Ocular

I am still waiting for clarity–
sometimes I think about
the things I can’t see
and I wonder how
to place them inside my mind–

Out of the dark and still
I am dreaming of colors
liquid currents of sound
moving in all directions
between the gaps–

Do our visions swim
cataracted with refractions–
flooding the invisible
barriers of the portals
into our eyes?

As I told Phil, this week’s Kick-About prompt, fundus photography, was made for my watercolor mandalas. First, photographing the inner eye naturally makes for roundness, and the liquid state calls for watercolor to represent it.

I did 4 watercolors and embroidered on 2 of them. If I exaggerated the colors a bit, well, my eye often does the same.

composted

always digging deeper–
roots that grow below, restore–
listening through decay beyond stillness,

a place that is neither
dark nor light, yet full, aware,
gathered germinating into witness,

distilled light casting words
that linger as counterpart–
revealing mysteries in all that is

held on the wings of birds,
circulated through the heart,
absorbed into the spiraling axis

It’s poet’s choice of form at Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, and how could I resist a syllabic form called “kerf”? I meant this also to be for the earthweal challenge this week, earthcraft, but obviously did not finish it in time.

Once again, art from the archives.

What is it good for? (#10)

war 4s

The same foolishness
everywhere.  We talk over
each other, repeat
words until they are erased.
The lines become solid form.

We can’t see either
forest or trees.  We respond
without listening.
The same actions, recast,
broken up, taken down.  Angry

outlines drawn like guns.
Hanging over cliffs, waiting.
Holding on, out, back.
We banish heart, soul.  Burning
every single bridge.  Drowning.

war 5 pieces 2 comp

Early in my blogging life, on memadtwo, I did a series of paintings titled what is it good for? Then I did some embroideries titled war is not healthy (for children and other living things). Unfortunately, it’s (always) (still) relevant. Even in my city (mostly) young men are killing and being killed every day by gang and turf wars that are little more than macho posturing. And of course, as in every war, civilians are merely collateral damage.

in which endings are both lost and multiplied close up s

Three linked tankas for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday with synonyms for life and move.

absolutely nothing s

In Response to Liu Xia’s poem “Twilight”

I too like the places
where categories are neither
and both—indistinct forms
replace the sharp edges and play
with what is no longer there.

Past and future give way
to presence, and dissolve
who I am—nothing
has yet been decided.

There is no need
to consult time, to hasten
the turning of the wheel–

life pauses–

the landscape seems different,
unattached to words
or specific actions as it
gathers me in, murmuring
my pulse with invisible
currents.

Crow calls to my soul–
a shadow casting deeper
than darkness or light.

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. Liu Xia is a Chinese artist, activist and poet. “Twilight” is one of the poems in her book Empty Chairs. Although that particular poem is not available online, you can read some of her other poems here.

On Rambling/City Streets

Under concrete still lies the earth.
Am I bridged?  Do I travel on or over?
The air takes my thoughts and plays with them,
embroiders them, suspends them between.

Am I bridged?  do I travel on or over?
My fingers want to hold the windwhispers–
embroider them, suspend them between
the bare branches of the trees.

My fingers want to hold the windwhispers
that touch the moon on her journey
through the bare branches of the trees
into the fullness of the reflected light.

I want to touch the moon on her journey.
My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
backlit by the fullness of reflected light.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.

My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
a landscape I too often inhabit.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–

a landscape I too often inhabit.
I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–
how to be someone that is also everything.

I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
How to dance across the invisible threads.
How to be someone that is also everything,
crisscrossing land sea sky stars.

How to dance across the invisible threads
that hold both concrete and earth,
crosscrossing land sea sky stars–
(the air takes my thoughts and plays with them)

This pantoum is definitely a work in progress. For NaPoWriMo day 15, and the earthweal weekly challenge: Toward an Ecopoetry.

