Phoenix

There is no drama in most moments, but the accumulation becomes a story.  One day you wake up, or you think you wake up.  But something burns—you can smell it in the air.  Ashes of yesterday are falling from the sky.  You thought the past was dead, but it has only rearranged itself into today, or is it already tomorrow? 

And what happened yesterday anyway?

I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head.  I walked and walked and walked until I came to a pool of water, still and deep.  I sat beside it, watching my reflection smolder, waiting for something to be revealed.  The light scattered on the liquid surface held me and gave me a different life, turned me inside out.

Now I am only flames, or was that yesterday?  Which side am I on?

For the dVerse Prosery prompt from Kim, some inspiration from Yeats: ‘I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head’.

The art is from a series of constellation poems I did for Pure Haiku. Freya’s current theme is Unfurling–you can submit until February 28.

Warnings

My emotional distances keep expanding.  They measure every room I enter, every landscape that passes through my eyes.  The center swims increasingly away from the edges of my being.  The gap is great and undefined.

Shadowshapes of figures frame the shore.  Hands cast their lines into my depths, searching for a reflection, fishing for a response to their repeated inquiries.

How long can I stay afloat?  The gravity of this world exhausts me. Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, so incomplete.  I have forgotten it–the one key to survival that is unnecessary but crucial.

I’m trying to recall the images that connect to my lingering feelings of kinship  The light flickers, attempts to enter, but my eyes refuse it.  They look sentient, but they are no longer open for business.  Closed, the sign says.  Can’t you read it?—“CLOSED”.

For the dVerse Prosery, Linda has selected a line from Mary Oliver: Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, from her poem “Spring Azures”.

Headlines

The Voice kept trying to turn him back—“there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles”—but he refused to believe its repeated lies.

And yet he could not find the source, hidden somewhere within the dimensionless shadows of the vertical, the angled, the edge.

He himself was scrabbled, suspended out of sight, waiting underneath many meaningless layers of illusion.  The indifference did not bother him; neither did the newsprint words strewn carelessly about. 

He considered himself abandoned, lost inside an unwritten story.  Curious strings embedded his thoughts in articles torn from the back page.

But what had happened to his body?  It was a puzzle he could not figure out.  He could see, listen, think.  But his position never changed.

Was his mind an orphan, birthed incompletely, accidentally, a false start left unfinished?

Was he himself the Voice?

I did this collage a few months ago, and I’ve been waiting for the right words to pair with it. Merril’s prosery prompt at dVerse,
“there is nothing behind the wall
except a space where the wind whistles”

from “Drawings By Children” by Lisel Mueller
found its way into an old freewrite page in my notebook that contained the phrase newsprint words strewn carelessly about and gave it some shape.

At the Crossroads

Once we were all earth.  We were only ourselves when we were each other.  Our world had not yet been divided into good and evil, dark and light.

Golems we were, every one of us, raw elements of matter and light, untamed magic.  Cosmic dust animated by water air and fire, rising from the depths of the sea.  Pure energy concentrated into simple patterns over skeletons of increasing complexity.

Our origins shadow us, a mirror containing our destination.  We fear who we are and so we seek to distance ourselves, destroying all reminders of our fragile mortality, our kinship with clay and mud.

We have transformed the golem into a fearful beast.  We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time.  What words can return us to our proper place on the winding wheel?

How do we spell life?

Prosery for dVerse using the poetic line from D.H. Lawrence suggested by Kim: ‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.

Also for the Earthweal challenge Earth-Masks.

that they are

secrets white

The stars answer each other, singing over and through the wind.  Coming and going follows patterns that signal a chorus of light from within chords I cannot name.

We are not on the same journey, the stars and I.  We go in different directions, down the imperturbable street that seeks both its ending and beginning in a place that can’t be found.  We pass each other on separate orbits, reflected in the pulses of moontides.  We circle and spiral, held by different arrangements of time and space.

Holding the sea, I lift it to the sky, trying to capture and distill the chiaroscuro into a garment of rainbow clouds.  Join me, I ask silently.  Dance with me, become with me a kaleidoscope that shifts the darkness of chaos into currents that gyre together, a collective river of song.

secrets
become visible–
exchange of self

each to the other

Merril’s prosery prompt at dVerse quotes from poet Gwendolyn Brooks:  “We go in different directions down the imperturbable street.”

