Chasing Fog

Art yet to come.jpg

Let us strive to understand why

artists of different stripes, through all our times,

have sought out darkness, terror, and woe.

Is this alone enough weight to serve the best

grist for the mill,

the most creative soil?

Some see hope only in pain – best straw for the man,

scare for the crow,

leaves for the tea.

But love yet remains the hottest kiln fire,

best ink or brush, chisel or note, key or bow.

Unrequited?

Better still.

The lover writes, paints, sings, sculpts, dances

her way to unleashed creativity, effortlessly

producing beauty in saying so.

Lose that love and comes a torrent of page-busting pain,

notes of mourning and loss,

all the colours of the universe distilled into singular grey.

Art becomes the dense power of the black hole,

sucking energy from anything unlucky enough

to be in proximity. It is pulled in,

crushed, passed through the dark,

then, released again, purified in travail.

Let the art come then from orbital gravity –

two heavenly bodies in mutual dance.

And, sometimes, great art still issues

forth from the flinging wildly into endless space,

victim of some heavenly collision.

The sculptor trains his eye on her flowing

body, chipping away what stone blocks

the way of the visage that drives him.

Shoot an arrow through her and the same

tools are used to take his own life.

Then, the composer, matching them both,

crushes grisled notes onto a tear-stain’d staff.

The musician throws note after throbbing note, dying

as on cloth all our emotions in each one. She loses a hand

to prepare the way for the still

broader statement of the one who writes of her loss.

It is all an exercise in drilling holes in the sternum

to siphon enough life-blood for the great gushing

onto page, stone, canvas, or staff

one’s gratitude or grief;

tears or triumph;

grist or glory.

There is good art in the good. Perhaps even better art in the bad.

There is art within art. Light from dark from light,

we find the most lasting thing tucked in

the gravitas of every moment.

Baffling.

Unnerving.

Discouraging.

Beautiful.

The artist must find the kernels of beauty tucked

in a backwash world,

like chasing fog in the dark.

 

Let us begin.

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Death’s death

Live! Live! Not one minute

more to solemnize the squaring truths

of the dark, exasperating. Exsanguinating.

The probing luminant, juggernaut

of dawn brought down as a quickening

shade of brilliance over the tar-black,

songless night – now gasping out

its own greying reminiscence.

Kicking against the goads, a denouement

of despair, decay’s quietus comes to mock.

But its voice is too dry now for anything more

than the androgynous whisper of a skeleton.

The bones rattle and try in vain to spark, to scare,

to survive the day, already here.

Death, this needy after-thought, this choking

wheeze of duskish, tight-lipp’d groaning –

it can no longer hunt, its legs are

broken, a dislocated shoulder no longer

suited to hefting hopelessness.

Spring! Spring! O antediluvian Spring! How

many are your salted children, lined up

outside your garden wall. Someone

has unchink’d the tangled gate and trodden new

footprints – fresh, ancient and deep – in the Virgin soil.

We come too, having hid ourselves in

the wisp of your blood-colour’d sleeves.

Droughted, now, a tomb and the perfect surprise:

breaths in lungs once shut, re-sighted eyes,

and in the first of all new hours,

Someone has made light work of death.

 

 

 

NaHaWriMo 2018 Bids Adieu

Alas, we come to the end. February, along with National Haiku Writing Month 2018, bid adieu. A parting kiss, a tip of the hat, and a thanks to all.

* * *

Day 22

Just five syllables

away from finding five more

to finally fin…

 

Day 23

The first winter snows

fall late in February

to a Springing earth.

 

Day 24

Go ahead and pull

the trigger of your lover.

She is still hungry.

 

Day 25

Lacerated flesh

smells of burning horizons.

All in a day’s work.

 

Day 26

Souls, in hollow steel.

An industry of madness

makes tiny men rich.

 

Day 27

It seems we eschew

the pulchritude of gladness

for want of power.

 

Day 28

Today, I shot kids.

Thanks be to God that I can

live where I am free.

NaHaWriMo 2018, part 3

Day 17

I cannot say why

the page seems a mystery

to a breath of ink.

 

Day 18

If there is but one

desire, given to all men,

could it not be love?

 

Day 19

A rotund excuse

it takes to suffer one’s pride

for want of one’s rights.

 

Day 20

A curious thing

this stand of winter flowers,

blooming out of rhyme.

 

Day 21

When the clock stood still,

two arms aimed at journey’s end

couldn’t stand the strain.

More NaHaWriMo 2018

More Haiku, or my attempt at the same, for National Haiku Writing Month, 2018!

 

Day 10

Kelly Belmonte,

thanks for the haiku advice.

It’s been most helpful!

 

Day 11

Watch the sky, squinting

against her lonely brilliance –

pants dying winter.

 

Day 12

I never could have

foreseen today unfolding

quite the way it did.

 

Day 13

“It’s only ten bucks,”

he said, through unseeing eyes.

“Why not get a job?”

 

Day 14 (Ash Wednesday)

One swipe of a thumb,

marking our humanity.

Momento mori.

 

Day 15

Let’s shoot our children.

And before their blood is dry,

we’ll do it again.

 

Day 16

Dark and deep the ground

that suffocates our children

and steals our future.

NaHaWriMo, 2018

A friend and fellow poet, Kelly Belmonte, whose blog I follow hungrily, alerted me to the fact that February is National Haiku Writing Month.

I’m not as adept at small form poetry as Kelly and others. Nevertheless, it is the perfect form to perfect form. An excellent poetry muscle-building exercise if ever there was one! So, always up for a challenge (more honestly, something to get me out of writer’s lethargy!), I here submit my pieces for the month so far.

Day 1

Five, seven, and five.

The perfect form for Haiku.

That’s okay by me.

 

Day 2

What if I were dead?

Would my one life have mattered?

What if I’m alive?

 

Day 3

Stuttered in pages –

life inside remembrances,

howls a paper wind.

 

Day 4

Then, I was angry

at ev’rything that rippled

and moved at random.

 

Day 5

I can see rumpled

corners around each morning –

darkness escaping.

 

Day 6

One can flee from death

to find herself, looking back

at what might have been.

 

Day 7

Regret is wasted

on a past, already gone.

There is only now.

 

Day 8

Why do we always

relinquish our sovereignty

over a trifle?

 

Day 9

Who can know the hour

when a dream meets its demise?

Dreams can sleep in hope.

Somewhere there lies, loitering

pexels-photo-556664.jpg

Somewhere there lies, loitering 

in the distance between pen and page,

the anxiety between knife and cut,

the pause between note and

note – the death between enemies, lives

the untested, a life yet

to be conjugated

into constituents, a partial

whole of whole parts.

*

Maybe in all our persistence,

advancing

forward

our stolen inevitabilities,

we trade the certain for the sure,

the palette for the lecture.

Does not heaven bear the pernicious blockade?

The bee’s tongue waits to pollenate 

what soon will sweeten the starving

earth, and every smiling charlatan

a saint in the making.

*

Winnowing out from among the what ifs,

here-to-fors of judgements made before

the trial, the touch before the love,

is a shimmering reverie,

song of those who cannot sing.

It is the best song.

The churning stomach taut with

unrehearsed laughter.

It is the best joke.

The blanching eye, met full on

with the heavier beauty.

It is the wildest good. 

*

Somewhere there lies, loitering –

let it.

__________________________

Photo courtesy of Pexels