bones

I have a box of bird bones and feathers, tiny blue egg shell, dead butterflies, dried tea roses.

There are piles of wishbones and three or four bird skulls with different beak shapes, deep hollow eye sockets.

I think I started collecting these things to use in assemblages. Gorgeous dragonflies and cicadas. Beautiful beetles. Then feathers and the odd hatched or fallen egg.

The first skull came from a birdhouse in my yard. I found it long after the bird got its head stuck somehow and died, half in, half out of the entrance hole.

The wishbones accumulated from many chicken dinners. A hoard of unspent wishes.

 

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Good Witch

human comic strip vol. 6043

 

What I do here is uncomfortably near.

I’m a virtual close-talker. It’s a little embarrassing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still, can you fault a girl for trying on the odd pair of clown shoes in a bored and desperate old world?
..

 

 

 

 

 


 

Please be assured: in an ongoing effort to provide ever-congenial and family-friendly entertainment, all human comic strip characters are subjected to conscientious and regular brushing…

 

 

 

While we’re at it, irregular, as well, both cross-hatch and crosswise scouring of every pixel grit bit of human tedium in dearest hopes of uncovering underlying truths both vivid and substantive.

Piecemeal maybe. Maybe a vain, vainglorious, or spindleveined effort. Sometimes, granted, naught to show but hide shamed pink with dint of one’s own rigors.

 

 

..

Consider influences: starched familial roots, pantomimes of petty tragedy, classical themes etched across a suburban stage. The ranks of narcissists and pedophiles teaching piano-playing and bicycle riding: tools for flight, ultimately.

 

 

 

 

There are, if one will both recall and imagine, legion looming secondary Art Masters and Mistresses whose roles are granted to deem fledgling sketchers unworthy by self portrait. Weakly articulated chins? Excessively fixed regards? What, expressly, need never be spelled out as such. Only implied, just something– watch those blossoms wither on the vine.

 

 

 

 

..

For my part, verbally: overblown, overripe, verbose, voluptuous, purple, floral, obtuse, obscure, confusing. Yea verily. And visually? Doubtless the equivalent.

 

These days I choose to wear it bright and flabby-stripey, tho it’s true, twice shy, I seldom parade it outside the tent.

 

 

..

 

In the quiet tick-tock of the settling glade one gathers onward the twigs surrounding, weaves what may, casting homely spells in passing, holds a single breath just that extra moment–

Then lets it go and goes on to the next.

 

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Living the Dream



When I’m quiet, when I’ve stopped the spin and taken one of those long breaths, just closing my eyes and listening inward, I’ve tumbled first upon the snaggy urging boundary edges of daydream, poignant enough–



The prospect is entrancing of a snug and benign century farmhouse with well kept barns for critters and printing & artmaking equipment respectively, golden fields and wooded slices of hillside stretching away, wandering leaf trails, dirt roads, waterways heralded by the cry of red-winged blackbirds, skies wide with song, weather & stars.



And then I’m recalled to the vivid present I inhabit most concretely, surely wonderful enough, daily life prone to glorious excesses of exuberance.



The witnessed world everywhere rife with texture and poetry.



Having entered into a painterly season, we wake grudging the darker face of the alarm clock, grasp after stray bits of daylight wherever we discover them trapped in puddles.



Light plays indeed, plain showoff.



And I aspire to a bolder flavor, fresh with the juice of bright growing.

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Alleywilde

At twilight we set off walking
down the neglected wilderness
that springs up between
tidy rows of foursquare houses
and silvery rushing trains.

There we come upon a garden tangled
with the white doilies of a dead queen
dropletted bloodred with stepmother doom.

Firework blooms of spray and spike
burst from banks of thick-bladed fieldgrass.

Vines festoon the fenceline with floral
syringes and spiteful fruit.

Waste weighs hazardous against rail-straight
geometries of manmade landscape.

Ephemeral plant skeletons brown to
prickly fists poised in counterpoint.

Hollyhock unfurls a dangerous pink,
startling against gravel grey and timber brown.

Thistle flower throws some lurid purple on the scene.

