Poem up at Visual Verse

in between
simultaneous
transition

My poem “To Cleave” has been posted at Visual Verse. As I’ve done in the past, I’ve written a greatly distilled version, above. You can read the original poem here.

The art is my ink and neocolor interpretation of Tanya Layko’s prompt photo. I’ve been trying to do more work in my sketchbook, inspired by the journals of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. I got the book “Raggin’ On”, based on an exhibition of her work, out of the library. I knew her textile work, but not her drawing and painting. She often draws freely in ink, and then paints or draws or writes over and around the drawings just as freely. What I learned most from her work was not to labor too much, to get the essence down without trying too hard. Robinson had a full and interesting life.

Above is the original drawing I did, and below is Layko’s photo.

ancient history

just fragments
reduced to a series of numbers–
take a photo to remember,
to contain the unknowable

reduced to a series of numbers,
ink on paper,
blurred now, salty–

take a photo to remember
the spirits now dispersed,
unable to find a vessel

to contain the unknowable–
all the infinite subtractions–
what remains has no name

A trimeric poem for Grace at dVerse. It’s very like a pantoum I think, so of course I like it.

I did this torn painting 6 years ago ago for a post mourning the fact that governments all over the world were destroying ancient art if they did not like the culture or religion it belonged to. Like the earth’s resources, once it’s gone it can never be replaced.

world weary

you drift along,
along and along,
without wind or sea–
can you see
yourself moving?  or is
everything drifting?  is
it all doldrums,
your mind sailing on doldrums,
on emptiness, what is
no longer there—was
anything ever there?

you long to immerse
yourself, to immerse
your body in the sea,
the primal waters of the sea–
to float and forget, to
dive and immerse
yourself in life’s womb, to
close your eyes, to
shrink, becoming
a stone waiting to
be cast and skipped rippling
back to where you belong—

where do you belong?

you drift along…

Laura at dVerse has us repeating ourselves. Not difficult for me, as my mind likes to travel back and forth and revisit what it has already said before.

oyster shell 4s

My images are also recycled.

hither

I can almost hear them
echoed
on repeat through my bones
spiralled
gifts collected in the overlap of
landsea
the fluid movement that follows
after
what hasn’t happened yet
cleansing

sheer sound waves etched in side winds
calling
I can see them sometimes—doubled
visions
currents vibrating against a blurred sky
gyring
like the shadow of a raptor glimpsed
briefly
between the singing of reflected light
sailed whole

In my mind the Prospect Cottage prompt from the Kick-About, below, intersected with the Otherworld of Brendan’s earthweal prompt and then merged with my shells, collected over years of visits to the ocean. The shore is where I lose myself and meet “Not Here” and Prospect Cottage felt like it was a portal into that suspension of the normal framing of time and space. “Like landing on the moon,” as the narrator said.

Most of my shells are still in storage, but I’ve carried some weathered whelks along with each move I’ve made, both to look at and draw. The spirals sing, and bring the sea to me. I drew three of them from different angles on the same page–first pencil, then colored pencil, then with a brush in gouache.

I decided to add grounds. It’s not always easy to tell when you’ve gone too far, but I think I definitely did so with the colored pencils. I may take an eraser to the ground to fade it so the shells don’t get so lost. I was trying to capture the garden of Prospect Cottage.

The pencil drawing was impossible to photograph well, but I like the weathered effect. I wrote words around and connecting the shells, which you can see better in the close up. These are quotes from the video interspersed with my own observations. This one has exactly the feeling I wanted, of secret messages, indecipherable voices on the wind.

The painted shells–it felt so good to get my gouache out of storage and paint with it again!–captures the colors I was feeling from both prompts–a sense both of otherness and belonging, of being just exactly in the right place without time.

The Song of Love 1 and 2

1 Here

a handless glove, a stone
visage.  A blue orb
planted with life.  Dust
seeds blown by
cosmic winds.

Look backward to see
the future.  Ruins
of visions.  Monumental
doors to nowhere.
The detritus of humanity.
Is this all
that we wish
to leave behind?

