over a crest of tall brush
splash of pond water
a tadpole unseen
I float and spin
in a lotus petal
Seen here with Lala and Vico in 2001 in Switzerland. Gerard recently wrote 24 Japanese-inspired Tanka poems, which are to be translated into Japanese and written in calligraphy by Sumiko Watanabe for the up-coming show of BillyBoy*'s paintings. One is above.
I've completed my "Twenty-Four Tanka for BillyBoy* ". . .I hope you will see that my words have sprung to life because of your exquisite drawings and I think together the words and images create a lovely resonance--an artful alchemy! Again, I thought the Japanese TANKA form would honor the embedded potent Eros in your drawings.
Part One takes the first 10 images and uses them as reference points or springboards into an imagined erotic scenario grounded in nature. Part Two finds it's poetic locus in the desert and incorporates the titles of your drawings (sometimes a word or two, sometimes the entire title) into the tanka.
I'm excited to hear your reaction--I found relief and joy in creating these poems! Thank you for sharing your work with me and I hope these humble little Tankas honor your intentions!
and also he wrote:
Oh I'm sooooooooooooooo happy!!! I'm really thrilled that you like them and that you're pleased to have your images joined with these words! I love being "wedded" to you in this fashion! Makes perfect sense to be joined at the imagination and it's all as it should be . .wouldn't you agree!? I'm very very excited about being part of the upcoming show and your fabulous website ---truly I'm honored-- and from the bottom of my heart, THANKYOU!!--and I really love the idea of an actual Japanese translation--wow!!
You know, I can't believe that it been SO MANY years since we first met! 1993? Heavens!! Can it really be almost two decades!!!!! What brave survivors we are!
you'll see I've also included an unnumbered "floating Tanka" just for you my dear!
Thank you again for keeping me alive this season with all your love and your well wishes! You'll never know how much this collaboration with you means to me!
Devotedly with love,
Gerard Wozek loves to collaborate with friends and artists and he is utterly inspired by the work of icon BillyBoy*! His first book of poetry, Dervish, won the Gival Press Poetry Award. His poetry video, Dance of the Electric Moccasins, took first place honors at the Potenza Film Festival in Italy in 2005. He teaches creative writing and the humanities full-time at Robert Morris University Illinois in Chicago. His most recent book of short fiction and travel tales, Postcards from Heartthrob Town, (Haworth Press, 2007) was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Wozek is currently at work on a memoir which details growing up in a closed adoption.
Soon, we will include all the Tankas and the paintings.