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Horse in the Room: William Blake, a Tintype Portrait, and the Sun Dance


William Blake lifting and parting silken rays of translucent ecstasy, without a thought to his own gain, rambling upon the aftermath of a village, the merciless beast of empire pressing her breastplate to the ground, and the spewing of milk, unseen in the clover-scented breeze.

mirror image1633

 William’s words rise around the feet of a woman in a tintype portrait as he drapes her shoulders with blue silk curtains emblazoned with golden script. I would do this all again she thinks, folding the air around his eyes into the mouth of a small, and infinitely glowing, sea creature:


 The eye of the sun penetrating her fingertips, rays drifting, a glimmer sinking into the pasture, the sun dipping into a hollow made by sounds, half rolling, half floating in the chants and whispered songs of mothers, the sun warming milk, rolling like a wheel of honey igniting fire in the body of bees…


William’s words a wooden chain between, around, through them as she drapes his shoulders with blue skies enveloping a fiery wheel. I would do this all again she thinks, folding flames into the mouth of a small, infinite ocean:


All times spinning as one time within her, traveling great distances, as she kneels washing the feet of the tribes, working William’s words with oil and rope, folding the air around a breath. Flatlands curve beneath a massive groaning, the weight settles, night pushing cold metallic air…


The sun returning with snow and white deer, the tribe dances swimming to distant, gold-flecked trees shimmering in violet heat. The army catches them by surprise. Soldiers measure their fingers.


She is lost between a vision and a longing, the sun rolling to her the size of a horse. Clouds high and purple, above wheels and crops:

twirling portrait

 Walking barefoot into a night-wind as thin as paper, billowing like sails. William’s words a tool, a device, the rigging. Her fingers explore cracks filling with watery ink, tracing lines in the margins of the page, lifting like wings, like translucent rays, silken.

William Blake stops his pen, turning his gaze from the slightly moist paper on this humid afternoon to the sun at her feet, shifting in his wooden chair, hearing a door unlatch, fading palms pressed to the window.


 William Blake puts down his pen, lifting his gaze from the ivory-amber page to a flight of bees, glancing over his threadbare shoulder, a horse enters the room.



I felt melancholy in the expression on this woman’s face. I imagined somebody out of place in her culture situated somewhere in time & proximity to both the England of William Blake and echoes of the indigenous cultures of North America. Somewhere in proximity to both the ethereal visions (and cries for justice) of William Blake as well as the nature infused spirituality of indigenous peoples. I imagined her sensing something beyond her immediate experience with a certain sympathy.




I purchased the Tintype photograph of an anonymous woman at the Clarence, N.Y. flea market in perhaps 1990.




William Blake’s handwriting courtesy of the British Library public domain Discovering Literature webpage http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians




1874 sketch (or print) of the Sioux Sun Dance courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Provided to Wikipedia Commons by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration as part of a cooperation project depicting American and global history. Public domain or licensed under a free license: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sioux_sun_dance,_1874_-_NARA_-_530871.jpg



the empty cafe(s)

this collaged image

The lovesick man

although looking inward

is watching modern warplanes roar past.

Perhaps aiming for the cities and civilians

of Gaza,


Wounded Knee,


grosz world war one battlefieldblind willie mctell


can sing the blues


Blind Willie McTell

creviceblind willie mctella flash


can sing the blues


Blind Willie McTell

let there be light

Digital collage: Details from Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ have been superimposed over photographs of rubble in Guernica and Gaza. The face of radical pacifist Martin Luther King Jr. is layered within a painting by antiwar artist George Grosz titled ‘The Lovesick Man’ (1916). Battlefield terrain from World War One frames the George Grosz painting.

“Nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell...” from the Bob Dylan song Blind Willie McTell. 

The copyright of original images remains with the holders of same. Under fair use provisions I have composed new work for non-commercial purposes and commentary.






I Said to a Cab Driver…

ink A

First a bit of background: I’ve been wearing a cast on my leg and foot for over 40 days. Xrays tomorrow. I’ll find out how well the 7 screws (and my body’s healing processes) have done their job.

ink B

Had surgery on May 31st. Pushed through and had my book launch on June 12th with Never More Together. My friend William Beauvais played classical guitar. Mother Nature cooperated during a week of rain & gave us a glorious evening on the ‘Tango Palace Coffee Company’ patio. I was exhausted yet enjoyed it all.

ink cc

During the last 44 days regular life has come to a standstill. Getting from point A to B is laborious. Summer plans changed. One notable illusion dissipated, a couple of very hopeful (creative) ideas germinated, names and faces came (via telephone and in person) out of the past, I met many kind people and had interactions I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’ve come to the simple conclusion that (living in) the universe gives us experiences and it’s up to us to make of them what we will.

inked d

And yet I’m also puzzled by synchronicity. The why of what, the what of when, the when of why. This seems to exist of its own volition. Unless the self has the power to mysteriously will coincidental events into existence. Paging Dr. Jung…

inke e
The first four drawings from my sketchbook are from a planned series showing facial profiles as well as a spiral motif. Again I return to Jung’s quote that in times of crisis humanity returns to primal symbols. The final page is post-accident and shows the symbol but not a profile. It has a different feel to it. The drawings from ‘before’ seem to be describing an immersion, or perception of reality. The most recent drawing seems to be aiming. Has ‘experiencing perception’ been replaced by a direct line of reception? Is this what pain does?

e ink Read the rest of this entry »

Inner and Outer Worlds Permeate Poetic Pulse and Melody

afternoon in paradise 3afternoon in paradise 4.afternoon in paradise 5

The streetcar stops beneath a railroad overpass

Snow still on the ground.

