Fireworks

you dreamed without beginning–
breath, stars, flowers
of light

you were happy to hold
hands with what was
not there

you closed your eyes and sang
from the inside, way down,
like flying,

listening to your heart beating,
rearranging the pattern
into constellations

you released what you had not
seen—you gave it away
without thinking

you dreamed with your arms open
and became entirely unafraid–
spilled over

The Kick About prompt this week referenced Flowers of Fire, late 1800s Japanese fireworks catalogues. There were pages and pages of not only beautiful abstract images, but plants, animals, people, and objects. It made me think that the artists who created these light shows were trying to project their dreams into the sky.

Visions of wishes and magical things.

As usual, the collage turned out very differently than I imagined it, but I think it captures the spirit of what I intended to do.

For dVerse, OLN, hosted by Sanaa.

(Re)creation

The mask is mute—it does not
tell what lies beneath–
layers falling backward, a
way from the present–
unglued, it rearranges,
becomes paper becomes
scissors cutting through the air–
thought stilled before form

Continuing my mask theme, three collage masks inspired by Matisse cut-outs that I did for the Kick About a few weeks ago. In my poem I was thinking about a film I saw of Matisse at work.

I’ve been working with masks for a long time in many different media. These are inspired by Mexican Devil masks as well as by Matisse.

Austin Kleon has a great post about masking with some excellent quotes that you can read here. It’s a mode of expression I’m sure I’ll always continue to explore.

Here’s another devil mask and a shovel poem I did for a Sue Vincent photo prompt in 2017. Thanks again, Sue, for all your inspiration.

the door is always open s

“…that what you fear the most/could meet you halfway…” –Victoria Williams, “Crazy Mary”

The horns that
make you.  Tell me what
endures:  you,
masked with fear,
burning life to ashes, the
ender?  Or the most
wild transformation that could
be?  We meet
face to face.  But you
pause.  Halfway.

Also linking up with dVerse OLN, hosted by Linda.

Children of the Night

“Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they make.”
–Bram Stoker

There’s a dark path in the forest that reaches not only to the horizon but far up into the stars in the sky.  The contours float, infused inside and out by an endless melody that sings chaos into shimmering pattern.

Where does the story end?  Perhaps it leads to dreams that have been hidden away, to possibilities invisible in the light of day.  To once upon a time that becomes here and now.

If you listen–still, silent, boundaried by the night–it’s possible to catch a glimpse of these distant voices.  But only a child can find the entrance to this liminal landscape of matter, spirit, and sound.

wonder shines
silvered, transcendent–
opening

The Kick-About prompt this week was the quote from Dracula, above. These monoprint paintings were a response to that.

The road from Samhain to vampire costumes for Halloween travels through the pop culturization of every holiday we celebrate for commercial purposes. But that does not completely disguise its real roots in the transition from fall to winter and the crossing over that occurs between the worlds of the living and the dead.

It’s fitting that we have turned Samhain into a children’s festival–we can join in for their sake, hidden behind masks, remaining rational adults while keeping a thread tied to our ancient rites of passage.

Children are our conduit to what we are ashamed to acknowledge. They remain close to the Other Worlds–they still believe completely in magic.

For earthweal, where Sarah has asked us to think about Samhain and celebrate the places that lie between.

Souvenir

I could not
look at it from be
fore or aft
er, only
the angle of gone, dissolved,
empty, vanishing–

not just the
material thing
that had been
dispossessed,
but what it represented–
a piece of myself,

never to
be recovered–and
here I am
left watching,
clinging to impermanence
like water and wind

“The Kick-About prompt of souvenir seemed perfect: my daughter had given me a small sketchbook, and every day I sat on my beach chair with my feet in the waves doing a drawing, and then writing a haiku to accompany it.  The sketchbook would be my souvenir.

On the last day of my beach vacation the ocean was quite rough, due to Hurricane Henri passing by, so I sat far up on the sand, where only a small piece of a dying wave occasionally brushed my toes.  Holding my sketchbook up to let the watercolor pencil drawing dry I was suddenly totally upended by a rogue wave that covered me completely. I stood up, soaked, clutching my pencils in one hand, but watching my sketchbook being pulled under and out to sea. 

I will replay that image in my mind for a long time, maybe forever.

When I got home, I channeled my emotional turmoil into neocolors, drawing from memory the ocean that was now fixed in my mind.  The sketchbook drawings were so much more beautiful though.  At least that’s how I’ll always remember them.”

For dVerse, where Ingrid asks us to attempt “writing your way out of a place of pain“. I drew it first, then I wrote.

