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impressions from the shadowside–a poem

May 5, 2008

impressions from the shadowside

what is it
which connects us
to a place and time
except our decision
to be here and now?

traveling alone at night
on a remote mountain road
i wind through trees
swim in oceans of stars
one place and time just like another

what keeps me from being some place else
some one else, some time else?
what keeps us in one place, one body
knowing what or where is now?
if i choose to

couldn’t i slip
from here to there
and back again?
come to recognize
that i’m not

who or what or where or when i was?
or not knowing
and just be that? there? then?
for one moment
i could be

that man that tree that flower
that lizard that landscape that granite
not just imagining
but being it–
for that matter

for one moment
i could entirely be
some place else some time else
and not even know it
for that matter

for one moment or for all
i could be that or this–
or that and this
i might already know
what is that lives in our shadows

(Note: I wrote this poem several years ago when I was invited to be the “featured artist” for a science fiction writers conference on the Queen Mary. This poem was published in the conference program, I had a poetry reading and reception as part of the conference, and I had a room to hang my artwork, mostly body paintings and broadsides. “Impressions from the Shadowside” was also the title of a solo show I had that summer; Yves Klein did “blue”– I did green and other colors. This broadside was published in ArtLife Limited Editions 8/97.

check out other responses to the readwrite poem prompt “out of this world” or take a ride on the poetry train

17 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2008 5:26 am

    that is really cool, i like the last lines.

    I`m reading The Time-Traveler`s Wife right now, so it grooves with me.

  2. May 5, 2008 10:59 am

    interesting write :)

  3. May 5, 2008 11:24 am

    This definitely set off sparks of possibilities in my head! So well done!

    I’ve also read The Time Traveler’s Wife and your poem put me right back there.

  4. May 5, 2008 11:47 am

    That last stanza is wonderful. It resonates!

    clawing crawlies

  5. May 5, 2008 12:56 pm

    i found this not so sci fi at all,, but rather a spirit longing stuck in a human form… for really,, isn’t that all that ties us to this world?? the human form… how limiting… we may not have any real evidence of an afterlife,, but in the event that we are half the spirit being we are able to comprehend with the human mind,, i can only imagine the possibilities are endless……

  6. May 5, 2008 1:00 pm

    Sometimes I think my whole life is in shadow. I like the questions you raise in your poem.

  7. May 5, 2008 1:09 pm

    I’m with Paisley, the sci-fi was lost among the real world longing. Beautifully written.

  8. May 5, 2008 3:16 pm

    thank you for all your responses! it is always so interesting to hear other perspectives on my work! i will have to read the time travelers wife–it has been recommended before!

    from reading more about you on your blog, Brian, I think I understand what you mean…

    and yes about the sci-fi ref getting a bit lost…when i was re-reading it to see about posting it for this prompt, i did a little revising and considered revising more to bring that element in more clearly, the idea of multiple continuums, time travel, possibilities that we have imagined and haven’t…but decided there was enough there, and that this way it does have that ambiguity of this life or another. it was a time of realworld longing!

    thank you again for taking the time to read and comment on my work!

  9. May 5, 2008 5:37 pm

    ‘what keeps me from being some place else
    some one else, some time else?’

    What were you doing inside my head…? This is pretty much the mantra of my life so far.

  10. May 5, 2008 6:11 pm

    parallel realities and all the related conundrums have always fascinated me so i really enjoyed this poem

  11. May 5, 2008 10:38 pm

    I thought about krishnamurti when I read this. My mind tends to travel on these kinds of paths. I appreciated the narrator’s curiosity about this thing called consciousness.

  12. May 6, 2008 9:30 pm

    enjoyed reading yr poem, first time visitor.. it’s almost as if we confine ourselves to what our eyes see and our spirituality is left behind… reading yr thoughts a door is opened to time, space and existence outside of ourselves… excellent thoughts… queen mary in redondo beach? …traveling in an ocean of stars… puuurrrrrfeckt…

  13. May 6, 2008 10:13 pm

    I like this one. Those lines are something that i could have ask myself! I think this is my favorite from you since i come visit you on Mondays!

  14. May 6, 2008 11:55 pm

    I think the ambiguity really works with this: it IS scifi and yet it isn’t. I wouldn’t try to make it more concrete or spelled out, the different spheres, continuums, etc. Very nice.

  15. May 7, 2008 5:35 am

    glad you found it purrfekt, piece of pie, and yes the queen mary near redondo’s actually in long beach

    jill, thanks for visiting often enough to have a favorite!

    maria christina, that’s interesting about krishnamurti because my mom was studying him when i was growing up and she went to hear him too speak in ojai which is near ventucky and certainly his ideas were discussed in our house as were many metaphysical ideas. i have always felt only lightly connected to this time and place and that night which inspired the poem i felt like i could have driven off into another time and place entirely

    thanks chiklegirl for the positive reinforcement of my choices!

  16. May 11, 2008 8:24 am

    AP you rock. I read this again and loved it even more.

    that man that tree that flower
    that lizard that landscape that granite

    (regarding the videos on our website, there is definitely some explicit content, but not really on mine… the adult jokes would go over his head. I’d watch anything on the site before I showed it to him as I’m not sure the content advisory tags are working yet)

  17. onevisit permalink
    June 15, 2008 1:30 am

    Another good one.

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