Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

where does the body lie?

a prisoner of gravity,
it remains forever outside of dreams

unfit for the spiritship,
a vessel of startled complexity–
open, unbounded, secret, extreme

Picture

I wrote the original version (much revised) of the above 42 poem at the same time I wrote my haibun, Unattached, which is published on The Ekphrastic Review today, along with Jane’s lyrical poem, Bronze Dreams, and other varied responses to Frida Kahlo’s painting, The Dream.

My collage is once again based on a tarot card, this the the Four of Swords. Kahlo’s paining reminded me very much of the iconic Rider-Waite card, but my own interpretation drifts in between the card and the painting. I could not find out if Kahlo ever studied tarot, but she was friends with many of the Surrealists, who certainly played with its symbolism. The Four of Swords is a card of restoration and healing, just like Frida’s Dream.

I placed a photo of the interior of an Egyptian sarcophagus in the sky. The figure painted there is the sky goddess Nut, who “spreads out her arms protectively to receive the deceased. (s)He is sheltered by her, is adsorbed into her body, and emerges reborn” (Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, “Egypt”).

You can read my poem (and Jane’s) here. My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

what shines through water

Perhaps the rain and windstorm of Christmas Eve is a beginning towards washing away the darkness of 2020. Of course, as the Oracle reminds us, it’s never that simple.

I was pleased to have 3 pieces selected for The Ephrastic Review’s Christmas day post: Weathering, Our Lady of Toil and Trouble, and Mari Lwyd . You can read them here

away from the rain
shadows still ache with light
storms rip together apart

yet sea and sky sing roses
in the mothertongue
of the moon

ask what you want
for the dreams
you need

Also linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

What Child is This

Picture
Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, by Jean Fouquet (France) 1452-1458

She did not seek this role.  She contemplated her pose, the way her body was placed rigidly on the dais inside the carefully staged script.  Why had they shaved her head, bleached her skin until it reflected like the porcelain doll they placed on the stiff folds of her heavy cape?  Who had created this idea of an infant, disproportionate and so unlike any real child?

The crown, heavy and ill-suited to her countenance, threatened to tumble from its uneasy perch.  As did her entire being from the painted backdrop, so eerie and haunted—the flattened throne, the red demon angels who lacked either substance or joy.  The wall behind it all, painted blue to match her skimpy dress, conjured no images of either nature or heavenly dream.

And why expose a breast that could neither give sustenance or be received by an artists’ idea of a child?  Real children were indeed holy, scared even, alive in all their chaotic glory.  Real angels were full of light, kin to birds, to the cosmos that shone in the actual sky.  A real mother would be full of the earth, flesh blood and breath.

She thought of seeds being planted, how the light returns each year to bring the world to life. She longed to be standing, unadorned, down there, amidst the cacophony of this crowded orb.

circle dance
a child comes to be
and welcome

Jean Fouquet’s Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels was the Ekphrastic Review prompt challenge this week. My haibun was not chosen, but even among the ones published on the website today, there was some ambivalence about this representation of mother and child. I obviously had more than some. You can read the selections on the website here, and Jane Dougherty’s responses to the painting, here.

Poem up at The Ekphrastic Review

My poem, “The Healing of Emptiness” is posted on The Ekphrastic Review today, immediately following Jane Dougherty’s luminous “Horse Dreams”, acting almost like a coda to the ruminations of her protagonist’s mind. The inspirational art is Franz Marc’s Tower of Blue Horses. You can read all the selections here.

Picture

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

My poem, Our Lady of Scarlet, based on a painting of Marchesa di Casati, by Augustus John, is posted today on The Ekphrastic Review, along with Jane Dougherty and other writers.  I did not look up the Marchesa until after I had written my poem, but I think the artist captured the essence of her life in his portrait. What I saw without knowing the facts seems very close to the truth.

You can read my poem here.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

 

I was told by several people I could post the old way by going to WP Admin–and it works.  I will still be absent for awhile as I am entering the final stages of moving–I’m packing up my computer today.  But I’ll be back before the end of September.

The Rectangular Table (Poem up at The Ekphrastic Review)

mary 1s

My poem, “The Rectangular Table” has been posted at The Ekphrastic Review today. The painting that inspired it, The Last Supper by Sister Plautilla Nelli, is below.

