metamorphosis

interlude

etude

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
rolling
slowly
down
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 – -

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

 

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

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

There

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

dream scape

the dream ended weirdly, what dream ends as Hollywood, really… Perhaps it is the constant resort to use a facility, perhaps it was our reckoning of a city gone under siege, yet I had just spoken with a man who was going to let me trespass on his land so that I could smell the trees, so that heavy, yellow ruts of grass clumped with shards of frozen snow melt could trip me as it romped with the dog far into a country of no country in suburbia – how everyone lined the streets in panic, thou, dogs ran wild and I kept on seeing pink, and my boss (my real boss) how did it end, was it that dark street filled with human panic, there was someone, a young man who took my hand- I wonder where we are now…

Dreamscapes are rather amazing. I blame last nights on too much sugar and carbs before bed. Who knows, perhaps the new app playing sound waves geared for sleep are causing warped wave patterns – this is the second odd dream in three days. I feel my childhood creeping in- so many dreamscapes, highly colored storyboards that swept me away in daytime too until the night terrors came…then, I gave up sleep all together – it was when life became forever changed.

A week ago, sitting in my favorite coffee shop, I streamed this onto a little notebook. I was rather curious about it, what I wrote, so today I reread it…

how sad are we when
a blanket covers a garden

to prevent frost, but the
sun comes undone
a candle lights the way
under a trellis gate
wrapped in gold bandages
wintered bramble
spikes catching a red feather

quick, a fallen wound
tonight we celebrate you
or is it her
turning an age
turning over this packed skin
a thin scrim of soil, cracked
no one remembered
she had died

that explains the tea cup
of frozen ice

sing a sad song to her today
it’s never too late
even the forgotten
hear

under a blanket of snow
a clover moon
shining

a vibration will reach
to a solid core
gone molten

sing to her
it has been silent, too long

address unknown…

Piano keys promise a magic not forgotten. Imagine fingers gliding right into treble, until notes sound a melding of rain drops and iced pellets that fall upon a Midwestern winter landscape. Eyes closed, forgetting the smell of wet dog and generic walls that have become home for so long that there is a loss of how many years. Perhaps it is baby grand sounding in a dark corner of a city bar, a clamouring crowd waiting for Sunday’s nightly specials to begin while a  sliver of moon rising, painting slushy concrete a fashionable sheen. However, what if – what if we changed things, channel a different vibe… ambient notes,  a la Eno, and a far off echo of Nakai’s warble. A train whistle shattering crystalline silence, announcing civilizations arrival into white crusted pine boughs and green skies.

These are two scenarios that have long played in my mind – the city dweller vs the wilderness survivor. I was a teenager who longed to be a New Yorker, even though I had never even visited. It seemed a place of great sophistication and intelligence; where everything that could conceivably happen would transpire without much effort.

I was also a teenager who lived to be outside, to feel real ground beneath her feet while marveling how trees swayed even with no breeze. It was not a Midwest sunrise longed for, though, but that of the Alaskan wilderness, one barely grazed by human hands. Again, a place never visited, but there was a certainty  that a cozy cabin could be mine.

Neither happened.

Yes, NYC has finally been crossed off the list with a thick black line just slightly thicker than the ones that are starting to form in the corner of my eyes. New York is a place for minds broader than mine, younger, that can function within the confines of small spaces. Spending a bit of time with Goodbye To All That: Writers On Loving And Leaving New York confirms these suspicions. A city for romantic notions of coffee shop writing and calling unique brownstone home…if you can afford it, make it, and remain inspired.

Alaska, though, has resurfaced as something that could happen as I begin to understand the sacred, or better stated, finding sacred space.  For me, that requires a landscape of vast majesty. Not a majestic vertical rise of steel beams, but wide expanses of evergreens that reach for a place that might just crack open, in the middle of the night, a blaze of reds and greens. A place for those who understand nature can break you, but she can heal you as well. A far off land, where if one closes their eyes, they might just…

So, this opening of landscape has me envisioning a new space – one of possibilities. Perhaps, opening a new cafe where only thing on the menu is a feast of dreams, written in a language that not even I can discern. I’ve thought about creating a place that might find my anam cara, who will certainly be a spiritual soul hacking it out in a landscape of remote beauty. A place that knows no boundaries. A place where no one knows my name.

We shall see — if the dust starts to gather about this place, just know, I’ve not given up the dream, but have decided that perhaps it no longer can be found at the YHC.

big chill…

The big chill is looming in the rafters of the North. We have stockpiled our resources for a few days in hell. Too bad this hell is not the one that some bible readers proclaim is one’s domain if not adhering to their salvation. Something tells me even they (the proclaimed) would embrace glowing embers verses frozen pipes. Sigh…to think I used to dream about living in Alaska.

Beyond that, I wrote a bad poem after speed reading last weeks NYT’s Sunday paper (this weeks will arrive tonight, and it bothers me to be a week behind).

Did you see last weeks at all – especially their “Sunday Review… Year in Pictures”? How could anyone see the couple buried in what seems an embrace, beneath an avalanche of rubble, and support any clothing company that has holdings in Bangladesh?

There were so many humbling photos. It made the article on Martha Beck’s 3,000 dollar weekend retreat for people to ‘find themself” seem rather nauseating – esp. after I thought that is what I needed if I had the money….

The minnow swims sideways, gleaning off the back of that big bass
going somewhere blindly, riding a shadowy underworld of browns and greys
a lake of runoff water covered with a skin of swaying green

it will be okay
making its waves differently, silver body gleaming a Pisces cube, traveling a trajectory unknown
it is a survivor – a little fish in a big

(The last part is too sad to go on – think Moby Dick with no cozy whale belly. Perhaps there Are dangers to reading the daily news) 

Before I go – a question – do you ever feel you were born in the wrong era? I sit here listening to Pandora and old-time jazz keeps coming up (Chet Baker is my stream) and it seems rather decadent, as decadent as the Pullman train that shall start operating from Chicago to NYC with fine dining and sleeper car… sigh, I wonder if it was more glamorous to be poor back then, too..

(Sorry, I keep worrying about the poor with these storms of snow and below freezing temps. There are so many that must be so frightened, wondering what to do when there is nowhere to really go, but to travel in one’s mind and imagine a warm place called home. I wonder if they feel like little fish in an environment formed from excess…)

how we bait the innocent
the tolerant
the little fish just moving along
invisible, until someone cast a
net 

(peace and warmth to you… btw, I am working on bringing back my meditation practice, but am uncertain of my method, so if you are in need of warm thoughts to be sent your way, drop me a note and I shall add you to my intentions – I can be positive AND healing, promise ~ a)

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