“One Hundred Footsteps,” the third section of Almost Entirely, presents excerpts from my 2010-11 artist book collaboration with Baltimore artist, Katherine Kavanaugh. We were working independently on projects with similar tones and gestures, though the work did not stem from similar subject matter. Neither poem nor image are illustrative of each other; rather, they evolved from parallel contemplative moods. We decided to combine 50 letterpress-printed poems with 50 collaged images, collected into five volumes of 20 pieces each. The project’s title evokes our shared love of exploration as well as the Japanese anthology of 100 poems that I discovered while traveling in Japan.
Here are five of the 11 poems that appear in the new book.
We are likely to be surprised
by those who dwell in the other world,
pushing on the paper screen,
a tender membrane. We miss the impression
of their voices and their hands.
Pink petals fallen.
In the gutter, in the iron grate, suspended.
A dark river below
will float these fragile boats. When the breeze unmoors
them from their rest place: a flutter and then gone.
To be born in winter,
to be ice-crunched and hearth-fired, to wish
for land above the tree line.
In the flesh: a dream of sleeping music.
In the bones: a template for cloud breath.
The God of Lost Causes
might laugh at the effort and, too,
the effect of these letters
falling from my hand. Funny: how their curves
and squiggles look like lips and wrinkles as they land.