Joker’s Wild

sorry charlie fool s

It doesn’t matter if you say
no
in fact:  why not?
go ahead

I’m taking it with a grain of salt

It’s a blessing in disguise

I may have missed the boat but
I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it

in fact:  the sky’s the limit

And if I’m not playing
with a full deck:  so what?
I’ve got an ace in the hole

I’ve got the whole nine yards

I’ve got all the time in the world

joker s

Take a wild guess–what’s in my hand?
Gobbledygook?  Only a joke?
Hullabaloo?  Mirrors and smoke?

Juggle to play–where will they land?
Diamonds and kings?  Jack and a Trump?
Ace in the hole?  Or just a hunch?

Song and a dance–strike up the band!
Monkeys are here–business to make–
Chickens are counted–won’t calculate.

Quick!  Heads or tails?  Where do you stand?
Not fair at all?  Surely you jest–
I’m just a card–take a wild guess.

Two final fools for 2020, both from 2016. I wonder what inspired me that year? Let’s hope 2021 deals us all a better hand.

Beggar’s Ride

beggars ride s

What lies beyond up?

Shadows, a winding staircase,
a journey without end.

Clouds traveling unwalled–
a fool’s ship, a beggar’s ride,
a castle in the sky.

A reblog of my response to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, from 2018.  I wanted to try one of Jane Dougherty’s “42” poems–I love a question to start a poem–so that’s the form I used here. And it’s a good reminder I should try this form again.

stairs s

I had an idea to combine brush paintings of horses with collage, although this wasn’t what I was thinking when I did the horses.  That’s usually what happens to my ideas…they go off on tangents.

horse s

Continuing this week’s Feast of Fools, inspired by the earthweal challenge.

recognizing the night

angels without bodies
heads with wings
gazing with dismay
upon humanity–

where indeed?
did they come from
will they go?
and who knows

who they are
who we are
and why we are
on opposite sides?

who is this?  who
petitions the heavens
surrounded by sky waves
encased in a floating shell

held by cherubs–
the sun waits
uncertain afraid
while multiple madonnas

hover above
the mission grounds–
what is the mission?
of this line drawn

over and under–
who drew it?
who was first
to deny kinship

to question the connection
between we and they–
is it just a matter
of transposing

the words the sounds?
what prayers must Our Lady
carry past the pleading priests?
over the waves

through the clouds
into the night
where the moon waits
patient and wise

For the earthweal challenge A FEAST OF EARTH FOOLS. Once again, I am uncertain if my answer fulfills the question. But I believe the moon, patroness of lunatics, deserves a seat at earth’s table.

Part of this poem came out of something I wrote about an engraving in the Hispanic Museum celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was an unhappy scene I thought–even the angels looked distressed. The sun appeared to be attempting to hide. Only the three visions of the Lady seemed to hold any real spiritual essence. It was titled “Recognizing the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe”–clearly what was needed was to recognize the night.

Talk Like Shakespeare Today

What fools, what fools, what fools these mortals be
what fools to mimic riches glitter fame
what fools to in those masks refinement see
what fools embraceth folly without shame

Where every likeness hath its own deceit
wherein it looketh match to opposite
pretended twin to answer in repeat
the shoe that forceth toes and heel to fit

With voices like to painted artifice
with jaws that stretcheth into polished teeth
with promises that proveth meaningless
duplicity a smile cached underneath

And will the masquerade yet come undone?
I fear the jester killeth us with fun.

The Earthweal challenge this week is titled A FEAST OF EARTH FOOLS. Brendan has asked us to “Mix your human essence with another living entity”, in the spirit of the ancient seasonal celebrations that invite reversals, chaos, and ghosts into the world in order to transform it.

I’ve often written about fools, and decided to repost some of them this week, while considering how to answer Brendan’s invitation. It’s not a bad idea this time of year to consider the folly of humankind.

This poem was written in April 2016 for Shakespeare’s birthday, and Talk Like Shakespeare Day (yes it really exists).

what shines through water

Perhaps the rain and windstorm of Christmas Eve is a beginning towards washing away the darkness of 2020. Of course, as the Oracle reminds us, it’s never that simple.

I was pleased to have 3 pieces selected for The Ephrastic Review’s Christmas day post: Weathering, Our Lady of Toil and Trouble, and Mari Lwyd . You can read them here

away from the rain
shadows still ache with light
storms rip together apart

yet sea and sky sing roses
in the mothertongue
of the moon

ask what you want
for the dreams
you need

Also linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

winter solstice 2020

the moon reflects–
caught between inside and out
returning the light

For Frank Tassone’s haikai challenge collection, I have chosen #170, Solstice II, December 19th. These are photos I took of the moon, which appeared briefly that night between the buildings. The clouds soon moved in, dashing any hopes of seeing the two planets in conjunction.

What most interested me about the photos was that the half moon appeared most clearly as a reflection caught in the glass of my window. Perhaps that’s all we can really hope to see this year–a mirrored image capturing what fleetingly enters our field of vision if we are lucky enough to be looking that way.

Castle in the Sky/the earth sings

Too much and too little of everything,
this disembodied crowd of kings and fools–
the culmination of faith is a leap into the unknown–
the spaces between are all that remains.

The details of life become blurred and distorted,
fragments scattered into ghosts
reflecting the collision of bottomless dreams and desires–
too much and too little of everything.

Plans go astray, linger unrealized.
The path is long and winding and there is no map —
what makes us think we have finally found the truth?
(this disembodied crowd of kings and fools)

Does only night reveal the secret of the star?
The past follows us no matter where we go–
how little is really necessary!
The culmination of faith is a leap into the unknown.

The earth embraces us, teeming with life–
what are we looking for?  where do we belong?
Will we recognize it when we reach our destination?–
the spaces between are all that remains.

memories are
woven into tales–
time and space
expanded
and compressed—fragments scattered
like ghosts of what is

no longer
there—we know why we
seek this thing–
Divine Light–
but there is no star, only an
endless procession

escaping
from its past—still we
always come
back again,
repeating the well trodden
paths of Holy fools–

and when our
destination finds
us what will
we see?  grace
reflecting the gift of life?
or the gold of kings?

I wrote these two poems (a cascade, and a shadorma chain) in response to a painting of the daylight travels of the Magi followed by multitudes of richly garbed men which was part of the Ekphrastic Review Holiday Challenge. These did not make the cut. But when I saw the Earthweal Challenge for the change we are, I thought they fit.

I know my prompt responses often seem to veer off course, and maybe this one is also in that category. Perhaps it stems from my sense of things not fitting properly in the world–myself included–which gives me a general inability to feel I am accurately responding to anything. But I also feel that’s where “we” are at this Solstice 2020. Changes are all around us, but it’s hard to find the proper light in which to tell exactly what they are.

with more art from the archives