Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweet Jane and The Nightmare

My friend gjhost dansing* posted a different version of this song on facebook. I choose to share this "official" version here. Somehow, the song led to the horror below. I am not sure but feel I must be in some distress. It would seem so since nothing about the song goes to such a place.

The Nightmare

Oh when did I choose
to stray and lose my station?

I am in descent
into the bleak black
hollow this has placed in me,
the screech of an owl
in the gray moonlight
of my twisted destiny.

I cannot change it.
It does not budge, not
an inch, a fraction. I feel
a scream crack my spine.

April 30, 2012 4:12 PM

The poem invites me to think of Poe or Lovecraft. I wanted to illustrate it with Henry Fuseli's painting The Nightmare but it just doesn't fit. That means I will separate the painting from the poem above, but here it is anyway:

Wiki says:
The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli (1741–1825). Since its creation, it has remained Fuseli's best-known work. With its first exhibition in 1782 at the Royal Academy of London, the image became famous; an engraved version was widely distributed and the painting was parodied in political satire. Due to its fame, Fuseli painted at least three other versions of the painting.

Interpretations of The Nightmare have varied widely. The canvas seems to portray simultaneously a dreaming woman and the content of her nightmare. The incubus and the horse's head refer to contemporary belief and folklore about nightmares, but have been ascribed more specific meanings by some theorists. Contemporary critics were taken aback by the overt sexuality of the painting, which has since been interpreted by some scholars as anticipating Freudian ideas about the subconscious.

*I am not sure I understand why gjhost dansing chooses to spell the name that way on facebook. Perhaps gjhost will explain. I first encountered the name as ghost dansing when I met my friend near the beginnings of this blog of mine. The ectoplasm leaked from one blog to another. Ghost has always chosen to remain above the realm of the sexed and so I take care not to use any misleading words.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Manu Pombrol - A Magpie Tale

A Self Portrait by Manu Pombrol

A Spaniard Talks Of Time

I was distracted,
fell into the hall mirror
and woke obsession
right up in my head
like migraine thunder, lightning.
Now I show myself
in some contorted
pose or other, try to top
up on that silvered
afternoon backlight,
on that splash of accident,
on my younger fate.

A Magpie Tale Written For The Mag, *click here*
April 29, 2012 8:23 AM

Another Self Portrait by Manu Pombrol

Born in Madrid, Spain, Manu Pombrol is a 37-year-old artist and photographer whose self-portraits are nothing short of extraordinary. Pombrol first started down a creative path when, at a very young age, he painted pictures or portraits in pastels. Then, as computers started making their way into the mainstream, he worked in graphic design. He bought his first camera about five years ago and that's when everything changed.

In his words, "Everything started to make sense. I found out (a little bit late) that photography was the perfect tool to show what was in my mind. I was seduced by the insane idea of mixing reality and surrealism, trying to create my own art language."

On his website *click here* you will find that Manu also works in the world of fashion and other forms of art photography.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Two Secrets of Life

1. Never tell everything you know.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Sun Dance

Jules Tavernier (1844-1889), Indian Sun Dance. Wood engraving in Harper's Weekly (January 2, 1875).

I know people who are committed to First Nation spirituality. The Sun Dance. They perform service when others dance. They accept service when they dance. The Dances only take place on the high days, the special days. The rest of the time they perform other rituals and they sweat and bathe in specially made lodges. Perhaps they go on vision quests, but this not often, perhaps only once, to find their true names, to find their power and their totem. Other hard times might demand a quest.

Me, I do not dance. I am not a part of the First Nations, not even in part as far as I know. My tradition is Celtic, both from the islands and the mainland, and I know that there is a far back Jewish strain in me. I partake of the power in those places, chase after the wee folk, the faeries and the dragons. I salvage dragons' eggs, help them hatch.

I was told by a spirit on one occasion to cast my lot with the mages. I was told that I needed a language for my own prayers. I was told to seek the help of a particular man and to accept Sanskrit as my holy tongue, if not for always, then for long enough to find the source. This I have done.

Sun Dance

I am held by hooks
of my own making, that's sure.
As I hang I see
gardens out beyond
this field and my Brother there
looking possibly
for me, though I might
be wrong about that after
all is said and done.
It might be Mother
I see, or even the God
of the Long Harvest.
How can I tell past
the pain of my torn chest,
the shards in my feet?

