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December 2009, vol 5 no 4

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Stanley Pelter


Arc Walk

moon mirror
alters his face
smears of soap mask him
in a rattlebag
of cheap scents

Definitely. I want to draw him. But not like this. Not sitting at a fractured table. Not eating. Not even when he shaves, staring at his stretched image in a small mirror with a crack edging out from a missing corner. Even holding one end of an old leather strap that sharpens a cutthroat razor travelling close to a soap-spattered throat. Even in a compact position more easy to draw, this, too, is not how it is meant to be.

is a sharp left turn
unwilling model
his warped skin
still quite attractive

Want to draw him in motion. When young, when even poorer, when hand-held movie cameras were more rare than wartime eggs, this is not a hurdle easily jumped. If he walks I, drawing, will be behind him. His scale diminishes step by step; a considerable hurdle. Anyway, he often needs me by his side. I never know when he might slip. Often he is away before me.

into another high smile
his stifled image
sleek magpie
swaps pencils
for a rabbit’s foot

His walk. It is that I want. Although an angle away from orthodoxy, it is not unique. There is a lot to learn about his walk. Even now, thought processes are needed to kick-start it. Mechanistic care is required. Mass produced straight-line walk is, by comparison, weaker. Repetition is its game. Yes, of course there is a bit of variety. There always is. Mostly, it is a method of our getting from everyday here to a similar there.

checks rechecks
his cutthroat blade
for an uneven edge
with one strong leg
one mind walks backwards

His walk is different. Want to draw it. Starting point has to be a reality of rearranged motion. My walk is finely crafted, a regular straight line. Efficient. Dull. Lacks potential for awe. Appropriate placing assists his swing. Wherever he goes 2 wooden uprights land in front. Crutch landing. Swing. Siamese twins. Not always. Getting on a bus is a different mishmash of connections. Successful, wing-through line is weighted balance with a circular rhythmic interior, is non-lineal propulsion. A sweeping motion, it is an arc, somewhat like an upside down rainbow, the bottom half curve of a full moon. But his snow walking scares me.

ice cold river
blurs spaces
between front and back
beyond its ripple surface
single leg reflection

Sometimes wish with all my heardheartfastbeats he was as one with us. Yet do watch that walk. Love it. Can watch it all day; a swing that works, a motion to live with not get over, a stand-alone action that will kill him.

upside down arc
swings cheap aromas
into adagio drifts
remember bombs
that explode night

Still want to draw that different rhythm. Then, when I drew every day, he was always in a different place, with insufficient this or that. Never did I draw his DNA strain of arc walk. Never knew it was a death sentence.

in that childhood fix
days jump
sketch book collusion
       replete with marks
exclude him

"Arc Walk" first appeared in Modern Haiku and Tanka Prose, 1:1, Summer 2009.

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