Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Tattooists

Are these Christian tattooists
in the paper any stranger—Simon Stylites spent
a life standing on a stone pillar, sixty feet up—
did not come down for cramps or winter rain.

Could I survive the Sacred Heart with “Hail, Mary,
Full of Grace” across my arm, or
the crucifixion in three colors
against my sternum between my breasts.
Needles to skin over
soft tissue is less painful,
but flesh is grass and sags—
art lasts best close to bone.

No stranger than hair shirts,
hundreds of needles for hours, for days, even years,
to get the complete St. Michael on my shoulder to the writhing,
twisting dragon down my leg.
Or my whole life to get the Last Supper
with Stations of the Cross, and the proper text—
Jesus’ words in red—
covering every inch of skin, eyelids,
lips, nose, between fingers and toes,
while invisible capillaries
under the skin carry the images
molecule by molecule
into the living catacombs of bone.



Poetry

For D.

Groans going all the way up a young tree
Half-cracked and caught in the crook of another

Cease. All around the hill-ringed, heavened pond
Leaves shush themselves like an audience.

An atomic pause, as of some huge attention
Bearing down. May I hold your hand?

A clutch of mayflies banqueting on oblivion
Writhes above the water like visible light.





Film

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

The name Roman Polanski conjures up different responses. To many film buffs he is the Polish wunderkind who rocketed out of the Lodz film school in Poland to direct the dark and mysterious Knife in the Water (1962), a tale of fear and betrayal on the high seas heralded for its thematic complexity and perfect camera placement.
Music

On Music

Nick Cave might not be well known, but time spent with this complex Australian rocker is well spent. He doesn’t shy away from dense theological issues, which he explores in a rambling, lyrical style that recalls Jim Morrison at his poetic peak.
Poetry

When my daughter asks me why

Maggie, her grandparents’ dog,
can’t come with us to the zoo,
we say she’s not feeling well
and try to leave it at that,
bring up tigers and polar bears,
offer Twizzlers and juice,
but all she wants is the dog,
asks if we gave her medicine,
when will she come back
so we can fix her with
a screwdriver, today’s new word,
so many new sounds,
so much new these days
we can’t keep track
of all the people and places
she knows, and the names
of things, reminding us
we cannot save her
from the word, or save
ourselves from having to
explain what dead means,
as if we’ve waded through
all we were taught
and emerged on one side
or the other, unable
to dismiss or believe
there’s one true voice
that could reveal a pattern
we’ve never picked up on
in the sunlight and trees,
some force behind why
that could lead us beyond
our parents’ loving euphemisms,
beyond we simply don’t know.