Melody stirring a pot of homemade soup

In the apartment she shares with her mother

Near the courthouse.

afternoon in paradise 7afternoon in paradise 8

A scratchy sofa

Something forgettable on TV

afternoon in paradise 6

I pass through her kindness like a boat cut loose.

afternoon in paradise 11

How can I prevent

What I don’t know will happen?

afternoon in paradise 13

Her eyelids lower

Contemplating a surreal image,

Her laughter like the northern lights,

Her smile

A Maya Deren film.

afternoon in paradise 9

 Jealous ghosts

Lay in wait on darkened country roads

Rising against immortal young gods

Speed-yearning into the future.


Does one simple gesture reconfigure a timeline?

Take the second bowl. The cauldron of vocation.

Leave town with her though you hardly know her.

Study poetry or dowsing,

Wash the ghosts away,

Listen to the northern lights sing into her,

Singing blacktopped roads into a charcoal labyrinth.

afternoon in paradise 1with detail bwith detail bwith detail bwith detail b

Creative Literacy in the 21st Century

visual literacy 3

Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin at the Oscars, 1964, with ice cream and a Camus quote.

visual literacy 1

Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin at the Oscars, 1964.


American warplanes spray the jungles of Vietnam with chemicals, 1960s.

A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.
- Albert Camus


Albert Camus was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature “for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our time.” Source: Wikipedia.

Bobby Darin performing his hit song ‘Dream Lover’ in 1959.

Bobby Darin singing his antiwar song ‘Simple Song of Freedom’ in 1969.

ice cone
Read the rest of this entry »

Marie Noight A’Shunning by John W. Sexton (with S. McCabe)

6m aria

Freckled with sparrows

Thrushes for tresses


The hedge-girl turns

The dial of the moon

womb ocean 2

Marie Noight A’Shunning

Through the rushes running

marie 24 24

Call her name

When the night is long

the montagethree faces of

Then she’ll shout

the stars down

warming tomorrowmarie light strawmarie 3

 John W. Sexton’s mind was poured into his body in 1958; since then his life has been dedicated to poetry.

marie 14

How Marie Noight A’Shunning came to be is a transatlantic astral event (Canada, dreamtime, Ireland). I heard this name in my sleep and in my half-sleep wrote it down. I posted on Facebook about being puzzled; who she was, what she represented. When John W. saw her name he felt an immediate response. Translating these feelings into poetry. My images create a parallel narrative exploring Marie’s identity.


14 not 20

foot in a cast

Replacing 20 framed ink drawings with prints for my upcoming book launch & a small exhibition while simultaneously disintegrating thousands of pages and surfaces & putting out the final clear bags on Thursday & rushing to teach art classes Saturday morning/ my mind a blur flipping between channels like an old TV & slipping on a stair-top landing, immediately knowing (and seeing and feeling) the obvious while wrenching back & ribs/ instinctively the body ‘autocorrecting’ a dangerous backwards fall.


Cell phone/ front pocket dragging my prone body to collect the charger/ beginning this brief journey through paramedics, technicians & doctors, nurses & aides performing occupationally with good cheer & diligence (Merlin serving a favoured mead) & as insistence loudly replaces numbed haze they bring me white pills & your face appears softly like Visions of Johanna, watery tears streaming down my cheekbones/ a young physician equating the emotional to the physical.

book launch single

Sanka instant coffee the next morning at breakfast, almost Hippocratic, like the reflection of a temple with seven new screws holding my reconfigured ankle together.

foot print

An interview with Open Book Toronto about my new wordless book





Young Woman With a Goldfish (on Dylan’s 73rd Birthday)

girl fish

 The transistor radio beneath my pillow

Like a Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan making something new

ancient again.

photp from 1901

A Study, No.1


Rudolph Eickemeyer (American, 1862-1932)

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Accession Number: 1972.644.2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

fish in air

Toronto street, March, 2014

all was still 



Rattle by Maureen Hynes


There’s a new rattle in the wind, a new texture to what blows

around the continents. Spinifex bushes dot the outback’s

blowing sand, its slopes and hollows. Mixed in with red


sandstorm dust: gum wrappers, foil bags, plastic water bottles,

empty tinnies. In the old days, says the Uluru guide, the desert

and its people were self-sufficient – what they discarded


enriched the land. A second Gonwanda is emerging, the mid-

Pacific Gyre’s garbage patch, mirror to the four thousand pieces

of space flotsam hurtling through the stars. Daily I trouble myself

17.dialing beginning

with the household’s petty excess, jam jars and junk mail,

a bag from every airport I’ve visited. I carry twenty unmatched

lids and eight containers to the bin, the half-life of glass

7.feathered 4layered 3copynew layer 2

nearing that of plutonium. Why not create something of value

with all this carboniferous energy? Yesterday a thick grey

cloudbank was towed across the evening sky by a thousand


invisible strongmen hauling in the snowstorm, obscuring

the sunset. I have finally decided that my preference is cremation.


Maureen Hynes is a past winner of the Gerald Lampert Award and the Petra Kenney Poetry Award (England). She has published three books of poetry, Harm’s Way, Rough Skin, and the most recent, Marrow, Willow from Pedlar Press. Maureen is poetry editor for Our Times magazine. http://www.maureenhynes.com


I modified a photograph from Wikipedia Commons (in images 3, 4, and 6) of descending stone stairs in the ruins of Vlotho castle, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, posted by Wiki user Tubs, GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.



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