(fogshine)

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last night i tried to come over and visit
but i got lost on the edge of a finger forest
bramble, silent bird eye of silver painted sky
watching over. lost before i found. then i
remembered i was house sitting for julia
child, and i may have left the oven on.
alone with no one, and we were one.
appearing out of no where, a wind carved
tower, a seneca man, his douglas fir stand,
his scent of bear, nestle of dove. yes.
marble boulder breaking through my
shuttered thoughts. breaking clean
outside to turn the oven down.
he told me
i was home.
and i knew.
“thank you.”
i really, really knew.
dreaming i was dreaming
of you, how you rolled me over,
oh so, oh so gently, sixteen years
of soaked-in sweat. and then you let
me roll you over, and it was phenomenal,
but i was scared and i said so with steady
rain. nevermind the lost sock, nevermind the
hiss of coals and dark lip stick, how you
wrapped your wide belt round your dusty self.
i was dreaming after all, dreaming i drove myself
to the harbor, where i stood, studying a map, for hours.

Painting by Jaison Cianelli

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(wonderland)

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dear december,
remember that thrift
store fisherman sweater
you gave me? well, i forgot
to pack it and now i’m all
mixed up. it’s like those
woolen knots, eight hundred
years of lacy stone walls
and castle bound dreams,
have been shrunk up,
tumbled high with
absent mind to fit
a china doll, forgotten
inside a water stained
cedar chest, alcove
of setting mood,
while i stand aside,
bare shouldered,
intuitively crocheting
a ten mile scarf of sun.

Painting by Maria Kitno

(collection)

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except for that dead dog at the side of the road.
that pile of our bottomless reach, feed, need
black bagged and sweating. stinking reality.
i know and know you know. and, i do not know.
our do not slung over sagging shoulders, belly deep.
and kundalini rising over a boiling sea. baby turtles,
one outta ten, flipping their steady waves. and the
palms. sway on. warm breeze. tickling clean. except.

Painting by Michael Lang

Beach Cat

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What the Hell
are you doing here,
so comfortable, at ease?
A blaze of relaxation
in the midday sun.
Gently pulling, pawing,
a string of guts, fish
hewn, Sunday Family
fun. Crouching,
no cower. You there,
perching a table, pulling
up a chair. Drawing
your pot of gold
beneath a rainbow
sunbrella. Tiny trumpets
streaming South,
speakers wheeling sand.
Calico island of yes.
Beach. Cat.
Feeling no need
to blend in, you do.

Painting by Bob Coonts

(Every Bit)

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If I feel like I’m loosing you, it’s just
that time I was six, when we went
all alt-school camping and I fell
into a hole laid as a trap
that some boys had dug. Cactus
twinkle eyes dusted closed. I
remember barbed wire, but I
don’t really think there was any.
That time.
After surface searching
my dirt streaked cries, my arc
of misery, incomplete lines. I
made my way to a space
studded trailer where teachers,
John, and soft, shiny Fern,
gave me
M & M’s. My warm, little hand
cupped new with pleasure, sweating
green, brown, orange.
My poise, my salt,
tuned up
with wonder. Turned up with “What IS
all this?” This tug, push-pull-bite
scurrying a warm embrace. Candy
tongue dancing sweet, four part
harmonies,
second to laugh last, at best. What is?
This bruised knee-scrape, faint of fire,
hammock slack. This pitiful
sparrow’s trace.
Abandoned bugle at sun set.
Dug out holes filling up with loss.

Painting by Monika Cieplinska

(bridge)

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if i get old before my time,
will you follow me,
or did you lead?
player piano blues
tuning through our every mood,
sweeping the room with me.
moon.
dust bunnie slippers, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
and the ice cream man cometh. again.
stirring your coffee
as you do your wise oblivion,
your never ending eyes.
our ticking,
it slows.
gigging us up.
sand and wax
and squirrels.
purling long and away.
cratering a creaky picnic basket
of all
we packed to stay.
crazy quilt unrolled.
oh, how we love
a free ride.
our follow,
our lead.

