Shuffling on the dry balls of your padded paws.
Impermanence, your affliction.
Hard exacting breaths from decades of sauntering.
Protesting each movement to fling earth’s weight from your mind.
The weight must land elsewhere.
No more burning up the open plains.
Alive with dullness.
You, a bitter lioness.
Working bones unasked for fractional effort.
Heart wanting recompense from both moon and sun.
Roaring from miles away at injustices served.
Laying waste to shared land.
Sour notes break into others’ dreams.
The bitter lioness will disappear.
Upon the shrinking sands, an old lion slaughters its cubs.
And all other reminders of its imminent death.
Lioness after Lunch/Prisma
Out there echoes the brokeness of my situation.
It crashes the house oblivious to the shattering person inside.
The trees how they yield for mercy, begging to be spared.
Helpless are we to save them.
As he was to salvage me.
Agitated currents force unrest below the stones.
Invisible fists lay waste to my sweet plastic pots for spring planting.
The nascent air–bitter instigator of material tears–shoves and pushes into massive tantrums.
Thank God, as I can’t take anymore breaking.
Inside, my squatting flesh reverberates with leftover aches.
Old blunders once a spiral of mad air.
Winter’s wilding beyond the anchor of a little brown desk.
Where his feet once rested on my knees.
let me stop
north and southbound trains
braking at red
or bust headlong
fly off the tracks
no riding the rails for free
I placed a penny there
good luck for my friends
never stop writing
never stop reading
never stop wondering
I never do
there are things that break my heart
a train whistle echoing in the empty night
a ship horn crying beneath hazy moonlight
a lone wolf howling across the sleeping forest
Paris, in a dream
words that crack like dry clay
thoughts curving into chance
love poems left unsung
all these things
all our words
makes me wonder
if our dreams
are always fair
created last year-thank you
No light reflecting in those intense dark eyes. Windows to the soul, not on this face. Manhole covers down to deeper things. Between the furrowed brow where one might find introspection, I find knots of secrets the way bucks lock horns then die. He’d been a lover of men long ago. I know because he kept photo proofs stashed in shoeboxes under his saggy bed. The most dogeared photo was of silver-haired lovers entwined when they were past lovemaking and exhausted beyond repair. It wasn’t his figure in the careworn image. I once asked him who the two were. He told me it wasn’t for him to say, the couple in the photo were in love and love is a sacred thing one must hold dear. I asked if deer locked horns because they were in love. He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “No young one, when bucks lock antlers they are horny. Animals have fellowship. Humans have love. Love is a gift and it must be cherished.”
Around his apartment, black and white photos cling to their slice of wall space. Clouds stick to heaven the very same way. Each image perfectly soldiered into painted symmetrical wood. The sturdy black frames cannot diminish the powerful subject matter within. Love. Curving, languid nudes in soft light sometimes wrapped with white sheets like gossamer wings. Decades ago, my uncle was hired to shoot elegant boudoir stills for couples. Most of these amorous pairs commissioned him early into their young marriages. When their skin glowed beneath hot halogens and their figures flowed smooth like silk honeymoon lingerie. Each photo paper lover appeared sculpted in form and perfectly matched to their partner’s body. My uncle had an artful way with autonomy. Names were never known. Gazing at one of his large black and white images is akin to admiring a marble figure whose face is left trapped inside stone, much like Rodin often made the artistic choice to leave casting seams.
Uncle Milo has since lost his eight-five percent of his vision. His elegant wavy hair is silver-white. Those intense marble eyes now covered in a milky glaze. He’d call it dodging light in the dark room. Today, I ask him again who the two silver-haired lovers were. He responds in his whiskey voice, “Young one, they were the only partners who respected the sanctity of love beyond the beauty of their flesh. Their love was the most honest love I’ve ever witnessed in my small life. I’ve accumulated a great wealth, to have captured such treasure.”
sketched last year for a writing project-thank you
Sometimes you must dig deep. Deeper than the quartz floor of comfort’s level. Bring dental tools. Small, sharp, precise. After you bust through the impossible surface, scrape the sides of your soul especially the nasty tar embedded in the lacerations. Push away the stringy dark flesh and take a seat. Bed an organ if necessary. You’re not going anywhere. Leave eyes on the situation. Do you desire to find what you think went missing. Are you not sure about the contents, having lost your way sometime ago.
