hollering (75th anniversary of Hiroshima)

hollering s

I hold my own hand
and step into that place
I don’t know and can’t see–

I was always making it up,
but in reaction,
waiting for clues–

Now I see only myself,
my indecision mirroring back
and making me hesitate–

More than a crossroads–
paths appear everywhere
as the center shifts–

I sway with choices–
pick a card, any card–
eeny meeny miny mo

cranes s

I wrote this for the earthweal weekly challenge strange world.  When I went to post it today, I realized it’s the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, so I decided to include some of the art and words from my previous 70th anniversary post.

70 years cranes s

The madness of humanity has been evident for a long time.

no meaning no sense
words are lost is there a way
to stop this bleeding

70 years close up 1s

What are we going to do about it?

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/

also linking to dVerse OLN hosted by Lillian

holiday

i have a dream s

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

You would think if you shared a birthday with someone whose date of birth merits a national holiday, people would remember.  But the actual date of my own birth is still a constant confusion to many of my family and friends. (I know it’s in January…what day again?)

Maybe it’s the moving of all holidays in the U.S. to Mondays, so everyone can enjoy a long weekend.  No need to acknowledge why their employer or school is giving them a day off—the real reason for holidays is to have 3 days off in a row with no work, right?

mid-January–
voice of crow under grey skies–
how to fill the hole

mlk-2017-s

Kim at dVerse prompted us to talk about our birthday.

The Local Crow (revised)

crow 3s

Crow calls to me from above–
“Crowman are you stalking me?”
There he is—on that roof.

Call to attention–
the question
harsh, always interrupting

the pause between the lines.
“Do you want me to look up?”
He extends the invitation again and again.

“I’m telling stories,”
shape-shifting in the interlude–
“remaking the recent past.”

how to release and how to begin–
but that part’s invisible,
stark with intention.

“…or do you hear it?”
unseen voices echo across the gap,
“and are you laughing at me?”

an interior bathed in blue–
“OK—I’m leaving that world—”
memories circle round and round–

“I’m here now, present.”
thoughts hang in the air–
“I’m unfolding those regrets.”

Crow flies over my shadow.
“Are you happy now?”
the clash of silence, unbound

crow 1s

Crow has been following me around for about 15 years now.  I notice birds all the time, but I don’t always know what they are saying to me.  I have a tendency to space out, especially when walking.  Crow’s message has always been clear:  get outside yourself, pay attention.

crow 4s

A message that’s more important than ever.  For Earthweal, messages from the wild, hosted by Sherry, a revision of one of my many poems about Crow.

Necessities

necessities s

How much is enough?  Too much can still feel impoverished—it’s not just money or things (we know that we know that we know that…and yet)

We need another warm body—kind, accepting—one that touches us not in anger, but with love.

We need air that does not scar our lungs, water that quenches without leaving toxic residue.  We need food grown with earth knowledge.  We need multitudes of species–unafraid, unshadowed by our destructive impulses.

We need shelter from harsh elements, windows and doors that open without fear.  We need roots, a place of refuge to call home, a circle of people who reciprocate with trust.  We need to both render and accept, exchanging gifts with mercy and grace.  We need to be needed, for our days to have a reason.

We need stories that ask questions, that challenge and celebrate and comfort us in times both joyful and dark.

We need to be able to provide help without diminishment, to acknowledge the mutual relationships of life.  We need to share what we have too much of with those who don’t have enough.

We need laughter and light, leadership without tyranny.  We need to know we belong.

empty
the future
of past expectations

enter
the depths
of the unimaginable

change–
the path
becomes a river

hands
held shimmering
by the sea

necessities close up s

Sarah’s earthweal challenge asked us to think about the balance between the individual and the community.  I think it’s hard to disentangle one from another, even for those who insist on their “individual” freedom.  The cliche is true: no man is an island.  Everything, all life, depends on relationships for survival.

among the purple heather

among the purple s

solitude
unwinding beneath
meandering
skies, layers
circling back on themselves, cross
currented by wind–

trees sweep leaves
into shapes–shivered,
spilled over
edges, cast
shadowed with spirits holding
earth connecting air

scattering
blossomed voices—bells
calling words
into breath,
into dances that whisper
sanctuary—“come”

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.