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Sanaa.

masses of green

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 3 is intriguing. I already know about Michael McClure’s “Personal Universal Deck” and it’s on a long list of things I’d like to do as I love cards of all kinds. But it needs more than a day to do properly, and I only have an hour on this particular day.

So I stuck with the Oracle’s deck of magnetic words, as I do most Saturdays. She knows these are holy days, as is every day when we pay attention to the wonders of the earth and its seasons. Who will save her?

spring seeds light
birds flower air bees
following

walk with green spirits
on earth as it is

Linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

Familiar

“The world around us is absolutely mind-blowingly amazing….All you have to do is pay attention. Then the stars come out and they dance with you.”–John Muir Laws

Common you say.  Everyday you say.
and it’s true:  night follows day
follows night.  Many things
form patterns, yet within
the patterns are mysterious
variations, expressions of one
particular momentary intersection
of space and time.  The moon
playing with clouds.  Water
coming in contact with light.
A tree, any tree, in any
season.  Who can forget
an insect’s wing?  Pigeons
swooping in unison between
the roofs of buildings.  Common.
And yet.  But still.  It stops
me.  Looking, listening, wondering.
Every day.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today has a link to an animation of the music of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Sun Ra was in tune with the world’s amazingness, but you don’t need psychedelic imagery to notice it.

Brendan at earthweal asks this week: What is the turning point that gets us out of this labyrinth of fated humanity? Who or what must we embrace? How do we find our way into the Totality?

We could start by just paying attention.

For NaPoWriMo this year I will mostly, if not entirely, be using art from the archives. I am in the pre-panic phase of my move–a little over 2 weeks before the movers come. I may not post every day, but I’ll do my best.

You can also see my art this month at the Ekphrastic Challenge at Wombwell Rainbow. Two other artists, and many wonderful poets, including Merril Smith and Jane Dougherty, are participating.

Thirteen Ways (after Wallace Stevens and Joni Mitchell)

crow #2s

1
Did you know?  Was it you
who sent Crow?  Black wings
swallowed by the sky

2
I had time and seasons
rising to meet me
like trembling in my bones,

3
like Icarus ascending
on beautiful foolish arms
.

There's a crow flying # if I flew

4
Crow and I
are not one–
but we are together in this
cosmos, on this earth.

5
I do not know myself
and yet I know of the intersections
of that unknown self
with the call to attention
that is Crow.

apolcalyptic crow 2s

6
My mind is busy
with trivial things.
The shadow of a cry
spills everything out
empty
waiting for the return
of listening, watching.

7
O ragged soul
why do you take flight?
Do you not see the trees?
They are returning from the dead
again and again.

8
I know many words
and the images that accompany them.
But I know too
that Crow lives deeper and wider
than what I know.

crow tree close up s

9
Diving diving diving diving.
There is no bottom no top
no inside or out.

10
At the sight of Crow
resounding the light
the layers reveal
their chorded songs.

spiral crows 2s

11
I walk these streets
in oblivion,
trying to escape
the fear of the known
by making up stories
that rearrange my life.

12
I hear my fate turn turn turn
how many crows?

13 blackbirds s

13
Always standing in the doorway
like Janus—neither and both–
cursed and charmed
Crow laughs—he knows
I have a dream to fly.

crow #1s

Brendan at earthweal asks us this week to think about the nature of poetry. I first encountered Wallace Stevens and “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” in high school and it remains my poetic touchpoint more than 50 years later. But equally important to my connection with poetry was music–first, traditional folk music, and then the whole crop of singer-songwriters that emerged from the folk revival. I love Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”, but “Hejira” has always resonated with me most of all. The form of this poem is based on Stevens, but the spirit and italicized words are taken from Joni and from my own encounters with Crow, a master shaman.

I have not been posting much, and will probably be mostly absent for the next month or 6 weeks–I’m moving (again). But this is good news! I will have a dedicated work space once again, and a real kitchen. I knew the last 2 moves were temporary, but I thought both moves before that would be the last one–so I’m making no predictions. But I’m planning to be there for awhile.