on the wings of ghostlight

The one word the Oracle was certain she wanted me to use this morning was coffee.

drink stars in your morning
coffee
ask for sky voices to wake
the heart
remember the magic lingering like oceans
dancing
on rhythms of never
mind
give time the eye
of breath
listen with flying
colors
sail open the dark hole
of night

We aren’t meant to understand everything.

(obviously)

(Re)creation

The mask is mute—it does not
tell what lies beneath–
layers falling backward, a
way from the present–
unglued, it rearranges,
becomes paper becomes
scissors cutting through the air–
thought stilled before form

Continuing my mask theme, three collage masks inspired by Matisse cut-outs that I did for the Kick About a few weeks ago. In my poem I was thinking about a film I saw of Matisse at work.

I’ve been working with masks for a long time in many different media. These are inspired by Mexican Devil masks as well as by Matisse.

Austin Kleon has a great post about masking with some excellent quotes that you can read here. It’s a mode of expression I’m sure I’ll always continue to explore.

Here’s another devil mask and a shovel poem I did for a Sue Vincent photo prompt in 2017. Thanks again, Sue, for all your inspiration.

the door is always open s

“…that what you fear the most/could meet you halfway…” –Victoria Williams, “Crazy Mary”

The horns that
make you.  Tell me what
endures:  you,
masked with fear,
burning life to ashes, the
ender?  Or the most
wild transformation that could
be?  We meet
face to face.  But you
pause.  Halfway.

Also linking up with dVerse OLN, hosted by Linda.

Political Attire

The mask they wear
repeats the same cliches,
pretending to truth,
embellished with lies–
dismissing the facts
when inconvenient.  The Devil watches,
laughs with them.  He knows their true faces well.

The mask they wear
is glued to their ethos–
virtue corrupted
by perpetual
guile—whatever is
required to keep the reigns of power—a
prayer, a riot, a bargain made in Hell.

A duodora for Lisa’s prompt at dVerse, to discuss something that irritates us in the context of Halloween. I admit this goes well beyond simple irritation.

The paintings are from a series of eight I found when going through my files. They are a bit strange–I can’t remember what inspired me to do them. I was waiting for some poem that would go with them. This works.

Like the Lines in the Palm of Your Hand

Every question is a riddle–
we are stuck here in the middle–
borderlined.

But still we keep on asking why,
continue waiting, standing by
for guidelines.

Answers just confuse, pretending
somewhere there exists an ending–
a lifeline.

Deceiving with complexity,
embroidering with fantasy–
we’re traplined.

In silence there are many words
unspoken and more clearly heard–
sibylline.

Grace at dVerse introduced us to a new form called Compound Word Verse. Wow! this was hard. But enough revising–at a certain point you need to let it be.

Souvenir

I could not
look at it from be
fore or aft
er, only
the angle of gone, dissolved,
empty, vanishing–

not just the
material thing
that had been
dispossessed,
but what it represented–
a piece of myself,

never to
be recovered–and
here I am
left watching,
clinging to impermanence
like water and wind

“The Kick-About prompt of souvenir seemed perfect: my daughter had given me a small sketchbook, and every day I sat on my beach chair with my feet in the waves doing a drawing, and then writing a haiku to accompany it.  The sketchbook would be my souvenir.

On the last day of my beach vacation the ocean was quite rough, due to Hurricane Henri passing by, so I sat far up on the sand, where only a small piece of a dying wave occasionally brushed my toes.  Holding my sketchbook up to let the watercolor pencil drawing dry I was suddenly totally upended by a rogue wave that covered me completely. I stood up, soaked, clutching my pencils in one hand, but watching my sketchbook being pulled under and out to sea. 

I will replay that image in my mind for a long time, maybe forever.

When I got home, I channeled my emotional turmoil into neocolors, drawing from memory the ocean that was now fixed in my mind.  The sketchbook drawings were so much more beautiful though.  At least that’s how I’ll always remember them.”

For dVerse, where Ingrid asks us to attempt “writing your way out of a place of pain“. I drew it first, then I wrote.

space is the place

The Oracle got a makeover from MagneticPoetry.com. It’s going to take getting used to. I used the new “happiness” category. I can use some, after reading the news this morning.

When I saw the Oracle’s message, I immediately thought of Sun Ra, an artist of living, not just music, that my older brother introduced me to when we were teenagers. “Space is the Place” was a title he used for many different pieces of art.

I had titled these birdling collages from my archives “birdlings in space”. The birdlings make me happy no matter where they are.

where is wonder?
make time for space
alive with possibility–
between comes whispering–
soon surprise will follow

eating the heart out

The streets are quiet,
eerie, the walls blank.
I remain inside.

My windows are noisy
with things I can’t see.
I rarely reply to them
because the response flies
away on the wind,
storm tossed and clouded,
darkened by rain
and the fading light.

What would I say
to the ghosts
of the children?–
the ones not
on the playground not
on the streets no
longer living
in an apartment, a house,
a country, a land–
the ones no one can
find anywhere?

How to say the word
death
and to also shield them
from its consequences.
How to explain
why and how
we have come to be

living in this uncertain
tangle of lies
ignorance violence–
a place full
of humans unable
to even acknowledge
or to bridge
the rising waters.

The ones who
would rather drown
than make amends.

Sherry at earthweal has reminded us of all the grief consuming the world, and asks us to write about it. I wrote a version of this poem first in the midst of New York’s early pandemic. I’ve revised it a bit, but the ghosts of the children have not gone away.

raw night

The moon in her current path shines across my bed at about 2 am. She makes sure I acknowledge her gift.

And of course the moon and the Oracle are old friends…

beneath the shadow
of my dream
language sleeps
in a forest of wind

the moon sings me
into its lightship
soaring on mad tongues
without a whisper of why

Midway

If I approach before, must I retreat after?  The mirror is always turning.  The reflection reverts, echos, remembers, forgets.  Meets itself, coming and going.  Centered, stilled.

on the cusp
earth bows to the sun
abiding

Perhaps the sudden and expanded silence is what heals, releases the mind from meaning.  Can words ever really stand in for what they are not?

Without time, I can relocate who I am.  I reach for next, but I don’t understand until later how very far it is from now.

widdershins
the circle dances
into fire

Frank at dVerse has us thinking about the Solstice.

And my title has me thinking about Joni.

More 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