Picture

I have a little sketchbook that I take along to museums where I draw the faces and sometimes the hands of the Marys I see in paintings, but especially in sculpture.  Since the museums closed, I’ve been drawing from photos of art I find online.

mary 2s

Why do these images resonate with me?  Unlike representations of Jesus, they seem to reflect an actual human the artist knows and loves…a sister, wife, mother, daughter.  All those denied a place at the rectangular table.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

You can read my poem, along with other responses to the painting, here.

Obituaries (revised)

obituaries s

the language of gone–
a call without a response,
so loud it can’t be

heard—a silence entombed in
itself—on the other side

My poem “Obituaries”, is one of the responses to Joaquin Torres Garcia’s painting, “Pintura” (below), posted on The Ekphrastic Review today.  The three poems on this post were composed from parts of it.

Picture

Frank at dVerse challenged us to write some 5-line Japanese form poems.  I must confess that I like the 5-7-5-7-7 form of the tanka, now considered by purists to be false.  Whatever you call it, I still think it works well as a way to focus thought and express feelings.

the language of absence
language of gone
the before of never
silence entombed
the language of death

obituaries close up 1s

The new definitions for writing tanka and haiku confuse me, and I have no idea how to write something that will satisfy the powers that be, although I keep writing 3 and 5-line poems.  And although I recognize a well-written gogyohka, and understand the single line-single breath idea, I have difficulty naming anything I’ve written with that label as well.

language
forbidden
remains
a response
of absence

obituaries close up 2a

But and so…in my continued pruning mode, I’ve taken the posted poem (which was itself severely pruned several times) and turned it into three 5-line poems.  Hopefully they fit the dVerse prompt in some manner.

My thanks to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for once again featuring my work.  You can see my poem “Obituaries”–the original from which these 5-line poems were taken–and read all the other responses as well, here.

larger than life you say

larger than life s

like
a rock
crushing your soul

from
a place
beyond the sky

and
what no
one will tell

spoken,
distilled into
a symbolic language

but
what of
after?  what of

the
cosmos surrounded
by the abyss—

Picture

My poem, “The Same Old Song”, is among the writing posted today at The Ekphrastic Review in response to Mariano Fortuny’s painting “Fantasy on Faust”, above.

larger than life close up s

The NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a hay(na)ku, which consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words.  I decided to take my poem and condense each stanza creating a new distilled version.  The formatting did not translate to the posting on the Ekphrastic Review website, but I think you can see where the stanza breaks should be.  Read the original poem here.

This was an excellent exercise for someone like me who tends to wordiness, and I will definitely try it again.

napo2020button1-1

larger close up 2s

Poem up at The Ekphrastic Review

the water under the bridge s

My poem “the water under the bridge” is included in The Ekphrastic Review’s Victor Gontarov Challenge responses.  Gontarov’s painting is entitled “Gogol’s Dream”, and many of the responses did refer to the writer and his work.  I chose to focus on the dream.

mermaid s

Sometimes the formatting does not come through, and that was the case this time, so I’ve included the poem below with the correct line spacings.

this disordered arrangement
it cannot remain
as it is it is

always somewhere else
transparent shadow
what it was it was

a current of emotion
a glimpse of possibility
what could be could be

a conjuring that takes
and spends itself in fragments
what is not is not

no single body holds it
it cannot be arrayed
what it is it is

always disconnected
from story, form, the why
and what if what if

man s

My thanks to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for once again featuring my work.

Poem up at The Ekphrastic Review

salome s

My poem “personifications” is posted along with the others selected for the challenge artwork “Salome” by Henri Regnault on The Ekphrastic Review today.

Regnault’s piece is well known but not typical of artists’ interpretations of the Biblical story (which has been altered in our consciousness by time and retelling also).  Most painters choose to show either the dance, perhaps accompanied by a disembodied head, or a close up of a woman with a head on a platter.  Here we have a woman, sitting, with a platter and a sword but no head.  Is it supposed to be empowerment?

salome top s

My collage, too, follows neither common narrative.  I knew I had a dark female figure in the collage box that I wanted to use, and in the search for her I pulled out other elements that seemed to fit with her and my poem.

salome bottom s

I always thought the story of Salome was just another example of humans refusing to take responsibility for their own actions and desires.  None of the behavior, certainly, merits imitation.  Blind obedience is just as bad as passing the buck (see: current world “leaders” and their followers…)

Once again, thanks to Review editor Lorette C. Luzajic for selecting my poem and supporting the call and response of poetry and art.  You can read all the poetry and see the original artwork here.

I also really like Redon’s Salome, below.

salome redon