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Thursday, 11 February 2010



In the shadows
in the doorway
beneath a hood
an arcade
or a roof
if of paper or
if of plastic
When there is
a shadow, a body
must be there.

Homeless guy on Yonge Street: photo by Andy Burgess, December 20, 2009



Dear Tom,
Two great poems here, I hear "All I wanna do" (photo of man beside that grey 'depression' juxtaposed with red of Trailways-- color comes into the world again!
I hope this will add something to something you'll 'get'. . . .


pale orange of sky on horizon above still
black trees, white of moon beside branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

inscribed in graphite verso
lower right, obscured

next to one another, others
opposite, pointing to

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
shadowed canyon of ridge across from it

TC said...


I noted in Jim Dine's new book of drawings of his own face (Old Me, Now), he spoke of "correcting and erasing" over and over again until his image became "a field of form and chatter...a vast forest or a limestone quarry".

Your graphite seems to give way wonderfully (as if erased) to reveal colors and sounds, the sound of the wave in the silver of sunlight, the white of the moon against the orange of the sky, the black trees and the shadowed canyon.

TC said...

A short note on Jim D.'s book of drawings.

Marcia said...

Sometimes all I wanna do is go back to the stark land of buffalo wallows where the wind rarely stops, too. Thanks for that one, and thanks for "Vagrant." In the winters when I worked in downtown Washington, D.C., I would see the homeless men and women huddled on grates where steam came up near the Corcoran Art Gallery. Today, I can only hope someone has helped find them shelter from the depths of heavy snow.

TC said...


Thanks for coming, always lovely to talk with you. And you know those buffalo wallows as well as any poet does.

This particular winter has been a long and difficult one for the vulnerable and exposed. This is fact beyond sentimentalization, dismissal, or even pity. The only thing that would now surprise me about it would be someone (obviously I don't mean you) belatedly noticing and evincing surprise or even stranger, suggesting that what is happening in the streets is not related to what is happening at the higher reaches of the tottering structure.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Beautiful, Tom —

or as someone else once put it:

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”—Abraham Lincoln

words in stone

or let float away on a leaf

TC said...


Wise words from the woods. Where is the ghost of Honest Abe, now that we need him so?

We've been reading Phil Whalen's notebooks of the 50s and 60s, testament of an indigent artist's mendicant life.

Here is his entry of July 15, 1958:

"If nothing else, we must submit ourselves

to the charitable impulses of our friends

Give them a crack at being bodhisattvas"


Of course, it helps to have generous and enlightened friends. Few of those on the street these days have that kind of luck.


Thanks for that note/thought, "erasing and correcting over and over," adjustments, revisionings, beginning again and again -- no ridge to see out there at least now, birds going on. . . .


I noted in Jim Dine's new book of drawings of his own face (Old Me, Now), he spoke of "correcting and erasing" over and over again until his image became "a field of form and chatter...a vast forest or a limestone quarry".


grey light in fog in front of invisible
ridge, motionless shadowed green leaves
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

that memories by themselves,
present which then is

that has, of other movement
sometime, ahead of it

grey-white of sky reflected in channel,
tree-lined green top of ridge above it

Charlie Vermont said...

walk on by
drive on by
step over
look the other way
not notice

the crux of it by
John Lennon...."Imagine
all the people" vs "We'd
all love to see the plan"

a new book from Spuyten Duyval
Crossing Borders
drawings,and poems
by Lenny Silverberg and Steve
Kowit....gets to the concept
of "interchangeable suffering"
among the homeless, the refugee.
Quite after the heart of Tom Clark
I might add.

Art and poetry just a start
moving help from the heart
in real terms

TC said...


Thanks as always for the light.


Thanks as always for the heart.

I've made a small start, I hope, with The New World.

aditya said...

What juxtapositions Tom ! Another of your late night street walks I believe. I believe you have such a beautiful sense of co relating subjects.

In the day, the shadows on the streets remain.

Dissected by the traffic. Of the day. And it's shadows rotating around a center. Looking for the center.

Escaping the upshoots of smokes and sirens around them. Escaping out of void volitions.

At night these shadows remain.