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Heater & Abbott – Feb. 11

Katie Heater and Sara Abbott traded art and writing. Katie shared this photograph with Sara:

In response, Sara wrote this poem:

Six Degrees

Darlene
Never liked her name,
not from the day she was born.
It pegged her as frumpy—
from her bland, too old oxford shirts
to her pleated pants
to her feathered hair.
She chose an outdated major
at an outdated college;
now her career is outdated
leaving a brilliant mind with no current place.

Mikey
Smiled a little too much,
well, maybe smile doesn’t quite do him justice;
he charmed a little too much
with his not quite disheveled hair
his 4:15 shadow
his daily athletic-themed casual wear.
The world fell in place before him—
the scholarships for handsome athletes
and the girls to complement.
He charmed unashamedly from bed to bed;
now he is the handsome CEO
of a handsome company worth a handsome fortune
all on an unmerited credentials

Xiang
Hated being the token Asian girl
but played the part well,
even donning glasses for that academic look—
hiding behind the matrices and polynomials
was a girl who solved her problems on a canvas.
Her family grimaced as they waved goodbye,
sending her to the art institute
with the wrong kind of talent,
or perhaps the right kind of talent gone wasted.
The lines and colors and swooshes she put on the page
were far more perplexing than numbers.
A one-room studio is not the right kind of place,
Art was not the right kind of work,
A gala was not the right kind of showing
for their right kind of daughter.

Maurice (Mo)
Played right in to the stereotype of his situation,
the fifth of eight children born to a welfare family.
By high school he was no longer an apprentice
in the family business—he was running the streets;
his name known far cross the city.
College didn’t matter, he had no use for book knowledge
when he knew the street better than anything—
besides, he never sat for his GED, so college was a dream
that he never dreamt.
Not until he was finally in hard,
six and a half years into a twenty year term.
Out of boredom he read and he read and he read
something other than the streets,
the streets were a different game since he left.
The family business no longer ran through him—
he had other business to be concerned with,
the business of going out of business.

Steven
Fought to stand out for years–
from the back corner with a tiny voice,
a voice no one cared to hear, nor tried to.
The last one called on, the last one picked,
his ideas underestimated by all;
teachers and peers shrugged them aside as passe.
Underestimated from his athletic ability
to his academic potential
to his venture capitalist ideals,
he hid in the back corner of oversized lecture halls
among the masses of people at an underestimated state school
quietly estimating the day he would
come out America’s top young investor
on the cover of the latest Forbes.

Tanya
Spent her days gazing
at everything and nothing in particular.
The boys assumed it was them—
she did seem to have a thing for Mikey.
But her thoughts were elsewhere, set on her sights,
which were higher than anyone else’s.
She didn’t just look to Rodeo drive; she looked through it.
She didn’t just look to the Hollywood sign; she looked above it.
She didn’t just look to the walk of fame; she looked past it,
collecting accolades like trading cards,
taking none of it to heart, brushing it off, gazing still
searching for the one thing she hadn’t yet landed
the one thing neither the boys nor Hollywood could deliver,
the one thing she looked through and above and past years ago.

* * * *

Sara shared this poem with Katie:

Raking

Again this year
they have fallen
one by one
dried, crinkled
lifeless in their descent.
Littering the yard,
a collage of the texture
and color of weathered skin.
Brown, orange, yellow.
Exposed, abused

unyielding rays
day after day
until coming to rest
silently, scattered.
They accumulate behind
the fingers of my rake,
their master,
amassing, pile by pile.

I am cautious not to let
my daughter see or risk
the elimination of the
afternoon of work
to a moment
of childhood whimsy.
Stroke after stroke,
I gather the leaves
preparing them
for their final destination
in a deep dark bag.

Mounds scattered
about the yard.
I contemplate jumping.

In response, Katie created inspired by the poem (and actually containing copies of the poem) and the concept of Wabi Sabi. Click here to see close-ups and to read more about Katie’s process:

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