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.

animated

I fold my
questions into cranes
and send them
flying on
the wind—what hands will catch them,
pull them down, greet them,

unjumble
and complete their dreams?
wide, deep, clear,
cast to sky,
they celebrate–streams of stars
danced in waves of moon

A shadorma quadrille for Merril’s prompt of celebration at dVerse. I also used the words she generated from Oracle II. Above is the almost-full moon shining through my window last night.

Safari

“Living day by day with elephants, he had absorbed their deeper, more philosophical cues. In fact, he discovered in them the virtues he would work to develop in himself: courage, loyalty, the ability to trust (and the good sense to know when to be distrustful), fairness, patience, diligence, kindness, and humor.”
–Vicki Constantine Croke, “Elephant Company”

Step this way–
sink deep, uncreatured,
into the
mouth entombed
in death—enter the ceaseless
current of slaughter.

Destruction
overtakes rebirth,
permanent–
we cannot
remake the magic of earth,
uninculcate ends.

Silver tongues
make promises, kill
what little
is left, drunk
with power—bleeding life out
to termination.

Elephants once roamed in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. This species became extinct about 100 BC due to overhunting for ivory. This is still a major threat to both elephants and rhinos, along with habitat loss, which includes all the ramifications of climate change. Poachers are looking for ingredients for traditional Asian medicine. Local residents see wild animals as threats, and/or kill them for food when other sources, such as agriculture, disappear due to extreme weather. And of course Western big game hunters love to take home trophies to prove how manly they are.

The Northern White Rhino recently became extinct.

Endangered African primates include the chimpanzee, the gorilla, the bonobo, and the drill. The cheetah is critically endangered, and lions and leopards are also in a vulnerable state.

Other critically endangered African species include the African penguin, the African wild dog, green turtles, pangolins, and hundreds of species of birds.

For earthweal, where Sherry asks us to consider how humans have changed the African landscape. I’ve used words from the Oracle II list generated by Jane this week.

All the art is from previous posts about endangered species. Interestingly, I only found one other poem written to go along with the images. Perhaps it’s because words are inadequate for me in the face of such a huge loss. It’s easier for me to draw or paint or collage my distress.

This is what we’ve come to

Eric Greitens, a leading contender for the Republican Senate nomination in Missouri, released a new video in which he is depicted as hunting RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).

“I’m Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL, and today we’re going RINO hunting.” Greitens says as he walks down a sidewalk with a gun in hand.

The video cuts to a house where Greitens, surrounded by what looks like a tactical unit, waits by the door. “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice,” says Greitens. The unit smashes the door down and throws what looks like a smoke grenade. Greitens strides through the door. “Join the MAGA crew,” he says. “Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”—(cnn.com)

nutty?  I
wish it were only
the deranged
ravings of
a single unarmed man—but
it is not fiction

actually
millions are waiting
with their guns–
enchanted
by, and obedient to,
a simplistic lie

sordid words
sprayed like stray bullets,
shattering
sanctity,
all respect for life—the
aftermath is death

Merril was correct when she said the wordlist from Oracle II generated on Sunday by Jane demanded a political response. Reading about Eric Greitens and his campaign ad today sealed it.

The headline haiku art and erasure poem are from my response to the Kick-About prompt a few weeks ago of the art of Basquiat. I painted on a page from the NY Times that interviewed Republican Congress members about their thoughts on gun legislation and listed the amount of money they had received from the NRA. Money talks, and erases the truth.

Guns

do something.  question.
sorry—guns are the problem.
where it starts.  guns.  guns.

nightsong

A peaceful message from the Oracle this week. Even with some strange dreams, and the moon waking me, I’ve been sleeping well.

could I rest here
beneath the quiet dusk
let nightsong in

walk along ancient rivers
know the the intuition of trees
feel every growing thing

as earth follows
its rooted moonpath
into the birdlight of dawn

if I call will you come

1
an enchantment spelled
in the blue whisper of your voice
disembodied in the dim light–
a pretense of sushi and saki–
a stolen hour

2
the stitches accumulate,
suspended from needles
awakening color and fiber
into patterns, images,
ideas, dreams

3
a glittering ocean of blue
starlight afloat
massive celestial waves
unmoored no longer conjoined–
an ancient sentient land

4
how can I remain here,
undecided on the edge,
an intruder seeking
to override forces
I neither recognize nor understand?

5
all tautness,
the bow hovers between
contingencies, conclusions, desires–
I hold my breath
inside the heart’s beating wings

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question. A prompt that seems ready made for a cadralor. The first four stanzas answer the prompt. Stanza 5 is the conclusion required by the cadralor form, the one that illuminates a gleaming thread that runs obliquely through the unrelated stanzas and answers the compelling question: “For what do you yearn?”

as it is

…and so it begins with essence—unmeasured, all-seeing, untranslatable, present.

What is really there–here?  Everywhere.  It gathers nowhere, takes all in.  Releases the vast emptiness of center.  Unpredictable but never random.  Jumping through and crossing over.  Falling down down down into the other side of what was never, into the opposite of what is.

Only the light. The compass that points in all directions, overlapping and then merging into pure vibration.  A conduit of currents, waves with wings, voices without identifiable form or name.  Pinpoints glittering against the darkness, floating on the gasp of final breaths, forever on the verge.

Belonging neither to man nor to god nor to anything in between. 

Immersed in song.

This prose poem is a revision of a revision of a revision (no doubt to be continued). The art, on the other hand, was an experiment that exceeded my expectations. And so it goes.

For NaPoWriMo Day 15, on the eve of the full moon, where the prompt is to “write a poem about something you have absolutely no interest in”. To put it plainly,

I have no
interest in writing
a poem
about something I
have no interest in

But I’m enjoying reading the rants of my fellow poets on the subject.