Wednesday, May 25, 2011

my head

When I was 13,
I decided to sculpt
a head out of clay.

What the hell?

I was a regular kid,
with no art or knowledge,
but I got it in my head
that I must sculpt a head.

So I gathered up red clay
from that spot in the yard.
And I formed from wire mesh
a substrate and stuffed it
with wads of newspaper
to hold the first smearing.

I worked like a monk
in a trance of oblivion
all that day and into the next.

My head started looking
like something nearly human,
and the third day it took on
a forlorn expression.

I made a strange man,
though I think my first vision
was to shape up a woman.
But women are weird
and my fingers were virgin.

And I could never get it
to proper head size.
It stalled between normal
and Melanesian trophy.

I was proud of my head.
I showed it to my parents,
and as usual they loved it,
like anything I made...
even this depressed
head with proportions
askew and sad features
not quite aligned.

Why in the world
did I have to make a head?
It just jumped into my head
like everything since.

Looking back I can feel
what I felt when my hands
were slimy with clay,
lost in creation,
persuading my Adam.

I was trying to make
something out of nothing.


  1. Oh Tim...I LOVE this! Especially "my first vision was to shape up a woman. But women are weird, and my fingers were virgin."

    Something out of nothing. We do it everyday! Individual letters...meaningless symbols in solitary formation. But we choose them like soldiers and fashion them into an army. You really won the battle here!

  2. What you said pleases me immensely. :)

  3. Well done ... Glad to have found you. Here from Wine and Words.

    ...P.S.: Sometimes I don't know whether I'm coming or going either. Human condition?

  4. Thank you, Jamie! And welcome to my asylum. :)

  5. Cool head, man! It must have prompted your parents to get immediate help, and early intervention is key to successful outcomes! Lucky, lucky guy ...

    Cool poem, too

  6. If I remember correctly, they looked askance only briefly, fleetingly. I was always cooking up wild, stupid schemes. They supported me in everything. I didn't deserve such wonderful parents.

    And thanks, Mike.

  7. I am happy your virginal enthusiasm did not die with sculpting your head. Looking forward to reading more of your work, Tim.

  8. To be in a "trance of oblivion" -- what better space could one find? A light touch here, quite an enjoyable piece to read.