japonisme: released

26 June 2011



With rod and tackle box,
I'm slogging through soft sand,

a red sun going down in the surf,
swag-belly clouds drifting in

with Ray, only two months dead,
going on about girls that summer

we studied French in Québec and
guzzled Labatts at the Chien d'Or,

about how he'll marry again, keep
at it until he gets it right—
Pas vrai

Above the tide wrack, a woman
in a two-piece with half my years

kneels struggling in the sand
with a pillow of feathers,

one wing flapping—a pelican
tangled in fish line, treble hook

in the bill pouch,
the other in its wing.
Ray says, Ask her out for a drink

but she says,
Could you give me a hand?
I drop the tackle and secure the wing

while she croons to calm him and
with one free hand
untangles the line.

With pliers from the tackle box,
I expose the barbs and carefully clip,

a total of six loud snaps.
Then I hold
the bird while she frees
the last tangle

and we step back,
join the onlookers,
a father explaining care to his kids.

The pelican now tests his wings, rowing
in place. He looks around and seems

to enjoy the attention, just as Ray did
in bars, buying drinks and telling jokes.

But this college boy with a can of Bud
is no joke and says they watched it flap

all afternoon
from that deck on the dune.
His buddy agrees with a belch

that buys a round
of frat boy laughter.
Ray tells me the kid needs his clock cleaned

just when the pelican waddles up
and puts his soft webbed foot on mine.

He tilts his head to
catch my look, then
flapping runs into the air,
tucks his feet,

and climbs, turning over our small circle,
before heading west. Dazzled and dumb,

I'm faintly aware of the woman,
then gone,
weightless and soaring over water, looking

down on myself slogging through sand,
certain that I'm being watched,

if only by another self
who will have to tell how it happened.

Peter Makuck

From Long Lens by Peter Makuck. Copyright © 2010 by Peter Makuck.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pelicans and Flamingo, so very Art Deco. C.J. Martin did some great monoprints with yellows too. You'll have to look them up. Your interest and use of the art of fellow countryman Theo v. Hoytema is wonderful. And when I thought I had seen pictures of all of Gustavo's prints: this one's new to me. There is no end to your surprising is there Lily ?

27 June, 2011 10:53  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, gerrie-- now i gotta come comment on your excellent flamingo post. see, i see all your posts on google reader, but one can't comment directly from there....

but i did buy a book on ebay which i hope contains carl moser's flamingo print cause i couldn't find the one i downloaded at some point, which i thought you might like.

so should i assume that unsigned anon comment a couple of days ago?

27 June, 2011 12:28  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

gerrie -- i have also somewhere an old magazine cover of some home & garden which offered free hall thorpe flower prints with purchase.

i would have said this on your blog but i think maybe you've accidentally turned off the ability to make comments on it?

27 June, 2011 12:56  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i found them. if you go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lotusgreen/ they're the top two

27 June, 2011 13:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discovered your blog for the first time last night, and got little sleep as a result but thanks anyway. The many woodcuts, and your probable home base near Berkeley, prompts me to ask if you had any contact in your "formative years" with Bonnie at Notan? (especially considering your quote "if you ___with Arthur Wesley Dow...." In the early '80s, Bonnie and then-husband Bob put out lovely little annual catalogs with lots of bios and info on 20th C. artists under the sway of Japonisme. And they offered great woodcuts, especially back when the dollar was high compared to European currencies. Those catalogs were a window for this poor boy, your blog is another, but of course more vast and colorful.

29 June, 2011 09:10  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

well-- i'm so glad you stopped by and said hi! yeah--i've been in berkeley since... hmmm... gotta figure here-- since the early 70s! but i just cannot call up notan in my mind. it sound like i would have loved it; i was publishing a magazine called yellow silk at the time and even back then i was writing essays about japonisme for the magazine. how could i have missed it!?!

now did they end up moving to santa rosa and changed their name to annex galleries? the only reason i ask is because annex used to put out little paper catalogues that sound exactly like what you describe. same era printmakers as well.

(and a secret: annex owns (owned?) the rights to gustave baumann's work; you know that post which you quote what i said about dow? well, that same woman was doing baumann knock-offs too.... until i mentioned her to annex.

so thanks!

29 June, 2011 12:25  

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