There they stand,
two towers of the Mexican art world
in black and white,
different as night and day,
dark and light,
bisected by an arched wooden door frame
against which her frail and impaled body
a somber dwarf child in an embroidered cotton blouse,
and a necklace that looks like a string of stones
or a possible weapon,
assuming she grows tired
of being in the shadow
of the giant toad prince,
or fears being swallowed
by the magnitude of arrogance
his hemispheric smile

Okay, usually I avoid jumping the gun, but when I checked out the National Poetry Writing Month website this afternoon I was hooked by the opportunity of writing an early bird ekphrastic poem, one that’s inspired in some way by art. In this case a photograph from Wikimedia Commons.

napo2014button1Being a lover of all things Mexican, including art, I instantly thought of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, a couple of painters over whom I’ve been forever obsessed. In fact, I have a shelf in one of my bookcases that’s completely filled with books about Frida, including her marvelous diary.  I might have one on Diego, but I’d have to check.


I know, I know that’s not fair but, as you can tell from my little dip into ekphrasis I’m a bit biased against the big guy. Or maybe it’s just that I find a woman driven to produce art even though she’s basically chained to a bed by disabilities quite remarkable and, for me, a model for not making excuses. “Get off your butt and write, poet!” she seems to beam at me whenever I just sit in front of this crazy screen daydreaming, which is often. But not tomorrow, the Day of Fools, when a bunch of us in the world will start writing a poem each day for 30 days!  Maybe you’ll join us?


16 thoughts on “If Only Eyebrows Were Wings!

      • No, I don’t want to try and fail. I am starting a new novel, though. My three kids are trading a stomach bug among them, and now I’m in the gripes. I don’t think I could start something with that much time pressure today. Are you?


  1. The phantastic Ekphrastic. No better way to start NaPoWriMo, than with Rivera and Khalo. No doubt, my dear, it’ll be a knockout for you; all 30 of ’em will be done before month-end. >3


  2. Brenda, yes, I am doing NaPoWriMo. The poem in this post is an early bird piece that I wrote yesterday. Today,the challenge begins. So sorry about your family bugs and hope you’ll recover soon. Good luck with your novel.


  3. Yah! Here you go, impressing me with a poem about art, and learning a new word — ekphrastic! I enjoyed your poem, I’m not in love with Frida though I am blown away by her energy. I like Diego’s art more. Your poem captures the images and energy of the photograph beautifully, and she does look like a child next to his huge hulking frame. Love it!


  4. Similarly got tapped into Anais Nin and Lou Salome—and love how each sought to ‘transcend identity and so-called destiny.’ Maybe that’s the call–within the ecstatic, an ability to unpeel what seems to be revealed. Inwards and onwards…and looking forward to seeing what you produce, published in this here space.


    • Thanks, jd. The energy of artistic couples is remarkable and if they don’t destroy each other in the creation process, the results can be almost miraculous. In Frida’s case, she hung her guts out. In Diego’s he produced some of the finest murals in the world. Together they were both Vesuvius and a tranquil lagoon near Amalfi.


  5. completely admire that you’re putting it out there–using the two totemic titans as true messianic frames to your own possibilities–establishing for sure, a bend and bent towards self-imposed limitation and condensation–may those drops of water forming at the edge of your next word be more than mere mirage from that melting desert cube.


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