word & image project September 18 2018, 1 Comment

She's Just Human

The Hoffman Center for the Arts features 12 writers and 12 artists to be part of their Word & Image project. I'm honored to be selected as an artist in this exhibit. My amazing partner is Brittney Corrigan. She is the author of the poetry collections Navigation and 40 Weeks. Her poems have appeared widely in journals, and she is poetry editor for Hyperlexia: poetry and prose about the autism spectrum. Brittney lives in Portland, Oregon. https://brittneycorrigan.com/

Below is her poem that I selected to make my art response.

Unflap
for Tammie Jo Shults, and the rest of us


When all the wide world is unhinged—
not just the weather with its conniption
of extremes, but also the cracking open
of our species, the dark fringes scrabbling
their way to light—that’s when we most
need the pilot, the levelheaded timbre
of her voice through the crisp altitude
of air. It’s not just 149 souls on that plane
as it tilts and plummets. It’s all of us
reaching up for the oxygen masks, all
of us trying to pull one another back in.
We need how she navigates us through
the turbulence of fear, how she calmly
corrects to our destination, how she asks
for everything we’ll need. We are single
engine and gaping, but we’re not blazing
yet. The pilot, she soothes, and we are
bracing. We trust her while we descend,
this voice not angelic or steel, no, she’s
just human. But she’s carrying all of us,
the blue smudged to a blur, despair
now clanking wildly at our ears.
We are peeled open and falling, but she
is what we need. A clear, sane winging
back to earth. No, not all of us. But most
of us. The gravity of our hearts plunging
for what we’ve lost. Gripping onto
each other, remembering what’s worth
saving as the mess of us lands.

The exhibit will take place at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita, Oregon during the month of October 2018.