Discover more from Experiments in Belonging
e.i.b.: Art from Humans (Un)known
and it's a poem and a collage.
I recently received an email that said someone new had subscribed to this newsletter and it was a familiar email and name, it was one of my super creative and inspiring aunts (hi, Aunt Pam!).
I wanted to share a poem today because for one, I love poetry, and two, sometimes it’s really nice to invite other people’s thoughtful words and imagery to take the lead.
I was about to choose a beloved Mary Oliver poem but stopped myself.
Of course there are many amazing artists who live far away from my personal vibrant web of connections. And there are also amazing artists who have a thread of connection in common with me.
A question that comes to me… what might arise when we give more intentional awareness and attention to the threads of connection that we do have (and perhaps might have always had and thus, might be more inclined to take for granted)?
I feel a tug whenever I read a poem written by Mary Oliver. I resonate with the ways she offers her unique soul and sensory experience of and with nature. And when I read a poem written by Liz Abrams-Morley, another one of my super creative and inspiring aunts (Pam’s sister) I feel a tug that, if I put a word to it it’d definitely be “(un)known,” written in that way.
When witnessing art that was created by someone I’ve shared a thread of connection for my entire life (though not their’s), it gives way to this dual sense of kinship and camaraderie and sense of “other,” stranger, unknown.
There is obviously so much I don’t know about my aunts. For one, we have always lived on separate coasts so our day-to-day living is quite unknown to the other. Though this thread of connection keeps oscillating in the winds between us.
So, I am sharing a short video of a shadowy mixed media collage Pam Abrams-Warnick created. The piece is entitled Moving Through Her Story and was accepted into a show at the Falmouth Art Center.
A rabbi, a priest and an imam walk into a bar—or into the road, you think, and see
a semi bearing down. Some days
you know you’re the windshield;
lately you’ve felt like the bug.
So it goes.
Outside, a turkey crosses the dead end road,
takes his feathered-ass time, head bobbing
as if he’s plugged into the ‘60’s oldies you
blast in the car, hands drumming the wheel,
mind skipping tracks every two and a half
minutes, the length of a typical song.
the greeting card on your dresser reads,
get a manicure and a really cute helmet.
You watch out your window, see the turkey’s
moving ahead. Can a dead end be a destination?
You’ve stumbled on so many of them in your
lifetime but now you find one trail winds into
another and you’re willing to
Map a path to a lake you know, only to pass it,
and your feet lead you to some unnamed
overgrown pond where a great blue heron
rising from a fallen log is your reward for picking
your way down a desire line.
of others has flattened a narrow strip of foliage
but only slightly. To walk here, place one foot
directly in front of the other as if on a balance beam.
The heron circles the pond, lands on a low branch,
his watery double wavering beneath him, an image
that never quite settles before he
And I consider the journeys and stories both of them have moved through separately and together.
I consider the journeys I’ve moved through and where in all of these layers of stories the threads of connection might vibrate with the same sort of resonance that the string of a violin would.
Does a thread of connection come to your mind or your heart upon reading and witnessing this shared art? I dearly hope so. For, I do believe that it’s our sense of belonging that will give us what is needed now.
It doesn’t matter if you’re related to the human with whom share this thread of connection by blood, by marriage, by neighborhood... In this moment what seems to hold more weight is this paradoxical quality of (un)known.