Thursday, June 30, 2011
Looking up to the starry dome,
I perceive the presence of all those
before me who stood and stared.
Viewed from different continents,
viewed by different ages,
viewed by different ethnicities.
Wanderers, sailors, military,
farmers, fishermen, widows…
standing in the night staring,
reckoning, dreaming, wishing…
perceiving the presence of all those
before them that stood and stared.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The only bad part about having an office
with a lovely view: she was always on the
inside looking out on transparent seasons.
Typical admin job kept her hours crazy …
early in and late out, she might as well put
in a Murphy Bed, have breakfast on a tray,
conduct meetings in comfy cozy pajamas,
shuffle about in fuzzy bunny slippers.
Instilled business acumen was still sharp;
relative motivation was questionable…
personal perspective was shifting.
What was the point? Money and power…
this was not the life she signed up for;
happenstance of family corporation,
pleasing elders not wanting to disappoint,
stepping into death vacancy – no one
in the family quit or prematurely retired.
A vacation wouldn’t help; shackled to this job
was a nepotistic corporate sentence.
Marriage wouldn’t save her; they were already
irate at her lack of reception for a life partner.
No, she had to make a decisive break to leave
the ball and chain behind; leaving this position
meant leaving her family – they’d disown her,
declare her dead, legally disinherit her interests.
Naiveté was broken down along with family chains.
Checking her to-do list:
open separate bank account - done
save every penny of her rightful earnings - done
purchase Belize cottage - done
acquire boutique gallery shop – done
sort, pack and ship belongings - done
procure art supplies, clothing inventory - done
standing at the end of the meal, she waited
for recognition; giving up, she spoke over
conversations … turning her back on furious
indignant faces, she strode out of familiarity
to the waiting cab plane ticket in hand…
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Grief and joy sat side by side…
pretty sure if you sat between them during vespers
you’d find they're each felt a bit more keenly.
Pulling at your harmony, drain and pump, grief and joy
pulling at your harmony during evensong.
Grief and joy sat on either side of her…
she knew everything always ends up in the crack
under the sofa cushion. Checking recently, she was sad
to find that all the change that had been hiding there was
already stolen! Now what was she going to do about retirement.
Grief and joy sat entwined within her…
one a dark muse entangled with its opposite, a light heart.
Dark thorn stems and blooming white roses entwined
in the altar’s sterling silver vase at evening church service;
fingers of stained light imbued all with rainbow hue…
Monday, June 27, 2011
Forced eventually to rivers end, it stuck out
nestled among the less attractive forms…
kneeling on a dry hummock of grass, she
peered into the clear water bathing it.
Scooping, she cradled it in her hands…
a perfectly polished black oval stone.
Imagine the voracious gravel enhanced
by water’s power scouring, tumbling, gyrating
until all the sharp edges were worn smooth.
Liquid immersion made the onyx color glow
in the intense noon sun; its aura radiated
a bright rippling glow across sand, neighboring
pebbles, waving water plants, darting minnows.
Cupped, she felt the touchstone’s discernable
force as it was lifted into the element of air and ether
from fire’s formation and water’s manipulation.
Raising it higher above eye level, sun dried it;
while a luminous gold and silver halo resembled
a solar eclipse floating in azure sky…
Touchstone hard black stone formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver
according to the color of the streak left when the metal was rubbed against it.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Not being a soccer fan, I knew nothing
about The World Cup… not that I paid
much attention to sports – OK maybe,
I checked on the Boston Red Sox -
a long standing McNeill family tradition.
Laying on the surgical table, my body shook
chilled by operating room’s low temperature;
anesthesiologist peered over his mask,
my only direct eye contact – I wanted to scream –
I’m here… I’m frightened…
No one talked to me. Lost in conversation,
oblivious to me, the nurses chatted leaning
against a counter – I wanted to scream –
I’m here… look at me…
the doctor and his intern routinely cut
to pull my son free all the while talking
soccer scores, names of players, rocking
the placenta free, – I wanted to scream –
what about me…
Gray and white, stainless steel, harsh
light and antiseptic blandness greeted
my new born son – not that he would
notice being two months premature.