Canto d amore - Song of love - Giorgio De Chirico - 1914

The Kick-About prompt for this week is de Chirico’s enigmatic painting “The Song of Love”, above. The collage I did evolved from a lot of other ideas, merging with Merril’s quadrille prompt at dVerse to use the word seed, and Brendan’s prompt at earthweal to write Songs of the Earth Shaman.

2  A Meditation or Maybe a Prayer

for those who ask and those
who don’t answer.  For those
who always make way and those
who have never been found.
For what we know and refuse
to acknowledge.  For what
stands in the center of what
we think we believe.  For what
remains when faith has fallen
apart.  For the times that we
begin again and the times
that seem to have no ending.
For what we hold against
others and what we keep
to ourselves.  For the impossible
and the improbable and all
the borders we draw to keep
from finding out.

Listen.  I am
waiting for you
to come home.

I needed to consider this seemingly unsolvable riddle that is human life on earth from more than one side.

centermost

become empty—o
pen yourself until the wind
fills you to zero

draw yourself in circles, hold
your essence out, listening

For the final day of NaPoWriMo, the prompt is to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.

Thanks to Maureen Thorson for once again providing a home for poetry and for all those who read and commented on my efforts this April.

Roig (Red)

Red is an imaginary carpet
dancing with desire,
lettering the days
with roses and birdwings.
Red is the sky
that turns the morning
into an omen, the night
into a full moon–
catching dreams
like a wayfaring balloon
painting the town with stars.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. Roig means red in Catalan.

neocolor cardinal s

shorebirds converge with the edge of the sea

moving the water
with my feet
I float on currents,
my shadow following
each intersection with light

not thinking
who or where
I am–
cocooned in myself
and threaded to the aliveness
of what passes me
passing

crossing waves tracks
of lines and circles
forming patterns–
greeting me meeting
myself, transiting

throwing time into the wind
and not waiting for it–
wandering
in place

Kim at dVerse asks us today to write a poem in the first person that compares some trait of ours with something animal. In addition, the title should be the animal thing,

To Our Mother

Who gives us life–
you have many names–

the seed, the root, the vine, the flower in the field,
the lily, the rose, the fertile garden,
the cedar, the cypress, the cherry, the tree of life,
the fountain, the dew, the living waters,
the cloud raining upon the earth,
the lighthouse, the harbor, the shell and the pearl,
the star of the sea, the cresecent moon,
the morning star, the air we breathe,
the cup, the vessel, the channel, the conduit,

the food of the spirit—

You need no kingdom.

You belong to everything,
the very elements that make up
the earth and the cosmos.

You bestow mercy and grace to all,
saint and sinner alike,
rejecting both power and glory,
vengeance and servitude.

May we honor your gifts
with gratitude and humility,
mending and treasuring
the fragile balance
that sustains them.

We remain, stubbornly,
Human

Dear Humanity,

Open your eyes and your hearts.
Honor and practice what preserves life
not what destroys it.
Take only what you need,
and return as much as you can.
Be patient and persistent
and don’t lose hope.

I remain, forever and ever,
Your Mother.

NaPoWriMo asks us today to write an exchange of letters.

Also linking to earthweal. Did you know it’s Earth Month?

rampant grace

“You were once wild here.  Don’t let them tame you.”
–Isadora Duncan

presence, breath,
the mystery of
the body–
here and now,
never once upon a time–
wild eternity

full of what
is—translating and
transforming
each step through
the labyrinth that is you–
synchronal, alive

This is a Kick-About prompt (the quote from Isadora Duncan) that I never posted. I had an idea to do collage illustrations, but the photos of Isadora dancing made me want to try to capture them in gestural drawings.

I haven’t used pastels in a long time, but I can see why Degas chose them so often to render his dancers. The body becomes transformed by dance, lighter and more transparent. Otherworldly.

For NaPoWriMo, and also linking to the dVerse prompt from Grace, The Body & Poetry.