I Ask Emily Some Questions

…not that I can tell the difference
between an instant and a moment–
What is, exactly, the fundamental unit
of time?  Is it a pause, or is it a question
of how the equation’s processes
are organized?  Where is the boundary
between thriving and decay?  When
do cobwebs begin to appear
in the corners of the mind?  Does
the soul, too, become dust, or
is it like zero, pivoting on an axis
that has no location?  Is time
elemental like earth, like fire?
Can it fall into ruin? –or is it
integral to the devil’s work, a way
of placing things on a line, consecutive
and immutable?  Is slow really
opposite to fast, or, in fact, only
a different way of measuring?–and
where exactly is an instant to be
found?  Can it be held in place, or
does it have no material form, no
law to explain it, no real identity at all?

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to make your own poem from an Emily Dickinson poem. I chose Crumbling is not an instant’s Act (1010). I went through and selected words and, using them in order, wrote my own poem around them. This is a method I often employ, using words from all kinds of sources. Emily is a good source.

For some reason what I wrote reminded me of Dylan’s Love Minus Zero/No Limit. OK, I did kind of borrow “like ice, like fire”. Here’s my favorite version, by Joan Baez.


Hollow mute barren.
What is left
of the flesh
but bones, bereft?

are the thoughts and prayers?
Fallen—buried in the sundered earth.

Unseen currents scatter
the fragments that once
cohered.  Ashes dust
atrophy rust.

what once was written in stone.
Fallen—buried in the sundered earth.

What will future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? is today’s NaPoWriMo prompt. I’ve used Muri’s Running Repetition form (I hope I got it right…) for my reply.

Who Is

The days are pooled, caught narrowly
in pathways with windows
propped between temporarily
and suspended–limbo–
blurred, grey


can you tell when you have opened?
What do you use as your
Where has your reflection chosen
to reside?  inside stars?
or fear?

When David posted the W3 prompt this morning, where Destiny chose the memento form, which has 64 syllables in its two stanzas, for her prompt, I knew I had the answer for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Birthday prompt–to construct a poem formed out of 65 syllables. I added one syllable between the two stanzas as a bridge, as in a puente–turning it into a memuente.

I’ve also used the dVerse prompt from Merril to include a window in my poem.

This also gave me a chance to show some photos of an accordion book I made for an online class that explored artist books. The instructor was not happy with my first idea, and this was not even close what I saw in my mind at all, but it has grown on me. I took many many photos of it, both open and closed–these are just a few. I do like the accordion format and I hope to explore it more.

Of course you know what my reflection chooses…

Off prompt again for NaPoWriMo.

Abstracted and Possessed

Abaft of my vision,
blurred yet somehow still, I feel the presence of
cats, tense with
delight as they
edge along the shadow and
furtively slither through the hallway,
gracefully falling into a nonchalant
humdrum sprawl in a patch of sun.
Indulge us, they seem to say–
Join us
K.  Leave your word
lines behind and
migrate into this lazy light.

No calamities will
occur if you
pet us, pay attention to our
quiet majesty.
Really.  If we make you
sneeze, you can brew
tea, and you will be fine.  Our fur will not
upset your respiratory tract
.  Though usually
vigorous in my avoidance, I
walk right into their trap,
xactly as they knew, in their
youthful, smirking,
zen superiority, that I would.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to write to write an abecedarian poem–not something I would normally do, since it feels like you are forcing some of the letters (like x) to work somehow. But when I looked at the Random Word List from Sunday, the word cats jumped out at me, and also the fact that most of the letters of the alphabet were represented among the words. Almost all the beginning line words in my poem are from the list, and I just fudged the x word.

I really am allergic to cats, which I discovered when my roommate moved to Pittsburg with her boyfriend and his dog and left her kitten behind. We had never given him a name, calling him Mr. Kitten, which became, appropriately, Mr. K. I had to give him away when my asthma got too bad and I ended up in the hospital, something that still fills me with sadness.

But I’m still an easy mark for a cat.

far from the tree

every bite contains
the stigma of desire as sin–
knowledge as forbidden, evil–
the seed that will eventually die

the stigma of desire as sin–
perhaps you are smitten
by what is golden, delicious

knowledge as forbidden, evil–
sweet honey, crisp autumn–
always a malignant aftertaste

the seed that will eventually die–
immortal gods in their gated gardens,
fertilized by the ignorance of man

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to “write a poem that contains the name of a specific variety of edible plant – preferably one that grows in your area.”  I’ve always been fond of apples and we have many varieties that grow here in New York, including Smitten, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, and Autumn Crisp. The prompt also asks that we “try to make a specific comparison between some aspect of the plant’s lifespan and your own. “

This trimeric is not is not the first time I’ve considered the story of the Forbidden Fruit. I’ve used Alice Neel’s painting Symbols, below, as a reference on several occasions, as I did for two of the collages above.  And I’ve made many representations of the Tree of Life as well.


essence roots itself
in a trace of breath—silent,
ephemeral, runed–

essence roots itself
without location, time or

in a trace of breath, silent
universes take
hold, as if infused by clouds—

ephemeral, runed–
needing no gods, no hourglass
to spell out what is

I’ve written a troiku for Muri’s scavenger hunt which comes slant at the NaPoWriMo prompt to “describe something in terms of what it is not”.