The nurses actually brought him near me;
shaking from chills, I thought I’d vomit.
I shook my head and they took him away…
the doctors cheerily expounded who might
win the cup as they closed me up –
Having been in motion with such great force
for so very long, she'd forgotten the simple
pleasure of the sofa and a table full 'o takeout.
Success mad with travel - hanging her work,
opening receptions, presenting demos…
whirlwind - spinning in different social circles
so foreign to her – wishing to log out, back
off presentation, her studio was calling to her.
Belly full, stoically she opened the studio door;
stale scent of oil, acrylics, glue greeted her.
Seemed odd… stepping back in time, everything
unfinished left in place as if by another artist.
Was she even the same person before this agent
brought her unique style to the art market’s eye?
Balance of creativity and self-preservation, such
a dance - somewhat unnerving to schmooze…
least her agent stood by her side bolstering
her low self-esteem and handling introductions.
Where to start - her thought process had changed;
input of her travel, city chaos of color and texture
imploded her subtle palette with brighter hues
intermingled with blurred words and symbols.
Incorporating the old starts with new vision,
she was home to her beautiful garden views
through expansive studio windows; a new born
deer sheltered under blueberry bush as the doe
ate her rose bush buds in the warm sun.
Paradise - how fortunate she was…
Dislocated thinking slumped without verbalization
into fog drifting close to the ground.
Meteorologist satellites failed to predict this smoky
mist; they claimed morning clouds shifting to sun.
Standing still, unable to move, muscles willing
and able but no synapse sparking even a twitch.
Life was not in her control, come to think of it, no
one’s life was ever in control – kidding themselves…
she knew better – she wasn’t into “why me”.
Stunned but warming, her lips began to move;
arm swung a hand to forehead, movement commenced.
Whispers hissed between breathing; seeking natural
solace, she headed for her water garden. Dragonflies
hovered glistening in their iridescent glory.
Sitting beneath Japanese Maple, she squinted at
Guanyin; she sought spiritual osmosis with a concrete image.
Flowing water, lavender scent on soft air currents moved
the chimes and tickled white hair framing her face.
Goddess of Mercy hear my cry for I am among the worlds
many unhappy beings… I am in need…
In Chinese Buddhism, Guanyin/Kuan Yin/Kannon/Kwannon is synonymous with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the pinnacle of mercy and compassion. She is generally seen as a source of unconditional love and more importantly as a savior. In her bodhisattva vows, Guanyin promises to answer the cries and pleas of all beings and to liberate all beings from their own karmic woes.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Her philosophy wrapped around a bottle.
Loosening her tongue upon ill formed
words poured over ice…
swirled and swallowed.
Burning past inhibitions details
that focused on her wretched brother’s touch.
Even a bottle of wisdom couldn’t drown
that familial night trauma from the past.
Reluctant, a quiet imbiber whose liquid
Habit equalized life into a soft haze…
Smoothing out her despair.
Neither sloppy or angry
nor full out drunk,,,
she swallowed just enough to take
his sharp edges off her memories.
Tipping her glass, ice clinked matching
wind chime tones, leaves rustled…
moonbeams faltered as she reached
for another round of liquid philosophy…
Friday, June 24, 2011
Staring at the blank page didn’t make
words magically appear with or without
cast spells or curses; mind collapsed
in on itself crushing her thought process.
One of those stunning moments when
it occurs to someone they been played.
Liars no matter their social level trip
themselves up eventually… that’s why
she always took notes with dates and time.
Shyest being in the world but she had gained
some antisocial skills – the preventative kind.
Keeping perpetrators at a distance, she
analyzed their motives as best she could…
this time, he was so beyond sneaky that he
was believable but she caught on quickly.
Planning word choice carefully kept the
white surface waiting not in vain…
inspirations flash tingled to grasped pen;
Dear D, I’m no one’s fool… at least, not for long.
