This Is Not Magic

I can’t explain how I do it
and when I try, I can only point you
to the canvas: there is speech which keeps
refusing to exit through lips and tongue
and insists on taking its form
as colored chansons upon a blank face –

or sometimes, it manifests as
antiphons and hymns praising God and creation,
turning lyric into brushstroke and landing
in rainbows on the canvas. Secular or
sacred, sainted or profane – it doesn’t
seem to matter: the gift gives itself up
as a dance of color, brushstroke, and light
to call unvoiced words into being.

You call it magic? You marvel
that a man who cannot force his lips
to form spoken words,
to utter what you call language,
can howl and thrash like an insane shaman
and slam his soul against canvas, leaving the imprints
as pictures of a landscape you never knew
or had forgotten; or how he
gently chains hallelujahs end to end and lets the
resplendent pageant be born onto a blank sheet; or how
fingers under incantation can play jazz
like heliotropes, jade, and indigo love. But
let me tell you this: within the seat of each one’s soul is
an invocation to communicate, to become
mirror and window, voice and instrument,
verse and refrain. Mine has merely chosen
to channel itself into the visual.

Please understand one thing:
I am not magical, not a savant.
I am just a man throwing his colored speech to turn blank paper
into the tableaus which form themselves in my mind
and soul. And understand that while
I cannot mold my lips around vowel and consonant to tell you
how much I love you
or this world,
or this entire existence connected together
by spirit, double helix, and wormhole, I can
keep showing you the canvases: so keep
watching. And if you do, you will eventually
understand me.

Written 12/14/11
© 2011 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

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This poem was written for this week’s Poetic Asides prompt, which was to write a magical poem. This poem ended up being both magical and not at the same time — a contradiction almost until you read a little further. I have read about artists on the autism spectrum, both verbal and non-verbal, who find that while they may have a difficulty or even lack of ability to communicate in speech, the communication happens through their art. I am the same way — the words find themselves out through my fingers via keyboard or the pen onto paper with much greater ease than through speech. This poem takes a look at the visual side of this phenomenon, using the visual artist as an illustration of it.

-Nicole

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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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One Response to This Is Not Magic

  1. Pingback: A Study in Color « Raven's Wing Poetry

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