victor of winter’s final bluster
pine cones scatter across my path
seeding spring’s promise
victor of winter’s final bluster
pine cones scatter across my path
seeding spring’s promise
The Reluctant Baker
But you don’t eat bread.
I do now. Thin. Whole wheat. Dave’s.
Do they have it?
I don’t know.
I’ll get some yeast and start making bread again.
I’ve been wanting to do that.
No toilet paper. No popcorn. No yeast.
I’m going to make sourdough.
We need to make a starter.
I can use a bowl but we will need some jars.
I cleaned out the shelves
and the recycling just came.
I got rid of the jars.
I think I have a pickle jar that’s almost empty.
I don’t think it’s working.
It’s cold in the house.
Beer bread is good, too.
I’m going to keep going.
It smells sour.
I don’t smell anything.
You can’t smell this?
Can you taste food?
I think so.
Let’s take your temperature just to be sure.
but the starter doesn’t look
like the pictures I’ve seen online.
It’s good. I can smell it.
It’s not working.
Do you want me to try?
Then you can bake the bread.
I emptied the pickle jar.
I put the starter in the jar
in the cabinet
near the stove.
It might be warmer up there.
It smells sour.
That’s how it’s supposed to smell.
But it smells like pickles.
It’ll be fine.
It has a few bubbles!!!!!
Do you want to see?
When I come downstairs.
It’s time to make bread!!!
I’m so excited.
When do you want to take over?
How about if you make the bread?
Okay, here is a recipe that calls for lots of stuff.
How did people use to make this without all this stuff?
I just know they didn’t have all these fancy tools
to make bread a long time ago….
Look at the number of steps.
A loaf of sourdough is going to take days to make.
Well, at least I’m home with little else to do.
Okay, go chase the squirrel.
I’m going to find something easier.
There has to be something that is more sensible.
I know there must be.
I’m not a baker.
This is Colorado and a high altitude.
My mother always said you must adjust the recipe.
How do I do that?
It’s going to take days.
Let’s go for a walk.
I need to make a plan.
We’re going for a walk!
I’ll work on the bread when we get back.
“I’m going to make sourdough bread.”
What’s wrong with beer bread?
it had to be sourdough.
We’ll be back
Awww, look how fluffy the starter is.
I think it grew!!!!
It’s really sticky.
Pull and turn.
Pull and turn.
Pull and turn.
Pull and turn.
Set the timer for 30 minutes.
Repeat for FOUR hours?
It’s soooo pretty.
You are such a pretty mound of flour and organisms.
Keep on going.
You can do this.
I know you can!
Let rest 6-18 hours.
Place in fridge for at least 12 hours.
You silly little round of nourishment.
Release. Patience. Trust.
In the time of virus.
The challenge in our writing group was to write dialogue. I tried to keep exclusively dialogue to see what I could bring about in a minimum of words. When it came to Benny my dog I had to rely on stage directions. No too sure how to write his sounds. I’ll work on it.
I didn’t know they are called winter violets
I know them as johnny jump ups, violas
They don’t bloom here in winter’s bite
They wait for spring to introduce themselves
They tuck in wherever they please
I cannot design their path
A surprise, a nod to independence, survival
a tiny fire
– Ami Tanaka
My grandmother grew them in her lawn
Candytuft their partner
Honeyed liquor for bees
Judicious steps for bare feet
A summer’s expedition
violets here and there
in the ruins
of my burnt house
It is snowing, again
Another kept quarantine
Amid no-contact solitude
Amid numbers piling up
Like leaden slats of blighted ruins
Waiting for Phoenix to rise again
Or little purple yellow faces
Peeking out from beneath
A kept quarantine
no limit to kindness
– Mitsu Suzuki
There is a kindness of canvas
An artist’s peace
If just a glance, a moment to dwell
Rising through depths of piled forfeiture
There is a spark of hope
Purple yellow faces
A cycle not denied
Author’s Note –
I was graciously invited to attend an on-line reading of haiku by some amazing poets from the Pacific Northwest and around the world. They read one haiku – their own or another’s – and spoke of the meaning. It was in celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day. The theme was taken from The Poetry Society of America who invited poets to write about “poems they return to in difficult times – to find solace, perspective, or even moment of delight.” Thank you Cj Prince and Victor Ortiz for this brilliant opportunity to learn and grow.
