Darkness Darkness

The Fashion Institute of Technology had only one dorm, reserved for out-of-town students, so I felt lucky to have been granted a room, even if I knew it was only for the first year of my two-year program.  My roommate had sisters in the city, but had grown up upstate, in a Catholic group home, really an orphanage with all its attendant horrors.  Nothing has changed about that since the time of Dickens.

Her mother died when she was very young.  A family friend wanted to adopt her, but the Catholic Church refused to separated her from her two older sisters—the friend could not manage three more children.  Her sisters married as soon as they aged out of the system, and now lived again in the city where they had been born.  My roommate was a talented artist, and her high school art teacher encouraged her to prepare a portfolio and apply to FIT.  She wanted to be a textile designer.

Her father had abandoned the family when her mother became pregnant with a fourth child.  Unable to imagine being able to support three children, let alone four, on her own, the mother sought an abortion.  It killed her.

Her daughters had no choice but to accept the fact that both parents were permanently lost to them.  But there was a simmering anger in my roommate, a wound of loss and grief, that remained. 

I lost touch with her—we both moved around a lot after getting our associate degrees, and the internet was not even a blip on our consciousness in 1973—but I thought of her again when the decision overturning Roe v Wade was leaked to the press.

Now, as then in the 1950s, our government blames the poor for their poverty, penalizing most of all the living mothers and their living children, abandoned by fathers, or forced to flee abusive husbands and partners, condemning them to hunger and homelessness as a punishment for not being born lucky, for not having friends and family who have enough wealth and stability to pick up the pieces when they need a helping hand.

another grey sky–
spring comes late this year—crow calls
inside the graveyard

For dVerse, where Lisa asks us to consider the topic of grief.

How can we learn to sing when we have no voice?

The shifting mirrors contain contradictory and ethereal messages, as if hidden in the center of a missing source of light.  Where are the currents located?  The rays seems to come from an absolute stillness embedded in the fraying edges of circles that no longer move.

Once we were seekers, following the contours of the channels that held rivers and oceans, sailing the shorelines, harvesting in abundance the rewards of departure followed by return.

Now we have only illusions sinking into the periphery of fading dreams, scattered like the ancient remnants of empyrean spirals, the movements of mythical stars, the mysteries of a consciousness that once made its home inside a biological form.

bare silence–
human remains lost,
fossilized

Off prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 29. I wanted to do something for this Redon collage.

The world remains heavy.

Yea, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don’t deserve it
But we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance
Dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
–Mary Gauthier

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Grace.

Gone Straight

The day feels as limber as a body carved in stone, and yet time remains elastic.  A Möbius strip to which I cling, never certain if I’m inside or outside or whether, in fact, I’m located anywhere upon the twist of fate at all. 

Dylan sang it simple, but simplicity in his mind means traveling on a roller coaster through an arcade of hallucinatory smoke and funhouse mirrors blindfolded and bound by myriad inexpressible desires.  “A little confused”? That statement is not only under, but buried so deep beneath layers of denial that the concept of clarity no longer exists.

We are all born too late, really, searching over and over for the lost eternal beginning, the still center, not the unmappable edge we cleave to, against all reason, with the desperation of an addict looking for a permanent fix.

So which way does this finite world turn?  Does the Universe have its own compass, or is it, too, like humanity, lost in space?

plus, minus—neither
more nor less than tomorrow,
yesterday, today

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile. I’ve also used Muri’s Scavenger Hunt words, limber and elastic.

in tandem 1 and 2 (Earth Day 2022)

when you leave yourself behind,
where do you go?–
clouds a shimmering path

blue like a robin’s egg–
this liquid sky, darkening into shadow–
when you leave yourself behind

does the mirror look back
like a lake regarding the sky?
where do you go?

do fish see themselves in the stars?
do birds ride feathered waves?–
clouds a shimmering path

The prompt for NaPoWriMo today was to write a poem that uses repetition. That prompt was made for me. I had been working on and off all week for a poem for Sherry’s prompt at earthweal, to write from that place of holding onto wildness of soul. I thought that today, Earth Day, would be the time to post it.