You manage to mine an encrusted voice, it’s a song you sing to help yourself fall asleep. The words are borrowed from another who sews lyrical blankets while you fumble with threads. This year you’ve gone through several skins–shedding like a snake. A biblical serpent wrapping itself around a damn tree tempting what should not be tempted. This is what you believe as the blood washes across your insides. You want wings. Hell, don’t we all. No internal evidence exists for your flying dream. All is flat and featureless. Wings belong to majestic raptors and annoying but necessary insects, fairies and dragons if you follow that fantasy.
It was Hughes who wrote of Plath, “…the end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity….” Maybe Hughes was looking for wings after Plath flew beyond his reach. Maybe he searched in younger days while serving on the ground in the Royal Air Force. Plath sensed Hughes’ illuminated feathers when he did not. Poetic passion coaxed him to submit his first manuscript, Hawk in the Rain. Wings, raptors. Plath’s intuitive sense for flight.
The ability to ride high burrows in the lowest place you can dig out from. Raptors are not born able to fly. Neither are you. It is the steady practiced thing painfully crawling from inside your flesh until it breaks the skin and unfolds into that which lets you soar.
eagle rendered last year with Tombow markers-thank you
“Go back to the healing huts,” yarps an Avatar voice. Not watching, the big son is. Every once in awhile a neat phrase escapes cartoon lips. I hear these animated words while noting black crap on the kitchen floor. The college-bound daughter and gal pals went globetrotting last night in search of charcoal. Much to the chagrin of her perplexed mom who enjoys using charcoal for paper not flesh. Activated charcoal capsules, broken then mixed with Elmer’s glue make a fab face mask. Apparently, it’s a thing. Did you know? Try telling a precocious lass “non-toxic” labels occasionally list half-truths. And don’t put glue on your face, I don’t give a shit if it’s Elmer’s.
The real sticky stuff is in the why’s of putting Cow Stick on the face. Raised in positivity all-around, peppered with lessons in humanity, unfocused on exteriors, try as one might–THEY suck impressionable minds in like the BLOB–these harbingers of “beauty.” This from a woman who was boy-banished during her formative years. These young girls are not unpopular with opposites. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter. Pretty pressure pushes hard and fast. Worrying about flawless skin, optimal eyebrow shape, plumped lips, over-blown chests and asses…it’s sometimes too much to ‘bare’ in today’s selfie-centered society.
We are fast becoming excessively outside people. Maybe we always were. Narcissism–the ancient Greeks lived it, called it, coined it. We are a brilliant, colorful society reducing ourselves–at all ages–to so much less than who we are. Scott Westerfeld smartly uses his young adult titles to demonstrate. The Uglies live in book one. The Pretties flap inside book two. The Specials or those with wide wallets get special billing can bump to book two if they’re willing to rain money. The Extras don’t make the cut through no fault of their own. Is this anyone’s fault or all of ours.
Looking back to my teens and twenties, I regret getting caught in the very same crap. Wasted too many hours trying to buy the word “pretty.” And feel “special” for that moment.
this is Marilyn, you might not know her;) -created with conté crayon on paper in 1983 to decorate an empty college wall (used talented photographer, Philippe Halsman’s image as ref)-over the years she has graced my garage wall, but I fear she will eventually die again there-she has many thumbtack holes in her corners, smudges and is torn in a few places (you can see a forehead tear in this pic detail)-at some point she is going on ebay (never tried to sell anything this way) -if she doesn’t sell-she will be rolled up and placed in storage or a time capsule, not a charcoal one though;) -oh, there is one other thing about this particular lady-this drawing is 7 feet tall and 3 1/2 feet wide-why I ever did this, I can’t recall…
Westerfeld’s YA series is a tantalizing read-I read quite a bit of YA a few years back while writing YA stories. Mr. Westerfeld’s stories are much more than the titles might have you believe. I used Mr. Westerfeld’s titles in my post above just for the ‘illustrative’ wording – the books are quite different – thank you
My imagination often tortures me. Does yours get the better of you? When I was ten, The Blob (trivia-Steve McQueen’s first leading role), gave me the night sweats for an entire year and I wouldn’t venture near anything resembling a vent. Next it was Goya who tormented me with his painting, Saturn Devouring His Son. A father eating a child does things to a twelve-year-old’s mind. For quite some time, I stayed away from utensils and my dad. Even a can of peas and carrots had its way with me. A reoccurring nightmare at age fourteen–cubed carrots screaming as they were mercilessly squashed by brutal farmers wielding cast iron shovels, while the opportunistic peas rolled away to safety.
