Greetings! Welcome to another Poetry Peeps adventure on Poetry Friday!
Poetry Peeps! You’re invited to our challenge in the month of March! Here’s the scoop: we’re writing an etheree. This ten-line form begins with a single syllable, and each line expands by one syllable until the tenth line has ten. We’re continuing with our 2023 theme of transformation, but how you interpret that topically is up to you. You have a month to craft your creation and share it on March 31st in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.
Greetings, friends, on this absolutely frigid (for California) morning!
Ekphrastic poetry appeals to the storyteller in me. The story I found in this week’s image took me back to high school auto shop. One of the few girls around, I so wanted to be one of the
boys crew, but alas, my time in the shop was an exercise in frustration, as the brave new world of the 90’s era equality wasn’t quite ready for takeoff. (My Freshers auto shop course was called POWDER PUFF Mechanics, and you can bet your backside I refused to take it on principle.) Even my friends only really only let me do the sticky/annoying jobs – greasing bearings, sanding primer, using a tire iron to wrestle tires from rims, draining oil. I lifted and lowered cars on the hydraulic lift (and raised balancing daredevils on it occasionally) and got to wear a coverall like my grandfather. I learned how fragile a powder coat of paint was, and how quickly it could be streaky or unevenly applied (which was why I was told I could only sand and apply primer because I might get distracted while painting). I learned about the toxic corrosion of rust and about sexism, which turned out to be remarkably similar things.
Tricia shared the images which jarred my memory this month. For the show Transformed: Objects Reimagined by American Artists, artist Denice Bizot, who “reclaims, deconstructs and transforms” art from salvage yards and junk heaps, created this image called Urban Flora. On display at The Montclair Art Museum exhibit in New Jersey, it features a 1970’s truck hood the artist found in a salvage shop and beautifully helped along in its state of decay with a hand-held plasma torch. The shapes of flowers and arabesques give the illusion of light, shadow, and movement in the rusty green metal.
Bizot’s intervention in the salvage yard lives of this scrap metal won’t stop rust from chewing it up. Realistically, cutting holes in the truck hood will do even less to preserve it than the weather-worn paint the rust is blooming through. Nothing will save the metal from the destructive transformation it’s undergoing, but how we perceive it… that’s what can change us.
Poetry Friday is hosted over at Tab’s place, so be sure to pop over, and thank you, Tabatha!
There’s a host of other images coming into focus today with the Poetry Peeps. You should see Sara’s poem is here. Tricia’s poem is here, and Liz’s is here. Cousin Mary Lee’s post is here, and Michelle’s post is here, and Carol V’s is here. Molly’s gorgeous image is here, and Heidi’s garden bed is here. Margaret’s dual challenge poem is here. Bridget with her twenty-three words poem is here. More Peeps will be checking in throughout the weekend, so stay tuned for the full round-up.
While I never got to do all the things I wanted to in auto shop, I chose to embrace what made me happy: telling my grandfather about what I was doing (and not telling my Dad, who joined my classmates thinking I shouldn’t be doing it), cherishing the small skills I learned (I can still sand a spot of primer as smooth as a baby’s cheek, thank-you), and getting to work in the cavernous cool of the shop filled with loud noises and sharp smells and the sun glinting rainbows in the oil-and-water puddles on the floor. I tried to paint that into my poem; the choice to redefine something that can, at best, reshape us, and at worst, warp us and simply take it as a gift of memory and let it shine in that way. Here’s to the transformation of time. Happy weekend.