“Untitled” by Angela Johnson

Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2015: Artist’s Choice


Photograph by Colleen McLaughlin
Photograph by Colleen McLaughlin. “Untitled” was written by Angela Johnson for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2015, and selected by McLaughlin as the Artist’s Choice winner.

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Angela Johnson


Chopsticks in the loose
of a metal hand

of a robotic penguin

and it’s the double line dissecting a highway

Until the paint ran out

Hard to believe

as vulnerable
as human flesh
is hurtling through that calm sky

etched with a
particulate footprint:

A lovelier, cloud-soft
map of travel
reminiscent of a slug’s slime trail

evaporating in the elements.

Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2015
Artist’s Choice Winner


Comment from the artist, Colleen McLaughlin: “I love everything about this poem—the haiku-like stanzas; words sparse, yet bursting with whimsical imagery; the line breaks which set the tone and evokes a certain mood. The photographic image is stark, and perhaps even ominous if one considers chemtrails and conspiracy-theories, yet this poem took me to another, most pleasantly unexpected place, a kind of space oddity. It’s the stuff kids’ dreams are made of—and still, the unbelievable wonder that ‘anything as vulnerable as human flesh is hurtling through that calm sky.’ I even find it apropos that this poem, in reflection of this image, is ‘Untitled,’ because it lends a feeling of timelessness, an ‘evaporating in the elements’ … like a ground control to Major Tom.” (website)

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