‎April ‎27, ‎2012 9:08 PM

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hard Pressed - Reprise

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

On the morning I wrote this poem I read a passage from The Path To Bliss written by the Dalai Lama in which he points out that the universal only appears in particulars in our experience, that this applies to teachers and students of awakening as much as anything else. Thus the presence of God Incarnate on the planet, even that, is ever and always deniable by those who cannot see. He points out that the message delivery, being particular even if the message is perfectly universal, can only succeed with those already prepared to receive it in just the way it is given. He calls this preparation the karmic bond between souls.

That is why there must be many teachers of enlightenment. It is not enough that I am ready to receive, in itself miraculous. As well there must be a teacher or a teaching intimate enough that the message would seem to rise up from within me, as if a memory.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro.

Hard Pressed

He cast his salt on
the seasons of nearby souls,
knowing only some
would receive from him,
those who have traveled in his
company, dancing
with him through ages.

Though my heart's universal
my armor is stone,
my salt has true grit,
and I'm hard pressed against my
limited presence.

October 31, 2009 7:33 AM



Post written the afternoon of Halloween, October 31, 2009
with minor modifications and illustrations added, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lover's Dispute - Three Word Wednesday

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

This week's words:

Bloody; Kinky; Tender.

Lover's Dispute

You're such a bloody
load, a sour kinky loser.
I've tried the hard
way and the tender.
Nothing touches you, nothing!
You just keep going
as if no matter
how much the goddam coke cost
and how much we need
to sell. Up your nose,
your ruined crusty nostrils.
You don't leave me none!

April 25, 2012 8:59 AM

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An Old Door - Reprise

This old door, not locked,
will fall off if you try to
open it. That's old.
I am not that old
though if you try to open
me, I'll fall off too.
That's why I keep closed,
because I'll fall off the edge
of things otherwise.
That's just how I think
even though you say I know
better than that now.

"The town of Gerace is situated inland from the coast that forms the sole of Italy's boot. It perches high on the top of a hill and the road up zig zags backwards and forwards as it rises to the town gate. You can drive your car to the top of the town, park, and then after enjoying the view out to the ocean, you can take a leisurely stroll down through the flagstoned streets.

Gerace is not a Taormina - it doesn't have the shopping strip or the hoards of tourists - instead you will find a town that seems not to have changed for hundreds of years.

Besides the quaint buildings and the twisting lanes, the most important monument is the 11th Century cathedral which contains the nucleus of the future Diocesan Museum." The door in the photo above is part of that cathedral. Taken from *travelsnapz*

Written March 1, 2009 11:54 PM
First published November 29, 2009
Image and its explanation added April 24, 2009

Monday, April 23, 2012

What An Order - Reprise

I was reading on the day I first posted this a "Daily Dharma" I subscribe to. It is one of the sources occasionally of my poetry. On that day I was struck by a statement or two written there, taken from the writings of John Snelling on The Elements Of Buddhism. Here is the quote:
Nothing in fact falls outside the sphere of our moral responsibility. For instance, according to the Huayen school of Buddhist philosophy, which developed in medieval China, our every action affects the whole of the Universe.

He was referring to the Hindu principle of ahimsa: not harming.

This got me to writing, that what we do to the planet affects everything born and unborn, the whole of creation, that we have this responsibility handed to us and we do not, cannot possibly measure up. In our daily lives, in our law courts, we will claim that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Nature is a sterner judge than man, though rarely so capricious. But it really isn't about law, but about causes and conditions leading to other causes and conditions.

The smallest behavior can lead to unimaginable consequences. Long ago I discovered this in other contexts than the environmental ones, or the wars we wage. I decided not only that life was not fair, and it isn't, but that I couldn't possibly really belong in such a harsh world. It is very much my life's work to somehow make peace with this bitter truth, to be okay anyway, even happy if possible, to walk my walk with ahimsa if I can.

So here is a poem, written about ahimsa.

What An Order

You tell me to give,
Give away all the wrong stuff,
The stuff that kills worlds,
Whole worlds, galaxies.
You say they snuff out from this.

