Bringing Art to Life

This month, Badgerdog summer camp writers visited the Blanton Museum of Art, where they found inspiration in the artwork on display. The writing they generated in the museum’s galleries capitalizes on both written and visual art forms–deepening the experience of the viewer and reader through an exchange of words and images, thereby creating a long-distance conversation between artist and writer. This week’s featured writer, Nicole, was moved by Cildo Meireles’s installation, How to Build Cathedrals, which is constructed from cattle bones, communion wafers, and 600,000 pennies. In her beautiful poem, Nicole channels the devastating power of Miereles’s cathedral into bodies and tongues. She has written on behalf of ghosts, populating her piece with raw, human feeling. She reminds us that history may be a story of traps and cages, but sometimes voices can reach out from the past and speak.

The Ghosts Speak

—inspired by Cildo Meireles’s How to Build Cathedrals

to take a soul
and grind it up
to take these bones
and build a church
this church is human
we’re all human

to take your money
piece by piece
to embed every shiny penny
into the floor of this church
this church is wealthy
we’re all wealthy

we’ve devoted our souls
to a place that steals them
we’ve given our checkbooks
to a place that takes them
we are no longer human
we are no longer wealthy

we are the penniless ghosts
trapped in the back of this cathedral

Nicole, seventh grade, Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp

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