Crow on the Cradle

They had collapsed into an empty cave of nowness, replacing a past of empyrean wonder with the unceasing presence of burning flesh, condemning the contagious and aliferous joy of birds to smoke-filled air hanging heavy over stone landscapes that had lost all green.  What they called life, the promise of continuity, was at an impasse.

They had forgotten to build an ark.

They had forgotten to build an ark, and so they were left standing between a raging wall of flame and an infestation of endlessly rising waters.  A fierce susurrus rose from the spirits of the ancestors–an oddly wordless murmur riding on the howling wind, carrying the silent but distinct rattle of bones.

what happens when where
we were going is gone?–crows
seize the winter sky

For earthweal, where Brendan asked us to fill your poem’s sails with a blast of something akin to the hurl of atmospheric plumes, and dVerse, where Mish has given us a list of uncommon words to incorporate in our poem. I’ve also taken inspiration from Jane’s Oracle 2 wordlist.

barren

I can’t dispute the Oracle’s words.

black blows the skywind–
raw shadowships raining
the bitter storm language of lies
into the bare breasts
of dead mothers

you ask for spring
and the music of love
when the sun is swimming
through seas of boiling blood—

what can grow here?

“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.”
–General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Since Nina and I started blogging in 2014 I’ve posted far too much art about war.

The Gravity of Home

They’re sending out bird machines pasted to the sky over a smoke-filled collage of clouds and burning buildings. In the silence of departure, on a pathway of storms, I turn away from the life I’ve known towards the unforeseen, tangled in bare branches, winter, all of it retreating from a world that contains no escape.

Between the above and the below, floating uneasily, ghostly silhouettes shadow my footsteps as I head blind into a collision with the invisible horizon, held captive by a threshold that seems to extend forever.

No shelter appears here on this road of leaving.

Clinging to tattered
wings, sparrow searches for some
anywhere to land.

Merril at dVerse has given us some wind-tossed paintings to use as inspiration for Ekphrastic verse. I chose the painting below, by Joseph Farquharson, ‘Cauld Blaws the Wind Frae East to West’

always more why

This is my third try with the Oracle this morning. She was having no parts of anything but reality.

beneath here
the shadow waits–
whispers ache with pleading blood–

who can dream the black sky
into moonlight,
turn this time from its mad
worship of death?

our ship rocks through sleepless seas,
asking why the wind sings
only with the bitter tongues of hate

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.

What is it good for? (#10)

war 4s

The same foolishness
everywhere.  We talk over
each other, repeat
words until they are erased.
The lines become solid form.

We can’t see either
forest or trees.  We respond
without listening.
The same actions, recast,
broken up, taken down.  Angry

outlines drawn like guns.
Hanging over cliffs, waiting.
Holding on, out, back.
We banish heart, soul.  Burning
every single bridge.  Drowning.

war 5 pieces 2 comp

Early in my blogging life, on memadtwo, I did a series of paintings titled what is it good for? Then I did some embroideries titled war is not healthy (for children and other living things). Unfortunately, it’s (always) (still) relevant. Even in my city (mostly) young men are killing and being killed every day by gang and turf wars that are little more than macho posturing. And of course, as in every war, civilians are merely collateral damage.

in which endings are both lost and multiplied close up s

Three linked tankas for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday with synonyms for life and move.

absolutely nothing s

Headline Haiku: War Is Not Healthy (for children and other living things)

war is not healthy haiku s

memory fails to
stop enduring grief
daily
farewell
face death alone

war is not healthy s

In 2015, when this post originally appeared, the New York Times published a chart explaining some of the ways civilians have died in the Syrian War.  A little research online shows that in modern warfare it is estimated that 85-90% of all casualties are civilians (June 2014 American Journal of Public Health).  War also wreaks havoc on the environment, leading to more death.

A Hard Rain

has fallen shadowed
by endless endings, ghosts both
multiplied and lost

Some estimates of civilians killed in recent and ongoing conflicts:
Sudan-Darfur  200,000
Iraq  170,000
Syria  200, 000
Congo  60,000
Afghanistan  45,000
Pakistan  35,000
Mexico  50,000
Libya  30,000
Chechnya  100,000
Eritrea-Ethiopia  70,000
Sierra Leone  70,000

These numbers have only increased since 2015.

in which endings are both lost and multiplied close up s
war is not healthy poster s

There are not enough tears to encompass all this sorrow.

Bjorn at dVerse asked us to write poems of war. I decided to repost some of my headline haiku embroideries–I did a number of them from 2015-2017 when war was in the headlines every day. Now we’ve moved on to other things, but lest we forget, civilians and soldiers are still losing both their lives and homes every single day all over the world

aleppo-close-up-s

Silence weeps
and eyes refuse sight.
No questions
can be posed,
nor answers given. Light is
erased. Dust and blood.

Adding it Up

never ending

If there’s a deadly sin, it’s power. It’s wanting to be more, by making others less—less than less.  It’s controlling with physical force, psychological terror, subjugation.  And if you don’t possess the genetic make-up to manipulate others directly, you make it up with a knife, a whip, a chain, fear, lies, starvation, locks, poverty, cages, technology, homelessness, isolation, guns, an army, explosives, drugs, religion, words, the law, bombs, lack of medical care, money, corporations, willful ignorance.

There is no end to the expressions of superiority and omnipotence.

Aren’t we rich? Barren
land, rivers of blood flowing–
empty to the core.

As Dylan observed, “all the money you made will never buy back your soul.”

no peace s

 

I’ve posted so many times on gun violence, I’ve stopped counting.  The last time was on June 1 of this year.

 

Placeholder image

Every day 88 people die by gun violence in the United States.

in which endings are both lost and multiplied close up s

Silence weeps
and eyes refuse sight.
No questions
can be posed,
nor answers given. Light is
erased. Dust and blood.

violence close up s

kalamazoo s

What is the color of mourning?
morning
of empty spaces, and Where?
wear
black, but it has no reply.
Why?
just questions and sorrow.
Tomorrow
will remain unfilled,
killed,
killed.  More shots from another gun.
When?
Again.

paris s

war is not healthy haiku s

As Dylan knew, you can’t separate a gun mentality from a war mentality.

Who are we?

It’s haibun Monday on dVerse.  Frank asked us to talk about peace to commemorate Hiroshima.  I’m not feeling it right now.