parabola

all
most dreamed
synthesized
otherworldly this
hour this hidden light
found by shifting seasons
like a song already known
a secret spellbound heartsown with
haunted melodies resonating
as echoes returned from a lost refrain

For Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday where the prompts this week were a photo provided by Trent McDonald (above) and/or synonyms for the words “MOVE & MAKE” provided by David Ellis.

Ersilia

skulls of saints–
the bones of the dead
dismantled–
spiritual songs

the bones of the dead
seeking a form–
spiritual songs,
grey life

seeking a form–
labyrinth,
grey life–
they are nothing

labyrinth,
consumed moon–
they are nothing–
times chant

consumed moon,
intricate relationships–
times chant
blood

intricate relationships
dismantled–
blood,
skulls of saints

A pantoum mash up of phrases from Samuel Greenberg’s “The Pale Impromptu” for Laura at dVerse, and The Kick-About prompt #13 “Ersilia” from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

The Kick-About prompt immediately made me want to take actual thread and do something three-dimensional to represent the abandoned city of Ersilia. Cardboard boxes were my starting point. Weaving my embroidery floss with a needle between the supports I cut and folded up, it became obvious how the city inhabitants became tangled in a state of impasse, forcing them to move on.

I decided to do a landscape background–the text spoke of viewing the deserted city from the mountains–and I spent a lot of time laying out possible landscapes on my floor from the collage references I had. I then dismantled and retaped a box to make a sort of diorama and glued the landscape pieces down.

Then I had fun rearranging the threaded bones of the city and photographing it from different viewpoints against the background.

Laura’s prompt, to incorporate phrases from Greenberg’s poem into our own verse, made me think of combining those words with phrases taken from the Calvino excerpt. There seemed to be an affinity between the two.

I read “Invisible Cities” in 2016 and posted a review on Goodreads. At the end I wrote: “Certainly it inspires visions that could be transferred to paper…and perhaps some of them will come to form for me at a future time.” And so they have.

spirits of place

infused with
what?  forms shimmering,
unfocused,
almost not
there—breaking into bits of
color, sprinkled light–

watching the
air, you can’t quite be
lieve, place, what
you thought you
saw, significant portions
of which have faded

into blurred
memories that have
discarded
their presence–
the lost and found of the mind,
a vast space without

an index–
tangled up with myth,
stray remnants
dismissed as
merely imagination–
how do we discern

what is true?
maybe what is real
is really
made up—all
wrapped together in spirits
that are beyond sense

Brendan at earthweal discussed land-spirits and asked us to write about a local spirit. My locale has been NYC for 50 years, but within the city it has been constantly on the move. I thought first of birds and trees, which made me think of my own trees that move with me from place to place. My lemon trees are nearly 30 years old, grown from seeds planted by my older daughter as a young child. I also have a corn plant tree, rescued from the basement discard room in an apartment building I lived in briefly about 15 years ago.

tree sprit face tree 3s

I carry their spirits with me, but I have also given them form from time to time. Like the plants, they provide companionship and continuity, a living connection to reciprocal relationships that exist without needing any specific place or time.

tree sprit face tree s

POPO 2020 part 2

many books
speak of the one way–
what is real?
close your eyes
and listen to what you see–
try to remember

This year I participated in POPO the August POetry POstcard Fest–where the challenge is to send a different postcard with a poem you’ve composed for each day in August, 31 in all. This is the second installment, with cards 3 and 4.

I decided to do shadormas, as they would fit easily on the back of a postcard, and to connect them through repeating part of the last line of each poem to the first line of the poem for the next day. The last line of the poem from day 2 was “to fill many books”

remember
the interior
spiraling
while the out
side remined calm, in
visible, rooted

You can see cards 1 and 2 here. To be continued…

crossing

Last night I had a vivid dream about bridges. Consulting the Oracle this morning, I was able to form the word bridge in both the Poet and Geek kits, giving me two sides of the coin–a question and an answer.

1
which star
streams the galactic code
to open
this bridge
through light
into completion?

2
blue bridge sails
ghoststars of skybreath–
opening holes
in the haunted ocean
of remembering–
a fool’s magic
embrace of time

Hozier’s version of this often-covered song captures most closely the atmosphere of my dream.

passing

In the mirror I
am only a face–
a fleeting facade,
disembodied,
always incomplete.

I recognize it, but I
do not feel attached–
I dislike the lines,
the dark circles,
the sagging jowls.

Our interactions are
conditional, brief.
My face is
interesting in the way
of all faces,

but not memorable or
distinct—brown hair
brown eyes behind glasses–
averagely past its prime–
I could be anyone.

I see the years in
my hands and I
celebrate them.
Why is my aging
face a source of shame?

Our bodies are merely
ephemera—transitory,
waiting to be
discarded—waiting to release
our spirits to the wind.

This is some more old work I never posted because I was moving. It was inspired by two prompts: The Kick-About prompt of Joseph Cornell’s “Romantic Museum”, which was part of an exhibition dedicated to portraits of women, and the dVerse prompt from Sarah asking for self-portraits. As I said to Phil when I submitted my response to the Kick-About: what woman do I know better than myself?

The hand holding a needle in Cornell’s work, above immediately attracted my attention. I wanted to do something on newspaper, but I couldn’t collage (my first choice) as my glue was packed.  My needles and floss were not, however, and this also seemed appropriate to Cornell’s work.

I was pleased to find a newspaper page with a photo of hands.  I drew my own, and also my face, and stitched and wrote my reflections based on the drawings.  It’s not quite finished, but maybe that’s the correct response too.

linking to dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Grace

snow goose

parallel rhythms
fan into a V—to lead
and then to follow

opening I ride currents
weaving feathers with the wind

For Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge goose. I chose to paint snow geese. It’s not draw a bird day, but any day is appropriate for birds.

It’s been a challenge for me to get any work done that I like, both with writing and art. I decided to do some ink and brush painting for the goose. This is an unforgiving medium, but one I enjoy, and the focus required was good for me. I spent an enjoyable hour painting, ending up as always with a pile of discards, but with a few worth posting.

I am continually reminded of my drawing teacher who told us that of every 100 drawings we did, only one would be worth saving–so draw, draw, draw.