost.
In unbridled holiness – we’ve lost
everything, watched the House burn
to foundation, cursed the mud
that trapped our sanity.

I watch children play. Suit coats
ruined. Ties sway with gingered wind
and gentle break.

I do not miss what I do not know.

Please, come closer.
Whisper the devil in my ear.
Show me the ease of wanting.

Wolfhound

We’ve too much sanity, and not enough devil
to race again, to rile against.
Sanity is what happens when we no longer need
the devil to regulate us. Mud never trapped it.
Mud helped us to let go of it. I’d be your devil
if you’d turn to rebel against me.

Boy

Rebellion leads to uprising.
I watch – out of focus –
soldiers in empty fields.
I leave the screen door open –
apron on – inviting the breeze
to dinner.

Can you feel the change?
The violation of natural law?
The devil stopped showing up
so much that we stopped setting
a plate.
We transform into
the things we need.

I find myself folded into the shape
of desire.

The only thing I want to raise –
is the soiled flag of unrest boiling
at the brink of you.

IMG_0470


Dust
a play-poem in one act
-by Jess June & Ridire Quinn
photo by Jess June