Aggregated

Why must we always quantify?  4, 3, 10.  Add, subtract, multiply.  Divide.

My prose poem, Aggregated, based on a painting by Hilma af Klint, was among those selected as a finalist in The Ekphrastic Review Women Artists contest. You can read the entire poem and see all the finalists here. The three winning selections are here.

also linking to dVerse OLN

Manifest

Life is difficult.

Well of course it is.  Easy is monotonous.  Uncomplicated is boring.

What is possible must first be imagined.

Am I looking for the Land of Milk and Honey?  Am I waiting for my Ship to Come In?  Do I yearn for Promised Lands?  Do I search for the Pots of Gold at the Ends of Rainbows?

Do I ask to be One of The Chosen Few?

No.  I do not.

Weep at the world.

I am too busy.

Sharpening my oyster knife, so to speak.

Calling to the ocean, sailing on its moontides, seeking kinship on its shore.  Culling only what still contains life, nourishment.

Cutting through the shiny exterior.  Prying open the closed doors.

To see.  What has been kept from me.

Secret, hidden, suppressed, denied.

A pearl or a grain of sand?

You can’t have one without the other.

Jade at dVerse has provided a quote from Zora Neale Hurston from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow for this week’s prosery: No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

Indeed she was.

lost languages

these names that have lost their origins
names that have lost their sounds
that have lost their meanings
lost meanings without references
without words words that once rolled off
the tongue rolled off the tongue
immense with meaning
with meaning now lost now
untranslatable immense and untranslatable
these names without meaning

these names belonging nowhere
belonging nowhere to no one to no one
at all invisible undernourished
undernourished and withered into invisibility
without a way a way to put sounds together
sounds that together form words
words that become names
these names that are lost

canvas back 1s

these names without scripts
without scripts or context without
the context of language a language
of mirrors mirrors now empty
mirrors that yield no answers
answers to questions questions
without context how and what and where
and why are they lost and where did they go
who knows the names the names the names
the names that have lost their meaning

canvas back close up s

For dVerse, where Bjorn has us chanting,

Ocular

I am still waiting for clarity–
sometimes I think about
the things I can’t see
and I wonder how
to place them inside my mind–

Out of the dark and still
I am dreaming of colors
liquid currents of sound
moving in all directions
between the gaps–

Do our visions swim
cataracted with refractions–
flooding the invisible
barriers of the portals
into our eyes?

As I told Phil, this week’s Kick-About prompt, fundus photography, was made for my watercolor mandalas. First, photographing the inner eye naturally makes for roundness, and the liquid state calls for watercolor to represent it.

I did 4 watercolors and embroidered on 2 of them. If I exaggerated the colors a bit, well, my eye often does the same.

composted

always digging deeper–
roots that grow below, restore–
listening through decay beyond stillness,

a place that is neither
dark nor light, yet full, aware,
gathered germinating into witness,

distilled light casting words
that linger as counterpart–
revealing mysteries in all that is

held on the wings of birds,
circulated through the heart,
absorbed into the spiraling axis

It’s poet’s choice of form at Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, and how could I resist a syllabic form called “kerf”? I meant this also to be for the earthweal challenge this week, earthcraft, but obviously did not finish it in time.

Once again, art from the archives.

In Response to Liu Xia’s poem “Twilight”

I too like the places
where categories are neither
and both—indistinct forms
replace the sharp edges and play
with what is no longer there.

Past and future give way
to presence, and dissolve
who I am—nothing
has yet been decided.

There is no need
to consult time, to hasten
the turning of the wheel–

life pauses–

the landscape seems different,
unattached to words
or specific actions as it
gathers me in, murmuring
my pulse with invisible
currents.

Crow calls to my soul–
a shadow casting deeper
than darkness or light.

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. Liu Xia is a Chinese artist, activist and poet. “Twilight” is one of the poems in her book Empty Chairs. Although that particular poem is not available online, you can read some of her other poems here.

On Rambling/City Streets

Under concrete still lies the earth.
Am I bridged?  Do I travel on or over?
The air takes my thoughts and plays with them,
embroiders them, suspends them between.

