among the purple heather

among the purple s

solitude
unwinding beneath
meandering
skies, layers
circling back on themselves, cross
currented by wind–

trees sweep leaves
into shapes–shivered,
spilled over
edges, cast
shadowed with spirits holding
earth connecting air

scattering
blossomed voices—bells
calling words
into breath,
into dances that whisper
sanctuary—“come”

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.

I recently came across a video that talked about asemic writing, and using it as a prompt for extracting poetry from your unintellible scribbles. I decided to use Sue’s photo as a guide for my asemic composition, first using fine point markers in colors that echoed the landscape.  I then freewrote what I thought my marks were trying to say.

among the purple ansemic s

After that I took watercolor pencils, dipped them in water, and wrote asemically again over the markers, blurring both.  I looked at what I had written in my initial response, extracted some of the ideas, and formed them into a shadorma chain to go with the final composition.

among the purple close up s

 

When I saw Sue’s photo, the first thing I thought of was the traditional Scottish song “Wild Mountain Thyme”.  Joan Baez did a famous version, but I think the one I remember most from my youth is by the Byrds.  It’s been covered and reinterpreted by artists as varied as Van Morrison, the Clancy Brothers, and Ed Sheeran.  I listened to a lot of them, but I really like this one by Kate Rusby.

among the purple ansemic close up s

Little Richard (1932-2020)

little richard young 1s

audiences
remixed up
moving as one

little richard old s

Trying to draw Little Richard as a young man made me realize just how beautiful he was beyond the exuberant music.  I couldn’t do justice to the fine bone structure of his face, the eyes that had so much to say.

As his obituary in the NY Times pointed out, one of the early criticisms of rock and roll was that it increased integration between people of different races.  Little Richard crossed many boundaries–racial, social, gendered–opening doors that had long been locked.

 Perhaps empathy plants its seeds in the music that rocks our souls.  Time to get up and dance!

 

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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what it is

what it is s

I open my grandmother’s trunk and the smell of cedar recalls my father’s woolen army blankets, faded and frayed.  The inside of the chest had become their home, a refuge from the memories woven into fibers that had crossed the ocean twice.

My father would not talk about the war itself, but he brought home with him both blankets and cots.  We never used the blankets.

On hot summer nights my brothers and I opened the cots to sleep in the basement, unaware of the secrets they could tell us, the images seared into our father’s eyes and carried in his bones.

all those silences–
invisible ink written
on the wings of birds

what it is close up a

Day 28 NaPoWriMo–the prompt is to describe a significant space from your life.

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messages

messages s

messages magnetic

Some words from the Oracle for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.  Most of my collage references are in storage, so everything in this collage except for the cosmos photos were taken from newspapers from the past month.

messages close up 1s

What I saw when going through the news reflected on how our stories may change in details, but remain similar in form.

messages close up 3s

we are making
stories out of star
voices flying
broken through holes
that sail us home

messages close up 2s

mad enchantment

mad enchantment mandala s

mad enchantment s

mad enchantment–
a swarm, a flock, a host–
winged spirits

Bjorn has us going through out bookshelves for his dVerse prompt.  I brought very few books to my temporary apartment, thinking I would make frequent visits to the library.  Most of what is here are art books with exiting titles like “Matisse” or “Chagall”.  Still, I managed to put together a haiku-like book poem.

mad mandala close up s

Then I did one with CDs, which offered a better selection.

wise up ghost s

Wise up ghost:
I’m not there.
Life’s too short.

 

 

Fingers Singing with the Wind (after Hans Verhagen)

fingers singing s

Meet me streaming tides of music held in rings
calling like fingers singing with the wind
nets of foolish tunes
words woven into fish

Open all the lines together untie the knots spin apart swim
through worlds following every round gathering
detours through doorways
to what appears to look not more like ending but moving on

fingers singing close up s

For NaPoWriMo Day 21: “Find a poem in a language that you don’t know….try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds”.  I went to the website link for Poetry International, and picked a poem in Dutch, because one side of my mother’s family is Dutch, and it’s dissimilar enough to English that I wouldn’t be able to guess all the words.  How could I resist a poem titled “Praying Mantises on the Wind”?

I “translated” the first two stanzas written by poet Hans Verhagen.  You can read the real translation here.

Met de stroming tegen maar muziek hard in de rug
vallen we als bidsprinkhanen op de wind
naar het lang voorbije terug
waar de wederopstanding begint

Op alle lijnen tegelijk kun je niet van de partij zijn
dus worden volgelingen in het rond gezonden
die voor jou doorgaan;
nu ziet iedereen je ook nog voor je eigen volgeling aan

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when hands pause, listening

lemon tree close up s

following
the branchings, my brush
tells stories
of reaching
for sun, gathering roots to
awaken new growth

lemon tree black s

NaPoWriMo day 18 asks for “an ode to life’s small pleasures”.  For me, drawing, whether with pencil or brush, always provides comfort.

I drew here from one of my lemon trees, grown from seeds planted by my daughter long ago, after the cherry pits (inspired by the Vera Williams book) didn’t sprout.  A monoprint, I first drew with paint on wax paper, then pressed grey paper lightly over the image and pulled it off.  It’s always a slightly different reflection of the original lines, a little surprise.

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