Sarah

Hope and Faith, Joy and Grace
are names assigned to fix a weight
against our living to the pace
of dullness and routine, experienced as fate.
Other names are incantations
to ward away mean expectations,
or desires invoked to claim
some virtue, art or fame.

But Sarah speaks of elder past
of prophets, warriors, kings conceived in rage;
of a mother’s will to cast
a nation through the world, her gift of age;
of hands that worked in desert tents, that grasped
a future from a nomad’s faith, a prod
of laughter that enabled husband, prompted God.

 

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December

That time of year thou may’st behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
          William Shakespeare , Sonnet LXXIII.

Bat

Winged warder of the night
hurry blind
into the light
where tiny sounds betray
elusive flying food.

Dive. Strike.
Roll the axis. Vere
again. Never touching
or colliding, rise jurist
of the dark.

Let the moth beware
her ancient nemesis come
to judge and sentence. Depose
small, unseen marauders in their flight.
Close debate with moral bite.

When the hawk first cries dawn,
speed into a dark, cool cave
where safety dwells in numbers,
where bonds can be proclaimed
and verdicts of the hunt exchanged.

Sleep then as day prepares another night.
Hang by fingered claws and dream
of soaring, swooping, striking,
diving.
Dive.

 


In Wonderland

“Do you know what the issue with this world is?  Everyone wants a magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.”

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Lewis Carroll

Any Loving Way But Wrong

Dust lay everywhere, settling on anything exposed. Not the fine, brown sifted dust of early summer, this was the gray and choking dust of August. Topsoil and road dirt, it stirred at movement and sank heavy with the end of movement.

There had been no rain for a month now, the air was humid and there was no wind. The air held the land with moisture pressing heat out of the land itself.

Even in the hour before dawn, the air was humid, the ground warm and thick with dust. The nights were now unrelenting distances between the days.

An old woman lay awake inside the house and stared at the darkness that was the ceiling. An old man’s heavy breathing intruded to remind her of the place and time.

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We Who Would Traverse

We who would traverse the stars
decline to taste a single blade of grass,
to bend and drink clear water from a glacial stream,
to pick the wild black berry
or heed the hawk’s high, solitary call.

Old Frost knew us lost:
Provide, provide hums the mantra of the hive.

For every obstacle to wants,
for every loss to gain,
an other whispers in our ear:
I have it here, mate;
just step around the corner.

Old Wordsworth cut it plain:
better outworn creed than vampire greed.

Press 1 to enter
your unique twelve digit number.
Press 2 to hear
the menu of your anger build as patriotic music bids.
Press 3 to detonate.

I Will Not Go

I will not go to Istanbul
nor stand agape at Troy now gone to earth,
not shop a ruined Athens,
acquire no pilgrimage to Rome
but rather seek Ravenna,
final hope of fading Pax, a space
between the pleasure and the pain.

To smell the Adriatic, shuffle
through the labyrinth of medieval lanes. To halt
beneath the icons ancient
in their pity, wise within their painted sorrow.
To dance, in courtyards
hallowed by the feet of centuries,
between the pleasure and the pain.

I will not go to London, Lisbon or Berlin,
nor drink pastis in cafe by the Seine,
but seek the quiet henges of the world
whose stones we lifted in our youth and knew
ourselves to be both life and death.
To drink raw whiskey there and naked dance
between the pleasure and the pain.

Memory Boards

Memory as art.  Art as stories.

Congo/Lukasa

Memory Board (Lukasa) – Democratic Republic of Congo, 19th to 20th C.

Lukasa, or memory boards, are hand-held wooden objects that present a conceptual map of fundamental aspects of Luba culture. They are at once illustrations of the Luba political system, historical chronicles of the Luba state, and territorial diagrams of local chiefdoms. Each board’s design is unique and represents the divine revelations of a spirit medium expressed in sculptural form.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

metmuseum.org