Blueberry

I Have Your Back. Acrylic on watercolor paper. #lexleonardartist

Blueberry

  1. Take a handful of blueberries, toss them one by one, her attention, the prize awarded.
  2. They shatter, those berry blue words, like bullet splatter behind her back.
  3. Let their juices flow between the cellophane wall separating you from her with her cherry berry dyed hair.
  4. Draw your berry blue bloodied finger along the line of demarcation, a line for which you shall never pass.
  5. Let her know even though she will not turn to hear, twist to look, let her know you have her back, will you always have her back if she returns.
  6. You will have her back at the slightest drop of a single berry blue rolling its escape from the clamshell carton on the kitchen counter, remind her it was a mistake.
  7. Your hands stained, guilty for there is no excuse, no words to make amends in the blue puddle of berries gone.
  8. Your berry blue words streak sad, speak your words, this be your poem, your truth without remorse, your bloody berry blue words without regret, your poem to her, and to every blueberry lost.

………

Author’s Note..

I am drawn to surrealism and find this writing exploration unsettling. This image I painted has always bothered me and I didn’t know where it fit. I think it fits here with today’s prompt. A good practice piece again to push boundaries, experiment.

From NaPoWriMo:

‘Finally, here’s our optional prompt! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem . . . in the form of a poetry prompt. If that sounds silly, well, maybe it is! But it’s not without precedent. The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram. You can find examples here, and here, and here.”

Beginning With Light

Beginning With Light…

Beginning With Light. Acrylic on watercolor paper. #lexleonardartist

Beginning with light,
without it there can be no life on 
top of this plain
where feet, toes curled
tickle dry brown 
interspeckled with tender green 
answering back, 
listening, and yet, too cool 
for bare arms, she accedes —— it is there
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

Back and forth, black wings
from nest to Source
and back again. Dark night
sustenance, a treacherous stillness
unwelcome — but 
a required embrasure 
a grace miscalculated
a path toward light 
That perches in the soul –

In her room a tiny brass box
with lid open spins — en pointe
balanced confidently
a mantram rhythm bound to Self
but free knowing
her purpose, 
her path,
And sings the tune without the words –

She reaches down 
fingers brush dry and green —
it is spring
and turns the wheel to the new 
from dark night, to the light,
the constant springs
And never stops – at all –

……….

Author’s Note

From the kind folks at NaPoWriMo:

“And now for our (optional) prompt. This one is a bit complex, so I saved it for a Sunday. It’s a Spanish form called a “glosa” – literally a poem that glosses, or explains, or in some way responds to another poem. The idea is to take a quatrain from a poem that you like, and then write a four-stanza poem that explains or responds to each line of the quatrain, with each of the quatrain’s four lines in turn forming the last line of each stanza. Traditionally, each stanza has ten lines, but don’t feel obligated to hold yourself to that! Here’s a nice summary of the glosa form to help you get started.”

While I was still teaching, I always shared this video with my first graders during National Poetry Month. It is beauty and grace in words and action. They understood and it was magic watching them moving their arms and hands in concert with the girl even though no one knew her language. We watched it many times.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/video/77372/hope-is-the-thing-with-feathers

A Villanelle for Benny

Day 2: NaPoWriMo

A Villanelle for Benny

I taught him how to shake.
Now when he yearns, I get the paw.
I will give him no reason for escape.

Oh, what an ally to ease my ache
to be loved, giving me one to kiddle.
I taught him how to shake

in his middle-doghood shape.
No longer a pup, but a handsome soul,
I will give him no reason for escape.

The Bean will never mistake
my fierce affection.
I taught him how to shake.

In our oneness, how can I forsake
those eyes and heavy paw?
I will give him no reason for escape.

He came to me, I the remake,
his third home to care.
I taught him how to shake
and there will be no reason for him to escape.

…..

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on a word featured in a tweet from Haggard Hawks, an account devoted to obscure and interesting English words. Will you choose a word like “aprosexia,” which means ‘an inability to concentrate’?”

I chose Haggard Hawks Word of the Day: KIDDLE (v.) to embrace warmly, to caress. https://twitter.com/HaggardHawks

And I decided to work through Tania Runyan’s How To Write A Form Poem becuase writing a poem a day for a month isn’t difficult enough…🙄😂😉https://www.amazon.com/Tania-Runyan/e/B0073Z3IDQ…

So, here is my first try at a villanelle. Don’t judge. I’ll get better. 😂

Tania actually does a beautiful job leading you through the process. If you teach poetic forms, I highly recommend this book. And she’s funny.

