frozen

bombs are cold
explosions of bitterness
sucking the warmth
out of what remains
of possibility

bombs are greedy
machines, meant only
to destroy, burn
any seeds, annihilate
life

bombs are hungry
voracious conduits
for our worst impulses
eating our souls
from the inside out

A quadrille for dVerse, where Lisa has given us the word warm. In 2014 I did a series called “What Is It Good For?” on memadtwo. There were, as always, many conflicts in the news. Hearing this song from Buddy and Julie Miller this morning, it reminded me of the art from those posts.

It also made me think again of how cold this winter will be for the Ukrainians and so many others the world over. How short our attention span. How little we have learned.

What IS it good for–the guns, the bombs, the dying? We know the answer.

trick or treat

if is a word
that seems to gravitate to me

a word
I qualify my meanings with

as if
as if

nothing is allowed to be
permanent or definite

who is the them that is
me?  define me

I think perhaps
I will choose to be someone else
I must accommodate myself,
defer to my mask

while the other me
struggles to understand what
we both have
in common

am I who they think I am?

or am I a secret
that will never be
explained?

These drawings of ventriloquist dummies in the Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky were inspired by a book of photos of the dummies taken by Matthew Rolston. The Kick-About prompt of a circus immediately brought them to mind.

Haunting and aware, I had always wanted to try to capture some of the sentience of the photos in a drawing. And so I did, randomly opening the book to 4 different faces. 

One of the essays in the book says they are meant “to suggest life”—but any supposedly “inanimate” object so entwined with a human life is alive.  Any child can tell you that.  They may have been separated from their humans, but these faces remember them.

You can read more about the Vent Haven Museum here, and read more about Rolston’s book here.

Careful

I don’t think anyone ever told me it was wrong, exactly, to spend my wishes on myself.  I could want things, ask for them, covet them, even.  But wishes were in another dimension.

The earliest thing I actually remember wishing for consistently was along the lines of “peace love and understanding”.  That was adolescence, the 60s—wasn’t every sane person wishing for the same thing? Aren’t they still?

Even now I am cautious of wishing.  But I can’t help wishing humans would consider the consequences of what we say and do, and take responsibility for what happens as a result.  And I wish fervently that we would be better caretakers of the earth and all of its inhabitants. 

And for myself, today?  I pour another cup of coffee–

watch birds
open wings, touch the sky–
all I need

For Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday where the theme chosen by Anita Dawes is what you wish for. I’m also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Linda.

When I was searching for this song I found more different versions of it on YouTube than any other song I’ve ever looked for. It obviously strikes a chord.

and of course, the original…

damaged

impossibly strewn,
all authority breaks down–
the fierce mother speaks

impossibly strewn,
feral rain roars, abstracted–
wind swims through the streets

authority breaks down,
chokes on forgotten questions–
threads turn into knots

the fierce mother speaks–
wild voices rise, converging–
elemental fire

The phrase that jumped out at me when I looked at Jane’s Oracle 2 words this week was “the fierce mother speaks”. I’ve been ruminating on it all week and finally came up with a poem yesterday. I spent a long time fooling around on the computer with the above image, which took a scan of an asemic drawing I made and added some Photoshopped images. The collage is from the archives.

Also linking to Sherry’s earthweal challenge, wild souls. Whose soul is wilder than that of Mother Nature?

still

life
and death
structured together, partnered

nothing
to subtract
or to add

rended,
essence floats
beyond secrets–incandescent

Picture credit: Britta Benson. This photograph was taken inside St. Cecilia’s Church (built in 1739), Heusenstamm, Germany. 

A haynaku for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday Ekphrastic prompt, using Britta Benson’s photo, above, as inspiration. I’ve also used words from Jane’s Oracle 2.

Bearings

What exactly do we mean when we say the heart is heavy?  Is it our jumbled emotions that are enlarged into enormity, too complicated to lift, to bear?  How do we understand the shape, the density, of sorrow?

And what about the light heart?  How do we measure the change?–a heart that is nearly full enough to overflow—what space does it occupy, what is its texture?

It’s the heavy heart that is hollow.  Brimming with emptiness.  Weighed down by absence.  The light heart grows gardens, wings.

the heart cleaves, wanders,
signifies inverse desires–
spring arrives, snowbound

I’ve accumulated quite a bit of Kick-About artwork that I haven’t given a proper post to. This heart drawing was my response to the drumming of Sandy Nelson. I also wanted to use Jane’s Oracle 2 words for the week, and the combination resulted in the accompanying haibun.

The drumming of Sandy Nelson reminded me of heartbeats which can careen wildly under different circumstances.  When I looked online for images of hearts, I was attracted to the somewhat psychedelic MRI images.  I wanted to work large, but even with 18 x 24 paper, I was unable to do justice to all the different elements of the heart.  I made no layout, but just started drawing in the upper center with my colored pencils, a small section each day.  So both the line quality and the proportions changed as I went on.  Whole sections were expanded, compressed, and left out.  Just like the trajectory of the drumming in my mind.

And just like our perceptions as filtered through our hearts.

River Man

She did not remember the way, but she remembered the times, the place.  She wanted to connect present to past.  She did not know how or where to begin, and yet she needed to try to construct that bridge.  Words were all she had now.

Two ways, really, even though she always pretended they were the same.  Or maybe it was only her longing that failed to understand that they were two, not one.

She had been dreaming of a river.  A man, a boat.  Trees, weeping, or was that her own voice, crying on the wind?  It had been summer once.  Flowered.  Sweet.

But here was the river again, littered with fallen leaves.  What magic word would turn back the seasons, dispel the haze, repair a lifetime that had already disintegrated into dust?

Was she coming or going?  In her dreams a voice kept repeating you have to choose.  But between what?  Who?  Did she get to choose who would be waiting on the other side of the river?  Or was she to be the one left waiting?

to begin,
become the current–
sing its song

Brendan at earthweal has more to say about rivers this week and poses the question: What voyages are found there, which deities are vast in its depths? It made me think of my response to the Kick-About #61 prompt, which was Molly Drake’s haunting song, “I Remember”.

I wasn’t aware of Molly’s connection to Nick Drake, but when I learned that she was his mother, Molly’s song immediately made me think of Nick’s song “River Man”. I took the feeling I got from both songs–a kind of remembering intertwined with uncertainty, loss, and the passing of time–and wrote the above prose poem, adding a haiku coda for earthweal, and some water art from my archives.

New York City, Summer 1975

We wanted to go to the beach–
it’s within reach–
New York coastline–
capacious, fine.

We were young; we stayed up all night–
before the light,
starting to drive–
happy, alive.

The sun rose, the ocean was near–
we parked the car–
the sky was blue,
the people few.

Undaunted by sunburn, we slept–
our bodies wet,
salty from waves–
those were the days.

The W3 prompt poem this week is Britta Benson’s “Longing for Water”. She asked that our response include the name of a city and asked us to use a form appropriate for that city. I wrote a Minute Poem, in reflection of “a New York minute”, which is a very brief span of time. Looking back at my 20s it truly was all over in a New York minute. Lacking technology, we never took photos or tried to document our lives then. We just lived them.

Although I always collected shells.