Refugee

Lost among the layers of words, my needs slip through the cracks that keep opening into assaults on the ways that have always belonged to me.  I don’t want to be reoriented towards a future I can’t imagine, or pushed through a portal into a world I don’t understand.  A world that does not recognize me and has no relationship to the one that has always sheltered me from unwelcome change.

All those strident sentences you spit out—they mock my choices, erasing any value in what I call a good life.  The scale on which you judge me makes my wishes weigh nothing.  You discard everything that makes me happy.

The tasks of survival are not so easily sorted into black and white, good and evil.  What seems to work for the time being is all we can attain sometimes, worth more than the promises of a future that we can’t see.

It’s impossible to know God’s plans or to understand them—despite your fancy degrees and charts, there are realms beyond the facts, beyond what you call science, that we can’t anticipate or control.

Instead you put yourself above me.  But you appear in my mirror as one-dimensional, rejecting me and the grieving that belongs to me, the losses I have experienced and feel.  You insist they are worthless, I am worthless.  But what do you offer to me that will replace them?

You list all my beliefs and shame them, shame me, shame my culture, my family, my friends.  And you call it compassion.

I am not asking for your false understanding.  I do not want what you want, what you think I need.

I want to be worth something.  I want to matter to someone, something.  I want a world that holds out a hand and tells me I belong.  Where has it gone?

look at me
listen to my life
make me real

Jim Feeney at Earthweal gave us quite a challenge this week: to write a poem from the point of view of someone who is a climate change denier or a climate solution denier or someone who just doesn’t care because they won’t be around when it happens. It’s not easy to put yourself sympathetically in someone else’s shoes. I chose to repeat some of the words and ideas I heard in interviews with Trump supporters, figuring no environmentalist would ever vote for Trump. I have to admit I resent the fact that the media always tells us we need to try to “understand” people who support Trump, and yet Trump supporters never have to return the favor and try to understand those of us who don’t. We are not all wealthy Ivy League educated “elites”.

And the thing is…in the end our desires are not so different. I don’t reject science and I would not talk of God, but I have spiritual beliefs too that involve feelings and ideas that can’t really be quantified. I also often feel unacknowledged, dismissed, invisible. I have lost parts of my life that will never return and cannot be replaced. We all want to matter, to belong somewhere.

Why can’t we make that somewhere a place of mutual respect that honors our interdependence with the natural world? So we have a world where everyone’s children and grandchildren have a fighting chance at survival?

The Flames Burn Cold

The voice of the wind is harsh, unending, bringing news of winter.  Under dusky grey I watch the heavens close in as tree bones rattle with last leaves.  Night is everywhere, penetrating with howling visions the sanctity of sleep.

Solitude is impossible.  Chanting surrounds me, invisible hands, the edge of a nightmare hovering on the threshold.  Ghostlike it travels through the streets, knocking on each door, finding the cracks in each soul, rearranging the molecules of each defense.  No prayer or good luck charm repels the chosen path of this bleak pilgrim.  Its faceless form looms like a black hole.

A cacophony of silence tunnels into the center of my mind.  It asks me no questions, desires no answers–an insatiable voice in a vortex ancient, eternal, lost.

forsaken, stars hide–
sky fallen into stillness
swallowing the moon

For the Earthweal Weekly Challenge, A Hallowed Moondance.

autumn moon (bundled in hope and fear)

The shadows follow my intersections with the moonlight as I move the ground with my feet.  I am not thinking of who I am or where I might be going.

Cocooned in myself I walk alone, yet I remain threaded to the aliveness of what passes me by.  I cross paths and spiral through scattered clouds, patterned in parallel with the shining dark sky.

who
enters this
circle of night?

 

More moon meditations for Frank Tassone’s haibun prompt at dVerse.

Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

My poem, Our Lady of Scarlet, based on a painting of Marchesa di Casati, by Augustus John, is posted today on The Ekphrastic Review, along with Jane Dougherty and other writers.  I did not look up the Marchesa until after I had written my poem, but I think the artist captured the essence of her life in his portrait. What I saw without knowing the facts seems very close to the truth.

You can read my poem here.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

 

I was told by several people I could post the old way by going to WP Admin–and it works.  I will still be absent for awhile as I am entering the final stages of moving–I’m packing up my computer today.  But I’ll be back before the end of September.

stars of everything

stars of everything mandala s

In my childhood, even our suburban house was only half a block from woods and meadows and creeks to explore.  We had no devices to keep us indoors, and we went outside at every chance.  There were still open spaces, for butterflies dragonflies tadpoles bees creeks meadows woods trees rocks sky prickers blackberries colors and clouds and wind—we ran wild, my mother just told us to be home for dinner, who does that now? They would take your children away from you.

