Archives: Poet, Artist, Diane Gage

Poem Tarot

Poetry Oracle

For this feature poet/artist Diane Gage drew six collage-art cards from a recent project that combines art and poetry in a unique way. She made a deck of 70+ collage art cards called the Poem Tarot.  Then she wrote poems that correspond to each card and put them together in a total 14 artist-made Oracle Books. (For more about this project, see Interview, Part 1: Art on the Edge)

The six cards Diane drew produced this phrase:

We  Hand  Calculate  Blue  Soul  Loving

The phrase is a kind of poetic koan, a way to ponder life’s mysteries, language at the edge of ordinary sense.  Here are the six images and poems:

Diane we


Time lashed to our backs
and the scars to prove it:
what we get, have, pay
to be here. Do choose it,
even too young to know how
even too old or sad to care to.

Swell the we, the us of us.
Twosome, foursome, multitude –
even so-called solo you are
folded in, we prevail, rail
against it though you may.

Even when the clock no longer
ticks for you, we keep you
in our royal, our editorial, our
mouse-in-the-pocket memory,
perpetuate you in our DNA.

It’s we we we, all the way.

* * *

Diane hand


famous among the primates
the amazing thumbkin
and his four pretty pals

appearing at the palm oasis
celebrating feats of making
stroking, holding, throwing

from punch or drum smack
to the most delicate stitchings
monarch of 10,000 sensations

folding and unfolding secrets
picket-fenced at signifying tips
aswirl with identity

5-petaled star flower of day
3rd eye of touch-drenched night
blessed with a mirror-match twin

I’ve got to hand it to you
handsome devil, homely angel
put ‘er there, pardner

* * *

calculate large

Calculate: Gamble::

Head + body =
the only living possibility:
either minus the other
fails to survive, or
metaphorically, thrive.

Clasp your calculating
hands. Whose idea
was that? Ditto red
lipstick, red suit,
matchy matchy.

Behind your back
fire-eaters swallow
flames unaccountable
in your equations,
flaunting long
immaculate necks.

* * *



Blues For Miss Anne

Some of my best friends are strangers,
the ones who tend a peculiar fire
sometimes as small as a cigarette tip

sometimes even smaller than that
sometimes at the black bottom of the deep
blue ocean, or in shrieking blasts of wind.

They send out smoke signals or notes
in scarred old crusty bottles I find
on the shore where I wait for the news

that rebalances my cramped brain on the nose
of a breaching whale, keeping me strange
enough to stand myself one more day.  

* * *



Sole Soul

Our souls are the twins of our soles:
earth contact informs them both.
Naked and tender, they can attune

day or night to details and textures,
feel their awake way slowly along
to basic understandings best found

on the ground. The more removed
by fabrication, construction, machine,
the more indifferent to the present

they become, the more vulnerable
to moments of future hard truths.
Which is not to deny the cosmos

its long dark stretches of space.
You could call us walking stardust
touched down as mystery made flesh,

but then you might be wandering off
the point of where you have to stand
right now, twin yearning for lost twin. 

* * *




something beyond the feeling
although feeling begins it
and calls it back from dissolution

anything, really, renewed in singularity
although our most precious universal

everything to do with living
although it encompasses death

nothing you can put your finger on
although a whole hand, yes, a palm


you and I as benevolent verbs
active and passive in the same breath
what I came here for, and you

what we most crave, what most slakes
the worst of thirsty yearning
what we best give, best receive

the superlative of sentience
elusive and present, what just escaped
this flung net of words

* * *

See pages: Interview, Part 1 Art on the Edge & Interview Part 2: Collaboration &

More about Diane Gage &  Showcase

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