 

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use-less

all day long, while the snow came down and blew along with water from lake michigan across city roadways and chris wrangled for more sleepless hours on end the phone trees and data coordination of response teamwork, I sat, good for nothing, planted to the couch, watching episodes of joss whedon’s “dollhouse” on netflix, good for perfectly nothing.

it happens sometimes like that. often in response to an overlarge event I can see no way to wrangle for my own part– usually my own event or undertaking: writing a substantive project, the eternally vexing quandary of “job” searching, outreach toward building or rebuilding social networks, broaching broad chasms of communication.

I don’t know for certain whether this instance of retreat into semi-consciousness occurred in any sort of direct response to chris’s whirlwind– but it’s true enough that I felt my own lack of concrete ability to help, apart from simply being there, listening and reflecting back on particular pieces of narrative dilemma from time to time– it was a large and necessary presence, and I sat with it.

cohabitation can be like that. we’re thrown much together in a small space, with the result that waves and currents of personal energy swirl around and against one another, showering with gusts of differing weather. from time to time I retreat under the surface of muffling waters.

lately I think much on the topic of what constitutes “use”– the various ways we select to define and judge and embody it. lately I’ve been begging for determinants, signposts, guidelines, directives– when I know well enough that real work requires its own inherent, idiosyncratic, often inexplicable drives.

I’ve done all sorts of “work” that suited anyone’s purpose but my own. together we’ve decided it’s time to attend to the lessons of fracture and facilitate a more integrative and personal approach. in which, inevitably, I’m my own worst wrassling foe, lured off in pursuit of a thousand tangential distractions I can imagine important to the process.

it’s tricky, too, wanting to eschew standard definitions and limitations of genre and medium– to play among them and be motivated by blend and grey area. typical to this type of work is a little-bit-of-this-little-bit-of-that impulse which all too easily lends itself to following narrowing deertrails into wilderness and the unanticipated formation of oxbow lakes.

but some days, some mornings in particular, I’m graced with a brilliant stunning quiet and the resonance of a single tone hit right, a luminous image or a phrase vibrant enough to pull me through, on to the the next piece in the patchwork weave.

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bas relief of home

I find it impossible to title posts before I’ve written them (titling poems is even harder– thinking up lines that might serve for titling is a doomed venture, viable poems seldom proceeding, yielding virtual drawers full of unused lines too singular to incorporate organically). typically I stumble over possible title words like gravel while drafting, tumbling handfuls to good-feeling combinations in the process of editing.

I’ve been thinking lately about the many possible places, instants, and details that define “home,” having just visited one of them– and having even more recently returned to another. homes that were and homes that are. I return to snow and blackened streets, brown-black trees, things standing out in the cold as outlines of themselves, palimpsest of footprints ringing the park.

I sit beside the front window of my third floor apartment and reacquaint myself after days away with the sensory details of daily life in these parts– pedestrian traffic, street traffic, train bell clanging. suburbia was and is another world, both different from and the same as it once was: new shiny stores, parking lots, municipal library; eternal mothers with coiffed greying hair, christmas-themed sweaters of primary colors, ankle length fur coats tip-tapping across the street in the village; tailgating drivers, deserted streetscapes dotted with for sale or lease signs, christmas light festooned front lawns and orderly facades.

my mother in perpetual powder blue robe and quilted slippers; my mother seeking me out around midnight with a flashlight through the dark back hallway to where I lie in bed after tiptoeing in from visiting with my sister; my mother laughing off losing her train of thought, apologizing for eating slowly, backseat driving turn by turn by turn, my mother’s running commentary; my mother gone to bed early, sleeping late, talking from the other room; my mother’s saved gift boxes and cereal boxes, magazines and clothing, my mother’s plenty drifting spare rooms and closets, sediment of intention burying itself– my mother, my self.

my father sitting reading enormous tomes in his barrel-backed library chair, my father typing away at the computer in my old bedroom for hours, finishing the times sunday crossword puzzle at the breakfast table in minutes; my father cooking farm-delivered bacon for breakfast, four slices each, hunks of meat roasted to succulence, damned roast beef hash; my dad scowling and false-laughing and real(I think) laughing, telling tales at the dinner table; my father looking down, taking his time to answer, not hearing, my father enduring.

last night I dreamed of a prep school reunion set at huron mountain– convergence of anxieties and identities and situational drama. the details are sketchy at best, eroded to the vaguest feeling.

