Correspondences are a wonderful group of poems by Angelina d’Roza published firstly in 2019 by Longbarrow press, and more recently featuring in her latest collection The Blue Hour 2023. The starting point for these came from a series of paintings and images of which I sent to Angelina, mainly of film projects that I was working on. I was and still am harbouring the idea of further collaborations. I first met Angelina back in 2009 when I was commissioned to stage a collaborative and an improvisatory performance painting in Sheffield Cathedral. This involved a performative talk and performance painting and improvisation. We worked together on an Ekphransis project which took place in the brilliant Bank Street Arts Centre in the city centre with the musician/composer Steven Chase.
Here are the two “Correspondences” poems accompanied by the images that Angelina worked from. I am currently working on a series of prints and imagery using further passages from the poems.
I’m thinking about your photogaphs.
Nan Goldin thought if she photographed a person or place enough times, she’d never lose them, though it only showed her how much she’d lost. You show me shadows, and I’m grateful, though mostly this is avoidance. I write you questions like whether the unreliability of memory is preferable to the fixity of a photograph, instead of screaming. The red hibiscus are out. I don’t have a photo of this, either.
(Three deer running through an oak valley this side of a river. My house is a few miles the other side. My son lives elsewhere.) I tried to write you about the Hibiscus, and the dhow boats drifting into the Gulf, with disco lights and tribute acts singing “Hotel California”, a second language of catchy refrains, but it always became about love. (Did you know in Japan deer can be seen the year through but in poetry connote autumn and melancholy, the stag alone as the sun sets?)
And why shouldn’t I write about love? Sometimes the new-moon night is so much like a partial rip in pale blue gauze, I want to eat it.
Blue, of course. My young son’s favourite colour. I painted the walls of his childhood room Yves Klein Blue. Later he asked for black. I want to talk about the blue slate floor in your photo. Have you read Maggie Nelson on this? The prince if blue’s Devine unbuttoned pants? Once my son started bringing his girlfriend home to stay, to be naked in the room next to my son’s room distressed me. As though to make space for his desire, my own blew out.
I misremember the easy sleep of wanting nothing. I’ve read they’re near to tracing a single memory across the brain. I would watch my neural pathway light up as I recollect being held. Or you could paint the way “Mr Blue Sky” flickers between lobes separated from its meanings to me. Carl Sagan said we’re like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it’s forever. I’m thinking of coming home. This morning I woke reciting the words my grandson’s mother says to him, holding him close as he cries for no clear reason. You’re fine. You’re fine. You’re fine.
What do you see from your window? Here, an apartment block rises within the footprint of an older home, the interior of a half bulldozed wall, half mosaics, murals in amber and snapdragon, an archeology of sorts. Gardens grow out of the sand, are tended minute to minute. They seem unchanging. They seem dug over every night and planted new by morning, pricking pretty holes in the always gold light.
I am not anxious
only full of butterflies
Prettifying the structures of my heart and stomach
I am so lucky
to be so pretty inside
Let me tell you about the trees transplanted from Argentina and made to survive. I admire rage aspiration of a man made hill. The way a pearl diver measures time by the lungful, I sit under the need tree in fifty degrees, till just before I pass out. What I really want to show you is the scarring-(see) how the sea spray begins to rust the flowers.
Poems copyright Angelina D’Roza 2019.
Published in 2023 by Longbarrow Press