Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pink Hat


Here's another abstract painting by Sylvia, which is great fun to look at. It has a Japanese quality to it - I imagine if Hokusai were to have made abstract prints they would look like this.
My poem takes off from the image and goes to places I didn't expect.

Pink Hat

ignored as a child, drew fantastical pictures
of creatures in unnatural crayon colors.
Now, she wears bright cotton dresses
in lemon and orange, ruby and sapphire, and
a pink picture hat. Dressed such a way,
she paints to please the child inside.

The hat transports her to other places in other
times – once to the Paris of Breton and Eluard,
where she rode a balloon with a small man
in plaid: he touched her knee: she didn’t mind:
once to Ireland where ghosts appeared
from passage tombs to greet her
with voices like soft summer breezes.
In Africa, a dangerous man in khaki
and rifle put a pink diamond in her hand
and told her to run – which she did.
“Hold on to your hat,” he had shouted.

Then she vanished. No one knew how –
or why. She had traveled to her own childhood
and decided she loved this girl she used to be:
she would become the imaginary friend
she once had imagined and guide the girl’s
growth and when she ripened into bright colors
she would give her the pink hat of her dreams.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Meadow/ Remote Benevolence

This painting by Silvia Williams seems to be in motion -- The sky slanting down toward the flowers; the flowers leaning toward the sky. Wouldn't it be nice to step into this meadow?
Remote Benevolence

Across the day's page
...................... the sun script slants the lavender reaches:
the blood of the ground
............................ pulses inside rusty racemes.
Hunger for light -
.......can we grasp its must?
................What does the flower tell
the sun as it swallows?
.............The sun tells no one
what it knows:
The one who is most absent
is most present.

Out in the World

is the world’s
work: you are told to be
what the world wants: even what you want
is what you are told you
want: you can’t
fell upon
the group as I walked past
with my dogs: I could feel the tension
in the air: those people
with giant

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Blue Kettle

This painting is by Rosemary Sexton. It reminded me of my visit to the Acoma Pueblo and the beautiful pottery the people there made. The painting has the earthy tones of the southwest. It is very pleasant and calming to look at it. Here is a poem inspired by this painting.
Blue Kettle Tea my Blessed Daughter

The eastern sky
stands blue behind the Sandia Mountains,
but in the west a thunderhead approaches.
Teresa Chino comes down
from the mesa
to dig fresh clay for her pottery.
After the day’s work,
tired from the carry and the walk,
she climbs the sandstone stairs to Sky City,
ancient Acoma pueblo.
She looks forward to her daughter’s tea
made in the blue kettle:
they eat bread baked in a clay oven,
and strips of elk cooked all day
with carrots, potatoes, and wild onions.
In the evening, in sand by the door,
they draw designs
lit by moonlight and firelight,
their eyes in shadow, their hearts free.
The next morning,
they grind the stone.
In the weeks ahead,
she will teach her daughter
the secrets of pottery.
Teresa prays to the sun and the stars –
May her temper give her making strength
and the hard will of the Acoma way.
May her spirit give her making beauty.
In the evening, as we listen to the kee kee yah
of hawk coaxing black rabbit,
may you guide me in my lessons.
May we have rain and a cool wind tomorrow.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dark Diamonds

eat dog
paws sitting
around a round table:
the dogs limp painfully, hunting scraps
in long lamp-lit alleys,
with white teeth
smoked all day,
sometimes lighting one off
the last one in a nervous frenzy:
emphysema killed her:
she said she
could not

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is a painting by my friend, Sylvia Williams, titled "Memories of the Sea." It's an evocative image and inspired the poem below.

An aerial view of a blue lagoon:
I’m diving down through layers of air,
soon descending, swallowed by depths,
stroked by cold water,
the almost perfect pleasure,
seeing the submerged view,
holding my breath with splendor
as the air bubbles rush past.
Then, turn, pull upward and rise,
the burst amidst wide water petals,
the smell of Bougainvillea,
the mechanical saw of the katydids,
the too sweet cry of the chickadee,
the life of the air.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Writing Poems

I want
to make each
line a line poetic,
so you may hold them in your hand,
so they may stand alone,
each round word
a stone.
I think
when I walk with the dogs,
repeating the lines that seem telling:
remembering in this way, I send a message
to my deeper self where the lines go
fishing in the dark flows
that exist

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Surreal Moments

lemons: naked landscapes
disintegrating into lilies
interspersed with thorny
pods: alien
wasps float
in the gloom:
arcs of reflected white,
triangular, highlight the black bulbs:
the curved stings, like scythes,
swing down fast