Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

The smell of campfire smoke

At the edge of the fire

These suns, though lit by our near star’s light,
don’t moon after that primal source, but cite
their own chemical marriage. My temporal
landscape, stopped by red Rothko on a stairwell
when I was nine (his cadmiums stained
me to tears, made me wonder how paint contained
that sadness) saw time bent into n-folded trails
and campfires: I watched Cornell’s scissor-tales
butterfly into mâché-bouquets for dissembling
starlets; Rodin’s rough hands cast a die, gambling
with the clay-foot Muse; Kandinsky’s radiant
topographies map the geography of transcendence.
I’ve sat at the fire’s edge as those alchemists fed
me visions, stardust recombinant, gold from lead.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Seeps and flows

"...Still, there are strains of darkness
dear to light. I found a photograph
under the couch. ..."

From Ghost Notes by Ralph Burns

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Reflections and rule-breaking

Rethabile surprisingly, graciously extended me a "Blogger Reflections Award."

While I'm more than a bit meme-averse, it would be churlish (thanks to Shelly for bringing "churlish" back to my foreground) not to thank Rethabile...and it would be untrue to myself not to break a few rules to boot.

The meme says I'm to:

1. Copy this bit of the post.
2. Reflect on five bloggers and write a least a paragraph about each one.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.
5. Place the award icon on your site.

I'll break the rules on items 2 and 5, and instead just point out that anyone in my rambling sidebar o' links makes my synapses ripple and would be worth a visit or three. (Wally will probably resent the extra traffic, but Susangelique will likely put on a new hat and grin fetchingly.)

Garden ghosts

"...All round the garden are ghosts of what we called your "sculptures"..."

From "Vertumnal" by Stephen Yenser

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rained-on radishes, too spent to eat

"...the way the violent overflow of rain over cliffs
cleans the sewers and drains of Ithaca
whose waterfalls head my list, followed by
crudites of carrots and beets, roots and all,
with rained-on radishes, too beautiful to eat,
and the pure pleasure of talking, talking and not knowing..."

From "Shake the Superflux!" by David Lehman

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's complicated

"...Only one season becoming another,
continents traveling the skyway, the grass
breathing. And townspeople, victims, murderers,
the gold-colored straw and barbed-wire hair of the world
wafting over the furrows, the slashed roads
to the door of your office or into the living room. ..."

From "In Every Direction" by Ralph Angel

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More pipe dreams

"...again the surface,
which is gorgeous, of course,
which is glue, saw- and stone-dust,
which is blue-gray
ice, which is
the barely glinting grit
of abyss."

More from "The Gorgeous Surfaces" by Thomas Lux, who is, according to Access Atlanta, making poetry safe for engineers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Yes, that's my husband!"

Being more than a little eager/nervous about my upcoming course ("Liberal Arts Perspectives" -- the thematic focus is Time) I went to a fabulous store to order a couple of the texts we'll be using. I want to jump in and swim even before the class starts.

After book-ordering, took a snack break at a mega-organo-foodstore and sketched some folks.

While I was drawing the raw-boned woman in the lower right, another woman came over and said "My husband thinks you were sketching him -- do you mind if I see what you've drawn?"

When I showed her the still-damp ink, she smiled and said, "Yes, that's my husband!"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rusty enso

"Who says my poems are poems?
My poems are not poems.
After you know my poems are not poems,
Then we can begin to discuss poetry!"

From one of my favorite Great Fools, Ryokan

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I went to a museum yesterday

Hans Hoffman’s Elysium

It sang me a song of its own making, radiant-faced, verdant,
the birth-song of an ensouled object, a living door shape-shifting
around plangent bell-struck passages. Mr. Hoffman (then in his
eightieth year) ripe as a pomegranate, brush and knife pendant
and glistening like fruit, stained the canvas, began it—did he
see something quicken, put his hand on the paint, feel it ripple
in its womb? And when he stepped back after the god-act of
breathing life into dust, did he smile as angels of every color
laced their notes into one shimmering voice, polyphonic and free?


For more on Hans Hoffman, take a look here.

The frosting on the cake

"...She’s fed us fiddleheads, the tiny fists
of Brussels sprouts, cupcakes, ..."

From "Botanica" by Eve Alexandra

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Reds, off-whites, blues

"...(we were like

scrimshaw) (you were one of the ones covered with flags

and lady liberty)..."

From "Blue Oxen" by Dara Weir

Friday, July 20, 2007


Well, the early morning's hunt along a Google-trail of "entelechy" breadcrumbs turned up no poems I liked.

But later, I found authors who'd published in Entelechy, and then found one author's teacher, which led finally to something I liked -- as much for the title as the poem.

"...I do not want to disturb the ants
Who are walking single file up the fence post,
Carrying small white petals,
Casting shadows so frail that I can see through them. ..."

From "Depressed by a Book of Bad Poetry, I Walk Toward an Unused Pasture and Invite the Insects to Join Me" by James Wright

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mantic rebar

"... memories of photos
where a moment ripples like wind in tall grass behind a barn.
This light catches it, makes it local, freezes it in corrugated iron."

From "Letter From America" by Martin Harrison

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A couple of painting exercises

I just finished a brief oil painting class taught by Jennifer Balkan.

What we did:

1. No preliminary drawing with charcoal -- everything worked with that unfamiliar tool, the brush.

2. Most work was done in 15 minutes per still life set-up -- go fast fast fast, block in value/light.

3. Not much work in "full color" -- lots of exercises in monochrome to sharpen our ability to see and recreate value/tone.


