Oscillations

You kept it close,
hidden deep in the forest
of your being.

Spellsounds, the rhythm
that held so much underneath–
what came before, and also
the possibility of entirety
constructed out of something
beyond thought, beyond reasoning–

It became like singing,
a chord that vibrated both
inside and out,
flowing from brain to blood–

It had no source, no need
of one—just this blanket
of aliveness, hungry
for untamed light–
glowing waves of particles
that could neither be
located or contained.

For earthweal, where Brendan asks: How else are we to sing?

I’ve spoken before about how sometimes (usually when meditating), when I’m very still, I can hear the air. I was also thinking about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. In the end, we are only, like the rest of the universe, particles and waves.

Coiling

My sojourns repeat themselves, going
after relics that never existed, recapturing
the memories of ghosts.  You may ask
why I continue to tolerate a hopeless
cause, finding solace in circles—

I do not know how to define existence,
or the way to measure its boundaries.
I am lost and confused by an absence
that seems to be devouring what
might have become the future.

What can I do but shelter the things
I can’t yet see inside an identity
I do not yet possess?  Soon there will be
nothing left but the letting go. Until
what isn’t there becomes all that remains.

Here is the place I must abide.

For earthweal, where Brendan asks: Working for the best present, this shifting, dysynchronous, pre-apocalyptic now: That is your challenge this week. What does the landscape of this look like where you live and celebrate your being?

sea sky birds

the sea is one song–
a lullaby that changes
tempo and turns into the heart
beating the center
of time itself

skies harmonize–
transitional, painting
beginnings and endings
with refracted light—

clouds weave veils–
remaking themselves,
exchanging threads that
suddenly emerge with
blue clarity

and the birds!—all mystery–
color and music that arrive
when least expected,
to unwrap the world anew,
aright

For earthweal, where Sherry has asked us for poems of gratitude.

Vagabondage (after Kenneth Koch)

When did you start to follow
me?  I don’t remember
the tables turning—but then
my recollections were never
very reliable.

Even the tangible accumulations
of the collected years that now
emerge from their wrappings
of old news surprise me–
(the news itself does not surprise
me—yellowed headlines that fit
as well into today as yesterday)

How and when did the journey
become so heavy with the past,
so filled with lost voices
calling my name, faces I think
I see in passing, disappearing
into the crowded landscape
full of images I can’t place,
invisibly in plain sight?

I scatter my biography,
filling it with empty spaces,
holes for the wind to find
and carry back on a song through
the branches of winter trees.

I can still hear the melody–
it vibrates along synapses,
along veins and into the heart.
Isn’t that enough in the end?–
the rhythm of a dance
that has no direction,
but spirals everywhere all
at once with no destination
but now.

I was reading Kenneth Koch’s poem “To Old Age”. It made me think of my own journey.

For the earthweal challenge to write a journey-poem.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

Our memories are full of secrets–
we have no innocence to be rejected.
We long to be the spirit that stalks us–
the last man falling.

Dear Refugees

We have heard
and noted your cries
for help.  Un
fortunate
ly our sovereign borders
are currently closed.

We fear that
we must turn away
from any
images
of drowning, freezing, starving.
They disturb our sleep.

But we are
not completely heart
less.  We will
send you our
Condolences, as well as
our Thoughts and Prayers.

For earthweal, where Sherry, after bringing us up to date on the flooding in her Canadian homeland, asked us to write Verse Letters: a form of address, akin to dramatic monologue, to all parties involved – letters to the lost, perhaps; to those who caused the extinction;  or to those of us who are in the middle.

kinship

to belong
is a feeling–not
words over
heard in pass
ing, but a garment to wear–
it keeps you warm, this

chorus sung
by many voices–
it tells you
how to clear
your self, opening to be
come filled, become found

Sarah at dVerse shared with us once again the paintings of Fay Collins, and asked us to write to what we see in her images. I did not pick any particular landscape, but used the entirety of her work as inspiration for both my words and my watercolor, which reflect her immersion in and love of the earth.

