The Age of Aquarius

Back when the musical “Hair” came out, some astrologers grumbled that it wasn’t really the Age of Aquarius yet.  But what did we care?  We were tired of the world as it was, ready for Peace Love and Understanding.

Well…maybe not.

chaotic stillness
watching from the whorled center
for new beginnings

During 2020 there were rumblings once again online about the REAL Age of Aquarius finally showing up.  I was skeptical to say the least.

all those lost patterns–
I collect them in my mind,
in new rotations

It seems we had the Age of Aquarius skewed, not only in time.  Yes, it’s a total tearing down and rebuilding.  But it’s going to require hard work.  Taking a lot of drugs and wearing tie-dye and listening to songs about love won’t do it.

all impermanence—
no matter which way you turn
the path continues

Can we change our entire approach to living together, not only with each other, but with the earth, its creatures, its landscape, its elements?  We need to if we want to survive.

giving myself hope
inside my dark wanderings–
a world of wonder

When Phil asked me to choose this week’s Kick-About prompt, I thought immediately of The Age of Aquarius, because I’ve been turning over in my mind the hope that it might be real, that humanity can change. I always loved the music posters of the “Hair” era, and used them as inspiration for my neon colored paintings.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the other responses next week.

transposed by all that has taken both place and time

the reflection absorbs me–
torn pieces of rainbows,
all those things left undone
turning the inside out–

windows with no edges,
mirrors of light waves,
disintegration–
the reflection absorbs me–

don’t fence me in you say–
your words pile up in layers
that turn into
pieces of rainbows—

I am suspended between,
my replies tangled up
with the silence of the dead–
all those things left undone

all those unsent messages–
castaways held captive
on ships without a shore—
turning us inside out

Jade, at dVerse, has us considering edges.

Art from the archives with a cascade poem.

Rhetoric

The Kick-About prompt this time around is “The Five Canons of Rhetoric”. My mind glazed over as I read through these rigid and formal ways of organizing communication. Of course the word rhetoric has multiple meanings, the first of which, according to dictionary.com, is “(in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast”. Something we all been oversubjected to of late.

What is true of all the definitions is that rhetoric involves the use of language. One synonym given particularly caught my eye: ” balderdash–senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense”. The word nonsense immediately made me think of the surrealists.

The surrealists felt that letting go of the need to control your creation would reveal deeper truths. This was true of both visual and written art. They rejected logic and reason.

I often use surrealistic techniques for both my art and my writing. I’ve been doing rorschach images for awhile–these little cards are done by dripping the leftover paint from my watercolors onto the card and folding it in half. Usually the layers are done in several sessions.

I also compose comments for my images using words and phrases I’ve cut out of magazines and advertisements. I limit myself to what’s contained in one envelope for each card, and often spend quite a long time choosing and arranging them. I call it the collage box oracle, as it’s similar to using magnetic poetry. I was originally inspired by Claudia McGill, who is a master at this technique.

I’m usually surprised by what appears. It always makes me think.

I first scanned in just the images, and then worked on the words. When I went to scan them in, I realized I had changed the orientation of the image in half of them. Another unexpected surprise.

Surrealistic Rhetoric has no pretense to being anything but a random arrangement of words. But somehow it manages to incorporate at least 4 of the classical canons–invention, arrangement, style, and delivery. As to memory–well, canon #7 deals with that.

The Eight Canons of Surrealist Rhetoric

Is there anything more archetypal than nothing?

Space is just energy deconstructing.

You expected evolving to be more complex.

Adventure awaits beyond the details of yourself.

Fools rush into the shadow of the projected image.

I was invented from the earth’s fertile surfaces–
otherwise my unlimited nakedness would be alarming.

My plans are to forget to remember.

There was a window from the start—simple and mysterious–
imagine looking through it to what is hidden between.

Mercy 1/2 (after M L Smoker)

An answer arrives,
but it’s not words,
not even something
that you can hear.

–not that you
ever listen to anything
anyway–

How do you
recognize it?–
but you know
that your inside has shifted
into what it wasn’t–

At the same time
you are still where you were–
you still face towards impossibility
in every direction—

And yet your mind is not the same–
a strange memory you cannot name
has cleared a path between
the synapses of despair
and you can breathe again.

Is the light lost?
You leave a candle burning,
place it in the window–
come home

For the earthweal prompt of Seasonal Changes 1: IMBOLC hosted by Sarah.

Last year I wrote a series of poems inspired by M L Smoker’s poem, Mercy, which can be found in the anthology Native Voices, published by Tupelo Press. This poem is a combination of numbers 1 and 2.

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.