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the work I do

tonight my heart is an immense well of peace, nourished by quiet and color, shadow and shape.
the shushing breath beside me in bed is lulling, train’s rumble soft past night-draped front windows.

after sleeping odd hours, I’m awake with my own interior music singing down the bones.


nighttime is lush and dense with quiet, all the clocks wound down and drowsing.
hope slipped in at my eyes now sails full-bellied on my bloodstream.

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just B

I don’t know why it should be so hard. why the thrash, why the flail– even with virtually all external expectation removed.

accidentally, initiated by misreading an oblique reference, I start reading about samsara, about the persistent cycle of world-building– and consequent world-destroying– and associated suffering.

up with the growling radiators and belly cramps, I ponder the various ways in which I’m complicit in this cycle of suffering. the compulsion to disclaim here is strong, to unwrite myself even in the process of attempting to write– codas ad infinitum– a little knowledge is a glancing and misapprehending thing– and yet I must begin someplace. indeed I must make peace with both beginning and continuing. having had a bellyful of ending for some little while. that, at least.

chris, shape maven, in the course of a lifetime culling industrial and popular culture ephemera has collected a number of large signage letters. he has, for instance, the most elegant aluminum Y– emblematic of the eternal question. last night, in the spirit of a letter he used to own, he was urging me to let loose my internal tyranny of self doubt and recrimination and just be.

it should be simple, right? implicitly. and yet ironically difficult. “to what end?” the monkey mind immediately demands, leaping about, scratching its pits. service? industry? communication? lord help me, art?

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days these days

here’s how it starts: I’ll flail around wasting time for awhile– seemingly intentionally, as flagrantly wasteful as I can imagine being– for the emptier the pursuits, the sooner I grow bored with my own stink of purposelessness and take up beginning something (beginning being fraught with possibility and dread).

maybe start small with getting dressed. I can handle getting up to go play with wardrobe, putting on this and that, guided by texture and color, delicate details, minor outrageousness. then move on to doing things to hair and face. make myself my own bygod barbie head. practice seeing reflected the artist I want to be. what color would she wear today? lately she likes teals and slate blue with brown or grey defined by black, pima cotton, buttons and small gathers.

eventually I’ll veer off into taking snapshots with my iphone. lazy girl’s photography. rearrange cutups in a cigar box stage, suspend leaf patterns from pieces of wire and copper nails, dab on paint and stray bits of language. lazy girl’s art. blog a bit with an exaggerated air of carelessness and lack of capitalization. o, the everlasting creative twostep of approach/retreat.

yesterday I set up the alt.computer to amend the artplay table into digital hybridity with the addition of a wedged-in cabinet lifted up on blocks (in the end the tire jack didn’t work) and now have a prime windowseat command center for a range of creative endeavors.
floyd so enjoyed the view that I made him his own little window perch.

in the process of getting the workstation setup, I semi-ceremoniously shoved over the uppershelf flotsam to make way for printer/scanner, and consequently have some rearranging leftover for someday– my grownup’s dollhouse area of objects.

this afternoon I donned a farmwife white apron with blue embroidered swallows and relished the slip of pepitas clicking into a bowl. concocted a rich autumn soup from winter squash and eggplant with goat cheese for zing.

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the right way to start off a week

after plenty of sleep (i.e. napful, easygoing, soul-spacious weekend), cellphone alarm starts playing jenny lewis at 6 a.m. hit hush, scritch puppy and fall back asleep. wake for good when it goes off again at 6:30.

rise, throw on sweats and sneaks, and drag puppy and feller from bed, grumbly and rumpled for walk in still-dark morning through autumn neighborhoods.

stop for coffee and lox-cream-cheese-bagels and chit chat with the guys at beans n bagels.

cross the river on the wilson bridge with sunrise.

100 situps on the yoga mat.

art play table for an hour or so and actually make a piece start-to-finish.

off to work with a fine happy head.

 

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