Merril posted some wonderful photos of light in her Monday Morning Musings today, and several of them reminded me of collages I had done for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction prompts.  This one is from 2016 (you can see the original post here).

DownBound Train

down bound train s

Sleeplessness overtook me as it always did.  I wrestled with my twilit mind as it replayed the inner landscapes waiting patiently behind the mask of the day.  Resigned, I drifted out of myself, captive to the mares of night.

No color, no sound.  Everything happens in slow motion, like an old film running through the fading light of a disintegrating projector.  Once again I descend the staircase down, down, down, looking for the elusive station, the place to redeem my ticket to the place I needed to go.  The tracks remained still, empty, silent.  No one left and no one came. On the bare platform my shoes echo like gunshots, reverberating to the pounding of my heart.

Breaking towards the opening on the other end of the platform, I begin to count my steps backwards.

Another weary night tangled into the sheets of dawn.

down bound close up s

Sara at dVerse gives us a line from poet Edward Thomas to use in our 144 word prosery: No one left and no one came on the bare platform.

Go Away Now

go away now s

Complications sour the air. It sits heavy like a rock, immense and expanding.  I am pinned to the low and the unbending, hard consonants without vowels.

This place reeks of precarious edges and uncertain lines. I am starved for words.  The familiar has become unreadable, untold.  Noises have become forms that weave themselves into a motionless net around each ungathered piece of what might pass for sanity.  I grow continuously neither better nor worse.

I do not remember what I asked of the universe, the cosmic spirits that randomly move the pieces of my life, that giveth sometimes but often only taketh away.

O yes, their ways are mysterious. Blood and Violence merging into Just The Way Things Are.

If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant, deeper, emptier, more ravening than their insatiable hunger.

Let them dine alone—I will swallow myself

go away now close up s

Victoria at dVerse has given us words from poet Jane Kenyon
If it’s darkness
we’re having, let it be extravagant.
for this week’s prosery, a 144 word composition.

I am also linking to The Myths of the Mirror November Writing Challenge–a non-human point of view.

rooted

rooted close up s

I am looking for the parts of me I have lost. Where are they?

The invisible ones, I mean. Not the bones beneath skin, the blood red pulsing, not even the magic helix—no, the stuff that I can only sense inside my thoughts—the currents that should contain all those things that have lived through me, leaving their imprints on my past, on my wishes and dreams, on the choices I have yet to make.

My emptiness continues without plan or path. I recross myself and return over and over to the places I imagine I have already been.

Something sparkles in the branches, catching my attention. I glimpse light moving, connecting one thread to another, forming patterns.  I breathe in my existence.

They have been waiting for me, kept in trust for my return—these memories were left here with the trees.

This is in response to another old photo prompt of Sue Vincent’s (above), from May.  I did the art but never wrote anything to go with it.  Merril’s prosery prompt at dVerse, to use Jo Harjo’s words, “These memories were left here with the trees” in 144 words of prose, reminded me of the photo, so I pulled out the painting again.

rooted s

 

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…

Full Moon

full moon photo 1s

The sky is a mist of blue ghosts rising from the sea. The sky is a blanket of sparkling light that appears suddenly as if conjured by the fading horizon.  The sky is a layered curtain of shadow clouds that both disguise and reveal.

I sit without time, listening, watching. My body retreats from itself, my thoughts lose their words.  I am lost, dispersed, nameless.

full moon photo 2s

I become like the wind, seeking its reflection. I become like waves repeating their primal dance.  I become like sand searching for the spaces between.

I float, a grain inside my eye.

I dreamt I was the moon, a sudden seizure of oceans traveling the spirals of shells. I dreamt I was a relic from the sea, worn away into a celebration of return.  I became my ancestors, unburied and uncontained, released into the sanctuary of the cosmic coil.

full moon close up s

Sarah at dVerse has given us the prosery prompt “I dreamt I was the moon”, from Alice Oswald’s “Full Moon”.  I was lucky to be in North Carolina at the beach last week, where the moon was spectacular.  144 words and a few of my photos can’t even begin to capture the magic.