I recently came across a video that talked about asemic writing, and using it as a prompt for extracting poetry from your unintellible scribbles. I decided to use Sue’s photo as a guide for my asemic composition, first using fine point markers in colors that echoed the landscape.  I then freewrote what I thought my marks were trying to say.

among the purple ansemic s

After that I took watercolor pencils, dipped them in water, and wrote asemically again over the markers, blurring both.  I looked at what I had written in my initial response, extracted some of the ideas, and formed them into a shadorma chain to go with the final composition.

among the purple close up s

 

When I saw Sue’s photo, the first thing I thought of was the traditional Scottish song “Wild Mountain Thyme”.  Joan Baez did a famous version, but I think the one I remember most from my youth is by the Byrds.  It’s been covered and reinterpreted by artists as varied as Van Morrison, the Clancy Brothers, and Ed Sheeran.  I listened to a lot of them, but I really like this one by Kate Rusby.

among the purple ansemic close up s

wild iris

spirits wander collage

bending air, a bridge–
rampant hues filling the gap
between heaven and earth

iris ink and pencil comp

For Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge #145, wild iris.  I had promised Jade I would look for some of my old iris drawings, but I also found this rainbow spirit that somehow resembles an iris–Iris is the Greek rainbow goddess, messenger and link between mortal and deity.

iris colored pencil comp

The drawings are from one of my many abandoned projects, taking a journal from 1989, and doing something similar (at that time in 2015) and comparing them.  1989 is on the left, 2015 is on the right.  If I could buy a bouquet, I would try it again right now, as both  were done from live flowers.  Maybe next year.

The Rectangular Table (Poem up at The Ekphrastic Review)

mary 1s

My poem, “The Rectangular Table” has been posted at The Ekphrastic Review today. The painting that inspired it, The Last Supper by Sister Plautilla Nelli, is below.

Picture

I have a little sketchbook that I take along to museums where I draw the faces and sometimes the hands of the Marys I see in paintings, but especially in sculpture.  Since the museums closed, I’ve been drawing from photos of art I find online.

mary 2s

Why do these images resonate with me?  Unlike representations of Jesus, they seem to reflect an actual human the artist knows and loves…a sister, wife, mother, daughter.  All those denied a place at the rectangular table.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

You can read my poem, along with other responses to the painting, here.

In Praise of Ecology

trees s

calling all the names–
circles of words and being
woven into life

branches comp s

I greet the oak, the way
its branches frame the sky–
morning and evening
preserving the winter light
holding as shadows
the imprints of birds.

Listen:  they begin
the day—robins and blue jays
emerging from the cacophony
of sparrows and starlings–
and here again—my constant
companion, Crow.

We name our streets
after the trees that once stood
there:  elm, walnut, pine, maple,
chestnut, cedar, oak.  I wonder at
the words, now only images,
memories of  a lost inheritance.

Once landmark and shelter,
the empty vertices wait–
listening for the bearers
of seeds to refill
the gaps that echo barren
now, seeking new songs.

trees close up s

For earthweal where Sherry asks us to write love songs to mother earth.

Still Can’t Breathe

can't breathe 2

lives
need opening
room to breathe

can't breathe 1s

silent no more, in
the streets, witnesses we are
citizens, we are

can't breathe 3

citizens, we ask
for truth, justice, a way: the
way that was promised

can't breathe 4

that was promised in
all those lofty words:  where is
the living of them?

can't breathe 5s

the living has become
the dying, dying, fathers
mothers daughters sons

we are

 

I looked back at my post from December 2016 and realized, like my repeated reblogs of earlier words and images after each new mass shooting, there is little new to add to these images and words.

Our world, our country, our communities, are caught in a tape loop of unaddressed violence, injustice, unkept promises, fear, abandonment, poverty, chaos, greed, and despair. We need a lot more than thoughts, prayers, and tweets from our leaders to build a better world.