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Saturday, March 25, 2017

What is Misfortune?

Perhaps misfortune begins with a ringing in the left ear.  It moves on to issue bad weather: storms, extreme cold, thunder and lightning – before widening its scope to make room for an accident requiring surgery, a failed relationship, emergency dental work and a lost wallet. Beware – it will find you more easily if you convince yourself that it’s gone for good.

Maybe while holding your breath, you may get a chance to throw a knife at misfortune’s chest, or kick it square in the jaw, sending it flying backward into a pile of boxes. Either way it is one down, two to go. Yet even as the darkness of all former unfortunate moments crowd together within you, life itself presents you with a most mysterious gift.  The world paints the world with light as snow mounds melt to make way for crocus buds. No applause, no congratulations as heavy sheets of spring rain feel surprisingly warm and refreshing on your arm.  


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Like Birds

Perhaps children are like birds. Today see one thing, tomorrow another, yet remember nothing. They clamor for pebbles to build a toppling palace with, for flowers forgotten as soon as they are cut. With the invisible strings of a pretend bow they shoot a make-believe arrow into the open sky. As long as they don’t aim, they’ll never miss the mark. 

Maybe as the child in us departs, a shadow comes over our faces. But is it our fault? How happy we shall be! we proclaim in the pale tones of early morning after revisiting the youthful joy of singing a song out loud. Yet we are troubled to see that the once bright red bricks of the chimney have visibly darkened. A birdfeeder falls in the backyard, cracks and spills its seeds. We leave it on the ground.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Magician and His Wife

Perhaps the magician and his wife, now retired, live in a small house in the country surrounded by tulips. Each day the magician waters the tulips, and tells his wife about the flowers that have newly appeared. There goes the old man into the garden again, bent with a watering can in his shaking hand. His wife stands at the door and looks at him calmly.

Maybe the magician’s wife has seen this image a thousand times, yet sees it a little less well every time since her eyesight has weakened. She stands at the garden gate and calls out to him but he does not hear her voice. His eyes are grey and old and something in them is strange – one would like to say alive. The magician’s wife follows him and takes his arm. Together they stand at a threshold, yet dare not step over it. Dusk is gathering as they walk back into the house.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Nude in the Bath

Perhaps the woman with the invisible face is a constant source of mystery. Though not at the physical center of the composition, she is the main focus around which the room revolves.

Maybe even as she lies encased in a watery tomb constructed from the gleaming white rim of the tub, there is always a chance the woman will slip out of the picture at the lower edge. Her pink flesh tinged with lilac might for a time escape the flatness of the painting, and emerge from its suffocating color and light into a great wind that will carry her over tall grasses via a scheming, mischievous sky. Sunglasses in hand, the woman will arrive in a cold country in the middle of a heavy snowstorm. To make ends meet she will walk from door to door selling pencils and writing paper until someone invites her in for a cup of coffee. Then as her host proceeds to tell the most appalling tales that include the despicable conduct of the local people, the first step will have been taken. The woman will now be torn between wishful thinking and the idea that some way for her to leave this place will surely be found.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Best thing That Never Happened

Perhaps each day a woman falls under the spell of a man’s words and glances. She abandons herself to this onrush of love, clutching at her happiness as a child opens her arms to embrace the simplistic beauty of soul to whom the greater world is largely unknown.

Maybe even as the brightest hours in these fleeting days are overcast by the sadness of their imminent separation, the surrounding gloom only serves to make the love sweeter.  She had thought this kind of love impossible in the past and had believed it only existed fictitiously, to be read about in novels and poems. Holding hands, the couple disintegrates into the play of reflected light on the water opening out before them until all that remains is a mauve shadow of their shared memory that, bit by bit, begins to dissolve.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Your memory (guest post by Tess P)

Perhaps your memory is hazy as sea glass, smooth and etched into softer blues, subtle greens or chalky whites. The clarity of a window you passed long ago has faded. You remember church bells, the smell of basil, the day you found your car had been towed, but then the sun melts into the bay and here you are.

Maybe a bad memory is no memory at all, but a haunting. It could be a story someone told you, a newspaper column about a Japanese woman who died and was eaten by her cats, or the other stories you read for pleasure. Sometimes you wonder what’s behind that door you closed, the place where you came from, and then you're treading dark water. Your bad memory is like a stray dog that wanders off somewhere and once home, you think it may carry a disease or it must have ticks or fleas.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

new year's prayer)

Perhaps you are alone beneath a cold moon. You cannot speak. The bitter wind has pierced your thin clothes. What is it like to find yourself cradled by only the faint glimmer of distant stars? To be the other half of a long, dark night? What is it like to relinquish the middle and the edge, the last and the first in this silent interlude of dust and thought while awaiting the new morning’s light, unable to filter out the extraneous and grasp the essential of the new direction you find yourself traveling toward?