In the short hour, three of the haiku included winter violets. The images stayed with me and deepened as each new winter violet popped its head up to speak.
I took it to the canvas first and played with a different process than I usually do. It is very difficult to photograph this image. It just doesn’t do it justice. You may get a better idea of what it looks like if you do close-ups of the above image.
Today is a spiral day the anger and the fear and the hopelessness all coming at once but organized one right after the other they greet me as i open my eyes and start my day i try to organize them for my brain and all they want is each one to be the first in line without exception impertinent little bastards impolite and quite pushy i get mad at the dog i am sharpe with my partner i am angry at myself for the dirty floor and the piles of stuff cluttering from a few weeks ago attempt at clearing out the clutter another failure my office my sacred space for meditating that must be clutter free i am at odds with myself because of those impish grins pushing to be first and most important and what they fucking don’t understand what i can’t seem to make them fucking understand is that they are not important enough to make me feel like shit and i breathe and listen to the birds and write this on watercolor paper to paint on when i am finished to bring healing and i hear the bluejay singing like i have never heard before he is happy at the bird feeder alone right now because all we can get is the cheap seed and the birds are spoiled and don’t like it and it is spring and there are other sources so it is his alone and when this is all over we will always buy the good stuff because that is what is important right now
The days spiral. Today is not such a good day. So it is to the canvas I go with my words. And then paint. Thank the Universe for Intentional Creativity.
Our prompt for the day (optional as always) is inspired by Kaschock’s use of space to organize her poems. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a “concrete” poem – a poem in which the lines and words are organized to take a shape that reflects in some way the theme of the poem. This might seem like a very modernist idea, but poets have been writing concrete poems since the 1600s! Your poem can take a simple shape, like a box or ball, or maybe you’ll have fun trying something more elaborate, like this poem in the shape of a Christmas tree.
The day rolled on
unfolding like the toilet paper
he dropped and couldn’t catch
But he knew he could get it wound
back around without anyone noticing
perfection was his way of being
all of his expeditions capped
themselves in excellence
His slender fingers, smooth and agile
gentled the paper back around
he made no sound
no patterns noticed, no crumpled edges
it was perfection, done
His nose drank in the thick coffee scented air
awaiting his return
he licked his lips, remembering her brew
instead, only salt flavor
from his morning run
His name was Peter
Peter was from St.Petersburg
they met yesterday
Opening the door
the air was fresh
linen and dryer sheets
churning round and around
just like the day
to replace the roll
so carefully wound, he returned
to complete his agency
TP never looked so good,
he was proud
he was certain
she would never learn
of his transgression
But once a roll unrolls and rolls
there is no returning to perfection, ever
there will always be telltale signs
scars and scabs, wounds
When are we leaving?
I have a plane to catch later tonight?
He thought Tiger didn’t remember
A child playing with her emotions
she had already ordered the Uber
A modern chariot of escape
for both of them
The TP roll was a brick in his hand
something to throw at her
but it wouldn’t hurt
just frighten, then
he could leave
He could walk out the door
fly home, instead of seats
narrow, too close, no room
yes fly, Peter wanted to fly
Tiger wouldn’t know
miss his departure
unaware of his grace in takeoff
He will land with ease
and be free of her
cheap toilet paper
too thin, see through
She dropped the viperous coffee pot
losing what small promise of conversation
she had in balance
She would make him leave
Peter from St. Petersburg
telling him it was all his fault
unrolling the facts
not able to take them back
Da, was all she answered.
The coffee shouted
from cracks and corners
seeped and puddled
Leave. Just leave now,
Peter from St. Petersburg.
You are not welcome here.
And Peter from St. Petersburg
rolled out the door.
This is what happens when you write after midnight. Of course, toilet paper is on most everyone’s mind in this odd time in our lives.
The prompt from the NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo folks today, or should I say yesterday, was ridiculous in the most delightful way.
