Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Juxtapose

juxtapose: -verb, to place close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast

Juxtapose is one of my very favorite words in the English language. I love the way it feels. I love the way it almost sounds like "Just suppose." I am constantly juxtaposing events in my life, the good side by side with the bad. Without those comparisons, there's no sense of reason. I need to see the I-went-through-that-to-get-to-this balance.

Also, it works so well with my artistic sensibilities. Just suppose the sky was filled with fish. Suddenly I'm forced to create work that shows fish juxtaposed against the clouds. I look at the brilliant colors of a sunflower and think, that's what it feels like to stretch out naked on the bed and know that I'm loved. Next thing I know I'm painting a sunflower with a nude woman juxtaposed across the center of it. Art juxtaposes, rather than imitates, life.

Everything I am is about juxtaposition - one thing against the other, two sides of the same coin, night and day in the same sky.

So, I've decided to rerun a poem that I wrote. It's one of my favorites (if'n I do say so myself), because it so neatly packages some huge emotion. It is the juxtaposition in my life of meeting Steve after watching John die.

The Juxtaposition of a Mending Heart Against a Sadder Time

if anyone were to ask
was there a time
when the black umbrellas
and the reign ended;
the crows again flew, stark
against the Summer sun;
the scent of roses threw
their stain along the tendrils
of the wind;
and the quiet of a day
no longer stretched itself,
yawning like a wound -
if anyone were to ask
when was the moment
that gave beat to the measure;
what drove
the cloud from the lining;
which dog ate the marrow,
warm and quivering, from
the heart of the bone;
how gracefully the slumbering giant
rolled away from the dew
of morning -
if anyone were to ask
what changed it all
my response would be:
it happened as he
listened to the unspoken;
honored an unshed tear;
gave loft to the gauze
of an airless dream;
held an empty hand until
it grasped everything -
if anyone were to ask
I’d have to say
these things became
as effortlessly
and unremarked
as the wink of an eye
that is
the color of the Aegean Sea


  1. Cool word, and nice poem, thanks.

    I recently revisited Piers Anthony's novel 'Juxtaposition' from his Apprentice Adept series, so named because the book is all about juxtaposing the fantasy frame of reference against the science fiction - that juxtaposition becomes literal at the climax, so that you have goblins with blaster rifles fighting against ogres and cyborgs, and a humanoid robot riding a unicorn. Fun stuff, and some of his better writing.

  2. Great word, it feels great on the tongue.

  3. Ironic twist today. Both my compatriot A to Z bloggers chose the same word. In the whole lexicon of English. What are the odds of that?

    Readback - gave loft to the gauze of an airless dream.

    Powerful yummy words to wrap myself in this morning. TY.

  4. what a beautiful poem! and what a great word for your J post. im glad i met you through this a-z blogging challenge. i look forward to reading more juxtapositions from you.

  5. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and for your kind comments!

    @kelworthfiles... I haven't read any Piers Anthony since I was a kid!


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