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.

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.

A Fold of Chairs

-1-

I need somewhere to sit.

There are curves carved from backyard
trees; ones where the leaves gave up, & flaunted
their defeat. Open windows where breezes
trapped free falling.

I need that instance.

If there were a way to construct a savior,
I’d bend my knees. I’d lay down depths
of weighted world to feel delicate again.

I do not remember anything
but shadow. The failure of light,
the smell of dust, the cradled
passing of promised time.

I stand.

Up.

On legs that surrendered days
ago. I promised myself a rest.
Two arms & a body that could hold
what I want to lose.
In this room,
there it stands.

Waiting.


-2-

To slouch, slung
leg over cushioned
arm. Velvet
demanding a harpsicord(but
there is a separate
room for those). This

room (more like a hall),
brims with endless,
intentional chairs, awaits an
audience as much as it
awaits
a
pod-
ium…these

chairs face the
same way. Except that
there is no notion
of front of the room(and
the room seems
to be in the shape
of a chair). These

chairs face the
same way. Except that
they seem to emanate
from the room(more
like a hall), as though
the room itself has birthed

them. So quiet!
So much space.
For sitting. For
Slinging. For sleeping. Except that
these chairs
fail.

There is no one to sit in them.


-3-

An empty room is an illusion.
A masquerade of silence, waiting
to be filled. An empty seat is an aching.
A desperation of lapsed haunting.

So much past is held in a room.
So many exhaled breaths. So many sighs
of jubilation, & exhaustion, & finality.

You see anarchy. Chaos(ed) movement
of perfect placement.

There is beauty in the echoes.
The arches of bodies that stopped
their fall long enough to recuperate.

I spend my time on the floor. Measuring
the angles of sunlight on the backs
of once great tree trunks. I inhale the scent
of sawdust like I cut the cedar.

I only know how to keep my legs crossed.
How to keep my ear to the ground. I put
my drink on an ever unoccupied seat.
I watch how the water ripples
whenever someone is near. I never take
a sip.

I never grab a chair.

View of the Chair Park, on the Lower Level of the Milwaukee Art Museum


A Fold of Chairs
-by Jess June & Ridire Quinn
Photo by Claudia Mooney:
View of the Chair Park, on the Lower Level of the Milwaukee Art Museum