Collaboration: Poetry and Art

It’s no big surprise that my pace for posting has slowed down because in the last few months I’ve had the incredible opportunity to fall in love. Gasp. I know. I had written it off, to be honest. So many failed attempts made it harder to see hope. The interesting thing is that I wasn’t looking for love. I had gotten right with myself about being alone for the rest of my life. I figured if my grandmother could do it, so could I. She was one of the strongest, kindest ladies I ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving.

In a previous post back in April, I am sure I mentioned that I was doing something new for poetry month. I collaborated with another poet by using their overall theme and then their daily prompts. It took me exactly 27 days to fall in love with him. Romantic and silly, right? That about sums me up, anyway. When the month of poetry was over, we decided that we weren’t ready to let go.

Each day has been an adventure. We write poems separately now and I continue to work on both of my novels. We inspire each other to write better, to reach farther, to try new avenues. This is the best part of collaboration. Along with all of this, we have taken to writing each other love letters which we send the old-fashioned way through the mail.

This spawned a poem by him about a 4th century Prince and Princess. He asked me to write the second part of this series. It was a bit of a reach for me, but I did it. As something special, I had sewn, quilted, and beaded a piece to go with the poem. His work inspired my work. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

Here is my poem in the series:

Amor Aeternus, PT. 2

The season pass so slowly
it hurts to breathe
as I sit by the window
waiting for my prince to return.

The memory of his gentle fingertips
trailing the edge of my cheek,
the way his eyes pleaded forgiveness
as he left the castle, haunts me still.

At night, sleep eludes me, calls up my ghosts
as I walk the cold stones to the tower.
I call out to the moon, tracing the sky
and it’s barely visible constellations.

With the sunrise on my face
I yawn like a cat soaking in the rays.
We share seemingly different worlds
and I pretend the warmth of his body covers mine.

The strength in his eyes carries me through
the days, follow me in every shadow.
The damp fog raises the imprint
of his kisses upon my neck.

I’m filled with longing, a deep impatience
though there is nothing to be done.
There is no salve to cure my heart,
no way to close the distance.

The kingdom grows restless in his absence
as they look to me for guidance.
My leadership half-hearted 
and I feel the wolves closing in.

I stare at the horizon for his hopeful return,
the chair an uncomfortable punishment
as I stitch another patchwork with nimble hands.
They automatically flesh our hearts into the fabric.

Oh eternal love, come back to me,
I whisper into the wind, hopeful
my words will find his ear
and bring his safe return.

Aleathia Drehmer 2020

Art: Frida Kahlo


Much of what you have seen from me on this website has to do with writing which has been a huge part of my life since I was ten years old. Not long after that I developed a deep desire to be an artist, but I was not good with traditional mediums. This was discouraging to me and many times I gave up the dream to be able to show my work someday.

When I was pregnant with my kiddo, my mother-in-law taught me to cross stitch. It was what you would normally think of when cross stitch is mentioned. I was gifted a software program that allows me to stitch anything I want with intricate detail.

Our current isolation climate is helping me to finish projects that I started last year in hopes that when this isolation is lifted, I might be able to be a part of the local arts council member show at the end of the year. This portrait of Frida Kahlo is in good company with a nearly finished Pablo Picasso. I have also finished large portraits of Lou Reed and PJ Harvey.

Each of these takes roughly 160-180 hours of work. My hope is to be able to share these works and have them in people’s home. I’m a big fan of affordable art. What good does it do sitting in my attic? I’ll post again when it is finally finished so you can see the transformation.

Poem: Charcoal

This one is from the archives and seems a world away. I wrote this in 2007 when I was fascinated by articles in newspapers or magazines that didn’t make the front page. They were interesting notes on the human condition.

Charcoal Dust by Aleathia Drehmer

The prospect of sleep is dangerous 
and unpredictable legs moving, 
his body like a ghost in the night.
Eyes blind and turned,
brain awakened to faces hovering
on the underside of lids.

His control is stripped naked and still, 
nimble feet traverse steep stairs
leading to small dark spaces.
Crouching in the corner,
a filthy cur with face in high fever,
lines streaming from fingertips
stained in thick black charcoal.

In the light, sheets are twisted 
about legs in sailor’s knots,
he finds women’s faces,
arms, legs, breasts, lips etched
into paper with delicate, intimate precision.

The only evidence of his dissonance
witnessed by ebony fingers
and a throbbing skull.

Poem: Giacomo Balla, Girl Running on a Balcony, 1912

Girl Running on a Balcony, Giacomo Balla, 1912

The clattering of shoes
on the balcony distracts me—
she runs by in a blur
of aquamarine and teal, 
her peach flesh poignant
and effervescent, the auburn
tendrils surge like a fire
in my brain.

She has moved me

                            disturbed me

                        unnerved me

                      released me.

The mind loops this girl
in frantic flip book motion.
It is a nightmare
that will never find
it’s undoing.

Poem: Morris Louis, Gamma Epsilon, 1960

Morris Louis, Gamma Epsilon, 1960

When I was a young girl I remember my mother being an artist. She carried a bag filled with drawing pads, pencils, and charcoal. She’d sketch trees and wildlife, sometimes children. It amazed me to watch an image come to life from the pencil in her hand. My love of art started here, much like my love of poetry started with my father. My appetite for reading birthed among the stacks of books that lined the walls of my grandmother’s apartment. It is good to know the origins of your passions. Sometimes you have to peel all the dirty layers back of the things that happened after, to find these gleaming jewels.

Years ago I started writing poems about pieces of art that moved me. I like the idea that I was somehow collaborating with these talented, famous artists. I still write these types of poems and make a point to go to an art museum in every town or city I visit that has one. Art and writing are a person’s invisible emotions made solid. They are captured in forms created from a unique perspective.

My hope with Ekphrastic poetry is inspire you to look at art in a different way. Capture how your body and mind feels when you look at a piece someone poured their soul into. Please enjoy Morris Louis.

Morris Louis
Gamma Epsilon, 1960

My flesh bleeds
your filthy pigments
in jagged runnels
where the knife,
your tongue,
has carved me.

You leave clean
your favorite place,
whole and unblemished—
the place your lips
like to linger, the place
our secrets absorb
through osmosis
when you stay too long.

I bleed you.
I embody you.
I am the near beginning
and the not so end
of you.