Star Children

stardust embodied–
matter merely a vessel
for luminous spirit–
did you find what was lost?

the spiraling center
returned to elemental form–
in life but not of it–
stardust embodied

opening into dreamtime,
orbiting the moon,
spinning to the farthest away–
matter merely a vessel

empty spaces crossing
infinite galaxies–
wings sailing oceans
of luminous spirit

a welcoming heart, a gentle touch,
warm arms to enclose you
in peaceful sleep–
did you find what was lost?

I did these embroidered watercolors and accompanying poem for the Kick-About prompt that asked us to look at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. My response was inspired by the Jewish Children’s Memorial, below.

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In memory of all our lost children, all those without homes. The numbers grow larger every day.

flower of november

you fling
the blooms, graceful–
hands filled with abundance,
harvest untroubled by
time’s immanent
decay,

the cost
of seeds waxing–
each life encircled by
its opposite—how all
language breaks in
to tears—

but dance!–
the seasons are
not closed—the same sun that
sets early now will grow,
expand, greet sky
open

again,
in tangible
contrast to our useless
attempts to resist, turn
back clocks, challenge
the tides

My response to Merril’s autumn ekphrastic prompt at dVerse. I chose the above image, Child Dancing With Chrysanthemum Branch. Chrysanthemums are the birth flower of November, symbolizing both long life and mourning or grief. I’ve used Jane’s Oracle 2 words as inspiration.

I did not realize until after I wrote the poem and was searching for appropriate images how well it fit this response to Nick Cave’s soundsuits that I did for a recent Kick-About prompt.

The soundsuits created by Nick Cave, the artist, are totally different than the songs created by Nick Cave, the musician.

Volcano 4

halfway
is never fixed–
merging not in a line,
but positioned between–
too brief to be
resolved

the madness of fate–
consummation and release,
sweeping life away

Another collage inspired by Elisa Ang’s painting, paired with the Badger and Kick-About poem, above, and my Pure Haiku Volcano contribution which you can read here.

Volcano 3

puzzling
destinations–
the details repeated,
magnified, untraveled–
living outside
a map

random lines break down–
the page explodes, caught trembling–
from nothing, vast light

The Kick-About poem and collage and Oracle 2 Badger above serve as a prelude to my third Volcano offering at Pure Haiku, which you can read here.

Volcano 1

what season is this?
dark, enigmatic, grown wild–
spilling from our eyes

don’t weep–
rings encircle
us inside life’s limits–
we must learn to accept
the turning of
the tides

Elisa Ang provided the artistic inspiration, above, for my series of volcano poems appearing this week at Pure Haiku. Serendipitously, the Kick-About recently hosted a prompt based on Turner’s painting of Mt. Vesuvius, for which I made a series of collages and wrote a cadralor of volcano-themed poems titled “In Search of Venus”. And Jane’s Oracle 2 words provided further inspiration for me to write five Badger poems to go with the volcano theme.

You can read my poem at Pure Haiku here. Thanks, as always, to Freya Pickard for her continued support of my work.

trick or treat

if is a word
that seems to gravitate to me

a word
I qualify my meanings with

as if
as if

nothing is allowed to be
permanent or definite

who is the them that is
me?  define me

I think perhaps
I will choose to be someone else
I must accommodate myself,
defer to my mask

while the other me
struggles to understand what
we both have
in common

am I who they think I am?

or am I a secret
that will never be
explained?

These drawings of ventriloquist dummies in the Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky were inspired by a book of photos of the dummies taken by Matthew Rolston. The Kick-About prompt of a circus immediately brought them to mind.

Haunting and aware, I had always wanted to try to capture some of the sentience of the photos in a drawing. And so I did, randomly opening the book to 4 different faces. 

One of the essays in the book says they are meant “to suggest life”—but any supposedly “inanimate” object so entwined with a human life is alive.  Any child can tell you that.  They may have been separated from their humans, but these faces remember them.

