“I felt our love lying on the earth like a heap of ash.” ~ Edvard Munch

the forest weeps in strains of red
willowy trees sense your triumph over
this diseased soul
look at me
already dead, gone pale and
ashen under this moon’s last pass before
a lark announces the stirring of beasts
life awakens despite this death of humanity
we are no better than Adam and Eve
falling fate to our desire to taste life’s nectar
dripping from exotic fruit belonging to another tree
temptress, your fiery locks entwine us
refusing to release this cold marriage
but you do not fool the fool who hides among us
with that white garment no longer clean
its thin fabric carrying the soil of our sin
just as your fabric shall deliver it
someday ~

forgive me for I’m terribly behind on posting poetry based on your prompts….sigh, life… I shall offer my thanks to Ronald Shields for offering this Edvard Munch link. “Ashes” posted here links from Wikipaintings.org. Upon researching this rather curious painting, I found the above quote by Munch was on a lithograph of the piece. It helped to inspire this very impromptu response. ~ a




a cadence echoes from inside
rhythm remains colourless, seamless,
without structure
leaving rigidity a wasteland e
we ride a wave of existence
within his fingers’ memories
that are not really his, but history,
ancestry that fills DNA
blastocyst implanting -
we all replicate their soul beginnings
at night when dark caresses us
creating visions behind our windows
touching lightly their world,
their unfinished mission -
sometimes, though, it manifests
creating a tiny rip, a seam
and you must pick at it
opening it a bit more
and out seeps a wordless dream
a pattern forms,
only a lucky few are blessed to
reveal the dead through creative rebirth
notes thrown out innocently
yet delivery, its afterbirth
awakening pure energy
connecting our interior fibers
until a vibration echoes against our skull
and in a trance-like state receptors open
allowing buried history to become phoenix -
there is no question of origin
there is no question of real
there is only the shedding of now
and within that tear
i realize there is a link
between his creating and mine -
we survive wandering this tiny earth
seeking each other with hope to experience something
if just to touch upon an eternal beauty
from this cocoon of humanity ~

Philip Glass

I had the honor of seeing Philip Glass twice this weekend – once at a lecture, and then at his solo piano performance. Needless to say, it was moving beyond belief. The above words where written later as I listened to his Solo Piano recording on Spotify. It contained most of the works he performed today. Never was I so moved as when he played certain pieces. These words do not match his brilliance…but a humble offering to thoughts that came to mind while letting his music wash over me. ~

remembering our roots

A howl breaks through the silence
slicing open this empty room gone rancid
it is not the wind that sounds
but this soul -
No, do not stop reading
it gets better, promise
no one can speak of hollow words
and shallow self better than a shadow-
I reflect upon this floor of covered dirt
pacing a line of our existence
worrying over every breath not given -
A train whistle blows open this groove
gone stale with worn patterns
do not think you are too late to board
even if your ticket is used -
Avoid the man who says you can’t
especially if he is speaking inside you
mine just stepped into a land mine
the howl was his swan song -
Guess it is time to open these windows
hoping she will join us still
penning small letters together while
imagining a world of white space
open to explore the possibilities – -

machismo (or, paint me red)

John Currin painted me
I raise this fist in protest
(he paints with claims of female psyche)
Feminism is dead
(in modern artists’ minds)
Painterly visions rise again from 80s ash
(is it cheap thrill, or rebellion)
Norman Rockwell compiled this face with him
Rachel Feinstein must be somewhere
(a muse’s lines oft become hidden)
Does it matter to you that he enjoys toying with millions
No amount of oil will lube this vision
(hyperrealism, or is it individualism, or is it )

Certainly it is fate
My embodiment, a crucifixion
(of liberal ideals debased)
A libertarian feels justified playing with me
(for financial gain, or is it material greed)

Make me bleed
Understand this object(ism)
Our peril remains real in this man eat woman world
Cowgirls pom-pom for less than minimum while
Cowboys are signing billions

Even Sunday’s Times headline:
“Q: Would you like this drawing more if a man made it?
A: The art world would”
Like the angry girl sings, “It’s a man’s, man’s world…”

Change this tune
Before I’m sold to the highest bidder
Who will hang me upon a naked nail
Next to a mounted head
All our lives end in the trophy room
- poem based on  ~ Red Faced Woman 

As you know, April 1st is not only for fools, but for poets. Thank you all for helping me work on my poetry this month. 

This rather brutal opening came today thanks to link provided of Red Faced Woman from MK. Mark has no idea that this picture led me on a whirlwind search on artist, John Currin, only to walk away with…well, I think you get the gist. After reading a few interviews from the years past, I cannot help but be suspicious of Currin. If his oeuvre was just nudes of distortion, but it delves deep as he explores sexualization where woman remains object. However, it is art, so we will all draw our own conclusion. ~ a 

April draws near…will you help me?

