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The Rocks of Eden

1982/11/28 by Chris Wayan; an undream picture-poem summing up a hard life-stage,

A proud angry painting-poem during a hard time, when great gifts flowed through my hands, from God through me to others... but not to me. I was powerful but empty. A dangerous phase for artists! Wild rants like this kept me from turning mean.

To others, at least. I managed to be plenty mean to me.

jagged crags with wild words flying:'What I must say is angular as quartz; like Emily an age ago, I am a soul of eminence, and like lone eminences, barren! Crystal, wind, sleet, sun--all the bones of garden--the ROCKS OF EDEN! But I've no soft. Rain runs off my soul--water I wring from jagged winds feeds flat souls below. In cracks, asters semaphore: we could have been, we ould have been. Syncline too soon!'

"Emily" means Dickinson, of course, a crag who's fed poets ever since; but her own eminence was barren; no love, no fame, and just snippets of time.

"Syncline" is a geological term for a dip or fold in strata. The word (and image) I wanted was really the opposite--a bulge that erodes faster because it's exposed--an anticline. But acrylic paint dries as fast and indelible as harsh words you regret, and by the time I realized I'd erred, the stratum of my ignorance had been fossilized forever.

Besides, anticline has one too many beats; and really, my first impulse was right. I was in a syncline. A slump. I was only a crag for others. Rain ran off my soul...

LISTS AND LINKS: picture-poems - anger - mountains and stone - giftedness and genius - Emily Dickinson - painting

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