letting go

why wait for now to pass?
always living in to be
tomorrow is not where we are, ever

each minute, hour, a chance
encounter we can’t foresee
full of spans impossible to measure

where am I?  here and now
and no place else—out or in,
over or under, it doesn’t matter

each fragment itself whole–
each moment contained within
the present completeness of forever

I haven’t written a kerf poem in awhile. The W3 prompt this week, a response to Burden of Time by A. J. Wilson, also has the restrictions of 12 lines or less, and the use of the word fragment. The kerf, a 12-line poem, was just right. You can read A. J. Wilson’s poem here.

Illustrations are two variations on the seed of life motif.

reticulation

spinning winding then weaving
spiraling into endless
connections which appear
to be hanging nowhere
suspended without edge
ending always at inception
never does the fiber fray
the beginning continues

follow where it leads
through the unknown
miles of endless webs
a glittering reflection
metamorphoses
illuminating the darkness
accumulations
of ancient intricacies

dispersed without direction
resonating chords
of the cosmos naked
glory of formless flow
undefined by outlines
unshadowed unbroken
blurring the boundaries
between us and we

For earthweal, where Sherry asks us to Contemplate the web of life and see where it takes you.

rising

My message from the Oracle. The almost-full moon woke me again last night. And at dawn–robin, blue jay, mockingbird, cardinal, mourning dove, crow–they are still here.

birds grow quiet
as
the spirit wanders
between why
and the ancient moon
that wakes me
shining through this season
of night

I ask dawn for song
listen
as dark becomes light

Another one of my Redon-inspired collages, and some birdlings from the archives.

Darkness Darkness

The Fashion Institute of Technology had only one dorm, reserved for out-of-town students, so I felt lucky to have been granted a room, even if I knew it was only for the first year of my two-year program.  My roommate had sisters in the city, but had grown up upstate, in a Catholic group home, really an orphanage with all its attendant horrors.  Nothing has changed about that since the time of Dickens.

Her mother died when she was very young.  A family friend wanted to adopt her, but the Catholic Church refused to separated her from her two older sisters—the friend could not manage three more children.  Her sisters married as soon as they aged out of the system, and now lived again in the city where they had been born.  My roommate was a talented artist, and her high school art teacher encouraged her to prepare a portfolio and apply to FIT.  She wanted to be a textile designer.

Her father had abandoned the family when her mother became pregnant with a fourth child.  Unable to imagine being able to support three children, let alone four, on her own, the mother sought an abortion.  It killed her.

Her daughters had no choice but to accept the fact that both parents were permanently lost to them.  But there was a simmering anger in my roommate, a wound of loss and grief, that remained. 

I lost touch with her—we both moved around a lot after getting our associate degrees, and the internet was not even a blip on our consciousness in 1973—but I thought of her again when the decision overturning Roe v Wade was leaked to the press.

Now, as then in the 1950s, our government blames the poor for their poverty, penalizing most of all the living mothers and their living children, abandoned by fathers, or forced to flee abusive husbands and partners, condemning them to hunger and homelessness as a punishment for not being born lucky, for not having friends and family who have enough wealth and stability to pick up the pieces when they need a helping hand.

another grey sky–
spring comes late this year—crow calls
inside the graveyard

For dVerse, where Lisa asks us to consider the topic of grief.

How can we learn to sing when we have no voice?

The shifting mirrors contain contradictory and ethereal messages, as if hidden in the center of a missing source of light.  Where are the currents located?  The rays seems to come from an absolute stillness embedded in the fraying edges of circles that no longer move.

Once we were seekers, following the contours of the channels that held rivers and oceans, sailing the shorelines, harvesting in abundance the rewards of departure followed by return.

Now we have only illusions sinking into the periphery of fading dreams, scattered like the ancient remnants of empyrean spirals, the movements of mythical stars, the mysteries of a consciousness that once made its home inside a biological form.

bare silence–
human remains lost,
fossilized

Off prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 29. I wanted to do something for this Redon collage.

The world remains heavy.

Yea, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don’t deserve it
But we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance
Dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
–Mary Gauthier

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Grace.

Beyond All Knowing

They wished to be passengers on a river of stars,
but the road they followed fell below the horizon,

a road that insisted on following darker paths.
Suddenly they found themselves accompanied by wolves.

The wolves ran through an expanding tunnel–
its walls were spattered with the past,

a past too scattered to contain or understand.
No door appeared within, no window,

no exit from the accumulations of bad intent,
the gods and humans that demanded obedience.

The wolves made no demands, but extended an invitation
to join them as they became transparent—

to join them in sheering the mind’s self-imposed limits.
They wished to be passengers on a river of stars.

A duplex sonnet for NaPoWriMo Day 27.

Haibun for a Reluctant Spring

The day is grey and I am swept along its ways.  Dense, impenetrable, uncertain.

And yet here is the sparrow tree.  It sings out in tangled branches of song, in a chaotic chorus with no melody but infinite cheer.

The path continues with a chill bleakness.  Robins and starlings bathe in puddles of mud.  A sudden startle of dog and wings open, rise.

The wind is relentless.  I regret dressing as if it were spring, as if winter had actually said its final farewell and relinquished its place on the wheel.  My hands dig deeper into my pockets.

Despite the lack of sun, grackles sparkle in the grass.  They watch me—curious?  wary?  amused?—as I stop to take them in.

I have a destination so I turn and travel east.  Blue jays echo my movements in a stop-and-start carousel of cries.  The moist air clings to my face.

emptying my thoughts
to make leeway for feathers–
invisible, light

Frank at dVerse asked for a haibun including the birdsongs of spring. A perfect time to bring out the birdlings.

Also linking to earthweal, where Brendan asks us to consider what serves as a commons for where we live. I would argue that every street in NYC is a commons, but the parks, especially, serve as a place where human and non-human intersect. My haibun is based on several recent walks through Central Park. Birds are everywhere (even in winter). But of course more of them and louder in spring.

welikia

I see you
superimposed on
the landscape,
melting in
to the shadows of buildings,
sidewalks, trunks of trees–

woodfern
sweetpepper bush cherry
maple oak
panicgrass
fleabane hornbeam chestnut
marsh blue violet–

I float on
streams to the river–
pickerel perch
otter duck–

climb paths up forested hills–
bear fox rabbit deer–

My Lady
of Mannahatta–
swallowtail
buckeye spring
azure monarch
–you gather
me windwhispering

on hawkwings–
full green animate,
this island

return me
to the timeless before, when
land was shared, not owned

Welikia means “my good home” in the Lenape language. The Lenape tribe were the original inhabitants of Manhattan and the surrounding lands. Their main village was where Yonkers is now; they had temporary structures on the island of Mannahatta for use in hunting, fishing, and gathering.

The Welikia Project is an interactive map of New York City, where you can find out about the biodiversity and landscape of the island in 1609, before it was developed by Europeans. The idea that the Dutch “bought” the island was not one shared by the native peoples they then forced to leave the land.

Today, the NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live.”