Am I bridged?  do I travel on or over?
My fingers want to hold the windwhispers–
embroider them, suspend them between
the bare branches of the trees.

My fingers want to hold the windwhispers
that touch the moon on her journey
through the bare branches of the trees
into the fullness of the reflected light.

I want to touch the moon on her journey.
My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
backlit by the fullness of reflected light.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.

My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
a landscape I too often inhabit.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–

a landscape I too often inhabit.
I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–
how to be someone that is also everything.

I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
How to dance across the invisible threads.
How to be someone that is also everything,
crisscrossing land sea sky stars.

How to dance across the invisible threads
that hold both concrete and earth,
crosscrossing land sea sky stars–
(the air takes my thoughts and plays with them)

This pantoum is definitely a work in progress. For NaPoWriMo day 15, and the earthweal weekly challenge: Toward an Ecopoetry.

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Sanaa.

masses of green

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 3 is intriguing. I already know about Michael McClure’s “Personal Universal Deck” and it’s on a long list of things I’d like to do as I love cards of all kinds. But it needs more than a day to do properly, and I only have an hour on this particular day.

So I stuck with the Oracle’s deck of magnetic words, as I do most Saturdays. She knows these are holy days, as is every day when we pay attention to the wonders of the earth and its seasons. Who will save her?

spring seeds light
birds flower air bees
following

walk with green spirits
on earth as it is

Linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

Familiar

“The world around us is absolutely mind-blowingly amazing….All you have to do is pay attention. Then the stars come out and they dance with you.”–John Muir Laws

Common you say.  Everyday you say.
and it’s true:  night follows day
follows night.  Many things
form patterns, yet within
the patterns are mysterious
variations, expressions of one
particular momentary intersection
of space and time.  The moon
playing with clouds.  Water
coming in contact with light.
A tree, any tree, in any
season.  Who can forget
an insect’s wing?  Pigeons
swooping in unison between
the roofs of buildings.  Common.
And yet.  But still.  It stops
me.  Looking, listening, wondering.
Every day.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today has a link to an animation of the music of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Sun Ra was in tune with the world’s amazingness, but you don’t need psychedelic imagery to notice it.

Brendan at earthweal asks this week: What is the turning point that gets us out of this labyrinth of fated humanity? Who or what must we embrace? How do we find our way into the Totality?

We could start by just paying attention.

For NaPoWriMo this year I will mostly, if not entirely, be using art from the archives. I am in the pre-panic phase of my move–a little over 2 weeks before the movers come. I may not post every day, but I’ll do my best.

You can also see my art this month at the Ekphrastic Challenge at Wombwell Rainbow. Two other artists, and many wonderful poets, including Merril Smith and Jane Dougherty, are participating.

Seed Stitches

I thread
the needle and
spirit passes into
matter returning to
the center of
the (w)hole

I twine
the floss around
the needle—one two three–
casting strands into knots
spelling rhythmic
patterns

I pause
to connect what
lies hidden below the
coiled surface—roots binding
up and down to
between

The Kick-About prompt this time was The Ashley Book of Knots, below. It’s been a long time since I did any macrame, but I love to embroider, entranced by everything about it–the floss itself, the color and texture, the rhythmic and repetitive motions that are so like meditation, the gradual revelation of something new.

I’ve done a lot of embroidery on paper, but I couldn’t remember ever trying French Knots, also called Seed Stitch. My mandala papers are fairly sturdy, so I painted one, inspired by Monet, and searched through my embroidery floss boxes for similar colors.

Besides their practical and decorative uses, knots can symbolize many things, from the vows of marriage, to a puzzle to be solved. They are connected to threads of all kinds, and thus the interweavings that form and support all of life.

The French Knot is a simple stitch–wind the floss 3 times around the needle and reinsert it into the hole made by bringing the thread to the surface–but like many simple things, it’s easy to become tangled up if you aren’t paying attention. Something that applies to all creative endeavors involving fibers.

I’ve used the Badger’s Hexastitch form for my poem.