MVA (Missing the Visual Arts)

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa


Okay, I am looking back just this once.
I am writing this down just this one time.
Then, I am back in the presence of present,
with frills of the future on my cuffs.
I am going only once to the confessional.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Creative Spirit.
I miss the visual arts.
I miss creating the visual arts
of painting, photography,
and especially — perhaps what I was best at — calligraphy.
If I were to stop, to think, to dwell
on how I miss these three visual arts —
my day would be spent:
I would not be well.

Part 1.  Painting

When I die,
someone will find,
midst my belongings,
three saved canvas boards,
wrapped in wax paper.
One is a clown with a speckled purple background.
The second is "Soft Spring,"
and the third is "Medi-Ochre Autumn."
With those mystical tubes of acrylic paints,
palette, and brushes —
I, on that winsome stage,
once hoped for the height of creativity.

Part 2.  Photography

Yes, yes, I still take a few photos;
but not like before.
On the wall above my bed
is my saved, framed photography.
Our light golden wheat field against the emerald green of our woods
is forever capped by a clear, azure Hoosier sky.
The rushing creek holds momentarily still
on that Colorado Rocky Mountain.
Of all the photos I took in Mexico,
I framed the one of white-washed houses
with red-tiled roofs —
the scene which I could not see
until I looked closely at the developed slide,
far away from the Land of the Aztecas.
On my bookcase is my favorite photo
Of Chico, my buff-colored spaniel —
in muted tones, in front of a window of our family room.
I loved my SLR camera —
even at the end, when I took
only black-and-white photos
so that I could somewhat see
this higher-contrast photography.

Part 3.  Calligraphy

On a birthday envelope,
I may still try a little calligraphy.
But, how I do miss
the old-fashioned fountain pen,
the felt-tipped calligraphy pen,
the calligraphy markers that were double- or triple-pointed!
I miss the ruffles and flourishes of pen on paper
or sturdy, colorful posterboard.
The swirls and curls of this special lettering
always lifted my artistic soul.

Gray Coda

Now, my paint brushes are my knitting needles.
My tubes of acrylic paints
are the balls of textured yarns.
My palette is
spotted with green nouns, pale blue pronouns,
red verbs, magenta adverbs,
pink adjectives, coral conjunctions,
gray prepositions, and bright orange interjections.
Instead of photographs,
I snap paragraphs.
Instead of calligraphy,
I fashion braille dots
and command my computer to speak —
with all attributes on.
My canvas is the braille paper
or the talking computer screen.
I am content to live this stage of my life
with the many layers of gray curtains closed
as I paint — with magical words —
poems, memoirs, essays, and stories
of my diffused and different life.