I remember once
I was told to quit
Killing myself and it took
Two whole weeks to make
That one decision.

What amazes me
Is how rational that whole
Process of choosing
Life over sure death
And taking two weeks whining
In mourning, pleading
For pardon, way off
My feed and so desparate,
So picked on that I
Should have to do this,
How rational that all seemed.

How long will this take?

First posted 1/26/2009 03:08:00 PM

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fifty Lightyears - Magpie Tales

By Alex Stoddard via Tess Kincaid's Mag 114

Alex Stoddard is still in high school. Check his work *here*

Fifty Lightyears

The worst part of this
is the bad taste in my mouth
I get from the shots
though I wish you would
not insist on displaying
my departure for
the Drone Colonies
where I must again census
the western nomads.
It's just a job
not some special dragon quest
or other fancy.

April 22, 2012 10:28 AM

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Small Bird - Reprise

The Man Of The Northern Wall

What I would add to this poem, the stories I know are true as well. If this life is all there is then my poem is what it is. But once I was a mage, the Man of the Northern Wall, liege to a queen who was murdered through my fault, my failed protection. Once I was in an argument with God, so powerful an argument that I was granted permission for this life. These two are as surely me as the man I am now unadorned. There are more stories of me, but I do not know them. These two I know.

The Argument

A Small Bird

This is what my life
is like without the stories
I must tell myself
in order to live.
This is what my life is like.
It is a small room
with open windows
and a small bird flies through it,
in one window, out
the other.

written March 10, 2009 2:06 PM
First Posted December 23, 2009
Illustrations added, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

When The Angels Fall - Reprise

When The Angels Fall

When the angels fall
The wings go first, tearing off
And twisting like leaves.

Angels are bouyant,
Their wings are solid to catch
The air, the heaviest part.
Wingless angels drift

And grieve, they suffer.

This grief makes more mass
And angels sink from that, fall
Faster, become darts of pain
While they shed white clothes.

They descend, enter
The world as small pink bodies,
Gasp, begin to breathe.

written December 13, 2008
first posted March 19, 2009
images added March 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What I Want Today

My friend Jennifer Cooper reminded me

This is the "Sixteen Tons" I heard, done by the guy who sang it. The video says 1956. That's about right.

"I'm given to write poems. I cannot anticipate their occasion. I have used all the intelligence that I can muster to follow the possibilities that the poem "under hand", as Olson would say, is declaring, but I cannot anticipate the necessary conclusions of the activity, nor can I judge in any sense, in moments of writing, the significance of that writing more than to recognize that it is being permitted to continue. I'm trying to say that, in writing, at least as I have experienced it, one is in the activity, and that fact itself is what I feel so deeply the significance of anything that we call poetry."
- Robert Creely
The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley

Robert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school's. He was close with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Ed Dorn. He served as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities at State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1991, he joined colleagues Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, Raymond Federman, Robert Bertholf, and Dennis Tedlock in founding the Poetics Program at Buffalo. Creeley lived in Waldoboro, Maine, Buffalo, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island where he taught at Brown University. He was a recipient of the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

What I Want Today

If I wanted safe
predictable certainty,
I would not have come,
not to this naked
world view out the last window
on the left of you
near the sound your heart
makes under the roar of wind
and the shush of waves
on the river's bed.

March 31, 2010 10:03 AM

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Key Grip Complains - 3WW

Thom posts: 3WW CCLXVIII *click here*

Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words. Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

This week's words:

Dependence; Kept; Rumple.

The Key Grip Complains

I need you back here.
Coming up in less than five,
on screen dependence
and the kept man sings
off key. Where in Hell are you?
I can't take this now.
The Beatles between the lines
rumple my feathers.

April 18, 2012 9:44 AM

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stayin Alive & What Can I Say Now?

Here you go folks...modern music and rhythm by the BeeGees. Vintage dance movie footage in perfect sync. The effect is stunning...

"To get through this life and see it realistically poses a problem. There is a dark, evil, hopeless side to life that includes suffering, death, and ultimate oblivion as our earth falls into a dying sun. Nothing really matters.

"On the other hand, the best side of our humanity finds us determined to make life as meaningful as possible now; to defy our fate. Everything matters. Everything.

"It is easy to become immobilized between these two points of view - to see them both so clearly that one cannot decide what to be or do.

