In our continued effort to support the arts in
Detroit, thedetroiter.com and Elitist Publications are collaborating to showcase
local authors and their works.
Submissions to thedetroiter.com's
lit section can be made
C/O Elitist Publications
487 W. Alexandrine
Detroit, MI 48201
For more information on Elitist Publications
check them out on the web at www.elitistpublications.com
month we're pleased to share with you words and images from sculptor, teacher,
farmer, and poet Hugh Timlin. A man of quiet strength, Timlin has never followed
the path of least resistance - but the path of conscience. In the early 80s, he
pulled up stakes from a teaching and art career in Detroit to build his own house
and raise his family (which would eventually include 7 children) on a farm north
of Mt. Pleasant.
Timlin currently resides
at the farm, while still retaining a vital connection to the Detroit cultural
world. His works, like the man himself, possess a contemplative quality and presence
far beyond their minimal appearing forms. Without any further words from us, we
present poems and sculpture by Hugh Timlin.
time I came back from the dead
end road that Don Scott lived on,
that this, the corner of Bawkey and Brinton
Was the place where the Garfield
Cemetery was located.
In the times when everyone knew classical symbolism
planted some Cypress trees right in back of the DEAD END sign.
verdure framed the rhombus of mortality
which chanted out on roads,
in the marble orchard.
time I came back from the DEAD
END road sign on the road that Don Scott lived
he taught me the lesson of records.
He had just paid eighty thousand
dollars cash for a new tractor.
The money came from the PIK program.
as he explained it to me,
if you kept the records straight,
you could make
a million dollars for not planting corn
and afford the luxury of not bargaining
on the price of a tractor.
On the way to the dead end road
granola for my goats
with our extra food stamps, figuring
that would be
better than the PBBs
we were drinking from the cows.
But I didn't tell
Don Scott that because he hated
I paid real money for my
to the man who had just made a million
for not planting corn.
I asked Joe Johnston at the elevator what PIK meant
and got a lesson in agricultural
"It means Payment In Kind, son."
You sow what
a journey after all, isn't it? Untidy lives, loose strings, old shoes, noise.
Noise and the insane expectations of being treated fairly, loved, creating some
kind of rational order, something of redeeming quality.
We journey through
the myth that we are in control, that answers are rational, that life is contained.
make Art simply because there are energies within me that need to be materialized
in order to be understood and made whole.
Even though there is a temptation
to equate cynicism with intelligence and significance with complexity, I can't
help approaching my work with a certain dumb optimism and stark simplicity. Simplicity
is difficult. But even with all the noise, I have come upon a few words that make
ultimate sense to me:
An itinerant Jewish carpenter said, "The Kingdom
of Heaven is within."
A German physicist said, "E = mc2"
Irish writer, speaking through his sensuous female character said, "...yes
his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."
In the late December rain
the old green van with the
The paint job and the weather
mocked the season
the season mocks us all.
I've seen these people before.
Helped the woman
push the truck down the hill
in front of the Laundromat,
delaying for one
a new battery
in favor of clean clothes.
I've seen them
on the side of the road
the five kids fogging up the windows
something to giggle at.
The woman in the front with the baby
nods to let
the old man is on the way.
I see women in the front seats of
trucks whose paint has turned chalky.
trucks at the side of the road,
sitting with the quite resignation
running on empty.
When they go,
the old trucks rattle on the washboard
a rhymless carol in the late December rain,
Fix it Fix it
don't work fix it
work til you fix it
if it works
don't fix it.
At 87, my mother's self contained world operates on a tightly
When I set my new hat on her kitchen table, she said it
was bad luck.
"I thought it was shoes on a table."
too, but its bad luck to set a hat on a table."
I set it on the chair.
minutes later, ready to have tea, she sat on my hat.
She shrugged, hung
it on the chair back and stirred sugar in her cup.
"You see, I told
you it was bad luck to put your hat on the table.
Marla Johnson sits on the porch
cow in a platform rocker,
she feeds the baby.
Marla Johnson's baby sucking,
her tit like a soft heart pumping.
Marla Johnson brushes a fly from her cheek,
No one calls her Marla Sue
since the baby
come out of winter
like the water out of snow
that drips around
makes soggy piles of hay
turn into strong tea.
Our change from the stiff
blue creatures of winter
is liquid and sticky.
It has no voice in January
or symbol in the sweet unfolding
of a May butterfly.
at the ugly end of February,
our hope is in the sound of our boots
Images © Rachel Timlin