Friday, December 31, 2010

Fragment III

The rose faint with fragrance
has slowly begun to wilt
in the chaotic quietude
of deep, starless nights.

Zaina Anwar 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Godless Room
38"x 26"

Sunday, December 19, 2010


digital photo

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ashes To Ashes

"Maybe when a kids screaming, they're just the only one allowed to speak their mind."

Born of a mind
To take down the world
As long as my dogs in the fight
I wiped every tear
And  patched every hole in sight

I didn't need........ a flag or a name
Pieces of  pleasure
Or beautiful things
All those shadows
Just abstracts and
Art in my eyes

The long nights of living
In places where knowledge
Could kill time
Put me straight in the arms of
Souls just as hungry for dreams

And wouldn't you know
That the love and the wine
Brought fertile flowers
That  knew how to climb
To, honey
this future of
Your mama and me

Baby you're born
And daddy's too late
To dwell on things that might never change
So what
Maybe that worlds out of sight

I'm just a fool
Born in a small town
Shakin' off dust
For the future I'm bound
I 'spose
Rubbin my neck and my eyes

Still up in the sky
The future glows
From the pastures
Of of plenty
That everyone knows
Yeah, we're dust
But don't we look pretty tonight?

Witness to Some Wishes Unearned

She had long taken heed of the shallower implications of her aging.   So much so, that these new circumstances... her widowhood, her isolation, her dependence on the few she wished, frankly, she didn't have to talk to at all... struck her, mostly, in their scale, more so than their substance.  "Here I am, " she thought, as she always knew she would.  The ugly formica paneling of a waiting room.  The caustic uncertainty with no one to soothe its burning.  The plain, unforgivable fact that she not only could have predicted this all, but long ago looked upon these prosaic objects that were all that remained, and said to herself, "this is what it will look like."  She had never looked away.  And now things looked just as she had thought.

"Mrs. Auburn, your sisters nearly done," said the very nice nurse.  And it was certainly good to be forewarned.  She used to flush with anger at the unexpected phone call, back when weeks would pass without incident.  Back when life, her life, was what anyone would recognize as normal.  Today though, Dilly was never surprising in any way at all.  Never surprisingly thoughtful. Never surprisingly lucid.  Never surprisingly resilient.  Well... she had never been resilient at all.  So, no surprise.

Dilly did come through the door, looking pretty and composed.  She was telling the nurse something about somewhere she'd never been.  It all sounded perfectly plausible.  The nurse clearly recognized which was the life of the party.  Anne hated parties.  The nurse wouldn't hate parties she realized.  And surely, like so many people, the nurse could not imagine disliking Dilly.

As Dilly looked into her eyes, with a subtle triumph that reflected her pretensions had fooled them all again, Anne knew she would say nothing to contradict her sister.  "Are you hungry?" were the only words she could even think of.  And, of course, they had the benefit of having something to do with her own circumstance.

"I don't know," said Dilly.  "We should go to a movie... what do you think?"

As always, "I think I'm hungry," said Anne, while they moved into the bright and ceaseless sunlight of the parking lot, to the car.

"We could eat popcorn, you know," said Dilly.  "You love popcorn."

Anne loved popcorn, yes.  But hadn't been able to stomach it in some years.  And, yes, she knew that old hunger for a movie and popcorn.  For a good time, just the two of them.

"We should go to the pharmacist.  And I have things I need to get done.  Though, one of them is off the list," Anne said.

"You need a worry board," said Dilly. "You should ask Bill to make you one.  He'd love to give you a gift."  Dilly smiled at this in the old way.  And, as always, Anne nearly blushed.

Closing the vehicles door she couldn't deny her sister, "I could probably use something to calm me, true.  And yes, he has never hidden his feelings.  I'm the one with that problem."

"If wishes were horses, you still couldn't accept him, Anne.  And he won't go begging forever.  Just say yes! Isn't that the  magic of a man?"  Dilly looked over the Hospital building, as if canvassing a crowd of beach bronzed body builders, nearly shivering at the thought.

"The fact that you are right, does not change my feelings, Dill," she said to her sister, pulling out into the street, toward no theater, no popcorn, and remaining, therefore, upon the the path she had seen already, long ago.  At the signal she stopped, it's color being red.  And she noticed, with the peculiar senses she had always been burdened by, that her sister had nothing else to say, and it satisfied her, this confluence of conversation and the obedient traffic.