You can read more about the Vent Haven Museum here, and read more about Rolston’s book here.

Trees Ring You With Watchful Silence

Hands pause—you whistle between.  White bridge slips through your fingers.
Who can number the space of days?  To cross them, you must open.
The gate shapes all beginnings, all answers, to equal zero.

This is a black & white image of an ornate pond & garden from the Felt Estate in western Michigan
© Lisa Fox, Felt Mansion

Lisa, at Tao Talk, supplied Colleen’s #TankaTuesday image, above. I wanted to try a sijo, which is the Wombwell Rainbow’s form this week. I think I’ve done one before, but it was a long time ago. I like the way it encourages the writer to think about different aspects of the same thought.

I’ve used some embroidered circles I did for a Kick-About prompt as illustration–the Eames Powers of Ten film, a barrage of images, made me think of zero, Lisa’s photo reminded me also of crossing the circles of space and time.

This week’s Oracle 2 words from Jane gave me a starting point–whistle. Which made me think of whistling in the wind. The human condition. Nevertheless, we continue.

You can read the story of the photo at Tao Talk here.

Bearings

What exactly do we mean when we say the heart is heavy?  Is it our jumbled emotions that are enlarged into enormity, too complicated to lift, to bear?  How do we understand the shape, the density, of sorrow?

And what about the light heart?  How do we measure the change?–a heart that is nearly full enough to overflow—what space does it occupy, what is its texture?

It’s the heavy heart that is hollow.  Brimming with emptiness.  Weighed down by absence.  The light heart grows gardens, wings.

the heart cleaves, wanders,
signifies inverse desires–
spring arrives, snowbound

I’ve accumulated quite a bit of Kick-About artwork that I haven’t given a proper post to. This heart drawing was my response to the drumming of Sandy Nelson. I also wanted to use Jane’s Oracle 2 words for the week, and the combination resulted in the accompanying haibun.

The drumming of Sandy Nelson reminded me of heartbeats which can careen wildly under different circumstances.  When I looked online for images of hearts, I was attracted to the somewhat psychedelic MRI images.  I wanted to work large, but even with 18 x 24 paper, I was unable to do justice to all the different elements of the heart.  I made no layout, but just started drawing in the upper center with my colored pencils, a small section each day.  So both the line quality and the proportions changed as I went on.  Whole sections were expanded, compressed, and left out.  Just like the trajectory of the drumming in my mind.

And just like our perceptions as filtered through our hearts.

River Man

She did not remember the way, but she remembered the times, the place.  She wanted to connect present to past.  She did not know how or where to begin, and yet she needed to try to construct that bridge.  Words were all she had now.

Two ways, really, even though she always pretended they were the same.  Or maybe it was only her longing that failed to understand that they were two, not one.

She had been dreaming of a river.  A man, a boat.  Trees, weeping, or was that her own voice, crying on the wind?  It had been summer once.  Flowered.  Sweet.

But here was the river again, littered with fallen leaves.  What magic word would turn back the seasons, dispel the haze, repair a lifetime that had already disintegrated into dust?

Was she coming or going?  In her dreams a voice kept repeating you have to choose.  But between what?  Who?  Did she get to choose who would be waiting on the other side of the river?  Or was she to be the one left waiting?

to begin,
become the current–
sing its song

Brendan at earthweal has more to say about rivers this week and poses the question: What voyages are found there, which deities are vast in its depths? It made me think of my response to the Kick-About #61 prompt, which was Molly Drake’s haunting song, “I Remember”.

I wasn’t aware of Molly’s connection to Nick Drake, but when I learned that she was his mother, Molly’s song immediately made me think of Nick’s song “River Man”. I took the feeling I got from both songs–a kind of remembering intertwined with uncertainty, loss, and the passing of time–and wrote the above prose poem, adding a haiku coda for earthweal, and some water art from my archives.