Still #2

70 years cranes s

“It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.”
― Joseph Heller

“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”
–Kurt Vonnegut

crane 2s

August 6 marks the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which was followed by the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9—the only time nuclear weapons have been used in war.

Between 130,000 and 230,000 people were killed, mostly civilians.  Many of those who survived the bombing itself were stricken with radiation sickness and died painful and premature deaths.

The story of 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki’s attempt to make 1000 origami cranes after falling ill with leukemia turned the Japanese Crane, long a symbol of immortality, into a symbol of the wish for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

There are currently less than 1800 Japanese cranes surviving in the wild, for the usual human reasons—loss of habitat and food sources, pollution and poisioning, poaching, disease.

And so it goes…

burning floods
birds singing silent
ash and bones

cranes s

For Frank’s haibun prompt at dVerse, August. I’ve written about this in August and used these images several times before.

 This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

–inscription on the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima
http://www.nippon.com/en/images/k00009/

crane 5s

Sadako Sasaki was a toddler living in Hiroshima when it was bombed by the United States.  Ten years later she died as a result of leukemia, “the atomic bomb disease.”  If you don’t know the story of Sadako and the 1000 Cranes, you can read about it here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadako_and_the_Thousand_Paper_Cranes

70 years close up 1s

Flashback

how to become a traveler s

Our origins are hard to find–
we turn around, try to unwind
the center point of what’s behind–
we travel blind, we travel blind.

With roots and branches all entwined,
we’re lost in our unconscious mind–
remembrance wanders unconfined
and recombined, and recombined.

We long for all to be divined,
controlled by talismans and signs–
but life seems always disinclined
to be defined, to be defined.

For Grace at dVerse, a monotetra. I don’t usually write to a specific rhythm, but I enjoyed composing this. I happened also to pick a good rhyming word right off.

I could not find the photos for this art, which I did for one of Jane’s Sunday Strange Microfiction prompts, in 2017, so I don’t have a close up. But here’s the translation of the words.

What to do between the silent secrets of stars?
Open the question at the crossroads of memory and your dreams.
Chase clouds of deep light.
Learn how to become a traveler in the unexplainable.
(in any order…)

Just goes to show I’m still writing about the same things. Although in this case I had some help from the collage box Oracle.

Manifest

Life is difficult.

Well of course it is.  Easy is monotonous.  Uncomplicated is boring.

What is possible must first be imagined.

Am I looking for the Land of Milk and Honey?  Am I waiting for my Ship to Come In?  Do I yearn for Promised Lands?  Do I search for the Pots of Gold at the Ends of Rainbows?

Do I ask to be One of The Chosen Few?

No.  I do not.

Weep at the world.

I am too busy.

Sharpening my oyster knife, so to speak.

Calling to the ocean, sailing on its moontides, seeking kinship on its shore.  Culling only what still contains life, nourishment.

Cutting through the shiny exterior.  Prying open the closed doors.

To see.  What has been kept from me.

Secret, hidden, suppressed, denied.

A pearl or a grain of sand?

You can’t have one without the other.

Jade at dVerse has provided a quote from Zora Neale Hurston from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow for this week’s prosery: No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

Indeed she was.

space is the place

The Oracle got a makeover from MagneticPoetry.com. It’s going to take getting used to. I used the new “happiness” category. I can use some, after reading the news this morning.

When I saw the Oracle’s message, I immediately thought of Sun Ra, an artist of living, not just music, that my older brother introduced me to when we were teenagers. “Space is the Place” was a title he used for many different pieces of art.

I had titled these birdling collages from my archives “birdlings in space”. The birdlings make me happy no matter where they are.

where is wonder?
make time for space
alive with possibility–
between comes whispering–
soon surprise will follow

what is/is not

everywhere
falls apart
mind to eyes
expanding

falls apart
becomes its opposite
expanding
into stories

becomes its opposite
days into nights
into stories
the sun intersecting the moon

days into nights
future and past
the sun intersecting the moon
enlarging the horizon

future and past
the surprise of delight
enlarging the horizon
to leave is to arrive

the surprise of delight
mind to eyes
to leave is to arrive
everywhere

Brian Rutenberg Low Dense (SOLD), 2010, oil on linen, 63 x 158 inches

The Kick-About prompt this time was a painting by Brian Rutenberg, Low Dense, above. The colors immediately made me think of Monet, which made me think of the grids I did based on Monet’s work. And so I decided to do a grid.