Things certainly had grown complicated since Dilly's husband, Joseph, had died.  Joseph had never been someone Anne looked forward to seeing or spending time with when they were young.  His tastes extended to all manner of exotica, and Dilly was only one of the pleasures he'd taken as his birthright, being a man, and being indifferent to refinement of any sort.  It might have bothered Dilly to some extent, Anne surmised, very early on, with Dad and Mom and the Hoidays, in all the expected ways.  But Anne knew that once Dilly had recognized her fears of retribution from the family were never going to be realized, now that she was married, she completely quit thinking about it at all.  It was a friend that suggested to her that Dilly's lack of concern might actually be the rational response to her marriages tension with her family.  Like a half resolved, cloud covered spot of light on the horizon, Anne could imagine there being something virtuous, and heartfelt about that perspective, but there was never going to be a question as to whether their had been a betrayal or not.  Dilly walked away, from the family, and whatever her rationale, could not subsist simultaneously as a completely accepted member of their tribe, and a wife to Joseph.  They drank excessively. They cared nothing for principles, either generally recognized, or potentially held by strangers.  They offended, loudly.  They brought children into not only a dangerous world, but the heavily consequential orbit of their own worldview.  Were they train wrecks, these resulting memories, Anne would ask herself?  No, a train wreck would not be seen, predicted, and so much the fruit of causality.  A train wreck was a tragedy.  Jo and Dill's family were precisely what you'd expect them to be.  The phone calls were distressing, but there were never any questions to ask.  Only, "What can I do?"  Dill had certainly been interested.  Dill could not have comprehended that it wasn't a question, either.

As the years had passed, though, the callouses did thicken.  And there were times, Anne had marveled, where Jo seemed like nothing so much as a brother in law, and a predictable one in the end.  His pleasures, even he'd confide, had their costs.  Their marriage, they seemed to enjoy, like a foam mat upon deep, dark waters.  One side, in the sun.  The other, what? Out of mind?   After decades, and funerals, and troubles faded by time, the whole imposition of thier union in the face of that old fiction of a once so hopeful youth, had replaced the implacable old boundaries.  It was surprising certainly, to witness.  Though so oddly comforting.

There was Josephs treatment of Dad, for example.  Dad who sought to offend no one; Dad who had accepted this son in law, somehow.  Joseph delighted in the composure of her father, realized Anne.  Joseph certainly knew he had no desire to compromise his freedoms with his family, for the father of his wife.  But Dad had, in the ripeness of time seen something in his son in law.  Perhaps it was simply that way with men.  A lacking maliciousness proving some irrational bonhomie?  She'd been grateful in the end to Jo.  He shrugged off Dad's illness the way he shrugged off all mysteries, apparently.  He had strange riches of time to spend with Dad.  It seemed, often, they talked more to one another, near the end of Dad's life, than anyone else.  It helped Dad.

to be continued.....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another Poem to read along

i woke up this morning and had this poem in my head, so i wrote it and finished it; i haven't had a day write in a long felt nice.

Religious Doctrine

I know, you’re still here
helping people see what is hard for us to grasp,
like babies reaching for a mobile
swaying above fragile, confused heads,
you give us hope in unattainable pieces—
it has always been easy to believe in faith,
but to have faith in understanding requires work.

I read a book once that created Heaven
in a world above my head, and Hell
in a land burning below my feet;
for awhile I closed my eyes and believed,
until another book defined the term “blind faith.”
The burning ideas beneath my feet left me cold,
the magic disappeared from the sky,
and I was forced to look around my life;
religion was being fed to children and adults alike,
starving them of reason, stealing their faith in one-another,
dividing families because subjectivity somehow became objective—
religion may not be the root of all evils,
but evil is certainly the root of all religions.

I read a book once that created a magic world
set behind a platform in a train station,
and my God, did I want to believe.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Encounter Down From Morton And Lime

I leave my door every single day
With my small cloth satchel underarm
Sometimes to the Church, to confess or pray
Sometimes to the dance hall to be charmed

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm.
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

As the light in the sky, still so early fades
You'd not be too surprised if you could see
The figure of a woman, walking just your way
In the dim light passing by it would be me

"In the Sweet By and By" above me play the bells
My mind is nearly taken by the tune
Though just before they're done the music swells
Through yellow light that I am walking through

 But not in celebration of enduring pain
It comes from where I walk across the street
For the fiddle and guitars make a different claim
And I'm smiling for the friends I'm there to greet

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm.
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

The crowd grows restless that they've yet to dance
In pairs they walk to the center of the room
When twinning fiddles have their way with darkness chance
What hearts of those assembled will refuse?