Painting by August Macke

(nightlight)

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i wish i could climb
to the top of your
mountain
and stand silent and long,
holding my feet stone
to root your river’s bed,
to slide your thoughts,
beliefs, ideals, fears
cascading
from your beating head.
empty dry search
my eyes. mine. your tide. your rise
of foundation question.
your shadow quake.
i wish. i could. flow. clear waters.
deflecting inner glow. opportunity
window possibility. sheeting veils
of snow.
your mountain top. my flag
planted.
removed.
slippery hole
brushed closed.

Painting by Sandy Applegate

(millepede)

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while walking.
tiny insect flurries
invite no one.
overstepping cracks
and crossing bridges.
traffic flickering
red and green.
teaming industry.
inviting no one.
not one…
bicycling bear.
not one…
monkey wrap
of tail
rounding
inquiring
fruit-laden
hands.
cage
of moving.
focus.
great mounding
beside
another
careless foot.
moving.
to move.
in “right” direction.
forward marching…
much in common.
buzz buzz buzz.
yet the tarnish
of our
up-right,
our float
of debris,
overflows our eyes,
our sky, our sea.

(bow)

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we can hold it, full, feel it’s weight
in our hands, spiny, itchy pricks below
strong spread of crown, imagining sweet,
juicy-center trickle down. we can turn it,
sniff it, gently rub it through time, seeing,
not seeing, the signals and signs, imagining
what we will. our sometimes override. our
dropping, slipping, rolling the ball to a
bare humble stance, mud pressed feet
pausing together before heavy knees.
carrying hard questions deep into bend.
always. there. coming down to the ground
of grown and growing, seeded, full, fed.
grown to our knees. sweeping forward to
kiss, to press our clean noses and face
our shared truth. to forever our earth.
beneath. within us. here. receiving our
sweet seeking juice. our known unknowing.
our scatter of bits enveloping our ankles,
our madness, our bliss. picking up again
to lay our table. smooth, clean cloth
holding whole. pillows. plumped. up.

painting by cornproduct

Timber!

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Last night, riding an infinite, low pitching wave
between sleep and insomnia, between true blue
and Saturn’s scattered ringing, I met a far away
neighbor, a man. His diamond-mine eyes burning
like hearths, arched, orange and blind, burning like
a cat’s golden ninth life. And before me, he split
himself, an ancient family seed, harvested green,
and saved for a seeking. And in a voice worn as my
Mama’s Mama’s Mama, thin with wringing, and babies,
and steam, he said only to me, “Pick a card. Any card.”
And I did. I pulled my Father’s Father. Though I’d wished
for my newborn, Hearted Queen, my High Priestess Above
of All That Is To Come. Oh, Past-Father Father! Oh Farther!
I looked to his roots, to the base of our being, to a secret
spine of sage, hollow fist, and I sniffed, inhaling figs and
tomatoes and beans, long as a lean creak of arm. And
I pressed him hard. Brandy, tobacco. I squeezed him whole
to my eagle chest. Raw sapphire mind. Returned him to the
deck. Where Ace of Spades and Jack of Diamonds remained.
Then I closed my eyes to their round innocence, to their brilliant
endless. Crooked lines streaking through our stories, and a drop
of setting sun. My fingers praying a perfect crimson bead. And I
took hold my ramble, all my gaping, my early chicory blooms,
and I cut the ties that bind, that wound. My sapling spawn freed.
Morning cliff of bedside table, gray clay and sandy shore,
lining up with book ends and glass water maps, three shells
at rest. Beneath the first, a tired card trick, and all that has
ever been lost, then found. And I hear myself wobble in a baby
deer voice, “Please may I have just one? Everyone else has one.”
And I sharpen my stick. And I walk-don’t-run to the end of every
bed. And curl up and hide inside the sheer covers, and pillow thick
walls of child play. And I sleep six hundred years and a day, until it is
time to wake up and stay. Diamond blind stroking my remembrance
round to a 3/4 circle of waltz, to a full skirted bow. Where in the great
looking glass, I see Every-Face-Ever smiling back at me, and I turn up
the fire and roast myself clean. Roast myself a newborn, Hearted Queen.

Painting by Marina Petro