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.
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.
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
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.
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.”