will those still waters fail to depart after all? this center—in my ignorance– drops me in amidst a multitude of mirrors– will I drift away before even beginning to move beyond uncertainty? mind closed, immobilized by the guilt of experience, held captive by that which always leads back to this
I used Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats” for the Day 5 NaPoWriMo prompt, and decided to revisit the poem for the April 6 dVerse prompt from Jade (Lisa) to choose one of your favorite poems by another poet and flip the meaning on it. I’ve been working on this on and off for awhile–it’s far different than my original attempt, and probably not finished still.
I’ve done similar exercises in the past, but never tried to be so literally opposite. It’s not easy.
NYC was in serious decline in the 70s–hence the famous headline, from 1975, below. Everything was falling apart, and there were vacant lots and abandoned properties everywhere.
Organizations like GrowNYC, Greenthumb, and OasisNYC began to foster community gardens in abandoned lots, renovated by volunteers from the surrounding area. Today there are nearly 600 such gardens in the city–everywhere you walk, you’ll stumble upon one. Managed by neighborhood residents, they grow all kinds of things, both edible and simply beautiful. They foster new and experienced gardeners, young and old. They sponsor art displays and performances, and act as community centers.
I used Bjorn’s prompt, at dVerse, to compose my poem for Earth Day in Anapestic Tetrameter.
“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” –Isadora Duncan
presence, breath, the mystery of the body– here and now, never once upon a time– wild eternity
full of what is—translating and transforming each step through the labyrinth that is you– synchronal, alive
This is a Kick-About prompt (the quote from Isadora Duncan) that I never posted. I had an idea to do collage illustrations, but the photos of Isadora dancing made me want to try to capture them in gestural drawings.
I haven’t used pastels in a long time, but I can see why Degas chose them so often to render his dancers. The body becomes transformed by dance, lighter and more transparent. Otherworldly.
For NaPoWriMo, and also linking to the dVerse prompt from Grace, The Body & Poetry.
We have written our words all over the land, constructed cages to contain what we can’t control. We have put a price on all the things that can’t be bought or sold, raised our voices until we are all deaf. We have invented gods of fear instead of harmony, raped and discarded what could be raped and discarded, left bloody sorrow to fertilize anything mistakenly overlooked. We long ago sold our souls, and our hollowness is so vast no one can measure it. And still we look for more more more– because what can ever satisfy the absence of what was never there?
For Brendan’s earthweal challenge, already dead. The art is a postcard fiction from 2017, but it seemed appropriate to both the theme and my thoughts.
You have to become empty in order to begin to fill up again. Perhaps we can learn to choose more wisely this time.
There is no drama in most moments, but the accumulation becomes a story. One day you wake up, or you think you wake up. But something burns—you can smell it in the air. Ashes of yesterday are falling from the sky. You thought the past was dead, but it has only rearranged itself into today, or is it already tomorrow?
And what happened yesterday anyway?
I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head. I walked and walked and walked until I came to a pool of water, still and deep. I sat beside it, watching my reflection smolder, waiting for something to be revealed. The light scattered on the liquid surface held me and gave me a different life, turned me inside out.
Now I am only flames, or was that yesterday? Which side am I on?
For the dVerse Prosery prompt from Kim, some inspiration from Yeats: ‘I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head’.
The art is from a series of constellation poems I did for Pure Haiku. Freya’s current theme is Unfurling–you can submit until February 28.
memory fails to stop enduring grief daily farewell face death alone
In 2015, when this post originally appeared, the New York Times published a chart explaining some of the ways civilians have died in the Syrian War. A little research online shows that in modern warfare it is estimated that 85-90% of all casualties are civilians (June 2014 American Journal of Public Health). War also wreaks havoc on the environment, leading to more death.
A Hard Rain
has fallen shadowed by endless endings, ghosts both multiplied and lost
Some estimates of civilians killed in recent and ongoing conflicts: Sudan-Darfur 200,000 Iraq 170,000 Syria 200, 000 Congo 60,000 Afghanistan 45,000 Pakistan 35,000 Mexico 50,000 Libya 30,000 Chechnya 100,000 Eritrea-Ethiopia 70,000 Sierra Leone 70,000
These numbers have only increased since 2015.
There are not enough tears to encompass all this sorrow.
Bjorn at dVerse asked us to write poems of war. I decided to repost some of my headline haiku embroideries–I did a number of them from 2015-2017 when war was in the headlines every day. Now we’ve moved on to other things, but lest we forget, civilians and soldiers are still losing both their lives and homes every single day all over the world
Silence weeps and eyes refuse sight. No questions can be posed, nor answers given. Light is erased. Dust and blood.