I had the companionship of trees plants wild things animals and such clouds to contemplate–I used to lie on my back in the grass and just look at the sky, what was I thinking? Maybe thoughts beyond thought before thought.  Now my mind is so busy it never stops to just be and let the world run through like a river like the wind.

watching my
child-self lying in
a bed of
greentree bird
sky
everything is opened
up, shining—the world

explodes in
to a forever,
endless waves
merging as
they ebb and flow—cascading
landscapes shouting yes!

stars of everything mandala close up s

Sarah at earthweal asked us to think how we connected with nature in childhood.  I took sentences and lines from 5 previous posts–especially I remembered writing about this subject in a collaboration I did with Claudia McGill, and the bulk of the text is from there.

The art was done as a homage to artist Thornton Dial–I took his title, Stars of Everything, and made my own collage and accompanying words.  He knew about the power of art.

“Art is like a bright star up ahead in the darkness of the world. It can lead peoples through the darkness and help them from being afraid of the darkness….Art is a guide for every person who is looking for something.”
–Thornton Dial

 

holiday

i have a dream s

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

You would think if you shared a birthday with someone whose date of birth merits a national holiday, people would remember.  But the actual date of my own birth is still a constant confusion to many of my family and friends. (I know it’s in January…what day again?)

Maybe it’s the moving of all holidays in the U.S. to Mondays, so everyone can enjoy a long weekend.  No need to acknowledge why their employer or school is giving them a day off—the real reason for holidays is to have 3 days off in a row with no work, right?

mid-January–
voice of crow under grey skies–
how to fill the hole

mlk-2017-s

Kim at dVerse prompted us to talk about our birthday.

shine bright

shine bright blk s

Is who we are first tribal, or is it nothing at all?—particles unjoined, the dust of eons.  How do we make sense of our place in the world as homo sapiens?  Do we even need to hold on to that identity?  Must we be labeled, categorized, forbidden, dismissed?

Embracing the isolation of our own self-definitions, we pretend to be the only ones allowed—better, exclusive, oppressed by difference.  All the while the net frays, the miracles of being turn into an infinity of voices drowning in egos with closed eyes, with closed hearts, with lost souls.

shine bright
you are everything and
like nothing else

shine bright wht s

Ammol at dVerse asks us to consider Pride Month.

that they are

secrets white

The stars answer each other, singing over and through the wind.  Coming and going follows patterns that signal a chorus of light from within chords I cannot name.

We are not on the same journey, the stars and I.  We go in different directions, down the imperturbable street that seeks both its ending and beginning in a place that can’t be found.  We pass each other on separate orbits, reflected in the pulses of moontides.  We circle and spiral, held by different arrangements of time and space.

Holding the sea, I lift it to the sky, trying to capture and distill the chiaroscuro into a garment of rainbow clouds.  Join me, I ask silently.  Dance with me, become with me a kaleidoscope that shifts the darkness of chaos into currents that gyre together, a collective river of song.

secrets
become visible–
exchange of self

each to the other

Merril’s prosery prompt at dVerse quotes from poet Gwendolyn Brooks:  “We go in different directions down the imperturbable street.”

Merril posted some wonderful photos of light in her Monday Morning Musings today, and several of them reminded me of collages I had done for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction prompts.  This one is from 2016 (you can see the original post here).

the lights went out

th lights went out s

Broadway is dark now, vacant.  The only lights to be seen shine out of hastily abandoned office windows, or from traffic lights that change for invisible crowds.

Makeshift stages shrink to fit into screens, the audience now virtual.  Dreams stand still, waiting between hope and grief.

dancing voices pause–
forever on the verge of
opening to spring

the lights went out close up s

Billy Joel wrote this song in 1976, inspired by the NY Daily News Headline “Ford to City:  Drop Dead”.  And in 2020 we have a parallel line:  “Trump to New York:  Drop Dead”.

But we’ll be back.

For dVerse Haibun Monday, hosted by Kim.  We’re thinking about Mondrian’s ‘Broadway Boogie Woogie‘.

Memorial Day

paul sayre s

My mother’s cousin Paul was a pilot who was shot down and killed in WWII. She often spoke of him with admiration and affection.

When my mother died, she left boxes of unidentified family photos; my aunt helped a bit with identifications, but she was much younger than her siblings, and had not known the southern Ohio cousins very well.  In my mother’s address book, I found her second cousin Mona, Paul’s niece, who patiently looked through many photo scans I emailed her.

Finally I had a face to put to my mother’s words.

silence speaks your name–
through distant shadows of trees
crow answers, calling

fog 1s

This is a revision of a post from 2015.  However we are spending this day, let’s take a moment to remember those who served their country and sacrificed their lives so that we could enjoy our own.

For Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #140, Memorial Day.