Fireworks

you dreamed without beginning–
breath, stars, flowers
of light

you were happy to hold
hands with what was
not there

you closed your eyes and sang
from the inside, way down,
like flying,

listening to your heart beating,
rearranging the pattern
into constellations

you released what you had not
seen—you gave it away
without thinking

you dreamed with your arms open
and became entirely unafraid–
spilled over

The Kick About prompt this week referenced Flowers of Fire, late 1800s Japanese fireworks catalogues. There were pages and pages of not only beautiful abstract images, but plants, animals, people, and objects. It made me think that the artists who created these light shows were trying to project their dreams into the sky.

Visions of wishes and magical things.

As usual, the collage turned out very differently than I imagined it, but I think it captures the spirit of what I intended to do.

For dVerse, OLN, hosted by Sanaa.

Vaquita

vaquita collage left s

Once the net held all.

Land and sea
and all of its inhabitants–
each pulling its threads,
mending and reweaving
until the ripples
returned themselves
to the delicate balance
of ebb and flow.

Ghost nets they call them–
abandoned traps that
strangle and drown.

No species lives in isolation.
Deplete one and all suffer.

Poverty kills more
than just the humans
desperate to survive.

vaquita collage s

The Gulf of California, which separates the Baha Peninsula from the Mexican mainland, has one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth, with many endemic species, including the vaquita, small porpoises on the verge of extinction.

Although laws have been passed banning gillnets and the illegal harvesting of totoaba for their swim bladders, and much of the area has been designated as off limits to commercial development, there is little money or will from the Mexican government for enforcement.

The native peoples historically relied on fishing for sustenance.  The impoverishment of their lives by commercial development, overfishing, and sport fishing mean that black market exporters of the swim bladders to China will always find someone willing to risk using banned fishing methods to catch the fish.  When gillnets are used, lost, or abandoned, vaquitas get caught in them and drown.

When I first did an endangered species post on the vaquita, in 2015, there were thought to be 100 individuals left.  Today the estimates range from 30 to less than 10.  It seems unlikely that they will survive.

Laws can only do so much.  Our entire economic system needs to be rethought in ways that allow all members of all species, including our own, to live a dignified and sustainable life.

vaquita collage right s

For earthweal, where Sherry has asked us to “remember the lost ones, and the ones who will soon break our hearts by leaving.

Hibernation

I sleep through the storms, the alarms, the sirens.  I can’t seem to leave the night behind.

Mornings do not touch me. The grey dawn moves around my body, travels somewhere else, into other rooms, other lives.

I am not lost, but I have put myself on hold.  For the time being I follow the thread that has entangled me, in parallel to where the rest of the world awaits.

Darkness knocks at every door.  The wind shivers my bones.  I am bombarded.  Yet I stand resolute at the stilled center, suspended, withdrawn.

I sojourn.  I am filled to overflowing with abiding.

When I return, winter will have receded into a different story, one already told.  A new once upon a time will erase the cold, satisfy my hunger for warmth, birdsong, greenery, light.

Then I can open my eyes.

Then I can breathe.

Merril at dVerse has provided these words from Adrienne Rich for this week’s prosery: I am bombarded yet I stand.

where deep-diving light creates a third eye

I wanted to note three recent publications, all a bit strange in the manner of many of my collages.

Two actually were collages, a couple of older ones, one based on one of Jane’s Sunday Strange Microfiction Challenges that for some reason I never posted. You can find them here, in Otoliths.

I also had a poem published in last month’s visual verse, part of the final postings of the month. Thanks to Manja, for letting me know. You can read it here. I’m number 86. Take a look at Manja’s too, number 100.

And a strange poem for a strange painting at The Ekphrastic Review, posted today, here.

Elegy

We avoid the
word death.  Darkened by
deceptions, we turn
away, close our eyes
We are told to cheer
up, as if emotions could be denied,
as if getting over was simply done.

We avoid the
word death.  The wheel turns,
but not always towards
the light.  Don’t tell us
that time will heal
the scars, that everything will be all right.
We must remember—all the names—now gone. 

For earthweal, where the theme is All Souls.

I did this collage for one of Jane’s prompts last year, but I think it works as well with this poem.

water and air

ocean riding sky–
waves rise untethered floating
entangled in clouds

For Ingrid’s concrete poetry prompt at dVerse. Like Ingrid, I’m usually abstract with my verse, so I’m not sure even this short verse meets the requirements. I didn’t use any of the forbidden words though.

The top collage was done for a collaboration with Marcy Erb in 2015. The beach sketch, which reminds me somewhat of those in my lost sketchbook from last summer, was done in 2016.

Unprecedented

In May, Sun Hesper Jansen published a post about the Unprecedented Project, along with her blackout poem. I was intrigued, and went to the website to take a look.

The Unprecented Project sends out random pages from Boccaccio’s The Decameron, a book about waiting out the plague, to be turned into blackout poems, embellished in whatever way you choose, as a way of commemorating our random participations in our own plague.

I sent away for a page, and above is the result. Halloween seems a good time for it. You can still participate, if you so desire. There is also always a changing cast of poetic pages to view on the website for inspiration.

listen
your bone rattle
they will continue
to be
unhappy unhappy
for all time

Also linking to earthweal’s spooktacular weekend.

(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.

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.