Circle Game

circle game s

My first bike was a childhood gift, way too big for me, that my father lovingly assembled one Christmas Eve so it would be waiting by the tree the next morning.  No speeds, pedal brakes.  As I grew into them I turned the wheels faster and faster until I left them behind.

It took a few years before I began pedaling my way around the city, this time with 5 speeds and hand brakes.  My legs moved the wheels around and around once again, through the park, dodging traffic during transit strikes, climbing flights of stairs as the wheels bumped my body to my apartment door.

Finally I had an elevator!  And then a baby.  No space for cycles that were not attached to a carriage, a stroller, then tri and then bi accompanied by training wheels.  My legs walked beside them, watching my children turn them around and around until they too were flying on their own, faster and faster away from my slowing path.

Now all those wheels live only in remembered rotations.

These days my legs spin in a pattern that repeats itself, over and over, in the same location.  The world outside my window does the passing by.

circles
pivoting around
the still point

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The NaPoWriMo prompt for day 1 is “write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life”.  For all our lives these days…

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As I did two years ago for NaPoWriMo, I’ve been working on art to use in April for a number of months, this time inspired by the work of Matisse and Richard Diebenkorn.  The circles come via Matisse.

Self Portrait #14: More Man Ray (Revisited)

man ray head shot comp

I started with a question, as I so often do:  what kind of alive am I?  A black and white head resting on a mélange of pattern and color—my mask, the face I offered to the world, was meant to be unnoticed.  Fade to grey, merge with the background, don’t draw attention, don’t stand out.  Could I change?

Alas, my clothing choices have remained much the same since I questioned them in 2016.  Black, black and more black.  A brightly colored scarf, perhaps.  I still wish to remain unperceived as I make my way through the world.  But now I wonder:  is alive only visible on the surface of things?  Or can we gift the world with rainbows from the inside out?

unseen waves absorbed
reflected transformed singing
colors dancing light

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For Kim’s dVerse prompt:  Snapshots of our Lives.  You can see the original post with the complete self-portrait collage, as well as the Delmore Schwartz poem that inspired my original poem, here.

My 100 Self-Portrait Project is still stalled at #21.

weather report

window comp s

After not venturing outside at all for weeks, I finally worked up the courage to take the elevator down to the basement and exit the back door, crossing the street to the park.  My apartment windows face Broadway and the view this weekend was especially chilly and grey.

I figured the bitter wind and drizzle, plus the early hour, would keep the walkway fairly empty, and I was right.  A few joggers, some dog walkers, a man with a shopping cart.

I could hear robins, and then two appeared on the path right in front of me.  I was in a different time and space.  The world had been returned to me in color, at least for half an hour on a Sunday morning.

outside it’s spring–
inside winter remains
trapped, unending

spring comp sFor Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #132, Coronavirus.

under the new moon

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The day is dreary and cold.  A passing subway train, nearly empty, rattles the window as I remove the screen.  A few black umbrellas walk by.

The apartments on the opposite side of my building look out on the river and the park.  I wonder if they see signs of spring emerging through the grey blur of the rain.

cloudburst
blossoms fill the sky
pink showers

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For Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge #131, first cherry blossoms.  I did the artwork sometime last year, and saved it for spring.  The seasons will come, with or without our approval.

blessing

blessing s

We gather together. We close our eyes, unlearning the darkness.

We are listening to what happens. When we don’t interfere, when we let go, unbe, untry.  When we release our expectations.

We hold everything as if it weighed nothing, as if it could fit into anything at all.

What we are.  Not what we think.  Not what we want.  Not what we fear.

The stillness of grace,
carried by stars on the wings
of birds.  We listen.

For a trio of prompts–Frank asked for thoughts about Thanksgiving in his #haikai challenge this week, and for thoughts about gratitude in his haibun prompt for dVerse.  Colleen  in her #TankaTuesday prompt also referred to the theme of Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ was loud and chaotic–numerous adults and sometimes 11 children vying for attention.

But we never ate any meal at their house without first becoming quiet and giving thanks.  It’s a ritual that perhaps deserves a revival.

Contingencies

contingencies s

Enmeshed by expectations, I keep spinning into tangles of self-imposed tempests. Where is the thread that will uncoil the gyring currents and release my thoughts into exhalations that echo with waves of light?

spirit of the wind
zephrean lullaby
dance me with dream dust

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A quadrille haibun using dVerse host Kim’s word “keep” that considers the withering wind of Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge #111.

Hunters Moon

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I stand at my back window near midnight. The night is cloudy, but still I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of the full October Hunter’s Moon.

I will not be using its light to search for my winter’s food store. So what am I seeking?  What will nourish me in the coming months of short days and long nights?

tell me what I see–
moon appears complete, sudden,
clouds glowing colors

wings against golden black
catch omens, rise, then fly

hunters moon close up 2s

Every two weeks The Ekphrastic Review has a writing challenge.  I usually enter, and always plan to do a collage for the selected work and publish my poem, even if it isn’t chosen.  Of course I don’t actually often have the time.  But Jane Dougherty’s repetition of Dale Patterson’s artwork, with 3 of her poems, spurred me to do my collage and revise my poem, which I wasn’t satisfied with.  It fit right into Frank Tassone’s “Hunter’s Moon” prompt.  Were you lucky enough to see it?

hunters moon close up s

You can see Jane’s poems here.  And those selected by guest editor Jordan Trethewey, at The Ekphrastic Review, here.