Optics

does what I construct
from what I see
fit the idea
of me?

can I be mirrored
repeated copied
multiplied

contained in reflection–
momentary glimpses–
light entering
eye?

translating possibility
into something visible,
manifest–

always an after
to an image as
elusive as
before

For both of this week’s dVerse prompts, from Mish (eye) and De (quadrille of possibilty).

There was a time when I did many many eye collages, and the illustrations here are from about seven years (and many lifetimes) ago. These are both good prompts, and I still have some ideas…

swing stroll slide

be
bop shout–
rhythm–blues–
eight to the bar–
oompah oompah groove–
boogie-woogie back beat
jingle jangle jive talkin
double time front line howl growl whine–
interlude solitude riff raff boom–
whistle whomp wah wah zoomba zoomba zoom

The Kick-About’s challenge #14 was a short film by Norman Maclaren called “Boogie Doodle”. It really reminded me of Matisse’s Jazz collages, and I used his abstracted figures as inspiration to create my own dancers based on photos of jazz dancers I found on the internet. I also wanted to recreate the shadow effect for both the dancers and the dots. Primary colors seemed a natural fit for both dots and ground, and I cut out the figures in black and white as contrast, inspired by the film.

For the poem I wanted to use music and musical sound words. It was much harder than I anticipated, but I like the idea of a poem composed mostly of sounds, and may visit it again. I found a great onomatopoeia dictionary online too.

Linking to dVerse OLN hosted by Linda.

Veterans Day NYC 2020

salutes spaced
between vehicles–
ghostboots march
silently
in formation—echos caught
in mind’s eye–the tears

As with seemingly every celebration in 2020, the Veteran’s Day parade today here in NYC was largely symbolic–“a caravan of 100 vehicles with no spectators”–a shadow of the usual ceremony of 20-30,000 participants.

For Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday where the words are imagine and gratitude, and Peter Frankis’ prompt at dVerse, where the task is to write about something from the local news (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-york/articles/2020-11-11/car-caravan-replaces-parade-at-nyc-veterans-day-observance)

Headlines

The Voice kept trying to turn him back—“there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles”—but he refused to believe its repeated lies.

And yet he could not find the source, hidden somewhere within the dimensionless shadows of the vertical, the angled, the edge.

He himself was scrabbled, suspended out of sight, waiting underneath many meaningless layers of illusion.  The indifference did not bother him; neither did the newsprint words strewn carelessly about. 

He considered himself abandoned, lost inside an unwritten story.  Curious strings embedded his thoughts in articles torn from the back page.

But what had happened to his body?  It was a puzzle he could not figure out.  He could see, listen, think.  But his position never changed.

Was his mind an orphan, birthed incompletely, accidentally, a false start left unfinished?

Was he himself the Voice?

I did this collage a few months ago, and I’ve been waiting for the right words to pair with it. Merril’s prosery prompt at dVerse,
“there is nothing behind the wall
except a space where the wind whistles”

from “Drawings By Children” by Lisel Mueller
found its way into an old freewrite page in my notebook that contained the phrase newsprint words strewn carelessly about and gave it some shape.

The Color of Zero

Zero nests in between
darkness and light–
the black snake of the enso–
ouroboros consuming itself,
surrounded by circles
of white waves that are all
colors condensed
into the vision of none.

The emptiness of white
is contained in the deep vast
eternity of black–
an uneasy balance of possibility
ready to step into the abyss
like the fool.

Zero is the harlequin of innocence
wearing the mask of either/or–
comedy and tragedy opposing
but always joined–

a placeholder, not grey,
not veiled, but reflecting
an infinity that can be
seen only in relationship,
that when multiplied becomes
both more of what
it is and more of what
it is not.

Dusklight and dawnlight hover
on the border of uncertainty–
the hidden rainbow
and the vast uncolorable
center of waiting
that is
the cosmic
mind.

For the dVerse prompt of synesthesia, provided by Grace.

on all sides (after Neruda)

thus
each day begins again
and wanders to its end

in the deep darkness
I follow and am pushed
through sequences
that turn me inside out

hours pass
as they bypass me–
we seem to be in different stories

the pages open to places
I have seen before
while the landscape becomes
a backdrop
to somewhere else

crow flies
over the fields
between worlds
carrying
the ears of wheat
to be planted in both places
at once

tolling in concert
with the continuous chaos
I wonder at the expanse of tangled
entrances and exits
in the mouth
of the threshold

which side am I on?
my voice carries nowhere
as I reach out to catch the wings
of the wind

This was done for a dVerse prompt from August, where Rosemarie Gonzales offered wheat as a poetic inspiration. I took 2 lines from one of the Neruda poems she provided, Ah Vastness of Pines, and incorporated it in pieces to make my own verse:
Thus in the deep hours I have seen, over the fields,
the ears of wheat tolling in the mouth of the wind.

I’m linking it to dVerse Open Link Night.

The art is from the archives.

Ersilia

skulls of saints–
the bones of the dead
dismantled–
spiritual songs

the bones of the dead
seeking a form–
spiritual songs,
grey life

seeking a form–
labyrinth,
grey life–
they are nothing

labyrinth,
consumed moon–
they are nothing–
times chant

consumed moon,
intricate relationships–
times chant
blood

intricate relationships
dismantled–
blood,
skulls of saints

A pantoum mash up of phrases from Samuel Greenberg’s “The Pale Impromptu” for Laura at dVerse, and The Kick-About prompt #13 “Ersilia” from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

The Kick-About prompt immediately made me want to take actual thread and do something three-dimensional to represent the abandoned city of Ersilia. Cardboard boxes were my starting point. Weaving my embroidery floss with a needle between the supports I cut and folded up, it became obvious how the city inhabitants became tangled in a state of impasse, forcing them to move on.

I decided to do a landscape background–the text spoke of viewing the deserted city from the mountains–and I spent a lot of time laying out possible landscapes on my floor from the collage references I had. I then dismantled and retaped a box to make a sort of diorama and glued the landscape pieces down.

Then I had fun rearranging the threaded bones of the city and photographing it from different viewpoints against the background.

Laura’s prompt, to incorporate phrases from Greenberg’s poem into our own verse, made me think of combining those words with phrases taken from the Calvino excerpt. There seemed to be an affinity between the two.

I read “Invisible Cities” in 2016 and posted a review on Goodreads. At the end I wrote: “Certainly it inspires visions that could be transferred to paper…and perhaps some of them will come to form for me at a future time.” And so they have.