Maybe as you venture out into the dawn, a bird is watching you from every treetop. Light floods your fingers, and faint heartbeats of the year’s first flowers speak your thoughts. You smile as you did in babyhood: a calm, blooming face haloed in brightness. Something divine lives in the shape of your eyes and the movements of your eyelids as, caught in the glow of all things golden – hillsides, shade trees and fields – you approach me, your skin sprinkled with the sun’s sweet afternoon.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Clarity

Perhaps as we take our first steps into the brightness, the width of the water increases. How clear everything becomes here within the sound of the moving sea, as only this walking into it can reveal.

Maybe as we continue to wade out with no destination in mind the metallic, lucent green clear-like aquamarine slaps against our skin before bubbling to the shore in a lavender froth. We look into each other’s eyes and find the water there speaking to us via its flash and gleam. Just as we breathe without thinking.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Inauguration Day

Perhaps mind is the shadow of a cloudless sky passing over the choppy water of a wind-tossed sea. You have been thrown overboard. You may not even be aware of it. You have entered a liminal space, silent, bound by certain rituals and full of magic; tumbled into a landscape where only the blackbirds know your thoughts.

Maybe the bricks by which the structure of this threshold have been constructed were raised by sounds: each brick filled with feeling, filled with heart. You can only know this space by leaving that step upon which you are now standing. Suddenly all sounds come to you from everywhere, from all directions, falling on you from every side. You will feel a dizziness. Relax, and let everything enter. You have become more liquid; you have become more evanescent, praising as you go.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Remanence

Perhaps all roads not taken, all lives cast adrift still exist marooned in space and time. Each image of an image of a shadow’s shadow lurking at the edge of our eyes gets projected at every turn and passed on from one day to the next, from person to person, generation to generation – from time to desire and back to a memory that never goes away because it was part yearned for, part remembered, part imagined – a memory that can never go away because it never really was.

Maybe all unlived minutes, all conversations still on hold pulsate after we stop breathing in the way that underground water wells up and works its way to the surface by the pull of a dowser’s rod. But for now how impossible to reach them no matter how close we come: that childhood, bright summer sun shining up from puddles; that great unsolved love. They fade the way this landscape fades – a late forgotten pear hanging over golden meadow weed growing soft and dark.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

White magic

Perhaps their eyes are red, tense. When you look into them you feel a sudden shivering: those thieves and hunters that visit you when morning is near. You are asleep but not totally asleep. You are not yet awake – and you may fall back into sleep again. You are just on the surface, just near awakening.   

Maybe as you feel yourself being drawn to them, you see their eyes are alive but their faces are dead, so you turn away, steering clear of their hypnotic beckoning. Instead as you begin to relax you can’t help but catch the outline of your own reflection in the dark window glass of your inner eyelids. And as garden insects stop singing in the evening when the rains begin, and as eyes are useless, after all, unless there is something to be seen, suddenly, simply, you begin to see yourself perfectly.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Overflowing

Perhaps we are able to share because we have reached a point of overflowing. This overflowing eventually becomes a flood. By our own overflowing, the entire universe is filled and sooner or later we touch all stars. At the point that the whole universe is bathed, in us the earth feels good.

Maybe from up above, the lit windows of our modest homes look like a fallen constellation. Night air moves in the spaces between trees as moths make dusty circles around illuminated squares of brightness that glow far away from any why, when or how. So often we do not seem to care one way or the other about the sweet smell of late summer berries, or take the time to follow a wandering drift of unidentified sound. Yet on days in which a strong wind presents a challenge to us, we so easily open our mouths.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Looking Inward

Perhaps eyes are the light of the face. Movement is their nature. Just like a river, they are so alive! They continue to move even when we are dreaming. The whole night they are dreaming along with us, but they can rarely remember what they saw. 
                      
Maybe eyes are the doors to our inner secrets, yet at any time, we can close them. But who has ever really looked at their body from the inside?  Beyond a blank sheet of darkness, a sensation of having totally gone blind – perhaps something greets us naked, toothless and hairless, heart newly opened, face turned upward, nose almost touching the pure anticipation of our open palms.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Mirage

Perhaps if there are no objects, then light cannot be seen. Look at the sky, it is blue, but it is not blue. Only when the wind has scrubbed every cloud from the sky will it be a bright morning; only then will our eyes, straining like fan blades against the ceiling, begin to flicker - their sharp edges poised to slice through the wonder of this new day’s delicate cocoon.

