Between Silences

When I was young I painted a woman.
I called her Our Lady of Manhattan
just an ordinary dark-haired mortal, her hand raised
in blessing.  What was she blessing?

Motherhood is the basic means by which life continues.
Birth is messy.  Life is messy.
What child is this?  Blood, the darkness before light.
Hold the light.  Hold the shadow too.

The sun dies and is reborn inside its own ashes–
I stand on the edge inside the mirror that reflects both ways.
The narrative enters, fills me with all that I will never comprehend–
bones brimmed into silence, mind beset by stars.

The shelter of trees, the shield of a raptor’s wing–
the cover of the night sky, the protection of the moon–
it won’t be long before all we have lost will be forgotten,
visiting us only in strange incoherent dreams.

They were merely stories superimposed on infinity–
currents traveling through veins beneath transparent skin.
How can you reproduce the alchemy of angels?—
In the beginning, the blood of roses—ever after, the crown of thorns.

My poem Between Silences, a response to the above painting Hymn to the Virgin, by Theodoros Poulakis, was published at The Ekphrastic Review on Friday. I have been thinking about that painting, which I did in the late 1970s, and I went to the storage room to look for it.

I was amazed at how many paintings from that time that I thought were lost were packed away in garbage bags and in boxes. I brought Our Lady back to photo and hang in my office, as she did so many residences ago. One of my projects for 2023 is to go though all that old art and photo it too. Besides the paintings there are about 15 portfolios which I think contain mostly collages, but who knows? I often look at things I did only 5 years ago and have no memory of doing them at all.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for her continued support of my work and the interaction of visual art and words.

multitudes of changing colour, condensed motion, thoughts full

we can hear the universe sing
on the edge of time–
from nothing, vast light

reflections of change and reprise
spilling from our eyes

a map
sweeping life away–
mountain water green

what was not, now is–
what holds the earth’s hand
as being collides?

from the inside out,
like the tides,
become somewhere else

Laura at dVerse asked us to use the last lines of our recent poems to construct a new poem of at least 12 lines. I went through all my poems both here and on memadtwo from November 1 until now, only adding one word, like, with the tides. The title is from the last line of a sijo, hence its length, as opposed to my normal preference for short lines.

Fairy Tale World 2022

Once upon a time, wonder.  Inside narrative, it becomes lost, leaves only invisible tracks.  Who will see them, find them, save them?  Always a long journey to the center of the spiral.

is happily?
nowhere to be

and after?
suddenly it engulfs

Over rainbows, they said, somewhere, lies the road to NirvanaDon’t be fooled, they said, by the enticing Road to Ruin.  But where to begin?  Where, even, is the rainbow?  I appeal to the mystery hidden inside darkness.

my journey
by the moon

Two quadrilles for dVerse, where Merril provided the word track. I was inspired to write these by Lisa at Tao Talk, who used “once upon a time” as the beginning of one of her troikus for her poetry postcards this year. I’ve illustrated the quadrilles with some of my own poetry postcards from 2021, where I printed some of my moon photos and gave them words.

point of departure

spin and spiral
engulfed in wonder
stirred into awakening
blood quickening through

the heart caught pounding
between yearning and fear–
earthsurge pulses
in a wild rhythmic dance

of elemental music–
sensory patterns that become
a voyage of inception
whirling itself alive

Sherry at earthweal asked us to Write a poem about Earth’s wild music. And Sarah’s W3 prompt was a poem of 12 lines or less that includes a contrast of images or ideas in response to her poem “Work in Progress.”

Actions Speak Louder Than Words


Passed on out of earshot.
Resting in a blind spot.

Didn’t make it is the upshot.
Hit the target, won the jackpot.

Every big shot
Bound gagged and bought.

Gunshot gunshot gunshot.
Just another onslaught.

Headline.  Snapshot.
Prayers and thoughts.

The prompt from Bjorn at dVerse was to write a poem of dissonance. The article he referred us to spoke of how such a poem should make us uncomfortable. Everything makes me uncomfortable these days.

I have also responded to Muri’s poem/prompt at W3, where she asked for a poem of monorhymes either at the beginning or the end of the line. I’ve put it in the hexaduad form.

bending light

bare branches
so still
they turn to stone

and skip across
the water

form and function

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 18 is to “write a poem based on the title of one of the chpaters from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Word“. I chose “bending light”.

the great beyond

I consulted the Oracle this morning while thinking about Colleen’s #TankaTuesday theme chosen by Merril, immortality. I was surprised when I went to post it how it follows the Oracle’s message from last week–beyond to the great beyond. Although I am consumed, one might even say overwhelmed, by my moving tasks, as long as my computer is still assembled I will continue speaking with the Oracle on Saturdays.

black as death
we say—but what lies
like wind like
skyshadow singing through blue
lightdreams and still seas?

the rhythm dancing
dazzled with
embrace the open window–
vast secrets flying


tides entombed in unchanging light,
reflecting the absent sky,
shimmering with intangibles–
an ancient web woven with stories–

the stilled sea contemplates its origins–
heavy with the cadences of gravity
boundaried by the afterlife–
tides entombed in unchanging light–

surrounded and asunder, astonishment
becomes tinged with enigmatic clarity–
holding particles of stars as if enshrined,
reflecting the absent sky–

the fulcrum rests inside the echo
of what endures, arising
from an aqueous womb
shimmering with intangibles–

the circle continues, horizonless,
quivering in confluence–
who can refuse the voices of the sea?–
an ancient web woven with stories–

I’ve been futzing around with this all week, inspired by the Kick-About prompt, Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez, and the earthweal challenge natural forces. The painting above, my first attempt, probably has 20 painted layers. Watercolor looks very different wet, and each time it dried I was dissatisfied with the result.

Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez was an Austrian artist who designed a diving bell, below, so he could paint the landscape that existed under the sea. This was in the 1860s–both crazy and fantastic. His paintings have an eerie green magic, which was what I was trying to capture.

Eugen Ransonnet-Villez

Because what is the sea but the most elemental of magic?

Like Ransonnet-Villez, I wished to immerse myself inside of it. Being at the moment concrete-bound, I could only try to conjure it with words and paint.