I simply went down the list and wrote to each prompt with as just a ridiculous story. Each stanza goes with each prompt in order (except for the name prompt which I used earlier in the poem.) But I like the last two stanzas.
Yes, I do.
Our (optional) prompt for today is one that we have used in past years, but which I love to come back to, because it so often takes me to new and unusual places, and results in fantastic poems. It’s called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. The challenge is to use/do all of the following in the same poem. Of course, if you can’t fit all twenty projects into your poem, or a few of them get your poem going, that is just fine too!
- Begin the poem with a metaphor.
- Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
- Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
- Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
- Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
- Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
- Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
- Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
- Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
- Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
- Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
- Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
- Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
- Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
- Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
- Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
- Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
- Use a phrase from a language other than English.
- Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
- Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.
She opened her right palm and rested it on the rock, opened to the sky. Her left hand placed two stones inside.
It was a new year, with lots of twos. Twenty twenty. She was two, her own being with one other. He was large and black with eyes that reflected what was inside her, two eyes that glistened, twin stars. Castor and Pollux. And he was her twin. They did everything as one.
They walked here, together, into the trees where the stream flowed small, almost unnoticed. But noticed by those who needed it. She needed it today. The quiet. She was glad to have this space in the middle of a place that housed people on top of people and cars that ran the streets all hours.
But this space was hers right now. His head in her lap.
She curled her fingers around the two stones. She wanted to feel their roughness. She wanted to know their story. Their way to this place, like hers must have been round-about. Or maybe they were always there waiting for her.
Wasn’t that how it was? Someone or something always there waiting. Waiting to be what they were supposed to be for the one they were supposed to be for. So while they waited, they just were. Doing just what they were supposed to do.
The arc of the new bridge
spanned the thoughts of the young one
who knew its power.
Not because of something she was told,
but something she knew deeply within.
She wanted to build bridges.
although she didn’t know that word yet
in her five-year-old existence.
But she knew bridges were strong
and could take you over rough water.
Or over another road going another direction.
Or lift you high enough to see the mountains
and the plains,
if you could look both directions at once.
She knew this.
All of this in her five-year-old existence.
It would take courage
to move Earth to make the mounds.
And big trucks and large shovels.
It was a job for big machines.
But it also took a pencil
and a piece of paper
to draw the lines.
And isn’t that all that matters.
Isn’t that where it all begins,
with a line.
One elegant line
to take you forward or
or above and to the side.
And you are in control.
And you can do it.
And if you make a mistake,
You just continue,
a sort of start over.
Because no one really knows,
and it doesn’t matter anyway.
And you find that,
you create the most elegant
and beautiful life
with twists and turns
and glorious vistas
all with one pencil,
by listening to what
you know deep within,
Make the space
Just who and what you are.
And she marveled
each time they drove over
that took them into town.
She opened her hand and placed the two rocks on the ground.
He sighed and grumbled that he had to move to make way for another of her inventions. But he did. And this time it would be different. She had made the room to listen.
She took her finger and starting at the two rocks side by side, she drew an elegant arc.
Driving to a new writing group this morning I was taken aback by the beauty of a bridge I had crossed over many, many times. The arc it made and the grace it carried in just being took my breath.
Stepping into a new year with 20-20 vision, as one participant described it, gives one a new lens in which to look through.
Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other.
Pádraig Ó Tuama
They were siblings. He, an innocent bystander between the two.
His leg was sore. When he sat, the hindquarter opened. Not his usual strict attention on a “good” sit. A deep puncture quickly healed over. Just a day ago open. Today, as if nothing happened, today he runs. My Bean, Benny the name he carried to us. I call him Bean, My Bean. He is smart and joyful, pulls me into his world. Me in hesitant agreement.We walk twice a day. He eats, gnaws a chew stick, plays ball, all on his own terms, of course.
Together, in amalgam, we wander.
She is here this morning. Sun behind us.
She, just past full, bright white against light blue veil
rising above houses, trees, soon to exit in Sun’s arrival,
She leads us.
Do you notice, the lights in the sky,
or is your nose tethered to the ground,
scents and sniffs guiding your being?