(re) corded

weaving light
waves that cross over
in curved lines,
waves that land
inside the pause of the edge,
waves that linger cusped–

a small piece
of time, and yet it
fills me up–
I balance,
holding on to tides synapsed
between spells and signs

Punu Ngura (Country with trees) 4, 2019 by Peter Mungkuri ...

Peter Mungkuri’s “Country with Trees”, above, is the current Kick-About prompt. The layering of the different elements got me thinking about an idea from Claudia McGill that I had copied and saved which I recently found when sorting out files.

She took a magazine and tore pages partially out to create a new layered collage-like image. I did not have any magazines with trees, but I have lots of surfing magazines I bought on eBay because they are full of images of sea and sky to use in collage. So I layered the ocean.

My poem is a shadorma quadrille for dVerse, using the word provided by Linda, linger.

anomalies

phantasma
goria exposed
by shadows
dissolving
into borrowed wings eclipsed
by casting out light

11 surrealist women artists take centre stage for the ...

I’m behind a few weeks on posting my contributions to the Kick-About, but this is the most recent, a collage inspired by Sheila Legge’s Phantom of Surrealism, above. Masked in roses, she was photographed in a white dress and gloves, surrounded by pigeons in Trafalgar Square, a performance inspired by a painting by Dali.

Woman with a Head of Roses, 1935. By Salvador Dalí ...

I was drawn to the statuesque quality of the photo, particularly given the location, and I can never resist using birds in a collage.

And of course we all don our own masks–some are just more obvious than others.

what is/is not

everywhere
falls apart
mind to eyes
expanding

falls apart
becomes its opposite
expanding
into stories

becomes its opposite
days into nights
into stories
the sun intersecting the moon

days into nights
future and past
the sun intersecting the moon
enlarging the horizon

future and past
the surprise of delight
enlarging the horizon
to leave is to arrive

the surprise of delight
mind to eyes
to leave is to arrive
everywhere

Brian Rutenberg Low Dense (SOLD), 2010, oil on linen, 63 x 158 inches

The Kick-About prompt this time was a painting by Brian Rutenberg, Low Dense, above. The colors immediately made me think of Monet, which made me think of the grids I did based on Monet’s work. And so I decided to do a grid.

This is a very intense way to look at art, and I learned a lot from it as I not only did some of Monet’s paintings, but an entire book of other artists for The Sketchbook Project. The subtleties of color are amazing when you look closely at them. Rutenberg clearly has an eye for color.

And my second pantoum for the week. Abstract, like the art.

You can see my work with Monet here and here. And my Sketchbook Project book, Art I Like, here.

shadowsong

that song that your words called
into my mind, that song is like
a lost world, just images
in fragments, suspended like
a raincloud without rain,
a weight that refuses
 to dissipate–I can almost
feel the memory but it won’t
land, it keeps circling
through the things that aren’t
quite there–like a bird
call I can’t locate, disembodied
wings hovering invisible
inside my head

I realized immediately that I had seen Lotte Reiniger’s work before when I clicked on the link from the Kick-About prompt. It did not surprise me to hear her say, “I could cut out silhouettes almost as soon as I could manage to hold a pair of scissors.” Her work is, yes, “astonishing”.

Fairytale silhouettes by Lotte Reiniger - Beauty will save ...

Me? I never had that dexterity, not even when young. I also don’t work in film, which was Reiniger’s medium. So how to respond to this prompt?

I was going to work with simple bird silhouettes, but was unhappy with the ones I made myself. Once again, I had constructed a 3-D collage environment with cardboard pieces inside a paper bag. I decided to use photos of bird silhouettes, and hang them from strings at the top so they would move.

I used circles to enclose the bird forms so I could put different photos on each side–the images would change when the dangling circles turned.

Using the ceiling fan to create more movement, I began to take photos.

You can read more about Lotte Reiniger here, and see her extensive filmography here,

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.

dear moon

The prompt for the Kick-About this week is a quote from Murakami’s novel IQ84 where Aomame talks to a cold and silent moon. No one could unlock the heart of the moon, she thinks. She asks the moon some questions: The moon did not answer. But maybe she is only projecting onto the moon a reflection of herself.

keeping her motives
to herself, she likes to move
beyond the in between

going where after is before
all over again

I’m always photographing the moon. I decided to go through my archives and make some postcards from some of my pictures. The results proved to me, once again, that if you take enough photos, some are bound to look good.

I then consulted with the collage box Oracle. The Oracle knows the moon well.

what time is it inside
your dreams?  step through, not around–
inside the journey
is your destination–
no other place but right now

I didn’t plan it that way, but the sequence of photographic messages from the Oracle were easily constructed into a series of Japanese-style poems.

flow into the light
by exploring the patterns
of the universe

You can’t just ask questions; you also need to keep listening for the reply.