Drawing and photography are central to my practice. Both make pressing - if sometimes fictitious - claims to the capture of lost moments.


on impending loss, foretold

[...] How could I turn and say: but this is him.
How could I say: he bounded when he walked. 
How could I say: when he came home at night,
A gust of snowy air around his coat,
I drew him closer, holding his lapels;
He caught me by the wrists and closed his eyes. 

How could I say I tried to memorize
The truthful face, his smile a truthful blaze
Untrammeled still. I tried to learn by heart
The light-brouwn gaze: unguarded chrysolite
From such another world that heaven made.
Left iris, with a comet-fleck of gold.
How could I memorize his gentle ways.
The way he mingled friendliness with passion,
Plain dealing, open-handed, unafraid. 
The swift, reflexive generosity. 

His striking conversation, magic ease
In seeking what the other could, then more,
In understanding, warmly understood; 
A quest for truth but not certainty.

And the integrity I idolized:
Another's mystery never trifled with.
No one was belittled in those eyes.


I found a phone booth, place to bawl unheard,
And sank beneath its automatic light.
The phone book hanging from a broken chain -
I drew it to my lap, a sprawling weight
Of paper pulp from long-forgotten trees
Snuffed-out and boiled down and pressed in sheets
Of ashen paper, faintly blue and gray,
A book unreadable and authorless,
A mystical directory of the living, 
Each page a random sample of Creation
And changing version of the Book of Life;
I ran my glove over the listings: throngs;
And found his name, still listed with the living,
Whose stories vanish, leaving only names
Recycled and reused. This faring on
And on, O mendicants. And overheard.

A page that can't be turned. He can't survive.
But let him live. My gloves pressing my eyes,
A thousand stars rotating inwardly
A millimeter past the streamered dark,
And nameless comet-phosphenes streking by.
With an alter, death. Without a place.


Gjertud Schnackenberg, from 'Venus Velvet no. 2,' in Heavenly Questions

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