mirage

They said snakes coiled along the canyon edge,
a warning of copper illusion that could strike dead

I hiked on, believing in the hatchet hooked to me
and the golden eyes sought would protect.

It was those eyes, embedded in fine, iridescent feathers,
that sent dust laden soles deep into a burnt landscape
each exposed inch of flesh chalked cinnamon.

A sacred valley turned burial ground no longer visited by the ancients
who had lined its four corners to mark the red road home.

How life would have been different if we had not stolen their paint horses
and killed all their white buffalo. A hungry man’s lust for gold turned his own humanity.

Least we forget all our hands are line, no matter colour or ancestry
our notes to be read when we finally return home.

I roamed this earth for a stolen bird of beauty
its own life symbolic of resurrection,
its many eyes watching God or is it God watching within them…

As the light dims, the world opens its organic skin
a thousand stars appear to echo a watery sphere -

It will be years before someone recreates my attempt to dive
into its shadowy depths after glimpsing a coppery eye ~

 

(the assignment was simple – to write a poem that is a delight or to savor, that is rich in experience…tonight, the ink failed to dip into something rich, but rather wished to explore the dry desert in search for life… peace ~ a)

late bloomer – a not quite love story

It was to be my summer of love,
or so I thought.
A kitschy love that can only be
product of a late blooming plot.
It was a harsh summer,
even for sinners.
Urchins of urban
struggled in layers
of mother’s humidity.
A midnight dip
in a mud slick
pond left me wanting more.
But, as he slept next to me
there was a voice of prophecy
and damn it all, she was right.
That summer was preparatory
love life’s classroom
for unaware late blooms
that survive despite harsh weather
poor things, they know no better.

 

(So, this weeks lesson for the MOOC is to write a sonnet – or whatever one wishes to deem a sonnet. I’ve taken some major liberty here – no 14 lines, no major rhyme scheme but we shall call it a sonnet anyway. The text was actually taken from a short story I just wrote about a summer memory – it was rather fun to try to condense 600 words into this thing. ~ a) 

a sketch

Hidden rot
in heavy rains
buries this house’s secret -
the foundation darkens.

This was a forced sketch– well, let us say, not forced but not my usual approach to writing poetry. However, my usual way seems to not be working as I’ve not heard a whisper of THAT voice for a while…well, okay, I’ve a few written randomly that I’ve just failed to post, but the premise remains the same. I’m working on changing this, but I think the creative road block is more about my mind telling me I’ve sold out, depleting my creative energies for a solid paycheck, so it has gone on strike until it feels loved again….

While trying to find a solution, here is a link to what inspired this sketch ~  This is an open MOOC from the University of Iowa International writing program. It is free, just started this week and will last six weeks. The first video is a 20 minute lecture about sketching from poet, Robert Haas. I’ve not formed much of an opinion beyond the enjoyment of seeing a lot of peeps still like to write poetry.

On that note ~ write on… ~ a

stolen children

 

Photograph by Susan Schied 2014.

Photograph by Susan Scheid, 2014

here i swing
and my breath
does not catch
as i reach
for the next ring

for there is no question
for there is no doubt
within me
for nobody has said yet
you cannot be that thing

and as beautiful as a bloom of spring
filling this air around me
blunting out the decay of this city
i float within the breeze
knees bent
wrist ready

a butterfly set free
into the world after
transformation

oh beauty, this sun
that shines upon me
please shine on them instead
for they are not free

here i swing
for the next ring
pretending it is I
who is King
who could free all those butterflies
waiting, in his captivity

 

Firstly, thank you to Susan Scheid for use of her wonderfully inspiring photo. I had asked a while back if I could use a photo from her blog for NPM…it is no longer April, but that matters not for poems can be written any time of year.

I must also thank Sue for linking me to the music that was played while writing this poem. You may find the link here – it is the first performance, ff to around 10 minutes. One may think that the orchestra is tuning, but if you continue, it is very much as Sue described it to me – a wave in the ocean – terribly meditative this work by John Luther Adams.

Finally, a friend text me wondering if I was no longer a writer (I’m assuming it is because the blog has been silent. My answer – am I really a writer? Writing could be my whole being, but it instead fights with my real life. The creative self often loses energy after the day has end. Since I still survive, can breathe, without writing (creating) then perhaps I cannot claim to be… 

 

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?

 

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

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

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