sustenance

drawing-constellations-s

sustenance magnetic s

For Colleen’s #tanka tuesday, using a quote supplied by Merril Smith, below, as inspiration.

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

crazy quilt

I’ve been in a creative funk the past few days, so I consulted the Oracle for some help with my shadorma sequence. And once again, I’m recycling some old art.

what lingers
within the workings
of a life
time    dancing
home by remembering the
rhythms of the stars

roots seeding
trees that grow between
deep earthlight
beholding
to the cycles stitched full through
what shines from the heart

 

 

 

the circle game part 2

circle game 2bs

Times Square is empty, like the weather—grey now, the colors drained like the empty subway cars, residing hidden in tenements, written in the isolation of morning coffee.  The Sunday newspaper remains undelivered (again) as even that thread of connection frays into feral cats in dark corners and the shadows of crows haunting the hometown I never knew.

All of this is imaginary, of course—flora and fauna are absent from this enclosed space, except as chimera, impoverished by the boredom of my own company, the same jeans and shirt waiting to be worn like the trackless days.  No Significant Other to keep me in, and an invisible barrier blocking me from leaving.  Outside my window a graffiti of exclamation points greets me each day behind the passing cars and on clear evenings I say “Goodnight Moon”, remembering bedtimes with small bodies close and sleepy and warm.

But the lines have been drawn, and as Joni reminds me, the seasons still go round and round.  We’re always captive on the carousel of time.

tomorrow
blue skies
growing new wings

circle game 2 close up s

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was “to fill out, in five minutes or less, the following “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as to basis for a poem.”  You can see the questionnaire here.

 

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Murmuration Ghazal (After “Murmuration” by Sarah Kotchian)

murmuration a

Each script pulses as air on thousand wings–
again seen and written in sky cloud wings

Waves of dark starlings shape great turns,
exhale in wonder as distance disappears on wings

We say “scientists”, but we too fly in awe and delight–
can we track and keep our shape without wings?

But others catch the shifts in murmuration as dark–
we watch as neighbors turn so each can safeguard against wings

Flock of bird script maintains starling shape,
appears as never before in waves, then turns on wings

Sometimes the sky keeps one thin light track–
it is written on pulses–seven shifts seen again again again again again again again—wings

murmuration s

Cave Canem posted a prompt in their Week Four Literary Balms that I’ve been thinking about for awhile:

Prompt #11
Take your favorite poem and use it as a word bank to create a new work. It can be a response to the poem, it can be a remix of the poem, it can be made into a prose poem or have couplets, as long as ALL the words are used.
–Contributed by Cave Canem fellow Teri Ellen Cross Davis.

murmuration close up a

This morning I read a poem by Sarah Kotchian in Persimmon Tree that resonated, and I made a list of all the words it contained and then started to write.  The ghazal form seemed to work best–I used some of the words more than once, but all and only the words in a poem.  Just making the list was a revelation, to see the kinds of words she didn’t use, as well as the ones she did.  I highly recommend this as an exercise with a poem or poet you like.

painted starling close up s

Some new and old art, with a poem off prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 24.

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unexpectations

unexpectations front s

all is dis
order, from concept
to whim—in
side random
patterns I hide the stitches,
untamed by surprise

unexpectations back s

For the dVerse theme of order, hosted by Laura, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where the words are idea and fancy.  I used shadorma, a form I often turn to when I’m not feeling focused.

unexpectations close up s

The art is a work in progress, which illustrates well the way I operate in general.  I liked the scraps of handmade paper I had accumulated, and spent a long time arranging and rearranging them.  I wanted to do some stitching, because I find it soothing, so I just started making running stitch circles.  I have no idea where or when it will finally end.  But when I’m feeling anxious, it’s a good place to go.

A poem beginning with a line by Richard Siken

blackbird s

Blackbird, he says,
but there’s black and there’s black–
what color the feathers
the outer layer, not one
flat hue, more
complicated,
changed by
lightdarkyearsangleseasonlandscapesituation

and what is worn
inside, manipulated by movement
or inability to move–
what is invisibly
embraced or
abused, blood
colored by
breathtouchsilenceangerforgivenessaccemptancejuxtaposition

blackbirdblackcatblackmagicblacklightblackholeblackboxblackdeath

the subtlties lost
in labels, the categories fixed
in time—if we gave
the ordinary new
mysterious names,
looked underneath
the definitions—

we could open pages
and pages
heretofore
unseen
of inexplicable
and enchanted
life

blackbird close up s

The NaPoWriMo Day 8 prompt asks us to “start with a line by another poet”–my eyes lit up when I saw the name Richard Siken–a wonderful artist/poet.  The first line above is from “The Language of the Birds”, one of my favorite of his poems.  Click the title to read it.

crow roof 3

Art inspired by Richard Diebenkorn.

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midwinter

midwinter s

this persistent grey
magnifies the compressed dark–
dawn heavy with dusk

squirrels search for buried treasure–
seeds in wait for light’s return

midwinter close up s

For Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #117.  I was going to do a completely different collage, but once I pulled out the handmade paper, I decided that stitching some together was what was needed.  I haven’t done any stitching for awhile, and it was good to get back to it.

The squirrels have been very busy lately.

 

Veteran’s Day 2019

dad and grandpa s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fathers of fathers
a photograph, a silence—
echoes enduring

My father and his father drawn from a photo–circa World War II.  Must have been right before my father left for Europe.  My grandfather remained in the States for the Second World War.  He also served in WWI.

veterans day 2015 2s

We clothe our dead from the two World Wars in nostalgia, but conflicts since then have become more frequent, and murkier, and today’s veterans have suicide rates that keep rising, despite sporadic efforts to find a way to help their troubled lives.

“More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (NY Times, November 1, 2019)

veterans day 2015 1s

I wrote about this issue for Veteran’s Day in 2015 with the embroidered newspaper article about one Marine Regiment and the mounting suicides among its members.  It was a heartbreaking read, and I made a nonet from phrases taken from the text.

veterans day 2015 4s

He was doomed. Doomed to watch his friends die.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
He never mentioned the war.
The funerals after.
He was still alive.
He did not care
to try to.
Gave up.
Scared.

Eyes
empty.
What they saw.
Directionless,
but what choice was there?
It becomes part of you.
He never mentioned the war.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
Only regrets and flashbacks remained.

The very best way to honor our veterans would be to find a way to avoid the need for their sacrifices in the first place.  But given the likelihood of that occurring, we can at least acknowledge their pain, attempt to support them, and try to find a way to return some source of connection and meaning to their lives.

veterans day 2015 5s

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Linking to Frank Tassone’s #haikai Challenge #112 for Veteran’s Day.

 

 

Reticulaton

reticulation s

Reassembling themselves,
they are closing the gaps,
weaving the severed limbs
into an approximation
of their original form–

 Crazy quilt rag dolls
taking deep breaths–
as if returning from a long dive,
as if tossed ashore
by the rhythm of the waves–

As if what was taken away
could be returned complete,
restored–as if the worn skin
could become brand new again–
smooth, unmarked by the usages

 Of time–the eye brightened,
cleared by swimming in seas
of remembered beginnings–
immersed and baptized, forgiven,
and then reborn again

This is a response to one of Sue Vincent’s photo prompts, above, from May of this year.  I’m not sure why I never finished it, although deciding I needed to embroider the mandala was part of it.  But I also only just revisited and revised the poem.

reticulation close up 2s

I have many many unfinished projects, and it always feels good to take one off the pile.  Now will I have time to do this weeks’ prompt?

Also linking to dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Grace.