editor’s note: lyrics begin at 2:40 mark
When doing any sort of creative work a person never knows how the completed piece may grow and change over time, living in the interior spiritual heart and body of imagination and experience. The poem “Dark Angel”, was written sometime in the 1990s and come across again in the past couple of years while I was revising a manuscript entitled “How It Was Back When (Writing Myself Out)”. While re-reading a number of pieces thematically dealing with the subject of AIDS, I recall how I heard these poems in my head as songs. Of course, not exactly being socially connected or educated musically this notion too went on the back burner.
It wasn’t until my late 40s that I began experimenting with the written as audio, “Dark Angel”, eventually becoming part of a song cycle/soundscape-in-process, “Threnody for a Forgotten Plague”. This experimental sound collage deals with the fracturing of voices which occurred specifically during the early days of the AIDS Pandemic yet I believe touches on what emotionally occurs during any such an outbreak throughout time: the medical, political bureaucracy vs. the voices of humans fighting for their health and well being. The endeavor of love too is of course a constant and “Dark Angel” is emblematic of that.
Montages for the film also lived within me for quite some time. Like many creative people I am a packrat, collecting images or writings (headlines, news captions, snippets from novels or biographies etc.) because they resonate as some chord of inspiration. Since 2009 I’d been working with various star/heavenly body scenes and creating montages of these with paintings of Yoga poses I’d done. This was for another series “According to the Order of Nature (We Too Are Cosmos Made)”, a series which takes the language of laws used against LGBT people internationally and turns it upside down.
In 2014, having “completed” this series and needing time to step back, to figure out where to go next, dream-like winged, celestial body pieces were still coming to me. As they did, so again came the words from “Dark Angel”. Having had some bad criticism for the sort of “folk art” mixed media work I do, while as ever living with my own obscurity and mortality, I decided to let art go on using me as a vessel anyway. Art, after all, even if we experiment with wearing masks in the process, is one of the places where we can be the most emotionally authentic in our lives. I hope this particular home-made work expresses something of the healing implicit in doing such.
As a writer and artist publishing for the last three decades, Stephen Mead has finally gotten around to getting links to his poetry still online at various zines available in one place: http://stephenmead.weebly.com/links-to/poetry-on-the-line-stephen-mead. His latest Amazon release is entitled “Our Spirit Life””, a poetry/art meditation on family heritage, love, and the evanescence of time.