This is a very intense way to look at art, and I learned a lot from it as I not only did some of Monet’s paintings, but an entire book of other artists for The Sketchbook Project. The subtleties of color are amazing when you look closely at them. Rutenberg clearly has an eye for color.

And my second pantoum for the week. Abstract, like the art.

You can see my work with Monet here and here. And my Sketchbook Project book, Art I Like, here.

shadowsong

that song that your words called
into my mind, that song is like
a lost world, just images
in fragments, suspended like
a raincloud without rain,
a weight that refuses
 to dissipate–I can almost
feel the memory but it won’t
land, it keeps circling
through the things that aren’t
quite there–like a bird
call I can’t locate, disembodied
wings hovering invisible
inside my head

I realized immediately that I had seen Lotte Reiniger’s work before when I clicked on the link from the Kick-About prompt. It did not surprise me to hear her say, “I could cut out silhouettes almost as soon as I could manage to hold a pair of scissors.” Her work is, yes, “astonishing”.

Fairytale silhouettes by Lotte Reiniger - Beauty will save ...

Me? I never had that dexterity, not even when young. I also don’t work in film, which was Reiniger’s medium. So how to respond to this prompt?

I was going to work with simple bird silhouettes, but was unhappy with the ones I made myself. Once again, I had constructed a 3-D collage environment with cardboard pieces inside a paper bag. I decided to use photos of bird silhouettes, and hang them from strings at the top so they would move.

I used circles to enclose the bird forms so I could put different photos on each side–the images would change when the dangling circles turned.

Using the ceiling fan to create more movement, I began to take photos.

You can read more about Lotte Reiniger here, and see her extensive filmography here,

Dreaming is Free (Reprise)

I recently took the collage above out of the storage room and hung it in my new apartment. It’s based on a painting, Freedom, by Ilya Repin, that Jane Dougherty used back when she was doing writing prompts, and that both she and Merril have returned to numerous times. I liked it so much I did two collages based on it.

1024px-ilya_repin-what_freedom

I didn’t start out with this idea at all, but as soon as the Oracle pointed to ferocious dancing in the wordlist the entire poem began to reference Repin’s painting. It’s a wonderful painting, full of beautiful messages.

I’m quite sure she isn’t finished sending me back to it either.

dance-of-fate-s

laughter’s breath
kisses like star-sky

here is a rhythm
to embrace

ask the ocean
for the secrets of sailing
airborn

surrounded by voices
that dazzle open magic
windows of ferocious dancing
into a universe
without time

You can see the original posts for each of my above collages here and here.

eating the heart out

The streets are quiet,
eerie, the walls blank.
I remain inside.

My windows are noisy
with things I can’t see.
I rarely reply to them
because the response flies
away on the wind,
storm tossed and clouded,
darkened by rain
and the fading light.

What would I say
to the ghosts
of the children?–
the ones not
on the playground not
on the streets no
longer living
in an apartment, a house,
a country, a land–
the ones no one can
find anywhere?

How to say the word
death
and to also shield them
from its consequences.
How to explain
why and how
we have come to be

living in this uncertain
tangle of lies
ignorance violence–
a place full
of humans unable
to even acknowledge
or to bridge
the rising waters.

The ones who
would rather drown
than make amends.

Sherry at earthweal has reminded us of all the grief consuming the world, and asks us to write about it. I wrote a version of this poem first in the midst of New York’s early pandemic. I’ve revised it a bit, but the ghosts of the children have not gone away.

Midway

If I approach before, must I retreat after?  The mirror is always turning.  The reflection reverts, echos, remembers, forgets.  Meets itself, coming and going.  Centered, stilled.

on the cusp
earth bows to the sun
abiding

Perhaps the sudden and expanded silence is what heals, releases the mind from meaning.  Can words ever really stand in for what they are not?

Without time, I can relocate who I am.  I reach for next, but I don’t understand until later how very far it is from now.

widdershins
the circle dances
into fire

Frank at dVerse has us thinking about the Solstice.

And my title has me thinking about Joni.

More art from the archives.