I value integrity, honestly, clarity … red flags,
major red flags are waving and so noted –
I see clearly your mooch habits; you’re taking
advantage of me when I least can afford it. Red
flag - I caught your self-admitted and flagrant
modus operandi. You told me you got away without
paying that bill. Red flag… you seem gentle too;
all a posture to appear mellow and calm.
I’m not against anger – it’s just how one uses it.
Find yourself another patsy; I’m done…
Your Ex friend,
Hedonistic in her own poor way,
a decision had to be made…
well more decisions were needed
but a major one was to continue
as invisible or go out with a bang!
Could she rise to the occasion?
Loud and obvious were not her style…
actually she had no style;
she practiced blend-in-shabby – jeans
and sweatshirts but not shabby chic…
shy, too quiet, her eyes evasive…
What would it be like to really look?
Stare into another person’s eyes…
the thought majorly petrified her.
What would it be like to be visible?
Step away from the wall into full light,
wear bright colors to stand out from
typical natural Pacific Northwest tones…
unfortunately the Senior Boutique or free
clothing bin at the food co-op had dull
donations, nothing lavish and grand.
Working on her to-do-list: make eye contact,
color up her clothes, drastically change
her frumpy full figured form, engage in
conversation – just to prove she could do it…
Just to Proveust to Prove
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Odd bits of jute wrapped around
very narrow eight foot fir trees.
One dry and brittle; other fresh and subtle…
carrying mine left a trail of dried orange
needles sharp to touch baring branches.
His smelled fresh cut - sweet sap.
Leaving them in the sanctuary hallway,
Dim incandescent lighting barely shed
light as they were examined… the two
women looked at my tree, I responded:
Your choice of which to use…
Riding in your car, the glow of instruments
highlighted your profile; eyes glued on
unfamiliar road past the old grocery store
where Grove Street ended – three way
intersection featuring an old horse trough.
Slipping through the stop sign, you headed
the nondescript car up Hartford Turnpike.
You slid through the stop – a shrug -
Keep straight – sitting forward, rolling home…
Light kept changing early evening or night -
back and forth as scene shifts to entering
a Victorian house, clustering in front parlor…
a poetry reading, sitting with my back to group,
I looked out the window into the night…
you sat on a settee leaning forward slightly.
Each poem sounded like the one before.
The facilitator’s stamp was clear to my ears…
I had a yellow legal pad and began writing, writing,
poem after poem, you watched keenly interested.
There I was dreaming fully engaged in capturing
verbosity to pages; one poem described the facilitator,
her hard exoskeleton added to her dominance…
poets under her watchful eye spewed worn pabulum
phrases and syntax according to her style and method.
Mimicking seemed to flatter her instead of incense.
I read in a strong voice keeping your eyes and woke
mumbling incoherent phrases that escaped paper…
Pretty girl, go dance...
the moon is lovely tonight;
dancing keeps you calm
in this crazy world...
weaving rhythm and soft voice,
whirl and twirl beneath starlight skies.
Moonbeams sanctify night spaces.
Your silver sequined slippers cast
mini strobes into deep shadows.
Whirling, twirling, singing…
pretty girl goes moon dancing
to welcome the summer solstice.
Hard pressed to come up with an answer…
at least one appropriate to the question;
an infernal internal worn out revolving
examination of why she was the way she was.
Change, she set goals, read self-help books,
wrote in journals, perused meditation…
all for a panacea to change prolonged pandemonium.
Cursing the chaos that enveloped her, it flew
into her abode with glistening wings reeking
of waste and decay; it cawed constantly wearing
her nerves to incensed degrees of foolhardiness.
Anything to get away, more rash decisions,
inviting more of the carrion eaters to pick
through her salacious unprincipled maelstrom.
Running, running, running by day, by night
frenzied movements even in deep sleep…
staring into skies expanse, she stepped out
of life; a cathartic release of her tormented soul…
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Guilt, blitzing a day to watch
mind numbing daytime TV.