Also linking to earthweal, where Brendan has asked us to praise what matters.

You can see the work of Fay Collins here.

Vaquita

vaquita collage left s

Once the net held all.

Land and sea
and all of its inhabitants–
each pulling its threads,
mending and reweaving
until the ripples
returned themselves
to the delicate balance
of ebb and flow.

Ghost nets they call them–
abandoned traps that
strangle and drown.

No species lives in isolation.
Deplete one and all suffer.

Poverty kills more
than just the humans
desperate to survive.

vaquita collage s

The Gulf of California, which separates the Baha Peninsula from the Mexican mainland, has one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth, with many endemic species, including the vaquita, small porpoises on the verge of extinction.

Although laws have been passed banning gillnets and the illegal harvesting of totoaba for their swim bladders, and much of the area has been designated as off limits to commercial development, there is little money or will from the Mexican government for enforcement.

The native peoples historically relied on fishing for sustenance.  The impoverishment of their lives by commercial development, overfishing, and sport fishing mean that black market exporters of the swim bladders to China will always find someone willing to risk using banned fishing methods to catch the fish.  When gillnets are used, lost, or abandoned, vaquitas get caught in them and drown.

When I first did an endangered species post on the vaquita, in 2015, there were thought to be 100 individuals left.  Today the estimates range from 30 to less than 10.  It seems unlikely that they will survive.

Laws can only do so much.  Our entire economic system needs to be rethought in ways that allow all members of all species, including our own, to live a dignified and sustainable life.

vaquita collage right s

For earthweal, where Sherry has asked us to “remember the lost ones, and the ones who will soon break our hearts by leaving.

Elegy

We avoid the
word death.  Darkened by
deceptions, we turn
away, close our eyes
We are told to cheer
up, as if emotions could be denied,
as if getting over was simply done.

We avoid the
word death.  The wheel turns,
but not always towards
the light.  Don’t tell us
that time will heal
the scars, that everything will be all right.
We must remember—all the names—now gone. 

For earthweal, where the theme is All Souls.

I did this collage for one of Jane’s prompts last year, but I think it works as well with this poem.

Unprecedented

In May, Sun Hesper Jansen published a post about the Unprecedented Project, along with her blackout poem. I was intrigued, and went to the website to take a look.

The Unprecented Project sends out random pages from Boccaccio’s The Decameron, a book about waiting out the plague, to be turned into blackout poems, embellished in whatever way you choose, as a way of commemorating our random participations in our own plague.

I sent away for a page, and above is the result. Halloween seems a good time for it. You can still participate, if you so desire. There is also always a changing cast of poetic pages to view on the website for inspiration.

listen
your bone rattle
they will continue
to be
unhappy unhappy
for all time

Also linking to earthweal’s spooktacular weekend.

Children of the Night

“Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they make.”
–Bram Stoker

There’s a dark path in the forest that reaches not only to the horizon but far up into the stars in the sky.  The contours float, infused inside and out by an endless melody that sings chaos into shimmering pattern.

Where does the story end?  Perhaps it leads to dreams that have been hidden away, to possibilities invisible in the light of day.  To once upon a time that becomes here and now.

If you listen–still, silent, boundaried by the night–it’s possible to catch a glimpse of these distant voices.  But only a child can find the entrance to this liminal landscape of matter, spirit, and sound.

wonder shines
silvered, transcendent–
opening

The Kick-About prompt this week was the quote from Dracula, above. These monoprint paintings were a response to that.

The road from Samhain to vampire costumes for Halloween travels through the pop culturization of every holiday we celebrate for commercial purposes. But that does not completely disguise its real roots in the transition from fall to winter and the crossing over that occurs between the worlds of the living and the dead.

It’s fitting that we have turned Samhain into a children’s festival–we can join in for their sake, hidden behind masks, remaining rational adults while keeping a thread tied to our ancient rites of passage.

Children are our conduit to what we are ashamed to acknowledge. They remain close to the Other Worlds–they still believe completely in magic.

For earthweal, where Sarah has asked us to think about Samhain and celebrate the places that lie between.