close your eyes

I did have the NaPoWriMo prompt in mind today when I visited the Oracle. At least in terms of a song. My things are mostly in boxes, not drawers, at the moment–this is my third move in the last 18 months so it’s all junk now. I was also thinking how much I would like to just take an entire day and do nothing but sleep. Which led me to James and Joni. And the Oracle obliged.

all I want
is to sleep beneath
a still sky–
a shadow
of whispered light on water
moondreaming the wind

The Age of Aquarius

Back when the musical “Hair” came out, some astrologers grumbled that it wasn’t really the Age of Aquarius yet.  But what did we care?  We were tired of the world as it was, ready for Peace Love and Understanding.

Well…maybe not.

chaotic stillness
watching from the whorled center
for new beginnings

During 2020 there were rumblings once again online about the REAL Age of Aquarius finally showing up.  I was skeptical to say the least.

all those lost patterns–
I collect them in my mind,
in new rotations

It seems we had the Age of Aquarius skewed, not only in time.  Yes, it’s a total tearing down and rebuilding.  But it’s going to require hard work.  Taking a lot of drugs and wearing tie-dye and listening to songs about love won’t do it.

all impermanence—
no matter which way you turn
the path continues

Can we change our entire approach to living together, not only with each other, but with the earth, its creatures, its landscape, its elements?  We need to if we want to survive.

giving myself hope
inside my dark wanderings–
a world of wonder

When Phil asked me to choose this week’s Kick-About prompt, I thought immediately of The Age of Aquarius, because I’ve been turning over in my mind the hope that it might be real, that humanity can change. I always loved the music posters of the “Hair” era, and used them as inspiration for my neon colored paintings.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the other responses next week.

breathing the bones

(at the heart)

may every
tree spread its roots interlocking
together to create a vast
community
bird-adorned canopy
meeting in
the intersected threads
cast by branches and
leaves    maple ginko
oak beech linden willow pine
walk with the wind as they sail
ancient stories of beginning
stillness echoed back

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 5 was to find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem. I chose Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats”

I was also inspired by an article in the NY Times yesterday about the wonders of the oak tree.

The paintings were inspired by the tree paintings of Joan Mitchell.

interpolated

some days seem
to go nowhere—hours
surround, merge,
a mass of
waiting—you can feel the weight
on your chest inside

heart slowing
barely breathing your
skin sweating
density
as your body disappears
your mind wandering

caught without
contingency—all
locations
remain un
named, uncalendared, unchecked,
suspended, untimed—

a structure
of vast hidden plans,
dimensions
flattened in
to absence, its contents left
carelessly behind

A shadorma chain for the NaPoWriMo Day 4 prompt, to use as inspiration a photo from @SpaceLiminalBot. I chose the photo above.

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.

currents 2

Another elemental message from the Oracle. When I was looking for art to accompany it, I came across Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, below, and the paintings I did in response. A perfect match. Sue’s photos always have their own elemental messages, but this one seemed to have been taken just for the Oracle’s words.

how does path
wander through spirit

ask deep earth

follow spring
grow with ancient wild

riverroots

walk between
windsong and forest

full    green    light

You can see the original post, also a message from the Oracle, here.

transposed by all that has taken both place and time

the reflection absorbs me–
torn pieces of rainbows,
all those things left undone
turning the inside out–

windows with no edges,
mirrors of light waves,
disintegration–
the reflection absorbs me–

don’t fence me in you say–
your words pile up in layers
that turn into
pieces of rainbows—

I am suspended between,
my replies tangled up
with the silence of the dead–
all those things left undone

all those unsent messages–
castaways held captive
on ships without a shore—
turning us inside out

Jade, at dVerse, has us considering edges.

Art from the archives with a cascade poem.

The Oracle Answers Another Question

The Oracle has an answer to every question. This one made me smile.

Art is once again from the archives. It turns out I’ve done lots of art related to this theme.

How to make joy?

Embrace the rhythm of opening.
Explore the dances of trees.

Bring the ocean home–
listen to all the starsongs
that reveal what you desire.

Rhetoric

The Kick-About prompt this time around is “The Five Canons of Rhetoric”. My mind glazed over as I read through these rigid and formal ways of organizing communication. Of course the word rhetoric has multiple meanings, the first of which, according to dictionary.com, is “(in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast”. Something we all been oversubjected to of late.

What is true of all the definitions is that rhetoric involves the use of language. One synonym given particularly caught my eye: ” balderdash–senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense”. The word nonsense immediately made me think of the surrealists.

The surrealists felt that letting go of the need to control your creation would reveal deeper truths. This was true of both visual and written art. They rejected logic and reason.

I often use surrealistic techniques for both my art and my writing. I’ve been doing rorschach images for awhile–these little cards are done by dripping the leftover paint from my watercolors onto the card and folding it in half. Usually the layers are done in several sessions.

I also compose comments for my images using words and phrases I’ve cut out of magazines and advertisements. I limit myself to what’s contained in one envelope for each card, and often spend quite a long time choosing and arranging them. I call it the collage box oracle, as it’s similar to using magnetic poetry. I was originally inspired by Claudia McGill, who is a master at this technique.

I’m usually surprised by what appears. It always makes me think.

I first scanned in just the images, and then worked on the words. When I went to scan them in, I realized I had changed the orientation of the image in half of them. Another unexpected surprise.

Surrealistic Rhetoric has no pretense to being anything but a random arrangement of words. But somehow it manages to incorporate at least 4 of the classical canons–invention, arrangement, style, and delivery. As to memory–well, canon #7 deals with that.

The Eight Canons of Surrealist Rhetoric

Is there anything more archetypal than nothing?

Space is just energy deconstructing.

You expected evolving to be more complex.

Adventure awaits beyond the details of yourself.

Fools rush into the shadow of the projected image.

I was invented from the earth’s fertile surfaces–
otherwise my unlimited nakedness would be alarming.

My plans are to forget to remember.

There was a window from the start—simple and mysterious–
imagine looking through it to what is hidden between.