Word Portraits

I write portraits of people I know. 

I can’t draw to my satisfaction with ink or brush, but the sense I have of a person isn’t so visual anyway – it’s tactile, richly sensory, and a collage of imagery.

I don’t often think of people as their name-words. I think of them as this sense, this feeling of texture/scent/imagery that is them, and it’s hard for me to wrap up all that complexity in one inadequate spoken-written word.

So I sink into a partial trance, sifting through the feelings and associations and symbols and half-formed imagery that arises when I think about an individual. I seek a coherent theme, some way to translate it all into words. And I paint a picture of them in poetry.

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