I walk both above and upon.
Moon rise, Sun set.
Crows and clouds.
Leaves and roots.
Snowflakes drifting and
ice slicked by melt
then frozen through night’s chill.
What do you know?
Who was here…who came and left.
Their essence. Invisible now. You know.
Do you hear ravens?
I know you hear airships.
Rumbling trucks take away
that which no longer serves.
Barks and howls, near and far.
Together we divine our world,
pace ourselves through days of
grizzled knee and tender hindquarter,
“mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne”
You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.
. . . . .
There is magic in community. There is an understanding, agreement not always necessary.
Our Afternoon Writers met this morning. Our prompt from an On Being with Krista Tippett interview with Pádraig Ó Tuama, Belonging Creates and Undoes Us. In an attempt to widen our scope of what and how we write, I’ve been searching for new types of prompts to inspire us. Some of us, myself at the top of the list, kept falling into what we have always written – same style, same characters, same storylines.
Change is difficult.
Today I brought a paragraph from Tippett’s interview:
Pádraig Ó Tuama: Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other. Maybe on some things, but, actually, when you look at some people who are lovers and friends, you go, actually, they might disagree really deeply on things, but they’re somehow — I like the phrase “the argument of being alive.” Or in Irish, when you talk about trust, there’s a beautiful phrase from West Kerry where you say, “mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne” — “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.” That is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. That is what we can have with each other.
What surprised me is that several writers wanted the opening sentence. I was aiming for the quote on place.
Our writing stretched us, gave us room to explore something new.
Pleopeltis polypodioides (syn. Polypodium polypodioides),
also known as the resurrection fern, is a species of creeping,
coarse-textured fern native to Africa.
They braided seeds into their hair
not for show, but hidden,
not to be discovered,
bringing homeland with them
boarding ships they knew nothing of
crossing oceans never to return to their Africa.
Memories survive long periods
with just a little telling
to resurrect their life
to grow again through word spoken
to those who never knew
They arrived, some with star maps
from desert skies where once their feet
planted onto homeland
never to return, but remembered
through lines and dots, remembered
through scanning the night
for something familiar.
There is a wisdom,
a knowing in action
a way to preserve that which
would be lost, an honoring
for those to come connecting
those to the past.
I reach back to learn from where
my ancestors came, their
customs, their stories,
ritual, a part of my DNA
I know of
violas and sweet alyssum
bees tended and golden nectar
caravan travel spreading words to heal
salt thrown over a shoulder
My mother heard voices, saw ghosts
they said she was crazy
she didn’t know her homeland
she didn’t know her stories
I wish I could ask her now
I wish I could resurrect her
from the box
inside the marbled floor mausoleum
and our homeland
The resurrection fern gets its name because it can survive long
periods of drought…However, when just a little water is present,
the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to “resurrect.”
I am very honored to have my poem, Resurrection Fern, included in The 2019 Poetry Marathon Anthology. It is always a unique experience to write a poem an hour for 24 hours straight.
There are some lovely poems from poets around the world included in this year’s journal. Take a look and join us next year!
Someone who never picked up a pencil to draw or a paintbrush to paint, I found a passion that combined with my new found self.
I liken my new self to sitting on a lovely, perfectly balanced little three legged stool. One leg grounding me in Passage Meditation. The second leg grounding me in shamanic practice. And now, the third leg opening portals on the canvas to move through intention, to weave a red thread to create, and connect.
Below are a few photos of my initiate book. Some friends expressed the wish to purchase it. So it is now set up to explore and purchase, if you are interested, from Blurb.
In the coming months you will see more of my poetry and painting. I will have the originals for sale as well as prints and a card line. I will be offering workshops to spread the beauty within through discernment and discovery using my three legged stool!
Many blessings and much gratitude,
He had chocolate rain in his hat.
From where it came, he did not know.
It should have dribbled down his face
when once he put it on.
But it stayed inside
on top of his head
awaiting rains return.
She made chocolate footprints through the kitchen
from stomping in the rain out of doors.
It shouldn’t have been that way,
But in the end, chocolate rain
is much better than mud any day.
