what is/is not

everywhere
falls apart
mind to eyes
expanding

falls apart
becomes its opposite
expanding
into stories

becomes its opposite
days into nights
into stories
the sun intersecting the moon

days into nights
future and past
the sun intersecting the moon
enlarging the horizon

future and past
the surprise of delight
enlarging the horizon
to leave is to arrive

the surprise of delight
mind to eyes
to leave is to arrive
everywhere

Brian Rutenberg Low Dense (SOLD), 2010, oil on linen, 63 x 158 inches

The Kick-About prompt this time was a painting by Brian Rutenberg, Low Dense, above. The colors immediately made me think of Monet, which made me think of the grids I did based on Monet’s work. And so I decided to do a grid.

This is a very intense way to look at art, and I learned a lot from it as I not only did some of Monet’s paintings, but an entire book of other artists for The Sketchbook Project. The subtleties of color are amazing when you look closely at them. Rutenberg clearly has an eye for color.

And my second pantoum for the week. Abstract, like the art.

You can see my work with Monet here and here. And my Sketchbook Project book, Art I Like, here.

How Now

grid flower close up 1s

Why do you ask me where we are? 
I lost my bearings long ago. 
Each day is different, and yet very much
like all that have been or will be, amen.
You ask me for maps, for calculations, but 
why not shower the world with devotion?

~and why should we not sing~

celebrating what is here and now
but also what leaves and then returns? 
Every story continues beyond its ending.
Why not follow it around?
Why not grow wings, meet each day
without imprisoning it in either space or time?

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. Since the majority of my poems ask questions, I also incorporated Merril’s dVerse prompt to write a puente.

August 2020: under the weather

ennui no levels a

The day was packing heat,
hanging it like a curtain
between me and the world–
dampening all sound,
clogging the airways,
slowing synapses down.

The open windows
provided no threshold
of relief–no wind
came knocking.

You can neither forecast
nor change
the way the currents
move you, or strand you
unmoved, trapped
in a density that refuses
to vacate.

Some days have wings–
but most rely on gravity
to anchor them–
to keep them
safe from the whims
of Gods.

The Kick-About #7 Challenge is Walter Richard Sickert’s painting, Ennui, above. Ennui is most closely associated with boredom, but it is heavy with an attitude that it seems to me is mostly posturing.  It’s a self-indulgence of the privileged who needn’t even be bothered with the daily tasks of life like cooking or washing clothes, or even gardening, as they have servants to deal with such mundane things.

Boredom infers monotony which does reflect the world many of us inhabit right now–the endless days and hours that we can’t keep track of anymore.  But it’s not really boredom.  I have no problem filling my days, though I can’t always point to what exactly it is I’ve filled them with.  But I find it hard to focus, to find motivation, and I’m often anxious and uneasy and feel unsettled and displaced.  The relentless heat is no help.

That’s what I tried to capture in my August grid and poem.  The pandemic world of now seems to box you in, surround you with a sameness of grey.

ennui close up s

The eye in my grid is a serendipitous borrowing from Marcy Erb.

July 2020

july 20 grid 1s

I see twilight be
coming dawn–clear, unjingo
istic, open, free

I usually do a red white and blue grid for July, but this year it doesn’t feel right, just like our national anthem has never felt right to me.  Not even considering the character of Francis Scott Key, I never wanted to celebrate bombs bursting in air.  I don’t think God is on “our” side.  There is nothing that makes me any more deserving of anything than any other living being of any other nationality, race, or religion.

july 20 grid 2s

Everything that happens everywhere affects everyone and every place on Earth.  Unless we learn to act on that truth, there is little hope for humanity’s survival.

 

 

To the Monarch (May 2020)

may grid s

Who will
carry the end
back to the beginning?
who will remember the lost, re
locate
the disappeared?  Who will fill life
with futures, release those
fragile wings to
the skies?

brown monarch s

I decided to do my May grid and a butterfly cinquain for both the NaPoWriMo Day 30 prompt, “something that returns”, and Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday prompt theme, chosen by Elizabeth from Tea and Paper, “the day after”.

When Nina and I first started blogging at memadtwo, one of my recurring themes was endangered species.  I posted twice (here and here) about the Monarch Butterfly, and wrote in one post:

Most people know that monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada to central Mexico to hibernate in winter. This can mean a trip of nearly 3,000 miles!

Between 2012 and 2013 the amount of butterflies who wintered in the Mexican forest decreased by 40%. The forest habitat itself is disappearing as a result of illegal logging. But the extreme weather conditions of the last few years, due to climate change, have also caused lower hatching rates. Another factor is the loss of milkweed plants, the primary food source for monarchs, killed by agricultural herbicides.

may grid close up s

Perhaps the coronavirus will provide these beautiful creatures with some respite from human destruction.

When looking for music about migration I remembered Steve Earle’s song.  Monarchs remind us that borders are only the lines that we ourselves choose to draw.

Thanks to Maureen Thorson and all the participants in NaPoWriMo 2020 for helping me to travel all over the world and creating bridges that reached far beyond the walls and borders of our politics and our forced isolation.

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