"Laughter is what gives me forward motion at such intersections. We are the only creatures that both laugh and weep. I think it's because we are the only creatures that see the difference between the way things are and the way they might be. Tears bring relief. Laughter brings release. Some years ago I came across a phrase in Greek - asbestos gelos - unquenchable laughter. I traced it to Homer's Iliad, where it was used to describe the laughter of the gods. That's my kind of laughter. And he who laughs, lasts."
- Robert Fulghum

What Can I Say Now?

The letter you sent
dripped sweat, dampened the papers
where I laid it down
and they curled from it.
I can feel you clear across
the room where I sit
musing, what to do?
What can I say now? I want
so much that is good
to reach out, change you.
I hope you will flower, fruit,
ripen and break free.

I'll never say this to you.
I cannot trust it.
I do not trust me.

April 1, 2010 7:29 PM

Monday, April 16, 2012

Self Talk

"Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." My dark side says, I am no good. I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the Beloved. Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence." - Henri Nouwen

One of the great freedoms of wordcraft is the chance to slip across into other worlds found in inner space. This is not only fantasy, sometimes not fantasy at all. Neither is it lying. It is of course the heart of the story teller's art, to create a character and breathe life into it using one's own life to do so. Thus the truths that emerge are both one's own and not, sometimes quite remote. It could be possible for me to write as a lesbian woman cross dressing soldier living in a remote place in the world war zone...or how about a war zone out of this world, all that plus being a possessor of the skills of invisibility and faster than light travel. All that animated by my own breath, my own heart. I might even write in first person. Within that context, I tell the truth! Or not!! My character might dissemble as well...

I often write poems that tell small stories. These stories are not necessarily my own life any more than writing novels in the first person are autobiographical. In fact in these latter days they commonly are not drawn from my own life. The story has its own demand.

This time I wrote autobiography. This one for better or worse is actually a facet of my own distress, how I approached high school and beyond. I couldn't express my own life in the mainstream (which I finally joined at age twenty eight) except as a life under cover. I had to play the espionage game to do it at all. It took another ten years to even attempt life straight up let alone live it openly. I am still living out the after effects of all that. As I approach my end, I see that the manner of my passing is organic to my failures to thrive in my youth. We all pay the price of the way we choose or fail to choose.

Self Talk

I tied up my hands
my own self, sure if I let
me loose on the world
there would be Hell's Debt
to pay in my flailing thumbs
and bony fingers.
I have to ask me
what I was thinking, asshole,
to be so phony
as all that, acting
the cripple on this crippled
silly damn planet??

‎April ‎16, ‎2012 6:44 AM

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On Getting The News - A Magpie Tale

Red Roofs, by Marc Chagall, 1954. Taken from Tess Kincaid's The Mag

Marc Chagall (7 July 1887 – 28 March 1985), was a Russian-French artist associated with several major artistic styles and one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. He was an early modernist, and created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.

Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century". According to art historian Michael J. Lewis, Chagall was considered to be "the last survivor of the first generation of European modernists". For decades, he "had also been respected as the world's preeminent Jewish artist". Using the medium of stained glass, he produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the UN, and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel. He also did large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris Opéra.

On Getting The News

They did give me proof,
proof of you in flaming red,
proof that you were dead.
They did give me that
though I prefer fantasy
most days anymore.
My apostasy
and my apothecary both
have been extensive,
the roof of all my
sharper tongued resistances
and my prickly pride.

March 15, 2012 6:30 AM

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hard Duty

Carolyn Forche, born in 1950 is a contemporary poet. She wrote a poem she called The Colonel that she wrote of one of her experiences of the strife in El Salvador. She wrote the poem in 1978. That strife eventually turned into the conflict known as the Salvadoran Civil War, commonly dated 1980-1992. I was so taken with the poem that I wrote with her images in my own way. In a strange way it works in my own life. Her poem describes something that happened to her, while mine is metaphorical. Click on the poem name to see her original. It is really powerful.

Of course, my poem is not about another country and if it is a war, it is more personal.

Hard Duty

To sit at dinner
with you in your uniform
was enough for me,
but then you brought out
in a ragged paper sack
your recollections.

