Wing Man

Wing man speaking
now he’s singing
layering images
coats curried
borrowed brush tips

doves lift off the pages
alphabet in flight
rise through dreamscapes
afterlives, spare changing
celestial art districts

weathered hands
clay and memories
skipping stones from bank
to bank to raven dark side
of the moon

reflected solar luz de luna
ghost chuparosa
la mensajera del esqueleto
birds brought to life
through brushstrokes—cucurrucucú

feather for each direction
mandala spokes
paloma blanca, cuervo negro,
halcón moreno, cardinal…cardinal

every council fire, drum circle
ballroom, speakeasy
lift voices, blow horns
tease ivories, rhythm beating

dancers own the boards
drum drum
on a wall, in the air, on any stage
Wing man, Salvador, wing man

Salvador Duran restoring color to his mural, “On the Wings of Music We Discover Salvation.” Photo credit: Lisa Periale Martin
Photo Credit: Lisa Periale Martin

Lisa Periale Martin

What is the significance of this work to you?

I was struck and inspired by this mural from the first time I saw it. After breakfast at The Cup café with poet and publisher, Charles Alexander, and artist, Cynthia Miller, we went across Congress St. to look at the murals on the alley on the east side of the Rialto Theater in Tucson, Arizona.

After viewing a few murals there, I looked at the far south end of the alley and asked my companions, “Is that a mural?”

We wandered down and were knocked out by the color, passion, and mythic strength of Salvador Duran’s mural. There was so much going on there, and we had so many questions about it, that I set out to meet the artist and ask him to be a part of our mural poetry project. I already knew his music through the group Orkestra Mendoza, but now I wanted to hear about his art and particularly this piece, "On the Wings of Music We Discover Salvation."

Salvador met with several of our mural poets at his mural and shared many aspects of the painting. It honors and celebrates the musicians that perform in that setting of the Rialto. It also communicates much about the power and magic of the creative forces that come from the earth. Overall, I found it stirs us with symbolism related to life and death, male and female, creativity, and transcendence.

What is the significance of the form you chose for this work?

Poems can be spare and symbolic, rhythmic and musical, and very evocative like Salvador Duran’s mural. My poem grew out of an emotional response to this piece and the feeling it had for me.

What was your process for creating this work?

I took notes and some photographs that day at the mural with the artist, and then I went back to those notes and photos and focused on certain aspects that spoke to me. Various birds are present throughout this large work. Salvador’s first language and culture is in rich evidence, too. So the music, musicians, birds, and Spanish language really took off as I wrote and responded to the work. I thought of Salvador, too—the artist with the paintbrush, the singer, the guitarist, and the way his music makes people come alive with really rhythmic dancing. So basically, I tried to just put myself out there with it, the way he does as an artist and performer.

Lisa Periale Martin is a poet, writer, librarian, mariachi aficionado, and former migrant farmworker. Her writing is steeped in the essence and wonder of the Sonoran Southwest. Her work has appeared in Tiny Seed Journal, Sandscipt, and the Submishmash Blog.

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