My Dream About Dogs

The dogs were here first.
You think you own them, but no–
they lead, you follow.

Other dogs, other
people, entangled within
a rocky landscape.

It’s always winter.
You must work hard, struggle
to get anywhere.

Where is it?  You no
longer even think you know–
the pull of the leash.

You’re cold and you need to feel–
breath shortens—leaves misty trail.

Ingrid at dVerse asked us to write a poem inspired by a dream, and Sarah’s W3 prompt asked for a poem of 14 lines or less about dreams.

I remembered these sketches I did of a dog–I think it was from a photo Nina sent me of one of her dogs, but I’m not totally certain–and found them in an old sketchbook from the early 1980s. The collage is from one of Jane’s prompts I did in 2016.

I often dream of dogs–I’ve lived with them, but never owned one. Clearly they have a secure place in my mind.

December 8, 1980

the flames are warm–
we hold hands
against wrath

what is the context of
the naked soul?
is it pure love?

who invented hate?

Britta at W3 asked for a poem with a date for a title, responding to her poem “the theory of everything”. I composed a shovel poem from this line: warm hands, wrath of soul, love, hate,

My illustration is a Japanese Bunraku puppet representing a demon, but I was also inspired by another of Brendan’s Ekphrastic photos at earthweal, below.

Imagine if someone would just give us some truth…could we all shine on?

Forty-two years. Who do we think we are?

also linking to dVerse OLN hosted by Bjorn

trick or treat

if is a word
that seems to gravitate to me

a word
I qualify my meanings with

as if
as if

nothing is allowed to be
permanent or definite

who is the them that is
me?  define me

I think perhaps
I will choose to be someone else
I must accommodate myself,
defer to my mask

while the other me
struggles to understand what
we both have
in common

am I who they think I am?

or am I a secret
that will never be
explained?

These drawings of ventriloquist dummies in the Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky were inspired by a book of photos of the dummies taken by Matthew Rolston. The Kick-About prompt of a circus immediately brought them to mind.

Haunting and aware, I had always wanted to try to capture some of the sentience of the photos in a drawing. And so I did, randomly opening the book to 4 different faces. 

One of the essays in the book says they are meant “to suggest life”—but any supposedly “inanimate” object so entwined with a human life is alive.  Any child can tell you that.  They may have been separated from their humans, but these faces remember them.

You can read more about the Vent Haven Museum here, and read more about Rolston’s book here.

still

life
and death
structured together, partnered

nothing
to subtract
or to add

rended,
essence floats
beyond secrets–incandescent

Picture credit: Britta Benson. This photograph was taken inside St. Cecilia’s Church (built in 1739), Heusenstamm, Germany. 

A haynaku for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday Ekphrastic prompt, using Britta Benson’s photo, above, as inspiration. I’ve also used words from Jane’s Oracle 2.

Bearings

What exactly do we mean when we say the heart is heavy?  Is it our jumbled emotions that are enlarged into enormity, too complicated to lift, to bear?  How do we understand the shape, the density, of sorrow?

And what about the light heart?  How do we measure the change?–a heart that is nearly full enough to overflow—what space does it occupy, what is its texture?

It’s the heavy heart that is hollow.  Brimming with emptiness.  Weighed down by absence.  The light heart grows gardens, wings.

the heart cleaves, wanders,
signifies inverse desires–
spring arrives, snowbound

I’ve accumulated quite a bit of Kick-About artwork that I haven’t given a proper post to. This heart drawing was my response to the drumming of Sandy Nelson. I also wanted to use Jane’s Oracle 2 words for the week, and the combination resulted in the accompanying haibun.

The drumming of Sandy Nelson reminded me of heartbeats which can careen wildly under different circumstances.  When I looked online for images of hearts, I was attracted to the somewhat psychedelic MRI images.  I wanted to work large, but even with 18 x 24 paper, I was unable to do justice to all the different elements of the heart.  I made no layout, but just started drawing in the upper center with my colored pencils, a small section each day.  So both the line quality and the proportions changed as I went on.  Whole sections were expanded, compressed, and left out.  Just like the trajectory of the drumming in my mind.

And just like our perceptions as filtered through our hearts.

River Man

She did not remember the way, but she remembered the times, the place.  She wanted to connect present to past.  She did not know how or where to begin, and yet she needed to try to construct that bridge.  Words were all she had now.

Two ways, really, even though she always pretended they were the same.  Or maybe it was only her longing that failed to understand that they were two, not one.

She had been dreaming of a river.  A man, a boat.  Trees, weeping, or was that her own voice, crying on the wind?  It had been summer once.  Flowered.  Sweet.

But here was the river again, littered with fallen leaves.  What magic word would turn back the seasons, dispel the haze, repair a lifetime that had already disintegrated into dust?

Was she coming or going?  In her dreams a voice kept repeating you have to choose.  But between what?  Who?  Did she get to choose who would be waiting on the other side of the river?  Or was she to be the one left waiting?

to begin,
become the current–
sing its song

Brendan at earthweal has more to say about rivers this week and poses the question: What voyages are found there, which deities are vast in its depths? It made me think of my response to the Kick-About #61 prompt, which was Molly Drake’s haunting song, “I Remember”.

I wasn’t aware of Molly’s connection to Nick Drake, but when I learned that she was his mother, Molly’s song immediately made me think of Nick’s song “River Man”. I took the feeling I got from both songs–a kind of remembering intertwined with uncertainty, loss, and the passing of time–and wrote the above prose poem, adding a haiku coda for earthweal, and some water art from my archives.

New York City, Summer 1975

We wanted to go to the beach–
it’s within reach–
New York coastline–
capacious, fine.

We were young; we stayed up all night–
before the light,
starting to drive–
happy, alive.

The sun rose, the ocean was near–
we parked the car–
the sky was blue,
the people few.

Undaunted by sunburn, we slept–
our bodies wet,
salty from waves–
those were the days.

The W3 prompt poem this week is Britta Benson’s “Longing for Water”. She asked that our response include the name of a city and asked us to use a form appropriate for that city. I wrote a Minute Poem, in reflection of “a New York minute”, which is a very brief span of time. Looking back at my 20s it truly was all over in a New York minute. Lacking technology, we never took photos or tried to document our lives then. We just lived them.

Although I always collected shells.

animated

I fold my
questions into cranes
and send them
flying on
the wind—what hands will catch them,
pull them down, greet them,

unjumble
and complete their dreams?
wide, deep, clear,
cast to sky,
they celebrate–streams of stars
danced in waves of moon

A shadorma quadrille for Merril’s prompt of celebration at dVerse. I also used the words she generated from Oracle II. Above is the almost-full moon shining through my window last night.