Monday, April 13, 2015

the word

Geof Huth, "eucHrism," boxed (13 April 2015)

I hold onto things for years--small objects I've accumulated, sometimes on walks, usually found, occasionally bought----and sometimes these are objects that have some significance in my life. Yet I save all of these things for a project, some project, some artwork that I imagine the possibility of but never imagine the shape of.

Somehow, I believe in the talisman, I believe in the poem as the object, I believe that art is the word in physical space, the eye held in place so the mind can read it. I can hold onto an object for decades before I find something to do with it one night. Or I can find something one day, and make something new of it that same day. I am not governed by a timeframe. I don't really ever even know what time it is.

Tonight, for some reason, I believed I could make a poem out of the white bowtie I wore at my first holy communion in Oporto, Portugal. I was seven, I believe. It was a tiny FHC with only two other people, a girl younger and shorter than I and another girl older and taller than I. These details might seem unremarkable to you, but to the culture I was from at the time these details were significant. Ours was not merely a tiny first communion at a small chapel at the convent we went to for religious training.

We were the embodiment of the three children who saw the Virgin Mary at Fatima, a shrine in Portugal that I certainly had visited, but probably one that my co-communicants had visited as well. We were Portuguese children. Fatima was more important that communion. It was the evidence of the eternal supernatural in our lives, more so even than the thin papery wafer, the flavor of a scan, laid on our tongue that day of our communion, the only day I ever served as an altar boy.

Later, I became an alter boy, something else.

I've held onto that bowtie for almost fifty years now, almost half a century. I used to keep in in a glass jar with other objects of some significance, real or in-, but for the last few decades it has lain out in plain sight with no reason or purpose, no company to give it meaning.

Only tonight did I make something of it. I thought I could never write on it, but I did tonight. I took a thick leaden pencil, held it in my hand, conjured for minutes, and decided on a word, "euchrism," which I wrote as "euc|H|rism," the H (the only majuscule letter) written on the knot of the tie.

The word combines "eucharist" with "chrism," and the accumulated schmutz of a half century of handling serves as the chrism.

I cannot say this pwoermd, roughhewn and unready, dirty and unsteady, means anything to anyone but me. But we cannot create for strangers; we can only create for ourselves.

We are trapped by our individual imaginations.

Geof Huth, "eucHrism" (13 April 2015)

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