Art in “The Time Issue” of Feral

Four of my word collages are featured in The Time Issue of the Journal Feral. You can see them here.

My thanks to editor Beth Gordon, and her team Narmadhaa and Amanda McLeod, for featuring my work.

The above collage is from my response to the Kick-About prompt of the work of Saul Bass.
If you follow fate far away to the return of time, understand that the passage into prophecy and myth is final

Threads and Circles

1
to be a thread held
on the wings of birds soaring
through vast light-filled air

2
layers merge
separate become
something else

3
stilness waits
to expand beyond
what is here

4
particles of light
that remain uncaught—a song
you can almost hear

5
tethered to itself
or maybe nothing at all–
just an idea

The last Kick-About prompt was Naum Gabo’s sculpture, linear construction #2, above. It brought to mind some small shibori swatches I had that I wanted to embroider on. I meant to do a few of them, but only had time for one. But the others are waiting.

NaPoWriMo begins tomorrow, and I also wanted to post the 5 Japanese-style poems I wrote to accompany my stitching in anticipation of a month of poeming–I have not been writing many new things lately.

The first year I participated was 2016, so this will be my seventh year. As in recent past years, I’ve tried to accumulate a month’s worth of new art to use with the writing. This year, a lot of my inspiration has come from the art of Redon.

Night Bridge

World spinning dark in trembled night–
morning returns and still no light
except in fiery landscape, stark.
An emptied people, desperate flight
from history’s repeated arc–
in trembled night, world spinning, dark.

This collage was done for the Kick-About prompt inspired by the work of artist John Stezaker. I took Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, cut it up, and inserted it into works by Monet, Gauguin, Matisse and Homer. This pairing is with one of Monet’s water lilies paintings.

The poem is, like many of the responses to the dverse prompt of the sparrowlet form (introduced to us by Grace), inspired by world events.

And in a bit of serendipity, one of my poems is included in The Ekphrastic Review ebook of responses to Van Gogh’s Starry Night, which you can download here. My thanks to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for her continued support of my work and of Ekphrastic writing.

The Alchemist

Below my feet the path waits
for the earth to open me–
the layers of brown and green
remember the moon, its circles
orbiting continuously
through both dark and light.

The chill of morning warms
to birdsong. The seasons
endure.  In spring the autumn
seems far away, but life is
always preparing to die
and start all over again.

What is the secret of transformation?–
ancestors embedded in every root,
in every branch rich with leaves
that will blaze in a sudden last glory–
nourishing what follows
with what has come before.

We know so little, after all,
of the workings of nature,
of its consciousness.  Does it
even have yesterdays or tomorrows?
Does it acknowledge return, or is all
but a single endless moment in time?

We mirror our own inner maps
as stars–the dust of elements
contained in our bones–
merely vessels, seeking
the essence of who we are
inside the question itself.

The Kick About challenge this week was the alchemy book “Splendor Solis”. Out of the 22 images, I chose to work with Plate 2, The Alchemist: “Seek the Nature of the Four Elements”. 

The Splendor Solis of Salomon Trismosin - 2

First I did a collage based on the painting alone (above), then, after reading a bit about its symbolism, I made my own, looser interpretation.  I was especially drawn to the Alchemist’s connection to the natural world, in particular flowers and birds, and his alternate identity as the Deity of Celestial Light.

what to my wondering eyes

the night lengthens
into hours that refuse to pass

the stars grow larger,
constellations singing

suddenly a bridge,
a ladder made of light

silence becomes a dance,
its ancient steps retraced

the circle keeps its promise–
a child will lead the way

The latest Kick-About prompt is the above illustration by Arthur Rackham for A Visit From Saint Nicholas.

The night sky needs no man in a red suit, sleigh, or reindeer to inspire wonder.

After visiting the Oracle tomorrow, I’ll be taking a break until 2022. Happy New Year!

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.