Sunday, March 6, 2011

Janice's Dance: drawing and poem

More on my time at Augusta College later, but I wanted to get this poem posted now, since it is readily available to me. The longer article was done on an old (ancient) computer, and I will have to retype the whole thing; at least this time I can present the illustrations better, by scanning my photos from those two months. This poem tells its own story, of a day in Jim Rosen's class when Janice Williams was filling in, and decided to do a drawing of me herself. This poem opened a floodgate, and over the next several years I wrote a lot of poetry about issues involved with being a life model, with nudity vs nakedness, with the spirituality of nakedness. I also wrote a novel set in an art-school environment, and started another in the horror-fantasy genre set in a fiction version of a well-known art school in Savannah, GA. The week following the composition of "Janice's Dance," I took a copy of it back to Augusta College to give to Janice. She was touched, saying "No one has ever written a poem for/about me before." She later gave me a drawing, though not the one she did that day. That one, in another experience of synchronicity, ended up in Philadelphia about the same time I did, in the possession of Kevin Strickland, a student in Rosen's class in Augusta, who chose to get his MFA at PAFA. He was kind enough to frame a small ink drawing of me that Rosen did at my request, and also framed the drawing Janice gave me; unfortunately, he still has that one. I really need to get back in touch and reclaim it.


I sit naked on a folded comforter,
as Janice's hands dance
over the paper.
Her body dances too:
her legs thrust side to side
as hands and arms sway,
Shiva-like, over the paper,
for Janice dances creation.

Amy sits by her,
Amy who drew me earlier,
and watches Janice
as she draws and dances.
Amy's head moves like a tennis spectator's
from me to Janice's dancing hands
and back to me
and back and forth again.
Amy tries to see me as Janice sees;
she marvels at Janice's dance.

Janice's hands dance
a black and yellow fog,
charcoal and pastel
mists of creation.
From time to time
she shakes and blows the dust,
dancing, to the floor.

Janice's dance is a dance of creation,
and it is well I sit here,
naked and unashamed,
for I am born here,
and Janice is both
mother and midwife to my birthing.

An hour passes--
left leg and arm grow numb, then dead,
then awaken to pain.
But these are birth pains,
and worth the aching,
and I sit still,
watching Janice dance.

The dance ends.
I stretch, slowly, find my glasses,
for I want to see
what Janice has seen,
and danced into being.
I must be clothed and away;
yet I remain here, an image of myself,
the imprint of Janice's dance.
Augusta College, 9 May, 1991

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