Sometimes it soothed her soul
to watch other people’s stupidity;
it helped her learn to watch body language;
it helped he to realize she wasn’t alone;
it helped her to learn to take a stand…
OK, she wasted time watching the judge shows.
There it’s done, admitted, she loved the judges.
They looked through the veneer, past facades…
their years of experience produced sharp
accurate ratings of deceptions and mistruth.
Wishing she had that acumen… that cognizant
ability to recognize deceit especially subtle variety
would be an excellent personal skill to obtain.
Being soft hearted and a genuine pleaser set an
invisible take-advantage-of-me announcement
to anyone she came in contact with; a neon
flashing beacon radiated through subconscious.
Unable to reach the pull chain, she felt at least
she was more aware but struggling with the word no.
Flipping the channel to the next installment, she
kept the sound muted trying to discern clues:
eye direction, body posture, overall silent response.
TV school of life with judges being great equalizers…
Monday, June 20, 2011
I washed my hands with toothpaste because there was no soap.
Now my nails will gleam and my pores will be minty fresh…
hoping that this unnamed brand will handle bacteria…
assuming since mouths contain so much that toothpaste
can deal with invisible life forms associated with an orifice.
Her friends rolled their eyes, her deductions were a source
of kind ridicule not meant to sting or sling nastiness about.
Enveloped firmly into the fold, the group had been friends
since elementary school: Brownie to Girl Scouts, soccer,
ice skating, gymnastics and dance plus classes and clubs
like choir, art, school newspaper, drama… not exclusive
in an obnoxious clique manner. They invited tag-a-longs
on their mini adventures – open, curious, lives full of growth.
Shadow of demise never crossed their minds; living in the now
with unquestioned long lives gracing their distant future…
the first merry girl’s member loss was due to a bicycle accident;
clinging to one another, pale faces were creased and puffy eyed
from storms of tears as the realism of life’s fallibility set in.
Somehow they had not been exposed to incurable illness or
experienced numbing pain of family bereavement…
The first death temporarily toned them down but bound them
in an endearing manner; it sealed their commitment to one another.
Next time any of them had a really big problem to solve, they didn’t
have to pretend that they needed a to hire their own decision counsel.
No matter if everything went from edging to the top of individual
game to a total train wrecks; their woven support carried them along.
In three words they could sum up their life lesson: it goes on…
Going through the motions
always looking backwards
to her perceived golden time:
full of life’s vitality…
back there she felt all that.
She had once felt strong bonds too.
Now residing in bleak anonymity,
self-inflicted, she hid…
within her mind,
within a dream cocoon,
without physical contact.
Her skin dried and withered;
her emotions shriveled.
A waif wandering barefoot…
life’s gravel impinged on her faith;
morose internal weather kept
fog and gloom around her heart.
Pain pulled weft and warp strings askew;
tapestry blighted by mistrust,
snagged by prior abuse,
she clung to old reverie half living …
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Maybe twenty years more or less…
that is if her health remained static.
Plenty of room for body improvement,
she needed to drop serious poundage;
encourage muscle strength, work those
brain cells to keep them vital and active…
quite a health care to-do-list but where was
the motivation to even begin a schedule?
Emulating ritualistic application of make up
or desiring a current fashionable wardrobe
had never been important; from middle school
to now, she consistently wore jeans with t-shirts.
Feeling foolish in typical skirt and blouse,
she certainly never wore heels or stockings.
Corgis would enjoy additional walks but
other than herself, who was she grooming for?
Did it matter when she greeted the grim reaper?
Her son would miss her the most; her daughter
had always been independent leaving home
early and living far away with an annual visit.
Maybe twenty years more or less…
what physical shape did she want to be in?
Baring major health problems, she needed to
loosen tight joints and keep flexible; that took
a commitment to health, that took a commitment
to herself – the one person she always ignored…
Some people drank or drugged themselves into oblivion…
daydreams were at least not toxic but haphazard
in their control of her waking moments; she learned to
reel them in when driving after a near miss or two.
