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…

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

wake up

I needed
herbal tea and drank
peppermint
chamomile
lemon ginger—aromas
filled the afternoon

awakened
this morning my head
pounded with
forgotten
caffeine—I had neglected
to include coffee

I needed
to smell the coffee
pot brewing–
inhale
the cup–cravings satisfied–
snug, reblanketed

I wrote two blanket poems yesterday–one was depressing and the other too enigmatic, to put it kindly. This poem came to me spontaneously this morning as I waited for my caffeine to brew–along with a drawing to help the time pass more quickly.

A quadrille for dVerse, where Merril has given us the word blanket

of fairies and birdlings

it’s easy
to say no—but what
does that word
really mean,
exactly?—“not now”?—“never”?–
“I don’t understand”?—

“I don’t want
to deal with it”?—what
lies between
the letters,
the sounds hard and long?  if you
take away the n

what is left?–
only a surprise,
a sense of
wonder—worlds
filled with possibility–
the magic of ”o!”

photo

The Kick-About prompt this week features a photo of the Cottingley fairies, above, taken by two girls in England in 1917. Looking at the photo from the vantage point of digital manipulation in 2020, it’s easy to laugh at the fact that anyone could have actually believed that they were “real”. And yet…

(and here I find I must make more birdlings)

Are fairies true? Are birdlings?

POPO 2020

each day be
side itself with all
fresh waves of
surprise—all
gathered believing in be
longing everywhere

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. After you register, you receive a list of names in your participant group, and go down the list until you get back to your own.

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. I made over 40 postcards in anticipation, and sent some to my friends as well as to the people on my list.

everywhere
what we see is what
we don’t know
and more than
enough remains unanswered
to  fill many books

I received 27 cards back. The mail has been unreliable as we all know, so that’s a pretty good percentage. I enjoyed both the giving and the receiving and looked forward each morning to picking out a card and composing a poem. Below is a photo of all the cards that were sent to me. I’ll be posting the ones I sent, along with the poems, from time to time, and at the end I’ll tie them all together in a multiverse shadorma chain.

I highly recommend it! You can already sign up for next year, but you have until next summer if, like me, you wait until the last minute to decide these things.

I’m linking this to dVerse open link night, where Mish is hosting, in the hopes that it will inspire some pub members to participate in 2021.

sailing the moon

ghost ships rise
along the crescent,
shadowing
their moonmasts–
sails blurred blue into oceans–
dusk stilled into night

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt of August 20, below.

I posted my original painting on memadtwo with the Oracle’s meditation on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I was dissatisfied with it and intensified the dark for the painting above.  I had written the poem at that time as well (even though I was offline), and it complements the Oracle’s words I think.

The crescent moon circle was taken from one of my photos, but I think I should have glued it down.  A small task I will get to soon.

Also sending good wishes to Sue as she deals with a serious illness.

Falling

 

We pretend
to own what we claim–
plant our flags
build fences
carry weapons in our hands–
exchange life for gold.

Do we think
we can circumscribe
the secrets
of the moon
with a padlock and a key?
We just keep falling

like black holes–
misunderstanding
reflected
light—the ebb
and flow of seas and seasons–
uncapturable.

Lillian at dVerse provided 4 images from artist Catrin Welz-Stein and asked us to choose one as ekphrastic inspiration.  I chose the image below.

I’ve taken a few liberties with my interpretation.  The collage box always has something to tell me.

our voices echo through distances we cannot span

life spills out
into uncontrolled
spaces—still
mystery,
still yearning for parallel
growth, revelation—

who and where
do we think we are?
tiny ex
plosions look
ing for intersecting lines
that collide and cross,

waving brains
tides hands energy
electric
magnetic–
mapping the unseen
with disturbances,

promises
of what could have been–
had lighyears
been compressed
into overlapping sounds—each
a mirrored reply

Marcy Erb’s prompt for the Kick-About #11 was the planet Trappist 1e, an earth-sized planet orbiting the Trappist-1 dwarf star 40 light years from Earth.  What makes it special?  Scientists believe it is potentially habitable.

But not the entire planet–“there would be only a sliver of habitability”–as the planet does not itself rotate–one side is always facing towards the sun, and the other side is always in darkness.  The habitable area is called the teminator line, or in more familiar terms, the twilight zone, as it is always stranded between the darkness and the light.

The idea of a sliver of habitability seems relevant to the current situation on earth–the balance of the ecosystem is delicate, and we are narrowing that sliver day by day.  My two mandalas represent my idea of Trappist 1e and the waves of exploration and communication we are sending out in the hopes of finding another blue and green island in the vast dark cosmic sea.