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Coppola & Roper – May 2021

Derek Roper and Luigi Coppola traded art and words. Derek shared this image, titled “Gaining Starry Wisdom,” with Luigi:

In response, Luigi wrote this poem:

Gaining Starry Wisdom

We wanted to wage war on a world 
of ignorance. They were too slow:
puerility coursed through veins;
primordial mud still stuck
to soles and souls; who knows
how long it would have taken
for brows to sink, for eyes to squint,
for lips to part and sing of science
instead of howling at herds
or smacking at shoals.

Blunt sticks and minds were
sharpened to acuminous compasses.
Masticated bark became didactic. Leaves
curled to manuals for living. Clean cubicles
replaced caves. We showed them how berries
were not just for spitting on hands on walls
but could cure. These were Nature’s laws.
We walked them through labyrinthine
landscapes and pointed out the antiquities
in the layers, compression extrapolated
and elongated into epiphanies.

Each grunt became a syllable.
Each frown mirrored to a smile.
Each fist opened.

And as the Newton’s cradle of
their grey matter was nudged into motion,
we left them to it,

certain that teaching them
to fish would not
empty the sea.

* * * * *

Luigi shared this poem with Derek:


Her clammy tips sweated through the photograph
thin yellow paper, tea stained round the edges

She rediscovered it, slipped between
crumbling pages of dried diary

While she studied the image — imaginary, impossible
up until that second of sight, a switch flicked

A bulb, bland, then bright, then broken
takes and steals the pose, position, person

And she will worship the memory, an iron ring
in a box of pins all pointing to her chest

In response, Derek made this image titled “Ms. Marsh”: