John Pitman Weber, Cecilia Woloch
Postcard from Krakow
acrylic on linen
60" x  46"

Postcard From Krakow
— for Jesse

There was a child I loved I could not protect
                                              — wind and flame, a shimmering —
though I would have lain my own body down to keep that brightness in the world;
rain falling through sunlight, a shower of prisms; the air seemed full of tiny jewels

— wind and flame, a shimmering.
The city aglitter with shattered transparence, I walked through that curtain, a sparkling veil
(rain falling through sunlight, a shower of prisms; the air seemed full of tiny jewels)
as if I could step through that brokenness, time —

the city aglitter with broken transparence. I walked through that curtain, a sparkling veil
and thought of his life, this child's
whole life  — so few years I could have gathered them in
my arms —
as if I could step through that brokenness, time.
And later, at dusk, in the old town square — clock tower, flocks of starlings, bells —

I thought of his
whole life, so few years I could have gathered them in my arms
— if years were flowers — if years had been flowers.
And later, at dusk, in the old town square — clock tower, flocks of starlings, bells —
I thought about genius more than love, his mind in flight somehow.

If years were flowers, if years had been flowers —
in my arms a bouquet of yellow roses too heavy to lift above my waist.
I thought about genius more than love — his mind in flight somehow —
and thought of him falling — he couldn't stop falling — through the stories of his life.

In my arms a bouquet of yellow roses too heavy to lift above my waist,
I thought about genius
(guardian spirit attendant from birth, from the root beget)
and thought of him falling — he couldn't stop falling — through the stories of his life;
as if each memory were a page of sky too thin to hold him up.

I thought about genius —
guardian spirit attendant from birth, from the root beget
begotten, beloved, blessed  — what will not bloom that was so green? —
as if each memory were a page of sky too thin to hold him up.
And then it was dark and I walked through the darkness, someone behind me calling out.

Begotten, beloved, blessed —what will not bloom that was so green?
(Something that never was has been lost. Someone is always walking away.)
And then it was dark and I walked through the darkness, someone behind me calling out.
I dropped yellow roses as I went — a trail of roses as I walked.

Someone is always walking away; something that never was has been lost —
though I would have lain my own body down to keep that brightness in the world.
I dropped yellow roses as I went, a trail of roses as I walked,
and could not pick up a single flower without losing all of them.


                                                                               --Cecilia Woloch
                                                               COLLABORATIVE STATEMENT
                                                     Artist John Pitman Weber and Poet Cecilia Woloch

Cecilia Woloch: I was drawn to John's art by its vividness and lyricism, and because I love the human
figure in art.

John Pitman Weber: I began with Cecilia’s poetry. We exchanged emails, discovering some startling
coincidences in our backgrounds.  We shared stories of our mysterious Eastern European grandmothers. I
flew out to California in July.

Woloch: I had never collaborated in this way before. What would we begin with, words or images? I was
wary about "talking it out" too much. I had some lines in my journal from a day spent walking around
Krakow, thinking about my young nephew who'd been killed.  John had lost two nephews himself.

Weber: I noticed recurrent themes and images in Cecilia’s writing. Some of them resonated with images in
my work.  

Woloch: I flew to Chicago a few weeks later: John and I spent three days talking and looking at his images.
One image in particular struck me: a woman walking with a small child. I knew I had to begin with that.

Weber: We had found our materials in each other's work. By the end of the visit we had a theme, a
compositional plan, a group of images.

Woloch: I feel this is a true collaboration. The poem is one I would not have written otherwise, so I'm very
grateful to John.

Weber: We challenged each other. I feel my painting is “expanded” by sharing someone else’s thinking
and art form.  A difficult, rare, and special gift shared between us.