They were like sliced off
ears, dessicated and brown,
and you showed me them
as if you were proud.

You even took one of them,
your recollections,
and dropped it into
the water of your new life.
It got all plumped up.

April 13, 2012 3:09 PM

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Says The Student - Reprise

Statue of Lao Tse

The Taoists insist that the sages look exactly like tramps. They live lives of voluntary poverty, in the forests and when you come upon them the last thing you would think is to revere creatures who live so rough on the planet. It turns out that the Wise Ones are invested in the main in not looking so wise. You might think this is a feature of the Occult, to remain hidden. You might think this is a display of humility. You might think how this reminds you of Christ born in a stable among the beasts. It is actually a manifestation of balance. It is a posture of power.

This poem asks a question. I bet you know the answer. Don’t say it. Instead live with the question. Then go and make love.

Says The Student

It is said, Master,
that you are a heartfelt man
but all I see is

It is said also
that you contain the wisdom
I require.
All I know, you're daft.

Clumsy and daft one,
teach me if you dare,
give me the power to rise.
I want your voice.

I want better though.
I want stature and good grace.
I want shiny things.
Is this a problem?

March 12, 2009 12:44 PM

This post was first published December 29, 2009. I have added the pictures tonight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I've Left The Planet - 3WW

3WW CCLXVII click on that, brother.

Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

This week's words:

Draft; Locate; Serenity.

I've Left The Planet

I dodged the stinking
draft, I had to. Thom found this
worth a draft or two
each for the boyos.
Yes, I kept your dope sealed up,
draft free for some while.
I did locate time
and space all fresh and bright, new
coordinates kept
tight on the down low.
My drive for serenity:
now a fool's errand.

(If you think I know
what I'm doing you're sadly
mistaken again.)

April 11, 2012 4:43 AM

I pretty much started reading by getting hold of my Dad's collection of science fiction when I was in second and third grade. This is a typical example of a cover from that sort of magazine:

This cover probably predates my Dad's collection, which included primarily Galaxy, Astounding, and The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction. However, I can tell you that each of the writers listed on the Avon cover were contributors to the magazines at my hand. I'm the nerd who read every kid's science fiction book in the local library and most of the adult choices too. In junior high and high school I would steal the mags and books sold in the local pharmacy to keep my reading habit fed. Obsession and compulsion. I never got caught. I have a criminal mind and I had stern parents. It was really important I did not get caught.

That successful training of mind and body of course served me well in later activity.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Where The Cougars Live - Reprise

This post is re-posted from December 30, 2009, images and the demon story added today.

Not everything is revealed. Look in the golden eyes of the big cat. Pick up the scent of the territorial markings. Watch the moon rise in the late afternoon. Find the right spot and right time. Inhale. Howl.

Where The Cougars Live

I have something here
but nothing to show for it,
nothing but clean air
this high in mountains
where cougars live, where vision
questers might set up
to pass the crystal
night centered in God's long sight,
nothing but my heart
punching my old chest.

I have something here, value
added by stars, cold
light warbling among
the aspen giving shadows
life and me secrets.

March 13, 2009 12:33 PM

Of course, the babies are much cuter...and as many cats do, have blue eyes.

Cougars, also known as Pumas, are New World cats and range thus

"One evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over. He knew about nonduality of self and other, but he still didn't quite know how to get these demons out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of his own mind - all the unwanted parts of himself - he didn't know how to get rid of them. So first he taught them the dharma. He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion and shunyata and how poison is medicine. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, "I'm not going away and it looks like you're not either, so let's just live here together." At that point, all of them left, except one. Milarepa said, "Oh, this one is particularly vicious." (We all know that one. Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that's all we've got.) He didn't know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, "Just eat me up if you want to." And that demon left too." - Pema Chödrön

Monday, April 9, 2012

Just In Time

I love this poem. I have no idea what I am trying to say.

Just In Time

It is so strangely
tangled, this life. I leap from
body to body
before the moment,
rising from the waters to
glide in the sun glint
air, riding the gale,
seeking your lithe running form,
your dappled gray lines.

March 28, 2010 12:25 AM

". . . reality is neither the subject nor the object of true art which creates its own special reality having nothing to do with the average "reality" perceived by the communal eye." - Vladimir Nabokov

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