I took the hand of one named Johnny Bland
A sheepish sort of look on my face lies
As a witness from the window can see us dance
Out of four there is no blinking of our eyes

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm.
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

Some of the songs call to twist and spin
I hold and trust from him I'll never fly
Some of the songs switch me to other men
And they're clearly not unhappy in my eyes

Then the waltz comes at last and some people sit
While I look for someone that I've never seen
And who should approach but the perfect fit
For a girl who doesn't mind the touch of dreams

He'd seen me coming with his kind and gentle look
Sadness drained from his dark and tender eyes
He offered his hand which I gladly took
And I shivered at the other on my side

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm.
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

From a people that had searched over seas and hope
The fiddles found my footsteps in their sighs
I simply fell where led by the dark eyed bloke
With the light of every pilgrim in my eyes

It is difficult I knew, even then, to awaken
And meet, alone, the troubles of my day
The journey in the arms with him I'd taken
I feared would end when the fiddles ceased to play

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm.
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

The fears of every mortal being far from wrong
The dancing ended as the sun will take a dream
The players of the instruments meant me no harm
When tradition broke the heart of Harmonie

I pulled my new beau to the side of the floor
A place I'd never had a reason yet to be
And as entwined the hands of other boys and girls
I asked the dark eyed stranger who was he?

He said, "Since there we danced, I can hardly dismiss
The sad and watchful man I came here as.
My name is Billy Faren, and it's a pleasure, Miss,
To meet and dance, but might we make it more than that?"

"Harmonie Jennings," is my name dear man,
The answers, yes I'll walk with you tonight"
So we passed through the sound of the fiddles and the band
To a starlit street before the town folks eyes

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm.
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

We walked for a time that neither could discern
Amidst the woodsmoke, and other scents of life
So many dreams and yet what could we hope to learn
Whilst holding, there, each other in the night

We stopped beneath the lamp at Benders lane
And from his pocket he took his other hand
"Need I even tell you for what I pray?"
When with a touch and kiss he hoped I'd understand

"This is the house within which I was born"
Said Billy, sadly, to the shadows in the night,
"There's something I have yet to inform...."
But I kissed him then again beneath the light.

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm.
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

Billy walked me gently in the darkness of the night
 Past an ending dance, where a last waltz sadly played
Past the steeple where the bells hid out of sight
Arm and arm to where it was my fate to stay

To part would be as silent as it was hard
So I simply turned from Billy to my home
There would be tears eventually even were we not to part
For till the morning... I  must now be alone

Wither my memory of sadness and pain
Banish my concern for my own harm
Passing by the church, I beg today
Can you see me to a young man's arms?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

28"x 35"
acrylic/fluted sbs

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My First Video Post

Fishing for Fire

Lying in bed, I stared through your sleeping eyes,
wondering if soft blankets and words were enough to live,
whether shivering together would bring heat or just friction;
my cool fingers drew slow circles around your mouth,
but I could not feel or imitate the warmth escaping your lips—
freezing alone is not the same as freezing alone together.
I left that night as dreams of sailing beautiful oceans
turned into a painting of two children slipping over ice,
and like an ambitious autumn breeze catching the spring,
the unnatural season began to pour through my veins.
Soon, dead leaves fell like snow beneath my skin,
and covered the water I had saved for the ensuing sun,
lucid water that had promised to grow green futures.
I ate fire, drank fire, and smoked fire,
but nothing seemed to heat the frigid lake of leaves
as it grew slower and sharper beneath my skin,
pushing to break and speak out against the season.
Fragile and barefooted I wandered carelessly that night
searching for a reflection of my inverted world,
a mirror to talk to or simply a tongue to place down my throat,
anything to forget the potential burden of breaking alone.
...I found it, eventually, before the sun had begun to rise
at the edge of a night littered in matches and clothes;
it was in a pond, nearly placid, reflecting in the moon,
shivering alone with no one to see or break the surface.
I knelt down to touch and gaze beneath sleepy ripples,
and I saw beautiful flames sailing within the waves,
hiding their light beneath dead floating leaves.
That night, I decided to go fishing for my fire.
I dove head first into life's cool essence of darkness,
chasing scattered flames like old summer dreams,
and I watched the sun rise as we thawed alone and together.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Sitting on the banks,
nay the frame of a river,
waiting for the dust to settle
on such a grievous and ill-mannered
alliterative appendix,
I once promised myself
I’d not give in
to the sorry belief in ghosts

But here they arise
wraiths out of the mist
with bowed buckled knees;
buried in the resting place
for remembered ribbons
Wearing wreaths to match
the twigs and leaves
caught in their long black robes

And gargle it goes
the sound of my voice as it tries
to make its way across the sands
to meet her

the strains of a
boy drowning in the river
cast there by those
who refused to acknowledge
the creases in his brow
Or the breadcrumbs
he had left in his wake
to lead him back to the very same spot
where his torment first began

And the queue refuses to move
Great mounds of dirt
collect on the toes,
wings and deck of the ship
Oh, how far the moon seems now.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Near West Side
digital photo