For The Sake of Mitigation

NaPoWriMo

For The Sake of Mitigation

He said begin each day proclaiming, “Today is going to be a great day.” My knee protested. We walked to the open space, our refuge, the Bean and I. Labored. He was patient. He knows. They cleared away bushes, trees. “For the sake of mitigation.” To keep us safe from fire. Fire that burns from indifference, not from within that quickens marrow. I wonder about Fox who follows us weaving within the woods rose and willow. Raven registers displeasure, a loss of camouflage against Hawk. “I’m sorry,” my offering against sadness. Maybe tomorrow.

Mezcal

11.29.2021
Santa Fe. Mezcal.

La Neuva Blessings

I don’t drink much anymore. Even the smallest amount of wine gives me a tremendous headache the following day. No beer. either. But the hard stuff seems to be fine in small amounts. So I focus on only the best in small amounts.

A bit ago I saw a friend on facebook mention to another friend that mezcal would be a good choice. I’ve had some very good tequila margaritas, but never mezcal as such. It seems tequila is a type of mezcal – a distilled liquor made from agave.

We took our long weekend trip to Santa Fe over Thanksgiving, one of our favorite places to be. Especially our Air B&B which is located about twenty minutes outside of Santa Fe on the way to Madrid. It is in a small grouping of a few houses on a dirt road in the middle of the arroyos and pinons and with views of sunrise and sunset not to be matched.Blessings to have found this place several years ago. I’ll write more about this magical place later.

Our regular upscale restaurant visit is to Sazon. In my opinion the best of the best. Another blessing to have found it. It was there I remembered my friend’s conversation about mezcal and my promise to myself to try new things. And so it was.

La Nueva created by Chef Olea would be my drink. My first try of a smoky wondrous mezcal. The ingredients: Madre Espandin Mezcal, Agave, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Twist. I love gin martinis for their “herbyness.” Oh, the blessing of the Earth’s goodness.

This would not be everyone’s cup of tea, er, spirit. But it is mine. Very smoky. Bitter. Herbs. Touch of sweetness, but just a very little bit. When I make this, I will add a bit more agave.

The color was lovely, like a golden glass Christmas ornament glistening on the tree. Ice cubes and the lemon decorating with just enough brightness for the season. There is a musty flavor, a deep richness that goes to the heart of any gardener. The lingering on the tongue and then the herbs rising up into the roof of the mouth to the nose. And oh, my, such a lovely long lasting sip.

As I said, I’m not a big drinker anymore so this lasted me through almost the entire meal. It was the perfect accompaniment to the sweet mole duck breast enchiladas.Trying new foods and drink – only the best – is a celebration of art and love and passion and a true blessing for me. And finding Sazon and Chef Olea is another.

Below is a link to a video about the James Beard semifinalist and honoree of Michelle Obama’s Faces of Diversity Award for working with children. And he is dedicated to intimate seating and slow dining with only two seating times per night – 5:00 and 7:30. Lovely.

I never noticed this prayer at the entrance to Sazon before and didn’t see it until we were leaving that evening. No wonder I am so drawn to this place.

Dear God, I humbly request
Create a sacred space of joy around this kitchen
Help me feel the importance of what I do
Bless me as I prepare this meal
Bless the ingredients I use
May this meal be a reflection and embodiment of your love
And may it bless the body,
Mind, and spirit who partake of it.

Yes. Blessings.

Red. Green. Or Christmas.

Santa Fe. Chili

Red. Green. Or Christmas.

One of the top reasons we go to Santa Fe is for the food.

Everyone has their favorite “hole on the wall” and/or fancy-ancy place. Restaurants are everywhere. And not just those serving New Mexican cuisine.

We have our favorite quick stop. The Plaza Cafe Southside. Easy to get to. We can pick something up on our way out of the city on our way to our Air B&B and eat in the comfort of the surrounding arroyos and ravens and piñons. This restaurant also caters to vegans. And they have a warning on their menu that they are not responsible for your reaction to the heat of the chilis. So choose wisely, my friend. Remember that in Santa Fe, the green chili is not for the faint of heart. Seriously.

Then there is Jambo. African-Caribbean Fusion. Oh, my. And, yet again, know your heat level. The sweet potato lentil stew with coconut rice was incredible. Here, too, vegans are happily and deliciously accommodated. I came home with the curry spices for that soup, plus black bean curry, and some sumac. Oh, the lemony lusciousness of sumac. I should have bought their cookbook.

Inspired by the chili beef stew we had on a whim in Taos and the Plaza Cafe’s flat enchiladas, we picked up some ground chili at the farmers market from the sweetest abuela ever. We are excited to use these and play around. One hot hot – she said it depends on your ability to withstand heat as to whether or not you will like it. And a bag of medium. We’ll let you know. We’re going to use a recipe from Rancho Gordo.
Then there is Sazon. Be still my heart. A lovely intimate restaurant where you are surrounded by huge paintings – many of them of Frida. You’re treated like royalty, even if you are in jeans.

