who are you

bat

who
are you
and who are

you
not—is
there a point

where
each merges
into the other

where
you meet
the both/and

neither–
where it
doesn’t really matter?

The Kick-About #15 features lithography illustrations by Eric Ravilious from the book High Street. I was immediately drawn to the shop full of masks, above. I’ve drawn, painted, stitched and collaged many masks over the years, and I also have quite a few that I’ve collected, stored and waiting for a place to be displayed.

horse

For the prompt, I decided to focus on Mexican animal masks, since the animal masks in the shop illustration seemed to be the most prominent element.

dog

Masking has a long history in the indigenous culture of the Americas, and animals are commonly used in dances, ritual, and ceremonies, often combined with Christian stories and characters.

fox

Masks are vessels in which a powerful energy is stored, an energy than can help cross the boundaries between human and animal, creating a co-existence of spirits in the same body.

bull/lizard

I confess that once I got started with these it was hard to stop.

hummingbird

The technique I used was the Rorschach monoprint–I painted one side and folded the paper in the center and pressed down to create a mirror image.

jaguar
owl

and if they take me
to heart, if they pull me through
their own openings

will I flow, float dreaming in
side their abiding presence–

no, not dead, but yet
not of the living—unbound
by movement or time,

reconnected, emerged as
an ancestor to myself

pig
horned creature

what came out
was not the same as
what went in

eagle
goat

I liked the bat so much I did it twice, once on red paper and once on white.

bat 2

animals
do not need our gods
to exist

it’s dark and raining and I can’t see the night sky shining

she said it
and then she repeated it

we already knew
but we had forgotten

and then she sang it
in the voice of sunfire

she sang it blue
through the clarity of sky

she grew it greenwise
inside the trees

and with the wind she
sudden opened hidden wings

shining golden between
floods of cleansing and sorrow

shining silver under
the full stillness of the moon

shining through the dark
with a universe of welcoming

and every word she said
was filled with grace

and every sound that lifted
her voice was mercy

and every feather
was transformation

glittering like stars on
the outline of her embrace

When I saw the dVerse prompt this morning, I could see the hand of the Oracle.  I had just written the above poem the night before.  Although I usually use the magnetic tiles to consult with her, these very vatic words, which certainly did not come from the planning of my conscious mind, had all the elements of her voice.

The image provided not only seemed to mirror my words, but reminded me of some of my art from the archive, rorschach paintings that also come out of the unplanned intersection of paint and surprise.

I wasn’t sure how I would approach posting these words, but here was the opening.  Thanks Jade!

borderlands

borderlands 1s

time
distills
into the
slow motion of
half-forgotten hours–
astral sunsets emerge
inside the dense dazzled air–
waiting to join the fading light
that veils the edge between earth and sky

A nonet for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, and Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday, with synonyms for blessed and hex, provided by Anita Dawes.

borderlands 2s

I did two  rorschach paintings which turned out slightly different.

wings 2s

But somehow I always end up with wings.

wings 1s

 

wild iris

spirits wander collage

bending air, a bridge–
rampant hues filling the gap
between heaven and earth

iris ink and pencil comp

For Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge #145, wild iris.  I had promised Jade I would look for some of my old iris drawings, but I also found this rainbow spirit that somehow resembles an iris–Iris is the Greek rainbow goddess, messenger and link between mortal and deity.

iris colored pencil comp

The drawings are from one of my many abandoned projects, taking a journal from 1989, and doing something similar (at that time in 2015) and comparing them.  1989 is on the left, 2015 is on the right.  If I could buy a bouquet, I would try it again right now, as both  were done from live flowers.  Maybe next year.

Ancestor (Dance of the Happy Shades)

ancestor comp

He seems friendly
enough, this presence
of the past, shifting
languorously as if
drugged by sun
light shining in his eyes
after a thundering rain

In truth his voice
is seldom called
upon—an apparition
furniturial, fixed
impermanently in
corners and along
walls

ancestor close up 1s

His dance contains
unpredictable
undertones—the hours
move around him
as his buddha smile
glimmers knowingly
in the dark

ancestor close up 2s

Phil Gomm’s Prompt #3 at The Kick About is Dance of the Happy Shades.  My Rorschach ancestor mirrors himself and transforms in both vertical and horizontal directions.  It was fun to add a little nonsensical creation to my days.

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.

blessing close up s

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.

Go Away Now

go away now s

Complications sour the air. It sits heavy like a rock, immense and expanding.  I am pinned to the low and the unbending, hard consonants without vowels.

This place reeks of precarious edges and uncertain lines. I am starved for words.  The familiar has become unreadable, untold.  Noises have become forms that weave themselves into a motionless net around each ungathered piece of what might pass for sanity.  I grow continuously neither better nor worse.

I do not remember what I asked of the universe, the cosmic spirits that randomly move the pieces of my life, that giveth sometimes but often only taketh away.

O yes, their ways are mysterious. Blood and Violence merging into Just The Way Things Are.

If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant, deeper, emptier, more ravening than their insatiable hunger.

Let them dine alone—I will swallow myself

go away now close up s

Victoria at dVerse has given us words from poet Jane Kenyon
If it’s darkness
we’re having, let it be extravagant.
for this week’s prosery, a 144 word composition.

I am also linking to The Myths of the Mirror November Writing Challenge–a non-human point of view.

ghosted

I am s

constellating through trees
I am
lying down and looking up
at my innervisions

shouting with the wind
I am
carried by currents
that refuse to cohere

barefoot unhatted
I am
wrapping my head
around the sky

nothing sticks to me
I am
as shadowless as
the inside of night

For the dVerse prompt from Sarah, creating character through what they sense (with a nod to the seasonal celebrations)