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

Carapace

Carapace
who speaks?—carapace
dream landscape
indigo
blue paths going from nowhere
into nowhere else.

A shelter?–
a support?–cosmic
tree growing
up and up
with turtles all the way down
to infinity…

green sea turtle s

Sarah at dVerse asks us to consider the word blue. I did have a dream with a disembodied voice repeating “carapace”, and used it as inspiration for the shells I painted for the Kick-About prompt “Museum Wormarianum”. The dream was saturated in blues.

Both Nina and I have painted and drawn and photographed turtles and tortoises many times at memadtwo. They are wonderful–and need I say? endangered–creatures, believed by some cultures to hold the earth, and all life, on their backs.

And here’s some classic blues performed by the Turtle Island String Quartet.

My New Window

My new window looks at rooftops architecture trees
and sky.  My new window opens to the continuous city
work of maintenance and construction going from here
to there and back again the voices of cars and dogs
and humans and birds.  My new window is busy.

After dark my new window sparkles with other windows
imprinted on dark silhouettes.  The night sky changes
color and texture from hour to hour and the full moon
wakes me as it shines its reflected secrets into
my dreaming eyes.  My new window is aware.

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write about what you see through a particular window. This one is in the bedroom of my new apartment. I’m so happy I have such a good view of the moon, which has woken me up every clear night for the past week.

fitzcarraldo

sky quilt s

fitzcarraldo n. an image that somehow becomes lodged deep in your brain—maybe washed there by a dream, or smuggled inside a book, or planted during a casual conversation—which then grows into a wild and impractical vision that keeps scrambling back and forth in your head like a dog stuck in a car that’s about to arrive home, just itching for a chance to leap headlong into reality.

that tiny room
the one with the steps to the attic
the one with only bed and dresser

nothing more fits
but the window with the tree
and the sky and the birds

I could leap out that window
like Wendy and the Lost Boys
riding the wind to faraway dreams

I could hide under the covers
with a flashlight and a book
a transistor radio playing

Fly Me to the Moon
I could accompany myself
by singing wishes on stars

on a moon that illuminates all
these yearnings pulsing through
the bloodsongs of my heart

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today was to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. What a wonderful dictionary! I will be visiting it again.

My fitzcarraldo is a bit less intense than Herzog’s…

centering

I think the Oracle is telling me to slow down, stop trying to do everything all at once. Don’t panic because I can’t even find the box where I packed the scotch tape. Sometimes you just need to take time to breathe.

breathe full deep
climb between
always and after

follow spirit about
let soul in

wander quiet paths

listening to rivers
giving songs
to the wind

Grow NYC

On the run, in retreat,
empty lots, dirty streets–
take the land, make it green–
thumbs and hearts, community.

Food to eat, flowers, herbs,
trees with branches full of birds–
an oasis filled with life–
lost then found, death defied.

I’ve been thinking about the earthweal challenge for Earth Day–what postitive steps have been taken locally to improve the environment?

NYC was in serious decline in the 70s–hence the famous headline, from 1975, below. Everything was falling apart, and there were vacant lots and abandoned properties everywhere.

Ford new york city drop dead

Organizations like GrowNYC, Greenthumb, and OasisNYC began to foster community gardens in abandoned lots, renovated by volunteers from the surrounding area. Today there are nearly 600 such gardens in the city–everywhere you walk, you’ll stumble upon one. Managed by neighborhood residents, they grow all kinds of things, both edible and simply beautiful. They foster new and experienced gardeners, young and old. They sponsor art displays and performances, and act as community centers.

I used Bjorn’s prompt, at dVerse, to compose my poem for Earth Day in Anapestic Tetrameter.