Maybe a child sees the rising sun as a saw blade, or as a yellow circle with teeth. Lao Tzu believed that that which can be said cannot be true. As a result, he remained silent for most of his life. I will always wonder if he ever visited hidden rooms of forsythia, with their inviting, open doors of yellow star-shaped flowers, or dark mountains gathering dust from the sands of ancient Egypt, swallowed whole by trees in the nearly invisible rain that smells as bitter as aspirin and sounds much like a lid closing over a tomb.   

Friday, October 21, 2016

Suspicious Magic

Perhaps most artists have rarely used more than a little of this suspicious magic. Yet it is the key to any work of art, for if in your mind’s eye you cover it, the composition goes flat. It is certainly most difficult to use, yet for those artists whose primary interest is in announcing a remarkable moment, a time when light stood still, it is a small price to pay for the expression they are searching for.

Maybe while no work of art can be expressed with out a hint of the mystery of it, it is only visible in its beauty in moments of high vitality. Alive and thrashing, in picture form it is almost but not quite completely pinned down. As the outside creeps into the inside, it is difficult to see where it begins and where the work of art ends. It often sneaks up on the viewer unawares, and floats in a space like a magic carpet, unsupported by anything banal.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Adventures in Fiction

Perhaps a man spends each moment worrying about the next. Living is like running in place, a motionless motion. Panic is a sound behind a wall inside him, as moving is the only way to keep down thoughts of what he sees as what he sees becomes one unpleasant skin growing over another, growing another ignominious version of himself.

Maybe, with such sudden seizures of tormented manhood flooding upon him, he rushes to gather himself up. And although storms of anxiety grip his heart, he fights with the feeling. He once believed in common sense, yet his eyes have a strange glare in them. Big, hot, blue eyes set far apart. He bellows in a foreign, airless language, trying to keep some sense of purpose, but the compass he conjures in his mind has only a single arrow pointing to a direction the rest of us don’t recognize. This results in, well.....you probably already know.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Notes on Abandon


Perhaps as the past has left me and moved on, so too have previous versions of my body left me. My naked body, the days sweet and long. My entrapped body, I look at you and try to start a conversation but it is difficult for you to say anything. My ‘in love’ body, when I hear sweet songs and think of you I want to see you so badly but you don’t call. My relatively certain body, the elements so mixed up.

Maybe even as nature might stand up and say It could not be otherwise you still don’t believe me, body, as I wander through the garden that brings us together as one, fertilize seeds simmered in sunshine and smiles that I will always remember.  The lettuce is good, although everything else is sort of dying. You thought you’d seen the last of me, but here I am, in air that is warm and grey. Am I so alone? Here we go again. And what if I don’t even like the new you, here waiting for me? 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Seasonal Shift

Perhaps leaves are the shifting thrill and shrill of the tree, the talkers, the noise. But when might we notice the first one falling? Who will catch it as it sidles down, not just a rogue leaf but a marker, the signal of the real turn of season which is happening now?

Maybe so it is with us, the photograph that we wish to see does not exist. It would show the point of turn, while containing the low voice that slips below the seeping of the songs on the tinny, too-quiet radio. It would reveal the dishevelment of the day, of edges, surfaces, nuances, habits while paying close attention to the lovely redundancy of this yearly rearrangement of design which spreads and pools like a poured liquid, at once broader and more saturated than it ever was before.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Related Words

Perhaps receiving a pin that signifies your acceptance as a new club member does not discount spilling thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean, in the same way that buying a coat that can be worn either side out encompasses all space and beyond. 

Maybe there will come a time when drawing the enemy’s attention away from a sneak attack will reflect changing the placement of two paragraphs to make your composition read more smoothly. And while refusing to get out of bed for a month is a steep price to pay for arguing about who got to the parking place first, forgiving your brother for borrowing your favorite music CD and losing it is energy moving out in all directions from the sun.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Birds at Dusk

Perhaps far beneath the earth lives the mysterious root of all things – not a shapeless clump but a beginning formed according to a pattern; glossy even when lodged under the weight of tumulus stone and soil.

Maybe any close examination of spot, stripe, notch, fleck, vein, color and scale brings us closer to what chases birds at dusk, flying against the wind in the high blue air; lingering fragments of fact disguised by often forgotten words that breathe life into the ever-changing face of things, the wildness–in-itself of all hills.