BQPhoto logo


Sonatas VI

Signs of Community

Words by Brendan Quirk

Let us gather, not separate and distance
Our public places, our festivals
These are the “glue”
That holds the community together

We like to see and be seen
It renews our membership in life
Recreation and education
These fulfill our needs

Interaction and mingling
Builds our influence and makes networks
We can be close, private, even in public
Sharing emotional connection

These are the Signs of Community
Each action a signifier
All different, same signified
Indexes of humanity


3213-1 scan 8515-1 scan
Sonatas VI-1 (exposure) Sonatas VI-2 (exposure)
No better place to see and be seen
Than exposed on the beach in the summer sun
We might find the one we seek
But caution: “watch your footing”!
Here they meet, to ride the bull
Watching each other, they smile and beam
They like to show off, it’s good the bull is still
They can’t be tossed, safe in their fun
10611-1 scan 10613-1 scan
Sonatas VI-3 (exposure) Sonatas VI-4 (exposure)
We come to drink, talk, and catch up
People in chairs, people who stand
It may look aimless and dull, but
Here a community is formed
A man and his dog, eager to be seen,
Come to the fair to be out in the group
A boy bends to look, his pose a mirror
Unconsciously binds them all together
2806-1 scan 7817-1 scan
Sonatas VI-5 (exposure) Sonatas VI-6 (exposure)
Being seen is not always pleasant fun
These fans aren’t interested in hearing her talk
Our normal precludes knowing her for her
Not a real person; just a product
It’s cool to dance for the band
Maybe we can show off
Let’s all see who likes our music
Communities of fans
7815-1 scan  
Sonatas VI-7 (exposure)  
Walking home from the festival
Everyone the same, no one left out
Who cares who is with who
Our group stays together


10612-1 scan 10615-1 scan
Sonatas VI-8 (recreation) Sonatas VI-9 (recreation)
Watch the men as they play at toss
Very serious, dare not loose
The women on the edge look on
Will they be allowed to join?
Looks like the men will let her in the game
Though her stance seems at odds
Who knew that the bean bags
Could be so serious?
7803-1 scan 7814-1 scan
Sonatas VI-10 (recreation) Sonatas VI-11 (recreation)
Let’s build a shebang
Come, we’ll show you how
Join in and learn to stack the beams
Someday you might do this for real
Maybe you would like to see the animals
Learn all their ways and wills
Here at our festival you can do all these things
That we have laid out for your delight
11021-1 scan 10620-1 scan
Sonatas VI-12 (recreation) Sonatas VI-13 (recreation)
Listen to our living history
Hear how the widow fares
Standing in order and attentive
Well behaved (but restless!)
Back stage at the festival is “cool”
More fun that out front
See how the band does its magic
Exhilarating to be allowed here!
10621-1 scan  
Sonatas VI-14 (recreation)  
Down in front with the group
Music weaves a net over all
Give yourself over to the moment
Together we feel the groove


7808-1 scan 10606-1 scan
Sonatas VI-15 (interaction) Sonatas VI-16 (interaction)
Everyone positive in their interactions
Having a good time at the festival
Here is a “glue” holding us together
Signifies a model of the community
Waiting for the customers can be a bit of a bore
But the “eccentrics” and “cat ladies” have their crafts
Outlets for their talents and artistry
There at the fair for all to enjoy
10608-1 scan 1205-1 scan
Sonatas VI-17 (interaction) Sonatas VI-18 (interaction)
In the small place where the miniatures live
Quiet little retreat from our big world
A tiny community you can take home
Model daily interactions at will
United by activity and interest
The family and the stranger share a gaze
Together they watch the seal at play
Feeling each one’s presence at hand
1409-1 scan 11109-1 scan
Sonatas VI-19 (interaction) Sonatas VI-20 (interaction)
Wheeling and dealing at the stamp show
A community united in the glow of the find
Collecting and organizing nourishes the mind
They watch as you come to see the treasures offered
War tamed for modern education
Drilling and marching all made easy
We should avoid glamorizing war’s tragedies, but
Neither should we hide them from our progeny


1212-1 scan 3230-1 scan
Sonatas VI-21 (together) Sonatas VI-22 (together)
Comfortable together, sharing space for all to see
We can be private and public at the same time
Both worlds can coexist in our community
The connections within and throughout
Strolling through the zoo talking
Passing those who would turn if they saw
Friends caring not who might be watching
Secure in their world of fellowship and trust
1214-1 scan 1220-1 scan
Sonatas VI-23 (together) Sonatas VI-24 (together)
Out from work together
Strolling for a time
Closeness felt warmly
Stolen moments on view
Working on health while sharing the day
Better to move than to sit
Having a companion to help enjoy the run
Out in the world together
3233-1 scan 1211-1 scan
Sonatas VI-25 (together) Sonatas VI-26 (together)
Time to go home for all in this space
Everyone off alone or in groups
The community scatters, but does not dissolve
Let’s walk off together into the sunset
This poor animal, alone in the cage
Caught by the fence, looking back at freedom
Will we degenerate to the unhuman condition?
Separate, solitary, and bereft of comfort?
Let’s not problematize human contact
Our things and our devices and our fears
Distance us, strip us of our humanity
What if isolation becomes normal?

Copyright © 2023 Brendan J. Quirk