Sunday, June 10, 2012

Immortality, a Magpie Tale

The still life by Jean-Francois de le Motte.

A close up of a section of the still life offered by Tess


It's all I have left:
this painting, this strap holding
letters, this seascape.
It's all I have left:
the story in your canvas
and oils, and your name.
The hole left in me
breathes out and you are not there
though you left behind
at least some mention
in some obscure art gazettes,
your name referenced.

June 10, 2012

Today is the 77th anniversary of the last drink taken by Dr. Bob Smith (June 10, 1935) as he began his sobriety in partnership with Bill Wilson. The two strove in the following years, Dr. Bob in Akron, Ohio and Bill around the country but primarily in New York state, to build a fellowship of sober alcoholics based on the idea that one drunk talking to another drunk might be the best way to get them and keep them sober. The alcoholics touched in this fashion remained close and out of these early gatherings Alcoholics Anonymous was birthed.

In the 1950's AA came of age and began its existence separate from its founders, turned over as an organization to the membership, then believed mature enough to survive without top down governance. To this day, AA remains a bottom up organization, an inverted pyramid of corporate power, with those at the top only there to serve.

The individual alcoholic is the source of it all, talking with the others like him nearby and what they do next. There is a book, several books and there are traditions. There is a suggested program of action, the twelve steps. There is the power of spirit. Above all, there is the language of the heart.

Written for The Mag 121


  1. now that i think about it, an alcoholic would hang all these letters like thsi, if they were important, cuz otherwise, they wold get lost in the mess

    painting details

    verification makes it really hard to comment. you'd get more comments if you turned it off. i had to do this several times to get it to work.

  2. The hole left in me
    breathes out and you are not there

    those are great and emotive lines...and nice bit on the origin of AA as has def helped some friends of mine...

  3. Thanks for the complete picture - it make so much more sense than the cropped version. Your poem catches the spirit of it well.

  4. Your words "The hole left in me
    breathes out and you are not there"
    left me breathless- and your info on AA tied in well. and Jinksy is right the complete image does make much more sense. I wish I'd seen it before writing my post.

  5. excellent imagery - I like what you've done with this prompt

  6. A nice pairing, butthere is a feeling of desolation in the words which made me quite sad.

  7. Hmmm. Perhaps. I see this reading you guys are doing where things are bittersweet. What actually happened, I searched in my usual way for some biographical material. There isn't any or at least none I could easily find. Then I wrote the poem, attending to the absence of de le Motte's presence, which actually includes spelling his name two different ways and Google wondering if I meant another guy entirely. What is still around, several of his paintings, some of which are different still lifes in a similar arrangement. So he is known especially for this kind of painting. The man has all but disappeared.

    However, I knew nothing at all of him before Tess introduced us. I think that there is a hole and it is in me now that know of it. And yes there is mention of auctions and such. People want his paintings whenever they are for sale.

  8. a lovely poem even if it came about somewhat accidentally - funny how often we want poets to be autobiographical when they almost always aren't ... I agree about the word verification ... can be fun and/or annoying but is mostly a necessary fact of life ...


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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