I need your help.

Next month is National Poetry Month and my damn muse has gone and drown herself…or however one explains a loss of voice. I need to just start writing again – if you write, more words will follow…so Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird.

This is where I am enlisting your help. My goal is to write at least 15 new poems next month. Inspiration is needed to complete this goal. A brilliant artist/writer posted a couple of poems recently based on ekphrasis – it got me thinking, “poems can be inspired by a work of art!” But there are so many, ergo, you can help me by posting a title of a work, a copy of the piece, or a link of your favorite art pieces in the comments. Each one posted will get a poem (no promises on quality).

Deal? Is anyone out there? Will you help me? Please?


a bit more thought…

Only with hindsight can we now see that tradition and authority may be necessary, even to make a genuine avant-garde possible – in order to provide something to revolt against. ~ Suzi Gablik “Has Modernism Failed”

Suzi Gablik’s book continues to revisit the necessity of tradition. As one without an art background, it had me wondering what exactly is taught in an academic program. If the evolution of art is taught, is that enough, or do students need to attempt old technique in order to gain insight to the new ways. If one is never to be a painter, must they paint?

Perhaps this has nothing to do with the argument at all, but I could not help but question this while watching a Coursera lecture via CalArts on Art History. The Provost teaching it has taken an amazing array of art eras in her lectures in order to make certain points. It helped me to realize that there is a lot going on in the art world -what may seem ridiculous or without purpose, which very much as purpose if you understand their point. That said, if art is making a point about art tradition and it gets lost on the viewer was it successful?

Gablik’s final chapter uses an example of an artist whom she feels is approaching art with ‘spiritual dignity’. What is interesting is this artist is someone whom I’ve oft admired, but knew not his background. German artist, Anselm Kiefer, does create artwork that has a point. The piece I visit every time at our local art centre is a massive composition of a train yard – from that muted train yard there is a ladder that rises up from the canvas, from it hangs a bronzed ballet slipper. The first time I saw this piece, as a teenager, I knew it was a statement about the Holocaust without any context beyond what hung before me. It is a beautifully depressing piece that reimagines the traditional canvas – it takes history and makes it modern.

I would love to say, as Gablik seems to be, that art such as Kiefer is the art to strive to produce because it helps to meld art, society and a spiritual nature, but I cannot. While I strongly believe that purposeful art is a healing tool for our culture and society, it cannot be limited to such a degree. I hope to explore this more, but not tonight…. your thoughts are always welcome. ~ a


just thinking out loud…

Arbitrariness is the pitfall of unlimited freedom. ~ Suzi Gablik

Gablik’s book, “Has Modernism Failed”, is an interesting read considering it was written during the 80s. Did Andy Warhol’s vision stick – it is no longer about the art, but about the fame? Be famous for 15 seconds and place a high price tag on your artistic creation.

Suzi Gablik is writing more about Warhol fame, though, when she tackles the question of where art is going in this ‘post-modern age’.  Her chapter on pluralism ends with this cautionary line:

In the era of pluralism, when there are no longer any limits to what we can imagine or produce, very few people, as far as I know, have any real sense of what art is for. (p. 87)

Decades later, I cannot help but wonder if her sentiments still hold weight. In 2014, has the art scene evolved since this 1984 book? Has art lost its luster and purpose in the hands of those who are seeking their 15 seconds or economic success? Does the art world trump the literary world when it comes to worth and PoMo works?

I pose these questions to the writers, artists, and thinkers who happen upon this blog. It is one of those days where the mind has gone a million directions, but can go no further with an answer.

That said, Yoko Ono’s recent interview regarding her Conceptual art from the 1960s, helps me to realize the powerful vision of the artist can transfer and become even more powerful in the viewers hands, even in this Post-modern age.

