Odes & Offerings

Sticks, paper, ink H. W. L.

This hanging sculpture was exhibited in Odes & Offerings, curated by Joan Logghe as a collaboration between visual artists and poets, at the Santa Fe Community Gallery, from March 23 – June 8, 2012.    I have been interested in hanging boats for a long time and find the following quote from Jeroen van Westen very resonant…”The suspended boat is a symbol of putting your life in the hands of the great unknown, a force that has purpose and meaning beyond our personal understanding.”

The poem I worked with “Our New Life” by Carol Moldaw.

If the field is thick

with horse shit and the garden

unplanted, and the roof

needs repair; if after the next storm

sand from the acequia

overflows and suffocates the marsh,

killing the cattails where redwinged blackbirds nest,

if the neighbors’ horses overgraze our field,

if I am lonely,

if a WIPP truck overturns

going back and forth from Los Alamos

to the shifting salt pits in Carlsbad,

if we go away for a week

and miss the crab apple’s blossoming,

the sheep shearing,

if it turns out I am allergic to Russian olives,

to chamisa, to rabbit grass,

if they pave our dirt road,

if the cat returns to her original owner,

if the walls need remudding after every storm,

if the doctor finds a problem,

if the beer cans and corn chip bags and whiskey bottles

pile up on the road

faster than we can collect them for the dump,

if the doctor doesn’t know what is wrong,

if Los Alamos gets the contract

to manufacture or stockpile or do anything whatever

with nuclear warheads,

if I cut my foot on a rusty washing machine part

while walking down by the river,

if I get lost in the Barrancas,

if my heart keeps shrinking,

if my heart explodes–

will I ever again think to look

for the new moon’s thinnest crescent,

will we ever crane our necks together,

as we used to, name the stars,

turn down the cool sheets,

go to bed not exhausted,

arms linked in one constellation

that turns all night in sync with the sky?

About Julie Wagner

I was born in Wisconsin, and grew up on the east coast, wandering the woods, collecting leaves, bones, and bugs. After earning a BA from Oberlin College, studying sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum School, and receiving an MFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, I moved to a rural town in northern New Mexico where I live with my blacksmith husband, and a long series of dogs and cats. My work is based on the natural environment where I live, maps, scientific diagrams and microscopic images. My work is in public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
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5 Responses to Odes & Offerings

  1. Peggy Thompson says:

    Julie, the boat, poem and quote are beautiful. I look forward to going to the show. Peggy

    • Julie Wagner says:

      Peggy, Thank you for your comment. It is always good to feel appreciated. The show is wonderful, inspiring, beautiful, and I feel honored to be included in it. Best, Julie

  2. Thank you Julie, gorgeous. Va bene. Madeleine

  3. Wonderful poem and boat sculpture…and Jeroen van Westen quote…my sentiments exactly!!! I look forward to seeing the exhibit.

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