Painted Cave by Micki Blenkush

Sunday Morning Lyricality features a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer. Micki Blenkush's "Painted Cave" hints at possible reasons artists make art.

Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer.

Why do artists make art? This poem hints that artistic activity may stem from a desire to understand what is beyond our knowing. Maybe art (drawing, painting, sculpture, music, dance, poetry, basketry, weaving, or any kind of creative “making”) is like a sputtering candle. Maybe taking an open, creative approach allows us a sidelong glimpse at patterns we might, due to a primitive fear of the unknown, be incapable of observing and seeing with a rational-logical mindset.

–Tracy Rittmueller

Painted Cave
Micki Blenkush

All week I’ve been crawling
the dirt floor of memory,
trying to read flinty shapes

like calligraphy
in flickered light.
Inside-out, I move

through where I lived
before I knew of maps.
All that I think I know

can be traced to pattern.
I was primitive then,
working pigment to skin.

No-one sketches
the beasts
they already know.

Micki Blenkush lives in St. Cloud, MN and works as a social worker. She was selected as a 2017-2018 fellow in poetry for the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series program and was a 2015 recipient of an Emerging Artist Grant awarded by the Central MN Arts Board. Her writing has recently appeared in: Josephine Quarterly, Gyroscope Review, Star 82 Review, West Texas Review, Postcard Poems and Prose, Metafore, The McNeese Review, Typishly, Cagibi, and Crab Creek Review. More can be found here:

"Painted Cave" first appeared in 
Clemintine Unbound 5 / 17. Appears here 
with the permission of the author.
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