|David Lloyd Brown, Kate Gale
I was god. My shadow huge and dark
oil on canvas and poetry sideboard
52" x 32" each
“Who saves the savior?” Anne Carson
I walked on rocks, forded rivers, my bare heels sliding over stones.
You, mother, never carried me.
Emerged from the other side, a female bear with cubs
I carried across rivers, broke boughs for our nest.
Then it was all feasting. Too much feasting. Too much wine.
Too many times telling the story of the crossing.
The story took on an odd ragged shape, like a child’s toy.
Wasn’t possible to tell what animal it had been.
What I’m left with in the deathless shade isn’t the play between
shadow and story. It’s the sound of feet running. Away.
You and I across the moon in snowshoes. Walked carefully
not to break through crust. Branches of trees, ice diamonds.
I was god. My shadow huge and dark. Could flap my wings. The shadow
would scissor and fall into white.
Many years since darkness swallowed me. Disease when shadow is banished.
I walk on snowshoes into bear country where shadows live.
I hear wind rising, snow beginning. My snowshoes make almost no sound. Up
ahead, there’s a house, a thin trail of smoke.
You don’t live there; I don’t either. I open the door to my witch self crouched by
the fire rubbing hands together. My face too dark to see.
Too young to run away. To old to be worth anything. The in between part
wasted at the races.
But these parts I’ve got left and when I hold them up, they don’t resemble any
animal I’ve seen before.
I hold my face in my lap, not sure whether to burn it or wear it. In the end it’s
what I’ve got, shadow, stories, feathers, eyes.
Artist David Lloyd Brown and Poet Kate Gale
The poem and art work we started with was skeletal; the poem loose and stringing along like a comet’s tail,
the art work like the framework of a bridge hanging against the sky. Kate Gale began honing the poem,
looking at the project like seeding a galaxy; the parts can be far flung, but must be elegantly connected
across the sky. The poem, “Snowshoes”, is a journey in which stories are gathered and carried forward. But
during the journey, the stories change as stories must. The narrator’s journey takes her across snow fields
to a place in the forest, that liminal dark place of the soul, the threshold between ambiguity and
ambivalence. In that final space, the narrator faces the self. David Lloyd Brown’s art work is both journey
and generative space. It is a bubbling genesis that mirrors a vision quest. The painting and poem side by
side give us the experience of a live green womb place that the cosmos generates where the individual
finds and creates both self and community.