“Shadow People” © Thomas Riesner


Drawing a Blank

          To get started I will accept
          anything that occurs to me.
              —William Stafford

But what happens when nothing occurs
to you, just your black and gray reflection
in a kitchen window, an older self

you otherwise haven’t yet conjectured?
With the panes clean and the outside
winter world predictably darker

than at this same time yesterday,
the double exposure you could call
Haggard Face over Exterior Scene

is like Community Ed. photography,
amateur-hour art work, a first-ditch effort
to mean something significant.

But then the dark subsides,
the framed face fades,
and there is just that world.


D. R. James, recently retired from nearly 40 years of teaching college writing, literature, and peace studies, lives, writes, bird-watches, and cycles with his psychotherapist wife in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan, USA. His latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020), and his prose and poems have appeared internationally in a wide variety of print and online anthologies and journals.

Thomas Riesner: I was born in Leipzig,Germany in 1971 and I still live here today. Already in elementary school I often painted “abstract” instead of the given concrete drawing. I later retained this style or changed it to “abstract figuration ” I painted a lot at home, always without professional guidance. I didn’t have any specific role models. When I start a picture, I only have a certain idea, but often something completely different emerges. I would describe myself as an outsiderart artist.