This is my in absentia response to Gareth’s Totem Pole workshop:


Each face I carve will tell

a small part of the story.

Each animal will represent

a portion of the whole.

Each nose, each eye, each painted cheek

create a collage of confusion,

erected as a presentation

just for you.

It’s quite an ugly thing,

a mashed-up montage, formed of

half-ideas, splinters of memory,

in-jokes, unfulfilled ambition,

lips that are too big, birds with beaks

and wings out of proportion,

from some creepy animation,

drawn for you.

I didn’t mean to carve the pole this way:

it just grew out of what I am,

and all its inconsistencies

are reaching up to guide your eyes

towards the sky – above this bleak

and unforgiving apparition:

my carved, complex creation,

made for you.