Today, (as I sit in my sub studio watching leggy spiders flutter by like creeping creative angels) imagination helps sometimes but not always. Brain shit rattles around like the crap I might throw up in my attic or shove into some dark basement corner. Emptying mind bins of mildewed magazines that smell worse than the son’s wrestling singlet after a dual meet is futile. Piles accumulate with no end in sight. Most of this junk is unusable and will be thrown onto a flimsy folding table for a grand going-out-of-business sale. This is my writing process. This is my art process. This is what I do. Peas rolling away to safety. When fingers get boxed-in, ideas flatten beneath cast iron shovels.
There is also something else my imagination does. This is the worst part of all. It self-inflicts pain whenever I mind-travel to places I should never go with people I should never go with. Sometimes, I disregard my sadistic demons to ride bareback on the gorgeous, powerful Percherons there. Magnificent beasts that galloped off Bonheur’s painting, The Horse Fair. Year by year, my dark matter loosens a bit more. Nights now mimic spaceflight. I survive by staying awake. If I don’t sleep while dreaming, I can’t get into any trouble. When I misbehave, the spiders stop hanging with me. They always know my truth. And without these creeping creative angles, my imagination might just get too strong a foothold. If this happens, I’ll never be able to find my way back. The spiders know one more lousy truth about me. My sense of direction absolutely sucks.
what have you done to me
I pride myself on strength
both physical and mental
I could fend off an agitated bear
(with a few supplies)
you flummox me at every turn
I sense when you are near but it doesn’t matter
I’d rather face ten angry grizzlies than attempt a lame-ass escape
I’ve survived endless seasons to earn these instincts
a quiver of arrows hangs peacefully at my side
why do I manipulate their shafts into dream catchers now
you can hear green skin pressed against chlorophyll
my forest camouflage is a useless cloaking device
I seek refuge in the trees
observe snakes coiling around branches
you crawl up my tree then my spine
until you’re in my head
a bad meeting place for us all–even the grizzlies
I scare them the most
when I’m at my weakest
grizzly-mixed media created in 2007 – thank you
You young ones lost down deep in the complexity of meaning, mired in eternal dark know this much, mind survival is a choice. Blackness is warranted due to the egregious and often unpredictable and intangible idea of “satisfaction.” Happiness is more difficult to achieve than faith which takes a lot of singing. We–the elder who’ve been at this shit a bit longer harbor insecurities too. We’re no different. Your words were our utterances decades ago before additional years laid claim over our judgement. Long term attachments to our thoughts and deeds stretched and there was definitely some snapping.
Life as a noun is what we all are granted for however long it is ours to have. There is no fairness in this gambler’s roll. We–all of us–planet props. She decides when to pull the curtains and poll the audience. Cut roses might land at our polished toes for a short while but our ashes will blow like everyone else’s in the end.
Life as a verb is where things get interesting. We may fuck up our own lives. We may fuck up other lives. We may “fuck” (that’s not really very nice-insert “make love” if it fits) and make more lives. It’s all off-the-cuff as none of us know what we’re doing. It’s guesswork mixed with feasible traditions, doable effort and the ability to look or sound convincing. Some of us jump from planes, some rule cleaning supply closets while others drive cars. There are people who kiss and hold hands. There are those who laugh at flesh. Build sandboxes or pyramids. Walk on water or fly on drugs. These lists are endless when life is a verb.
While in the active form–you are more than a prop. Call yourself a writer, a student, a lost soul, an accountant or weather reporter–whatever role that satisfies. If you take this action and pull down blackout curtains you shorten the showtime. If “life” meaning has eluded you or you don’t see the sincerity you believe should be available, perhaps you need to practice a bit longer. Maybe try a different accent. Stand a bit taller or crawl.
The distance between life and death is but a few feet down. The difference between love and hate is measured on the same surface. The reason for your life is closer to you than anything else.
call it comets or divine intervention or whatever term you’d like to ascribe–”life” rolled them off the craps table
dinos created using Adobe Illustrator about 20 years ago-that pains me to say;)
sorry for the cussing in this one