Paper Poems

When asked about my paintings I often fluff off my intentions, because although the image may be of a fabulous, moody face, and wild hair….really I’m just trying to hop off the hamster wheel of my own thinking that leads to crawling skin and catastrophic dwellings. Why not make the portrait look interesting? The overwrought-ness of them shows in the process, but once I halt myself with varnish layers…the painting finishes off in its own way, removing itself from me and my claustrophobic method. 

I don’t know what I’d do without paper and pencil – I’ve been a doodler since childhood. I tend to use the same favourite supplies, and it just occurs to me now to take a photo and tell you about them.

First I’ll finish this Paper Poems post. I’ve been reworking old poems and writing new ones. I don’t consider myself a poet, but there’s something about playing with words that equates to playing with art supplies (for me). I like to see where the words lead, how an edit can fine-tune, and why the finished piece tells more than I can say in prose.

Paper: as with skin, you are scratched, etched, cut, rubbed, torn & coffee stained. And you are tough, but it took me a while to realize that. You hold your fair share of battle scars and reveal stories I tried to submerge. Emotions are as itchy as beetles, as ticklish as wandering hair strands. Words pop in and out, old memories crackle, and colour is absorbed mutedly. The spine of a wood cradle, the veneer of varnish, and the years held in a single sitting are all signs of the editor’s resilience.


Should I write this down?
I’m never sure what I should remember.
I did what?

Was that on Shannon Road?
We had two houses then,
the this place then that place,

the story being chopped cleanly in two
by a walk across the street.

I was eleven,
and then I was twelve.
That room with its pink and green

around a corner in the basement hallway,
windows up at a back yard,
poster of a kitten in a jar,

That message of a slight opening
a glance into somewhere

the thing that keeps you going,
you who rubbed your foot on the green carpet until it burned.

I can write for you now,
the words beetling over the surface
to give it lustre,

you staring at pink walls from a top bunk
still so dumbfounded.

Dawn Pearcey 2019

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