My friend NanLeah Mick creates poems based on photos she takes. My brother took this photo, and I’ve used it before. I like this one even better because it has a shadow.
Photo credit: H-Peter Clamann
Orlando. I can’t fathom it. I’ll let others handle the politics, the religion, the reasons. I want to make just one point. That is, simply, what we do to others, we do to ourselves. We are never alone in hatred. We are never alone in kindness, compassion, and love. But we get to choose.
Art doesn’t have to be just one thing. I like to combine writing and collage. But I don’t like tearing words out of a magazine and using that. It’s great for vision boards, but I like collage to be more coordinated.
In this collage, I used writing as a background. I also stylized the writing so it is not readable. I didn’t want the viewer to be distracted or to feel that reading was part of experiencing the art.
The collage was part of creating an assignment for my grad school program in poetic medicine. We were to create the collage first, then the poem. I tried to do that, but it’s not how I work. At least not successfully. So I wrote the poem below, then created the collage.
The brick building had been extended
a poured foundation ready for this,
the third expansion.
Three different weathered shades of brick,
a muddled patchwork marking time.
“Memory Center”—clearly, a lie.
The memories have long faded
from this center’s rooms,
bleached into shadows
like the rising wings of birds
against the moon
during a break in the clouds.
–Quinn McDonald is studying poetic medicine. She is also a trainer in business writing.