So I took my ideas and made a cascade, but there were ideas left over, so I did a pantoum too. You can never have too much repetition in my poetry world.

when you leave yourself behind
(clouds a shimmering path)
where do you go?–
windsong the surface

clouds a shimmering path,
the lake regarding the sky–
windsong the surface
displaced by light

the lake regarding the sky–
as it hues the reflection
displaced by light,
does the mirror look back?

as the earth hues reflection,
do fish see themselves in the stars?
does the mirror look back
when birds ride feathered waves?

do fish see themselves in the stars
on the remnants of moontides?
when birds ride feathered waves,
do they flow into calligraphy?

on the remnants of moontides,
where do you go?
will you flow like calligraphy,
leave yourself behind?

As I’ve noted before, I attended the first Earth Day celebration in 1970 in Washington DC. Not too much has changed since then. We can do better.

Tears of

My life–
How much more of it remains?
The night is brief.

–Masaoka Shiki

My hand traces invisible lines through each day.
Life has its endings, but I wonder again why and
how do we create so many boundaries?  How
much do we know of what we call ourselves? And what
more is left, at this late date, to be discovered there?
Of what am I really thinking when, with sudden fear,
it seems that everything is impossible, that nothing
remains?  Have I used it all up–the synapses firing,
the cells’ ability to regenerate rather than destroy?  The
night and the day and the sky and the land?  Why
is it so difficult to relocate the silence, that interlude of
brief completion when everything is being born again?

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is a reverse Golden Shovel poem–instead of placing the words from the selected poem at the end of each line and writing around it, the words are placed at the beginning. Either way, it’s a good way to approach writing when you’re stuck. I’ve chosen a haiku from Masaoka Shiki for my poem, but I’m adding a little afterward from Joan and Bob.

Tears of rage, tears of grief
Why must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know we’re so alone
And life is brief

–Dylan

Also for Muri’s prompt of a Golden Shovel poem with the theme of change.

Ancestors

My ancestors linger in every word I say,
the muted phrases and images that occupy
the dreams in the sequestered corners of my mind,
hesitating between darkness and light of day

My ancestors linger in the prayers left behind,
unexpected melodies, songs upon the wind
opening windows into transformed cloistered spheres,
a fracturing of landscapes, the earth unconfined

My ancestors linger as seas on summer air,
as darkness covering the winter of the year,
as harvests of colors released by autumn’s trees,
as cells that stir when spring awakens, reappears

I wrote this rubaiyat in 2019 for one of Sue Vincent’s photo prompts, above. It’s a year today she is gone. Looking back through all the art and poetry I did in response to her prompts, it’s clearly evident how much her spirit enlarged my work.

In my original post I wrote: I was repeating one of my grandmother’s sayings to myself, which made me think of all the ways I repeat and echo the members of my family. Probably in ways I don’t even realize, and further afield than I will ever understand.

Which flows right into the earthweal prompt, where Brendan has asked us to “write about what we care for and resemble, remembering that everything in the forest is the forest.

shrouded

The Oracle gave me the first two stanzas of this one right away, but I had to work for the last two. I really wanted to use “secrets” but she was having no part of it. There are too many secrets floating around already.

every after walks through
the long dark between

who can we ask
if always becomes lost?

when will these deep paths of why
grow roots that follow light?

beneath nightsongs of a wandering moon
we listen to nothing—ancient and wild

Another old collage done for one of Sue Vincent’s prompts.

Cohen wrote this song in 1992.

After the Deluge

The Oracle gave me five lines of a shadorma and multiple endings, all leading in the same direction. There is no resting place right now in the world created (and, increasingly, destroyed) by homo sapiens.

if life clouds
you with lonely whys,
rest between
the roots of
earth, breathing green spiritsong–
follow treepaths–walk
winter into spring–
listen to ancient
stones—wander with wind