Will you gift me with shadow wings that uncontain my soul? Will you scatter me like stars, wonder me, constellate me? Will you expand me soaring, wind me in spiraled orbits, weave me whole, astral, bewinged?
A pleiades poem for Laura at dVerse. This is a distilled revision of a poem I wrote in 2016 and the artwork I did to accompany it.
I wanted to reblog my response to an old prompt of Sue Vincent’s in honor of the New Moon this weekend. The Oracle had something to say about it too.
In my original post, I explained my inspiration: I discovered this week that the plural for luna mare (moon sea) is lunar maria …is that wonderful, or what? So when I saw Sue Vincent’s Luna photo prompt, above, I had to incorporate it into my response.
Here’s the poem I wrote for Sue’s photo:
The arc of lunar mountains, edged dark with bays of basalt… Maria!—your names reflect as mirrors to fill
with sorrow, forgetfulness, snakes, storms and fear. Can we find the sea of tranquility and sail into dreams?
between is and if only we listen as earth grows restless
breathing wild ancient song beneath murmuring leaves
climbing windshine over rock rooted paths
wandering through the hidden secrets of the moon’s dark night
And of course this song is still and always appropriate.
You can see 14 other interpretations of “Maria” here.
be bop shout– rhythm–blues– eight to the bar– oompah oompah groove– boogie-woogie back beat jingle jangle jive talkin double time front line howl growl whine– interlude solitude riff raff boom– whistle whomp wah wah zoomba zoomba zoom
The Kick-About’s challenge #14 was a short film by Norman Maclaren called “Boogie Doodle”. It really reminded me of Matisse’s Jazz collages, and I used his abstracted figures as inspiration to create my own dancers based on photos of jazz dancers I found on the internet. I also wanted to recreate the shadow effect for both the dancers and the dots. Primary colors seemed a natural fit for both dots and ground, and I cut out the figures in black and white as contrast, inspired by the film.
For the poem I wanted to use music and musical sound words. It was much harder than I anticipated, but I like the idea of a poem composed mostly of sounds, and may visit it again. I found a great onomatopoeia dictionary online too.
The Voice kept trying to turn him back—“there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles”—but he refused to believe its repeated lies.
And yet he could not find the source, hidden somewhere within the dimensionless shadows of the vertical, the angled, the edge.
He himself was scrabbled, suspended out of sight, waiting underneath many meaningless layers of illusion. The indifference did not bother him; neither did the newsprint words strewn carelessly about.
He considered himself abandoned, lost inside an unwritten story. Curious strings embedded his thoughts in articles torn from the back page.
But what had happened to his body? It was a puzzle he could not figure out. He could see, listen, think. But his position never changed.
Was his mind an orphan, birthed incompletely, accidentally, a false start left unfinished?
Was he himself the Voice?
I did this collage a few months ago, and I’ve been waiting for the right words to pair with it. Merril’s prosery prompt at dVerse, “there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles” from “Drawings By Children” by Lisel Mueller found its way into an old freewrite page in my notebook that contained the phrase newsprint words strewn carelessly about and gave it some shape.
skulls of saints– the bones of the dead dismantled– spiritual songs
the bones of the dead seeking a form– spiritual songs, grey life
seeking a form– labyrinth, grey life– they are nothing
labyrinth, consumed moon– they are nothing– times chant
consumed moon, intricate relationships– times chant blood
intricate relationships dismantled– blood, skulls of saints
A pantoum mash up of phrases from Samuel Greenberg’s “The Pale Impromptu” for Laura at dVerse, and The Kick-About prompt #13 “Ersilia” from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
The Kick-About prompt immediately made me want to take actual thread and do something three-dimensional to represent the abandoned city of Ersilia. Cardboard boxes were my starting point. Weaving my embroidery floss with a needle between the supports I cut and folded up, it became obvious how the city inhabitants became tangled in a state of impasse, forcing them to move on.
I decided to do a landscape background–the text spoke of viewing the deserted city from the mountains–and I spent a lot of time laying out possible landscapes on my floor from the collage references I had. I then dismantled and retaped a box to make a sort of diorama and glued the landscape pieces down.
Then I had fun rearranging the threaded bones of the city and photographing it from different viewpoints against the background.
Laura’s prompt, to incorporate phrases from Greenberg’s poem into our own verse, made me think of combining those words with phrases taken from the Calvino excerpt. There seemed to be an affinity between the two.
I read “Invisible Cities” in 2016 and posted a review on Goodreads. At the end I wrote: “Certainly it inspires visions that could be transferred to paper…and perhaps some of them will come to form for me at a future time.” And so they have.