“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?



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

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

under a blanket of snow
a clover moon

a vibration will reach
to a solid core
gone molten

sing to her
it has been silent, too long

John Ashbery Collects: poet among things

(a bit rough – for a critique due tomorrow – criticism welcomed before submission for class)  

Stepping into Loretta Howard Gallery is to open a door of possibilities.  “John Ashbery Collects: poet among things” is a multi-media experience of the environment occupied by John Ashbery. Roam rooms carefully curated by Ashbery, a collector of things for over eight decades. It is an immersive experience, a unique collection of furnishings, art, tapestries, pottery, and other objects. Couple objects with selections of Ashbery’s poetry, and experience a memory.

“The room I entered was a dream of a room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.”

Two lines from poem, “This Room,” are an apt opening to this exhibition. Co-curator and poet, Adam Fitzgerald, writes that this exhibit hopes to “frame some of the basic elements of Ashbery’s sensibility.”

Ashbery’s sensibility, as art critic, poet, and collector comes alive in this recreation of objects from the Victorian home in Hudson, NY. Matthew Thurber’s installation drawings of walls, a staircase, even a piano, offer structure, while furniture and art pieces set the tone. A stroll into these rooms, however, is not to experience art as much as it is to experience John Ashbery.


An anteroom features a fragment of Ashbery’s famous poem “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror”. Above it hangs Ashbery’s collage piece The Mail In Norway (2009). The poem is painterly, while the collage builds a complex narrative with odd photos and a primary colored backdrop. John Ashbery believes words can create line as much as a picture can tell a story.


A life-size drawing of a black, grand piano becomes real with an array of sheet music and books propped against its makeshift body. A stanza from “The Skaters,” displayed upon a brass music stand, creates a touch of Cage-like music for the room with its clanging words.



Observing a mantel laden with bric-a-brac, one wonders what should be discovered in these semi-dream rooms? Perhaps, just the reward of gaining insight of a man who truly believes in art, as best explained by Jed Perl’s, A Magically Alive Aesthetic: Reported Sightings:

Ashbery always insists that we respond to art in many different ways, that art is pictura and poesis and philosophy as well, that we can discover the literary within the pictorial, the pictorial within the literary, and discover all of this to all sorts of varying degrees, in one part of a work of art, in a particular work of art at a particular time. ~ “Conjunctions 49: A Writer’s Aviary”(1989)

“John Ashbery Collects: poet among things” reminds us that art is to be experienced in a multitude of ways. An exhibition that is quirky as it is cerebral, which is fitting considering one has just experienced a bit of John Ashbery’s world. On view until November 2, 2013.





Music while


(Jeremy Denk plays Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’  via NPR First Listen . I shall not try to decipher for I do not know music.)

I know nothing, really, about anything which brings us round to my original thought for this evening’s post:

is it still okay to blog when I am an authority on nothing?

Is it okay for me to expound on the latest piece of art spied at the local gallery via a weaving of words in rumination and prose/poetry? Is that just word vomit, as one of my classmates opined today in the forum? May I write about Emily Dickinson – share thoughts on #___ or #____ – imagining the possibilities from her small hands?  Should I cast away everything, even the creative voice that whispers via lines of poetry, because of no MFA?

YHC is just a place to express thoughts,  but many of my classmates feel this should only be done by the professionally educated, not anyone with a keyboard and connection. I may create misinformation….what do you think?


(changing brews –  a quick note about drowning)

In no time the black river yoked all my strength
I saw the lesser waters great and the soft banks steep and high.

The above are the first two lines  (7 lines in total) from Egon Schieles’s poem, “Music While Drowning”.  Two days ago, I didn’t know who Egon Schiele was until Mark Kerstetter shared “Portrait of Wally”. Since then there has been a snowball effect – Schiele has suddenly taken over my world with sweet serendipity.

You see, at the used book shop yesterday, I found, “Egon Schiele’s Portraits” by Alessandra Comini. It was a bit more than I usually like to spend, but it was so well reviewed on the back, and a National Book Award finalist in 1974, the copy called to me. Before leaving, still searching for art books, I visited the $2.00 area. Without much thought, a thin volume of German Expressionism poetry caught my eye. I bought it for the woodcuts, not realizing in 24 hours it would mean so much more.

After reading the first chapter of Comini’s book on Schiele, I decided to read a bit of poetry. As I skimmed the table of contents for a place to start, I found three poems by Schiele listed. Ironically, I had just written in the margins of Comini’s book a thought on portrait and writing:  could a poet compose a self-portrait? Schiele, it seems, questioned the same thing:

I am everything at once, but never will I do everything at once. – “Self Portrait 1″ Egon Schiele

There are actually two self-portrait poems by Schiele, the above and “Self Portrait 2″, but I do not like to fringe on copyright, so shall not post no. 2 – it is rather long.

Schiele, from what I can discern after the first chapter, helped to change portraiture. Gustave Klimt paved the way for this new expression of portrait, and Schiele took it to another level with his technique and content. Schiele was in part, a product of his time, as German Expressionism had started to appear in painting, as well as music, dance, and literature.  It had become vogue to reflect in one’s art – exploring the depths of the inner psyche. (tbc)

*A brief note on Egon Schiele (1890-1918) – he was an Austrian painter – part of the Viennese Expressionism movement. Hence, it was not expected to find him included in the German Expressionism poetry book.

I am inspired to fit Schiele into my course readings, as well as visit something I used to enjoy despite the lack of talent. You’ve been forewarned, self-portrait attempts may be posted in the future.  I guess this really is a blog that should be avoided, especially if you fear drowning ~ 

no direction known

how far removed from this ocean is the body. an island with white sand that remains      because no one lands upon her rocky crest. the water rises according to an ancient lunar calendar kept on a weathered board with memory tape- blue inked notes bleed crossed out lines that may or may not have been words to his song. the tide goes out-  out   -out. ice island. she builds mirage sand castles for her guest.  a lone bulb sometimes hangs high. it is only a matter of time before even its wire corrodes. nothing is infinite except for a frayed end. morning may never begin.  she stretches her body while thinking in blue. her emptied gaze turns red. he was wrong – woman is an island.


an oddity, this one, that cannot really be explained other than several things are swirling about these days. one is the idea of solitude. if you have ever traveled alone, you will know that there is power to be found within one’s own company. it takes a bit to handle the internal silence, but it comes with a sweet reward – peace. this mind/body begs to find silence again, so I will ask any of you still reading, which direction would you travel if going by train in the States?

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