“All powerful art has many layers of drama” ~ Yoko Ono

a new song

Sadness can always be fixed with a jazz rift that teeters on the left edge

A blink, he said, was all it took before she became mist

Rain often turns to snow when we close our eyes to senses

He offered her an olive branch but she preferred flowers, not fruit

Ice glazed over the rusted chain still secured to a now tireless ride

She sighed when a dozen pink petals spilled out of his letter

Smoke danced in swirled rhythms with each bus passing

He stared into the yellow lights of the passing midnight car

Thunder softened the blow

She no longer knew where she would go

White blanketed the dirty streets in crystalline innocence

Somewhere she was sleeping, he wondered if alone

Dawn spread slowly, pinking a tired city

She turned, pained, toward the sun

A morning dove above her broke the silence of winter

Perhaps, in Spring, a new song ~






There is warmth in(side) you

There is ice 

Touch it before it melts

Here on earth

It shall melt quick

There it shall never die

Quixotic notion

That you can taste the warmth with your eyes

Did God bless you senseless as those animals

That roam there

In a room built of lenses so their children could play in an African sun

There is danger in manufactured imaginations if we dare to materialize dreams

Shut that door before what is (in)side eats you alive

Melt before these frozen landscapes

Final exit

There is warmth


Do you ever start to look at words as you type them across the page? Personally, I do not care for words such as there, especially in a poem, but there was such a lull within its voice inside my head that I could not help but play with its notion. It helps that I’m currently streaming NPR’s First Listen. Beck’s latest if very ethereal – there is a hypnotic quality in the words as well as beat. Sometimes music resonates a state of mind that eludes a quality that is an essence of how I would define a part of me – this is one of those moments. Perhaps tomorrow this shall be a fleeting concept, but tonight I ride the wave of a guitar that promises a thread of existence weaving itself between awake and dreaming.

There is no need to apologize for posting bad poetry on a blog that claims no pedigree. I apologize anyway. Far, far way in pedigree-land, the fight for what defines (confines) poetry continues. Boston Review seems to be the hotbed of this debate at least once a year. (Personally, I think it is a conspiracy to make incoming MFA poetry students have something to talk about, and justify their over priced admission to a discipline that no longer embraces its roots.) I just came across this latest scuttle, having only skimmed the annual sacrificial lamb, which seems to appear every July. After the bleating ceased, the blood still pools and has been collected to keep the beat of the offence in question alive.

Why can’t we all just get along – is the Man not constantly trying to shake the creatives down until there is an outcry when things go too far. If only public pressure would produce more results, such as the President apologizing for his eyebrow raising remark against pursuing an Art History degree. It seems that everyone drinks the tea after they get to Washington.

Perhaps there is too much dreaming. In a land of excess, perhaps we should only practice erasure. If not another piece of art was created again  

There would be no more warmth

Goodnight, dear George…

Listening, trying to invoke an inspiration beyond its semi-silent interlude, at time of transition from awake to motion to sleep to deprivation. Only there is a stop-gap that keeps stopping the rhythm of these fingers that never seemed to attack the fingers of George Gershwin when he sat down to compose.

As I sat this afternoon, at times so relaxed that I felt a meditative epiphany, the orchestra serenaded with Gershwin’s brilliance, but it was the maestro at the Steinway who commanded complete attention as his hands performed the most complicated dance upon the ivory keys. There is an immediacy to the rhapsody – we feel the country industrializing beneath its very beat. Close your eyes and imagine the engine’s steady sway as it plows through snow-covered steel tracks carrying a load of passengers ready to punch-in for their daily bread. So many, though, were closer to the breadlines, or at least the lines of inequality, as the songlines carry us downtown. Downtown, all the way South, where sweet tea made up for life that was far from sweet. Gershwin’s  sultry notes linger as we imagine the cotton burning beneath a sun that never sleeps.

How did this Jewish maestro understand the worn souls of African-Americans down South? How does any soul, who understands a history of repression, not recognize another in a state of equal despair.  One can only wonder what Gershwin would have produced had he lived longer – experienced the full magnitude of WWII – witnessed the Civil Rights movement – certainly the shedding of so much blood would have taken us deeper into the psyche via orchestration. We shall never know for Gershwin died in 1937, at age 38, of an inoperable brain tumor. While absorbing a bit of Gershwin’s songbook this afternoon, I couldn’t help but wonder if the energy, the elegant explosions, were product of an unconscious sensing there would not be enough time.

George Gershwin’s music was an apt segue of our most recent ‘holiday’. Who cannot listen to Gershwin and question dear Geroge’s romanticism?  It was a wise move of the DSM symphony to have Gershwin on the playbill this Valentine’s Day weekend. However, I’d like to think it was to commemorate the historical composition of “Rhapsody in Blue”, that debuted on February 12, 1924, at the “Experiment in Modern Music” in NYC. Ninety years ago, Gershwin debuted a composition that was written during a train ride from NYC to Boston – the rhythm of the rail’s noise opened his mind to lay the tracks for a piece that created a whole new destination. Hearing that slow cry of the clarinet today, in an environment designed for acoustics, reminds me why music can make one’s soul weep.

Exit stage left ~

This post was a test to see if I could sit and write 750 words. It is to be a new mission, to establish a habit of writing, whether I have anything to say or not. Of course, they are  supposed to be words that are nonsense, not actual posts, so perhaps I shall give myself a bit of grace as this will not meet the intended number. (Oh, and be assured, I will not be posting 750 words of nonsense each day!)

Perhaps, I just wished to reach out to you, dear reader (if you are still stopping) with a small offering for a weekend that leaves us celebrating, and sometimes, remembering. After all, winter is a time to remember, for it was Terry McKay who stated, “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories”. (“An Affair To Remember”)

So, on that note, I shall leave you with something to wrap you in warmth this cold February evening.  May we all remember to dream. ~ a

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