Saturday, July 23, 2011

Luminescent Blue

I was recently in Portland Oregon"s delicately magnificent Japanese Garden where the blue japanese irises were in full bloom.If the soul was given a color it would be of blue.

Georgia O'Keefe said;"it was in the fall of 1915 that I decided not to use ant color until I couldn't get along without it and I believe it was June before I needed blue".

This in celebration of the gift of blue...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Seeing deeper...oneself

again,by ,Robert Frost;

For Once, Then, Something
by Robert Frost

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What we remember

one of my favorite poems , on this warm summer day;

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart.

Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down.
I teach her Chinese.
Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I’ve forgotten.
Naked: I’ve forgotten.
Ni, wo: you and me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.

Other words
that got me into trouble were
fight and fright, wren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
Fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.

Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
a Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn’t ripe or sweet, I didn’t eat
but watched the other faces.

My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.

Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper,
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang, The sun, the sun.

Finally understanding
he was going blind,
my father sat up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons,
swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.

This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.
He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find a box.
Inside the box I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A scent of salt...our life

It was recently my birthday,another year has passed,another year older. I was thinking about the notion of "witnessing of my life ", the pondering of what is recorded, remembered,absorbed of our essence with the passing of infinite unfathomable time,what remains to be said of us, told of us,seen of us,felt of us, smelled us,touched of us with each year that passes or when we are physically no longer. I thought of the momentous, heartfelt ,miraculous moments of my life,those that I love and treasure,but we are all but fleeting specs of dust in the galaxy of time. I thought of the expansive sea and sky,the monumental mountains which I imagined for a moment witnesses all, but is evanescent as I am as well. This poem by Phillip Levine speaks to me, that
even that which we imagine witnesses all is but fleeting as well.

Our Valley,by Phillip Levine
We don't see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August
when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay
of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard
when suddenly the wind cools and for a moment
you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost
believe something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,
something massive, irrational, and so powerful even
the mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.

You probably think I'm nuts saying the mountains
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
you begin to believe they know everything.
They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,
a silence that grows in autumn when snow falls
slowly between the pines and the wind dies
to less than a whisper and you can barely catch
your breath because you're thrilled and terrified.

You have to remember this isn't your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours. Remember the small boats
that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men
who carved a living from it only to find themselves
carved down to nothing. Now you say this is home,
so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust,
wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


again from the Writer's Almanac today;
The poet Stacie Cassarino wrote "Summer Solstice":

I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it's you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn't say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper's bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.
Stacie Cassarino , "Summer Solstice" from Zero at the Bone (2008), New Issues Press.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Empty Space

Finding Emptiness
Prompt for today's poem, "Empty Space" as in ancient Chinese Landscape , from work at Upaya Zen Contemplative Photography Workshop6/9-6/12/2011 with master teacher/ photographer/person; George de Wolfe

As I was driving in my car
On my usual daily route,
I could not help to gaze,
beyond this moment in everyday time
not recognizing this matter, object,subject,stuff
Onto this expanse of urban spread, no longer focusing
on mundane ,molecular , particles
that do not matter, that only
obscure the path of my keener vision.
But ,to the space beyond,over, in between,
under,aside,on top of,
eventually, through,
to that of the impermanent, erratic

What is there hiding beyond the
interstitial fissures of concrete caverns,
the empty realm of that which goes
not seen,not heard,
whispering,flickering, fading in
vaporous ether
of emptying space.
In the chinks of vacuousnes
do we find
the substance of possibility?
luminous light, undying sound, immeasurable wisdom
colors,shapes, tones of our once primordial discernment.

Perhaps in the incalculableness of infinite emptiness
there lies unfathomable resolution, restitution , a mirror
of infinite capacity where we may begin to see unfiltered
with such first ever remarkable boundless
clarity, that has only begun its veritable orbit now,
Perhaps, that is what we reawaken
when we remember what we once knew
in our earlier state of reverential seeing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I never liked the color red,Things a mother should never say to her daughter

Red is not my favorite color
I have told you this many times
Yet you buy me red clothes and make me wear red
as well as itchy stiff, poofy , crinolines, in the wet humid muggy heat of summer
You say you know me better, even than I know myself
Do you seriously mean what you just said?

Hot ,fury,lava ,burning ,consuming rage
Evaporating the substance of my marrow, my entrails,
You try to enter my bones, my blood vessels,the electric current
that pulses between my synapses
That make me, uniquely, me, other, different, differentiated, separate
Oceans, away, apart from you.

You , in your human mask , your mother human seeming attire,You
point your finger at the oil painting hanging on the wall,
Touch the young girl child of me with your pointed painted glistening
finger nail,
I, playing in the bucolic,the care free grassy field
Suddenly, evaporate,disappear
bucolic scene,Now
sans girl child

Do you remember what you said
This morning,cell phone to cell phone
I said,do you know what you just said
You ,said
Let's not talk about it!
Can't we just move on, you say again.

How can I move on, to what , to where, when the heavy
dark cloud of your words hover ,hang,stagnate
In the face of your intrusions, your persistent efforts to engulf, consume
fix, rearrange,readjust, force your way in,suck my bone,my blood
I can not erase what you said this time.
You have tried to tear asunder,torch away, that which is sacred to me ,that which you can never obliterate
That which is the remnants of me and the only life that I live.

I run
Run for my life.
Run with my life.

The prompt for this poem is a scene from the movie,"the Witches"based on the book by Roald Dahl.Angelica Houston plays the leader Witch, she is dressed in disguise as a human woman.She walks past a painting of a little girl playing in a grassy field.She wipes her long witch nail along the girl child playing in the field disappears forever.I have been haunted by this scene for many a moon now.The conversation cell phone to cell phone really did occur today. I remembered this scene so well today after that conversation.

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