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Baltimore Hoop Love & Hohner – Baltimore Ekphrasis Project

Baltimore Hoop Love and Matt Hohner traded art and words. Baltimore Hoop Love shared this painting, entitled “Play,” with Matt:

Play_BmoreHoopLoveIn response, Matt wrote this poem:


A cold north wind knifes south, Chihuahuan dust
chafing his eyes too desiccated to close. The distant trill
of a flute dances into his ears as his empty veins collapse,
hollow heart slows, ants begin to soldier into his wounds.
If only he could climb out of the arroyo, collect his blood
clotting in the soil, walk home. He notices how autumn
has brought sparrows to the phone lines above him. He
can hear the hum of conversations pulsing in the black
wires above his head as the whisper catches in his throat
just below the cut, escalera, por favor. The birds are silent.
He thinks of his mother’s table, of poblanos and agave,
his last shot of tequila the night they came for him. He
thinks of Sunday morning mass, of the crucifix above
the altar, of padre’s gentle, creased palms as they placed
the Eucharist on his tongue in the old adobe chapel
with the broken wood doors. A glassless window glows
above the birds where the sun should be as sky and earth
become a symphony of colors. The light in the window
sears him with love. One by one, the sparrows let go
of the words throbbing between their toes and become
song, lifting the afternoon into evening.

* * * * *

Matt shared this poem with Baltimore Hoop Love:

Of Light and Water

The alphabet of time is written in the play of light and water,
in the music of wind and stone, the dance between the seasons.
I remember that language and dance, the song of rubber tires on
asphalt, the heat radiating off sandstone waves a hundred feet high
in the cool desert night. Shadows moved like expressions across
the face of things; stars stood sentinel in the dry, thin air.

That night, thunderclouds stitched lightning from the sky
to the earth as we drove north from Monument Valley’s stone
oven, green light of the dash illuminating your face while outside,
eons of sagebrush and stories blurred past. The sun and moon have
a dance too: illumination and reflection; roiling desiccant and cold
mover of seas. Gravity and sound. Silence and release.

Nearly twenty years have carved themselves into us since then:
wide arroyos of loss and lush spirals of growth; glyphs of an ancient
dialect only we can speak. We have learned to dance like this,
to give and take, each of us throwing our own light, each reflecting
the other. We move together to Kokopelli’s old flute song, extend
ourselves as ladders to raise each other up out of the mire, open
ourselves as distant windows glowing across life’s dark,
foreboding landscape to guide each other home.

In response, Baltimore Hoop Love made this painting, entitled “Of Light and Water”:


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