13 April 2009

April 13 - Poem A Day Challenge - Hobby

Today's prompt: "I want you to write a poem that incorporates a hobby (either yours or someone else's). That's right: Now is the perfect opportunity to write about your comic collection or your scrapbooking activities. And for the purposes of this challenge, I also think activities such as fishing, running, bowling, photography, birding, and gardening count as hobbies."


From a carved matrix, an impression
of ink on paper gives way to graphic design.
Cherry plank, shina plywood, linoleum—
serve as a base. I gouge the surface to fashion
a raised line here, a span of nothing there, cutting
away anything unworthy of the final contours.
I mix dry pigment into liquid, feel for the proper
viscousness, enthralled by the tack, the rhythmic
spread of color by brayer or brush.

Sometimes I work in transparent layers, print
one color over the next like glassy stratum. If I
feel bold as the illustrators of the past I let lamp
black ink spotlight itself on the bone white paper.

Multiple images resemble twins, triplets, quads,
etc. but aren't, really. Minute variations in pigment,
the way I rub the bamboo baren across the back
of the translucent paper creates fluctuations, tiny
imperfections to show it was made by hand.
Peeling a fresh print from the oily block never
grows old, I'm as excited to see the last image
as I was to pull the first. I look with satisfaction
upon the edition hanging from clothespins
in my studio, as a mother looks upon her children,
not as clones of one another, but as distinct entities,
destined to depart for a new life far from home.


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