How it felt:

1. Yikes! Clumsy, like typing while wearing woolen gloves.

2. Double yikes!! You know those dreams where you want to go fast, but you're only able to run in slow motion? That's what the fast fast work felt like.

3. Triple yikes!!! Monochrome meant massed tone, and those who've seen my sketches in archive know I'm most comfortable with line.

What I liked about it:


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Point of view

"Order. Order. The bottle contains
more than water. In this case the form
is imposed. ..."

From "Divisions" by Robert Creeley


I've been having lots of dreams concerning my upcoming class, concerning the MLA. And almost all of them involve something about Passover, or the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt.

I wondered at the unusual images, and why I was dreaming those particular dreams.

So, being a good delve-deeper, I did some digging around mystical Jewish sources and my favorite Jewish blog, and found illuminating metaphors that helped me understand some of what this soon-to-start experience means for me right now. (You'll find excerpts from two sources below.)


"...[a Midrash states] the most distressing aspect of enslavement in Egypt was the consequence of the oppressive work; [the Hebrews] didn't have enough physical or emotional strength to do Kindess (chesed) for one another. ..."

From a variety of mystical rabbinical commentators


"... [The Passover journey] isn't just an external journey; in order to have true meaning, it needs to change us on the inside, where freedom really matters. The difference between slavery and freedom, between constriction and expansion, is our state of mind. ..."

From Rachel's blog, Velveteen Rabbi


So, learning as an antidote to over-work for business; learning as a journey where the travel is all interior...sounds right to me.

May all your dreams this week be illuminating ones!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


1. How full is my glass?

Empty right now except for lovely pixel-ghosts.

2. What kind of glass is it?

A Canon Digital Rebel XT, aka The Metallic Shaman's Bag, peering through a Tamron 17-50mm zoom lens -- one lens for all pix.

3. What's in the glass?

A tiny hall of mirrors reflecting an evanescent point of view, something mechano-mystico-cochlear that listens for light, and Imps furiously painting their impressions (apologies to Terry Pratchett.)

Reasons for #1, #2 and #3:
Granny J tagged me, I chose to play, 'nuff said.

Momo Botan

"... The surface, love, is everything.
It is plenty. The wallpaper ripens,
the horizon plumbs its own depths
and the flat earth warms to us. ..."

From "The Flat Earth" by Conor O'Callaghan

Friday, July 13, 2007


I think this one's better larger, so do click on the image...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

First, light

"... and always the gift of the world, the undecided:
first light and damson blue ad infinitum."

From "SI DIEU N’EXISTAIT PAS" by John Burnside

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lux not lumen

"They are, the surfaces, gorgeous..."

From "Gorgeous Surfaces" by Thomas Lux

Since I wasn't quite happy with the poetry illuminated by my random walk through Google, here's a bonus mini-info-rant about measuring light.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


"Seen from afterward the time appears to have been
all of a piece which of course it was but how
it seemed that way when it was still happening and
the air through which I saw it as I went on
of somewhere else in some other time whether gone
or never to arrive and so it was divided
however long I was living it and I was where
it kept coming together and where it kept
moving apart..."

From "Completion" by W. S. Merwin

(Please click on the first link above to read a review which contains the correctly formatted line indentions.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

A certain sympathy

" ...I have absolutely no
idea what I am saying. I know only
that I have a certain sympathy
for the rhetoric of risk and mystery. ..."

From The Lichtenberg Figures by Ben Lerner

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oak leaf hay(na)ku

Still puny, but on the mend (cough cough cough.)
I can stay awake for more than 30 minutes at a time! Yippee!

Thanks for your summer-cold sympathies and good wishes -- they do help me feel better!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Stobbed ub

Bad code, er, cold.

Will post more soon as I can stay awake longer than 12 minutes at a time.

NB: Don't breathe too close to this post without good virus protection software...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Oleander ukiyo-e

"The gravestones do not move; but in the blended motions
of the oleander
its white blossoms stir
like pieces of paper in those dark accumulations
floating in a cluster
in the dirty harbor ..."

From "Street by the Cemetery" by Elizabeth Bishop

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


"I am the little man who smokes & smokes.
I am the girl who does know better but.
I am the king of the pool.
I am so wise I had my mouth sewn shut.
I am a government official & a goddamned fool.
I am a lady who takes jokes. ..."

From "Dream Song 22: Of 1826" by John Berryman

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pink stucco balustrade

"At the edge of heaven the sun rises and the moon sets,
Beyond the balustrade, the mountains are deep and the waters cold."

As found in Shodo Harada Roshi's post regarding Setcho Zenji's commentary on the second case of the Blue Cliff Record.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Back home -- a good visit, but glad to return.

Just before I left, something hatched:
I was accepted into a local Master of Liberal Arts program!

The program is designed for people like me who have a full time work-life, and it will give me a chance to develop and make creative connections without leaving other things I love.

The community I've "met" via these pixels (that means you) have been the incubator I needed to break through to this new adventure -- and I thank you for that.

A special shout-out to a few blog-friends who've been gracious enough to act as off-line sounding-board, inspiration, instigator, cheering section and/or cattle-prod:

In late August, I'll shift my post frequency/focus as needed to fit my new journey, and I may occasionally ask for help from all y'all related to projects and such.

Stay will be fun growing wings!