Expand your Artforms: Poetry

WSS student Naomi Karp has been inspired by poems published in the New York Times about coronavirus. She's been writing a poem a day in addition to drawing from our prompts. Thanks for sharing it, Naomi! We hope you enjoy it as much we did. 


COLOR AND VALUE

by Naomi Karp


When I got the box of 48 Crayolas, I thought it was the bomb. Six rows of eight, sloping down like seats in an opera house. The brand-new points made the best drawings. “Raw umber” – who knew brown could have different names? (That color’s retired now.) We needed “flesh” to draw our families, Not realizing that it was meant only for people like us.   Then, the 64s!  We hadn’t known what we were missing. A bigger concert hall. One of my favorites I called “scratchy blue.” Something in the wax made that one less than buttery. It was perfect for a glinty night sky, with five-pointed stars in "orange yellow."  Or maybe it was "yellow orange." When the points got dull, there was a built-in sharpener in the box! Paper peeled off with the wax and they regained their focus. When we tired of “coloring,” We melted broken pieces into swirly patterns in Pepsi bottle caps On the pilot lights of our gas stoves.  Our mothers must have hated the mess, But we showed off our latest creations outside As we skittered them around on chalk-drawn skully courts.   Other days were for Venus Paradise Color by Number. The name alone awoke fantasies! The virtual Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies Reminds us of those vintage pastel shades. (Its curator retooled the Monopoly man logo, among other claims to fame.) How proud we felt when we sketched within the lines Our own panoramas of Lewis and Clark’s Climactic Pacific moment.   Now I draw in blacks and grays. No studio school, no classmate’s easel three feet away To show me how another human views the same model’s pose In real time. My teacher’s on email, viewing photos from iPhone. I’m grateful as she cheers me on, but it’s not the same. Still, the exercise transports me, and for an hour I draw myself with smudgy charcoal fingers And don’t live the life of corona.


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