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Lois Virginia Walker

 

 

Lois Walker

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Lois Virginia Walker is a poet and visual artist.  A graduate of Topeka High School, she obtained a BA in  University of Kansas in 1951, followed by a BS in Education in 1954.  She then moved to New York where she continues to teach and write.

 

Walker is always exploring ways to express what she wants to communicate. If a wild assortment of found objects and twine can have a meaningful impact on the viewer, she believes that she has succeeded just as much as when she writes a good poem or paints a picture.

 

Though she started as a poet, her new work with paint, crayons, paper, canvas, wood, hardware, wire, etc. also probe or stretch the means of sharing her world with the reader/observer. For Lois Walker, it is an adventure that never ends.

 

While, Walker's art work has been exhibited across the country, she has also appeared at many readings and workshops as well as being featured on TV and radio programs.  She has been involved as an editor at Process 5, Process 8, Xanadu 7-10 and several other locations. 

 

Walker's poetry has appeared in Pandora’s Box: Colleted Poems 2006, You and You and Me, The Studio Press; Anthology, Saturday’s Women; Magazines College English, New Letters, Sojourner, West Branch, The Mickle Street Review, The Pikestaff Forum, Helicon Nine, Xanadu, The Hiram Poetry Review, Alderbaran, Measure 6n, The Miscellany, Eleven, The Long Island Poetry Review, The Street, Handbook/Silence, Dark Tower, Process, Phoebus and others. 

 


TO A SHELTERING TOWN

                Topeka, Kansas--tornado
 

To a sheltering town

Not now but yesterday

Was my sweltering town

(circle of summer dust

and sudden rain) around

me falling down to look

at leaves and measure grass,

Angry cutting up roads

With a turn again turn

Of the wheels. Whisper all

The houses “people here.”

My bicycle passing by

Could hear the middle class

Washing up or turning off

The radio to take

A nap. A peaceful town

For curiosity

To travel, circle bound.

 

Secrets are kept by me.

Only the wind could find

That special place and make

Splinters out of old

Security. I am

Ashamed of what the wind

Can do to you and me

In half an hour. The myth

Of sheltering becomes

Extended energy

Standing still for wild spin

To suck the form away.

Swinging up the funnel

Rising ascension day

For dancing hardware free

To circle unhinged and fall

Debris. I stare and build

Another shelter there.

-----------------------------------------------
 

I HAVE JUST COME BACK

 

The burrs cling to my socks.

I have just come back

from riding that new pinto

through Grandpa’s patch of the wild.

 

I had lost both stirrups early

was forced to hug the fat belly

with my legs, while making a fist

of hands around the reins and mane.

 

Now pinto safe and quiet in the barn

I enter the small kitchen.

My stomach turns as I inhale

the sour smell of curdled milk.

 

She smiles hello. . .

over forty years ago

but burrs still scratch and cling

and I say

“What a ride, Grandma, what a ride!”

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PRAIRIE GRAVEYARD FOR TWO

                                  Flint Hills 1947
 

Two graves!

Man and wife.

Now part of the soil

That once they tilled.

Part of the prairie

That fought their existence.

 

Pioneers!

German immigrants.

Their destination unknown

Yet inevitable.

The plains of Kansas

Caught them unawares.

 

Two markers!

Two mounds covered over with prairie grass.

A dull gray fence shutting

Them off from the vastness of space.

Even in death set apart

From the land they labored over.

 

Death!

End of all cares.

No howling winds and

Screaming loneliness.

Now darkness, endless earth

Ever absorbing them.

 

 


INVENTORY FOR AN ASSEMBLAGE

"Portrait of the Artist as a Middle-aged Woman"

 

From Sands Salvage

one damaged wastepaper basket

and desk set in warm strips of brown

Phillipine teak wood with hard edges.

Exterior, elegant.

Interior space, a collage experiment.

Conceptual catalyst.

 

From Jon and Marie

a large commercial spool

of off-white linen thread.

Unwinding it, I saw

 

the neck stripped naked,

ready to be marked

after an ancient rite

that decorates female flesh

with formal scars.

 

Assemblage to be torso and head.

The self, the artist selected form,

gather artifacts

for an interior:  pages from books

(poems by Dickinson, Hopkins.  Dust covers

of Jude the Obscure and The James Family)

pictures, pages from the notebooks,

strings, letters, words written before

"The Naming of Names."

An artist, here, possessed by work.

 

From Rickel's

4 ft. of 1/4 " copper tubing

to bend and work in place.

Fallopian/umbilical

female concoction.

a shaped but single,

firm, metal connection.

 

Searched the garage

for copper wire, couplings

assorted wood screws, nuts,

and threaded rods.  Applied

without mercy to chest, head, and neck.

Permanent and part of the female object.

 

Another gift.

One used motor of fine design

 

 

with hidden sources

and locked-in secrets.

From another piece

remnants

three hard-wood blocks

once part of the floor

in an old post office

pulled apart in the 70's

blocks stacked in ascending steps

to be a ceremonial headdress

for the climb up years.

 

Earrings out of small

electronic plugs

from an old T.V.

The short form,

Venus de Milo arms

out of appliance levelers

where I attached pieces

of an old suede jacket

to the metal stumps.

 

My portrait finished for display.

---------------------------------------------

 

TOPEKA TO LOS ANGELES

 

I read Schopenhauer's World

as Will and Idea, riding Santa Fe's

El Capitan alone to L. A.

sat among servicemen and strangers

head in my book or pressed

against the window with fans of light

and space folding back to close as

words, glass, red mesas, sky

converged in me.  Anonymous, I

was positive no one could see me--

the book, maybe, but not the reader.

I was seventeen and made of air.

 

 

All poetry on this page
Copyright
© b
y Lois Virginia Walkder, 2007 

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