Immersed in fiction as a child, she read constantly;
hiding books, and of course, reading by flashlight.
Managing to fill her head with real and imagined places, she
passed through paranormal, mystery, biography, science fiction
phases; gobbling books by the dozens until late in life, her eyes
fought to see clearly even with powerful magnification.
Spun through prisms, her paltry life was swallowed by infinitesimal
scenarios; predominant themes based on real or fantasy cultures
Native American, woodland elf, Druid child… magical abilities,
warrior courage and skills with strong family/tribe ties nurturing
her development - memorized scenes replayed gave her
comfort in her challenged existence; sitting in sun or paled
under moon beams, she wove over threads of sour reality…
Taking a break from waxing philosophical to strike a pose
not in front of a camera, no way was she a friend to photo
images; this was a surprised pose; a bathroom break –
catching her mirror image while washing hands totally
caught her off guard… barely a passing glance was ever
conceived in any reflective surface.
Thoughts of what was and what wasn’t crowded for a voice;
mentally passing the talking stick, her inner ruminations
gave sway to varied perspective, possible conclusions,
provocative assessment on her life’s directions.
Realistically, she knew who she was and why she was interred
on the sidelines of creativity – failure to think big, discomfort
with cosmopolitan cities, unused to travel, social skills of an
eighth grader i.e. shy, lack of funds to create large pieces, she
perused opportunities, made lists, kept her circle tight to home.
Sighing, she did stay away from if only continuing her limited
progress – limited by social discomfort and lack of experience.
Her work spoke of her inner sanctum where she was strong,
brave, willing to experience life fully instead of shuttering
herself in the confines of a spare bedroom studio peering
out into the cosmos of the innovative art world…
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Wishing herself back into that dream,
she didn’t care about anything…
dream randomness – imperfections and all
were better than reality, better than this now…
In dreams, she danced clustered among
friends - an integral part of their being.
In the now, wise wariness kept her on the move;
she was lost in day after day distrust.
Adamantly breaking connections, she kept
to herself by voiding life to shadows.
Avoiding bright light either day or incandescent
rays, she moved outside convention…
a shadow form within her sacred dreams.
Longing for eternal sleep, the forest elevation
with chilling air drew her upward… settling
beneath a sturdy fur, her plums of breathe
became extinguished in the freezing rain…
Fragment of blue fell to earth
right before her eyes; climbing
over undergrowth, she retrieved
chipped and broken particles of sky.
Resting on her palm, who would
have thought the ether was so delicate.
If she formed a fist, she could easily
reduce it to dust and scatter it on the wind.
Sitting on emerald green moss, the scent
of rebirth lingered with winter’s decay.
Typical forest essence that she loved so much…
inhaling deeply, she studied blue segment
matching the quivering openings between
leafy branches blocking overhead expanse.
Opening her neck pouch, she placed the
sky blue bits amongst soft down, garnets,
a snail shell, dried forget-me-not petals,
the lock of her mother’s hair…
Sprawled across her bed,
she was waiting for a sign…
staring out the window,
nothing emerged as a signal.
Come on Universe, please
show some empathy…
tarot cards spread;
dainty angel card selected;
still no definite guidance.
Waffling, mulling, waffling…
the choice was up to her.
Journaling questions, various
goals written depending on
her frozen choices…
staring, thinking, writing…
waiting for external indications.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Snippets of life,
parts of days,
miniscule in all that it can be
but enough to catch the flavor…
character studies - then what?
How to assemble these pieces?
There must be greater depth;
more history to uncover…
decisions and results
liberally salted with unknown…
always the unknown…
labeled: fate, karma, chance…
even in imaginative characters.
Elements drawn from observation
or firsthand experience…
serendipity and spontaneity - good.
The bad is crushing consternation…
just as serendipitous;
just as spontaneous;
its everything that life ought to be.