XO On What Might have Been Our Anniversary
Limited Edition Artist Book
I met Jeanine Hathaway in 2004 at a show of my prints in downtown Eugene, Oregon. She was writing poetry while on sabbatical leave from teaching at Wichita State University in Kansas. It turned out that she was also my neighbor, renting a room down the street and we became friends. Jeanine was inspired by my woodcut diptych titled, “Remembering, Forgetting,” and wrote the poem, “XO, On what might have been our anniversary.” I created my artist’s book, inspired by her poem, printed from the woodblocks I crested for “Remembering, Forgetting,” thus completing our circle of creativity and inspiration. Text is ink jet printed on organdy fabric using an Epson C88. 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 3/4″, 2007
XO On what might have been our anniversary
How our desires signed off, stringing along
kisses and hugs. Once a game, an alphabet
for two boxed in pens, our characters
tick-tacked onto a lattice.
I’d x you out. You’d hold your place.
We crossed ourselves, carved the zero
of a face in bank accounts, park benches, sand.
Like hope in deep midwinter, no valentine survives
on frosted windshields, sugar hearts. XO can
disappear, a change not like weather but when,
like a woodcut, the inked vows erode from relief
to vague and slurred impressions. Even kissing
cost us breath, the tight squeeze, breadth.
In grading, lists, the X means wrong and done.
More than binary, O means failed, perfect.