We haven’t really eaten at very many high end restaurants in Santa Fe, except for Sazon. Chef Olea is genius. Solidly New Mexican, but with a contemporary update.

I only used my camera for the flashlight to read the menu. Yes, I’m at that age. 🙄 So I don’t have any photos.

Think about this – four exquisite mole sauces as an amuse bouche – starting with the sweetest deep chocolate to a sweet apricot to a green chili to the smokey red chili with three mini flour tortillas to scoop up all that deliciousness while you sip your cocktail and decide on what will grace your plate. I’ll be writing a post about the cocktail. My introduction to mezcal. Oh. My.

Sopa de Amour…chef Olea’s gift of love. A silky creamy poblano chili soup with a touch of sweetness, topped with crab meat, topped with a cream foam (a thick one and, I know, I’m not a fan of foam but this one…oh, this one) and then brushing of cinnamon. The server tells you not to mix it up but spoon a bit of everything in each bite. I wanted to lick the bowl, but the young French couple next to us were the mentors that kept me in line.

My entree. Not only was it delicious, but the plating itself was gorgeous mahogany and bright green with touch of white – it did look like Christmas. Raising the humble enchilada to this level takes a deft hand that understands flavors and textures. Corn tortillas run quickly through hot oil, layered with sweet potato cream, topped with luscious duck breast perfectly cooked and then topped with the deepest, richest, sweetest of Chef Olea’s moles. Two thin rings of fresh white sweet onion on top and sides of quick pickled spiraled baby beets and a jasmine rice with baby, baby cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro, you just might like the baby ones. It was incredible.


Dulce Sinfonia for dessert. A “savory” dessert that was not savory but extremely rich. A creamy lovely pale green avocado ice cream topped with a white ginger sauce. It sat in a sweet deep pink beet sauce with jalapeños and roasted piñons.
Christmas.

In New Mexico when you order your chili Christmas, you get both red and green chili side by side on your burrito. At Sazon Christmas has an entirely different appearance.


Well, off to make dinner. Bubble and squeak out of the last of the leftovers. Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans with an egg and some gravy coated in panko bread crumbs and baked – not fried in oil as the British do.


It may not be Santa Fe cuisine, but a person cannot live by chili alone…..

Ledge

Ledge. Lex Leonard. Acrylic on Watercolor paper.19’X24″

Sleep the ledge where line meets touch
don’t roll 
one side or other 
lest balance lost

Doctor, hold hands 
fill with marigold petals 
color of forest fire sunset

Caramel sky, saucers fly
do you belong
if, so, welcome

Smooth skin spirals
stem of possibility 
little mouse where are you

Walking the door
opening roar 
blackholes
silence sitting 

Corpse seed cleared 
E=empty bowl
gurgling pool 

Syndrome of afterlife
nothing certain
no need

You ride voices

Do the math

Look beyond

Beautiful hands

.

.

.

Author’s Note.

Another visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens for our writing group to write.

During our community time before putting down our thoughts, I gathered words from our conversation. These became our prompts and opening line:

Sleep. Doctor. Caramel. Smooth. Walking Corpse Syndrome.

You do look beautiful.

Skiff

Skiff. Lex Leonard. Denver Botanic Gardens. 07.18.2021

A pink umbrella floats across water upside down right side up reflection a masked woman her partner saunter lotus floats edges ripple into shapes unknown just reflections Emma’s shoes drop bag opens an escape of used tissue tumbles with breeze no longer confined finally free Emma lowers bottom placed on cemented edge toes submerge into cold no excuse from early morning rain door opens through threshold a pink umbrella upside down floats a skiff holding promises forgotten floats away Emma wiggles her toes through the door a threshold a marigold sea of petals remembers golden sun and sweet scent of bloom a pink umbrella carries away excuses pain rememberings upside down filling too full Emma watches sinks below waterline under lotus pad into murky substance a place to break down become that which feeds new growth from murky substance repaired Emma’s toes curl stretch sprout vines reaches into murk feeds from what she once knew now reconstructs releases lets go gives in grows new bud precious bloom turns to sun’s face warmth color bright graceful 

Emma transformed

May First

I always do too much
Expect too much of myself
Try too hard
It always leads to not doing enough
Ever
Goals never reached
Tasks left undone


Incomplete
Everything, including me


Today you greeted me
With your purple velvet

A bit of water here and there
Is all I have given
times of bone dry winter
When I didn’t come to see you 


You didn’t complain
No special fertilizer, pruning


Here you are
Glorious in being you
Sharing who you are
Not too much

And more than enough


I will think of you today
In simplicity
Kindness to myself

And I will smile