this land (the other)

but there is always another side–
the one that is in our face seems real
because we see it—the details,
the form of its existence–
but what of the side we do not see,
what of the one that looks
in a different direction?  the one not
evident, not the same?  the one
we must be careful not to leave behind?

As usual, Brendan at earthweal gave me a lot to think about in this week’s challenge post. His question–What does it meant to be open, unbounded, united and free in an enclosed world?–made me immediately think of this verse Woody Guthrie wrote in “This Land is Your Land”.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me

which was the inspiration for my poem.

The late great Sharon Jones sings it like it is.

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Ingrid.

breathing

I woke up this morning thinking of Sue Vincent. The words the Oracle gave me reflect that. She must have been in my dream, although all I remember is the ending which had snow and bright yellow dogs.

The art I was drawn to when looking through the archives for something to illustrate the words was also done for Sue’s prompts.

almost like light
this dusky song
a gentle color

of secret sound
murmured by roots and rain

how to follow
through beneath beside

ask the ancient path
to walk with you

Dead Ends

My memories of my childhood, the years between ages five and eleven, are good ones.  We had moved from the city of Cleveland to the suburbs, from a 2-bedroom house where my brothers and I shared a room, to a 3-bedroom house where I had my own, if tiny, space.

But this was the 1950s suburbs—there were still fields and vacant and wooded lots.  The houses and yards were small.  The trees had not been cut down to build the houses.  Each was different.  Landscapers were not called in—yards were maintained in a casual manner.  No one owned a leaf blower or a snowblower.  We raked and shoveled and played in the leaves and snow while doing it.

Families had one car and people rotated carpooling or took Rapid Transit trains to work.  There was little traffic on our dead end street, and we often played there.  Railroad tracks stood at the dead end—we spent hours just watching the trains, counting the cars and waiting to wave at the caboose, climbing the fence and playing in the woods, fields, and streams “across the tracks”.  We walked or rode our bikes to school, to friends’ houses, to the candy store.

I recently looked at that house on Google Maps, shocked to see a bare front yard—all the oak trees had been removed.  What was once a dead end had been connected to the next street.  Gone was the Beck’s house on the hill, and Beck’s field where we played baseball in summer and ice skated in winter.  Gone was the Fleming’s double lot with its beehives, rabbit hutches, sheds, and hiding places perfect for kick-the-can.  Worst of all, “across the tracks” was now populated by warehouses, not fields and trees and the creatures that lived there.

My entire childhood had been erased.

screens the new playgrounds–
no more cloud-watching, fresh picked
berries, forts of shoveled snow—

finding a four-leaf clover
in the middle of your lawn

For earthweal, where Brendan asks us to witness the magnitude of the changes in our environments.

Beyond All Knowing

They wished to be passengers on a river of stars,
but the road they followed fell below the horizon,

a road that insisted on following darker paths.
Suddenly they found themselves accompanied by wolves.

The wolves ran through an expanding tunnel–
its walls were spattered with the past,

a past too scattered to contain or understand.
No door appeared within, no window,

no exit from the accumulations of bad intent,
the gods and humans that demanded obedience.

The wolves made no demands, but extended an invitation
to join them as they became transparent—

to join them in sheering the mind’s self-imposed limits.
They wished to be passengers on a river of stars.

A duplex sonnet for NaPoWriMo Day 27.

Serpent’s Tale

The serpent grew wings–
emerging from the cosmic egg,
it became a bird.

Embracing the tree of life
and all of spirit’s progeny,
the serpent grew wings.

Beginning as a vast secret
of stars and swirling light
emerging from the cosmic egg

The serpent shed its skin
and imagined miracles.
It became a bird.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to write a poem about a mythical person or creature doing something unusual . My response is not exactly on prompt–I took a mythical creature but I reimagined it into hope instead of despair. As Brendan at earthweal says: let’s celebrate radical hope — that hope whose only basis is our faith in the wonder of life and our capacity to embrace it.

The form I used for the poem is the Cascade, one of Muri’s April scavenger hunt poetic prompts. I’d forgotten how much I like it–thanks Muri!

I did not have to look far into my Redon-inspired collages for a mythological subject. The stitched mandala is from my constellation series–this is the Phoenix, first published on Pure Haiku.

Your ashes illume,
cradled beyond day and night – 
great is the unknown.

Confluence

1
The music of birds gathers
in the minglings of sky and trees.

2
Voices weave separate paths that cross
each other and echo into themselves.

3
Who arranges the sequences
into song, the patterns into stories?

4
Who maps the contingent journey
of roots and branches?

5
Who casts the landscape into wings
that lift spirit into light?

I’ve been wanting to try a cadralor, and Bjorn at dVerse gave me a push by suggesting the form in his prompt. I’ve also been worrying a poem for earthweal, where Sherry asked us to look for “moments of collateral beauty“. Having a specific form to work with helped me to organize my thoughts.

I know: birds again. Yes.

The stitching was inspired by the art of Joan Mitchell, as was all the art I did for NaPoWriMo 18. It seems a lifetime ago now.

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,