midwinter

midwinter s

this persistent grey
magnifies the compressed dark–
dawn heavy with dusk

squirrels search for buried treasure–
seeds in wait for light’s return

midwinter close up s

For Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #117.  I was going to do a completely different collage, but once I pulled out the handmade paper, I decided that stitching some together was what was needed.  I haven’t done any stitching for awhile, and it was good to get back to it.

The squirrels have been very busy lately.

 

Veteran’s Day 2019

dad and grandpa s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fathers of fathers
a photograph, a silence—
echoes enduring

My father and his father drawn from a photo–circa World War II.  Must have been right before my father left for Europe.  My grandfather remained in the States for the Second World War.  He also served in WWI.

veterans day 2015 2s

We clothe our dead from the two World Wars in nostalgia, but conflicts since then have become more frequent, and murkier, and today’s veterans have suicide rates that keep rising, despite sporadic efforts to find a way to help their troubled lives.

“More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (NY Times, November 1, 2019)

veterans day 2015 1s

I wrote about this issue for Veteran’s Day in 2015 with the embroidered newspaper article about one Marine Regiment and the mounting suicides among its members.  It was a heartbreaking read, and I made a nonet from phrases taken from the text.

veterans day 2015 4s

He was doomed. Doomed to watch his friends die.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
He never mentioned the war.
The funerals after.
He was still alive.
He did not care
to try to.
Gave up.
Scared.

Eyes
empty.
What they saw.
Directionless,
but what choice was there?
It becomes part of you.
He never mentioned the war.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
Only regrets and flashbacks remained.

The very best way to honor our veterans would be to find a way to avoid the need for their sacrifices in the first place.  But given the likelihood of that occurring, we can at least acknowledge their pain, attempt to support them, and try to find a way to return some source of connection and meaning to their lives.

veterans day 2015 5s

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Linking to Frank Tassone’s #haikai Challenge #112 for Veteran’s Day.

 

 

9/11

 

jizo s

For 9/11, I’ve chosen my embroidery of Jizo, the Japanese god who helps to heal hearts and lives in times of darkness and grief.

Jizo personifies the Bodhisattva Vow to save all beings from suffering.  He works especially to save the souls of children who have died before their parents.  In Japan, stone Jizo statues are often adorned with children’s clothing and surrounded by offerings of flowers and toys, both as protection for a dead child and in gratitude for the saving of a child’s life.

Jizo is guardian of mothers, children, travelers, pilgrims, and–very appropriately to this day of remembering–firemen.

leaves rattle like bones
through bottomless clarity–
azure autumn sky

 

This is a reblog of my very first 9/11 post in 2014, adding the haiku from my post in 2017, which echoes always my memories of that morning here in NYC.

Reticulaton

reticulation s

Reassembling themselves,
they are closing the gaps,
weaving the severed limbs
into an approximation
of their original form–

 Crazy quilt rag dolls
taking deep breaths–
as if returning from a long dive,
as if tossed ashore
by the rhythm of the waves–

As if what was taken away
could be returned complete,
restored–as if the worn skin
could become brand new again–
smooth, unmarked by the usages

 Of time–the eye brightened,
cleared by swimming in seas
of remembered beginnings–
immersed and baptized, forgiven,
and then reborn again

This is a response to one of Sue Vincent’s photo prompts, above, from May of this year.  I’m not sure why I never finished it, although deciding I needed to embroider the mandala was part of it.  But I also only just revisited and revised the poem.

reticulation close up 2s

I have many many unfinished projects, and it always feels good to take one off the pile.  Now will I have time to do this weeks’ prompt?

Also linking to dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Grace.

The Stranger

the stranger s

…Stephen Michael West died in the electric chair on Thursday night. Asked if he had any final words, Mr. West said he did.  “In the beginning God created man,” he began before breaking down into sobs.  Then:  “And Jesus wept.  That’s all.”
–Margaret Renkl, from “The Hypocrisy of Execution Day”, NY Times, August 20, 2019

Everybody’s talking at me. It’s the same old song.  Do Wah Diddy.  Ob-la-di, ob-la-da.  Knockin on heaven’s door.  Iko iko.  Thy Kingdom Come.

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? Who knows where the time goes?  Every day is a winding road.  Where the streets have no name.

Don’t you know I’m only human? I was hungry, just barely alive.

Here comes Mr. Tamborine Man, playing his song for me. I hear a symphony. “You will love again the stranger who was yourself.”  “Jesus loves you more than you will know.”

Woe woe woe.

He’s just a soul whose intentions are good: “All you need is love.”

Wouldn’t it be nice.

I gotta get out of this place.

Baby you can follow me down. The burning ring of fire.

Hello Darkness, my old friend.

Fly me to the moon.

the stranger close up s

Kim at dVerse gave us a phrase from Derek Walcott, “You will love again the stranger who was yourself,” to use in our Prosery this week.  I had started something completely different using phrases from mostly 60s songs when I read Margaret Renkl’s op-ed piece in the NY Times this morning.

The art is a Rorschach painting with embroidery (in progress).

I wrote this really quickly this morning, so I’ll probably keep coming back to edit it…

Adding it Up

never ending

If there’s a deadly sin, it’s power. It’s wanting to be more, by making others less—less than less.  It’s controlling with physical force, psychological terror, subjugation.  And if you don’t possess the genetic make-up to manipulate others directly, you make it up with a knife, a whip, a chain, fear, lies, starvation, locks, poverty, cages, technology, homelessness, isolation, guns, an army, explosives, drugs, religion, words, the law, bombs, lack of medical care, money, corporations, willful ignorance.

There is no end to the expressions of superiority and omnipotence.

Aren’t we rich? Barren
land, rivers of blood flowing–
empty to the core.

As Dylan observed, “all the money you made will never buy back your soul.”

no peace s

 

I’ve posted so many times on gun violence, I’ve stopped counting.  The last time was on June 1 of this year.

 

Placeholder image

Every day 88 people die by gun violence in the United States.

in which endings are both lost and multiplied close up s

Silence weeps
and eyes refuse sight.
No questions
can be posed,
nor answers given. Light is
erased. Dust and blood.

violence close up s

kalamazoo s

What is the color of mourning?
morning
of empty spaces, and Where?
wear
black, but it has no reply.
Why?
just questions and sorrow.
Tomorrow
will remain unfilled,
killed,
killed.  More shots from another gun.
When?
Again.

paris s

war is not healthy haiku s

As Dylan knew, you can’t separate a gun mentality from a war mentality.

Who are we?

It’s haibun Monday on dVerse.  Frank asked us to talk about peace to commemorate Hiroshima.  I’m not feeling it right now.