The chocolate bar was torn in two
so both could share.
Chocolate was late in arriving on the train.
They thought they missed their chance.
But it came.
She held the chocolate tightly in her fist.
It warmed and ran through cracks
that could not be sealed.
Some was lost.
She refused to release her grasp.
Leave your hat on the chair so it can be seen but not heard heard you coming through the grove when all was want and tired tired eyes closed against the light light rolling into the pond frightening the ducks ducks who have an auspicious way remaining afloat on waves waves holding you up so you can see past the shore up the hillside to where we stood stood still in moonlight waiting to dance wildly under the sun sun laughing at the genius of our tricks tricks raining down the hill chasing away while calling us back back to you and me standing in chocolate rain
A drone soared above open space
chasing the lady with her dog.
She didn’t see it.
He knew it was there.
A sounding swarm of bees chasing.
So she crossed the street to get away.
The street where teenagers
ran in front of them one night
to light a firecracker
She always held his leash tightly
so as not to lose him.
And she didn’t.
But she cursed them,
who laughed at their trick and her and her dog.
Neighbors turned on lights.
Shrugged their shoulders
to the cursing old woman and her dog
and two teens running away.
When she returned home, she cried.
What would have happened
if she held held the leash lightly.
But a leash was a noose for, oh, so very long,
keeping her in step.
Making sure she was following rules.
A leash is a harness keeping her from falling,
keeping her safe from mistakes.
The leash makes it all okay….
Loosening the leash,
dropping the leash,
gives freedom that comes with fear.
Discovery can be painful if you let it.
dropping the leash,
cutting it away,
the only way to be.
And the dog,
well, the dog was a good boy.
And he, too, made his own decisions.
He had always been happy to be who he was.
Now more happy that she was who she was
after dropping her leash.
Cutting it away.
Oh, she still walked him with a leash because,
well, because, there was still a bit of fear
in losing something she loved,
even though she knew, in the end,
she could not control that either.
Sun came home and left once more.
Moon sailed over them at night
and pillows tucked in their heads
with dreams and snores.
The two lived,
walked side by side
knowing the precious gift
each one gave to the other,
knew that it was this
that mattered most.
Memories will always be there,
if you want them.
So will those you love
because time is not a real thing.
Only some thing we imagined.
And when we walk on
to where we will next be,
we will find another leash,
or maybe not.
Choose to pick it up.
Or maybe not
and remember to just be,
see who we are
And maybe there will be firecrackers,
teens who like to play tricks,
hats filled with chocolate rain,
neighbors who shrug,
and lights that flicker.
But there will always be you.
For energy is neither created
It just changes form.
And how can one argue with that
in this glorious present moment
that is eternity.
And she chose the time of the sun rising to leave. Just as the star of night began its descent behind the trees, she turned and there sun’s arc claimed the horizon. It was time. Before her sat six bags. She would choose three to place into her basket.
She knew of her journey beforehand, although there was no decided beginning or end point. It was six cycles prior that she would gather and arrange the al that was gathered on squares of paper made from bark that she beat with a stone to soften the fibers. Under each new moon she would hold each item for that particular square and invite it to the journey. Then she would fold the ends over and around so none of the precious cargo would slip away before its time. Then she would tie with with with a cord woven from grass cut from the bank of the trickling stream. She continued this way each new moon until there were six packages. And it was time to depart.
Under the final new moon before Sun began its rise, she chose three of the six bundles and placed them Into her basked, leaving three behind for her return. If she did return.
She would follow the stream until it coursed into a river which led her to the sea and there would be two boats from which she would choose one.
She was no good at this. Her time was spent alone since her beginning. Her mother
passed as she was born. Her father she never knew. She lived as the women before her lived. Away from people in discovery of her ancestors.
And because of this, she was never really alone by the stream in the trees. She always found companionship, if she looked and waited, asked permission or invited, and listened.But here by the sea, where everything was new and asking to be discovered, she felt very alone. She knew it was for the best and she was determined to move ahead without too much worry or sadness for what she left behind as the women before her did.
She could always return if she wished. But what would be the point of that? The decision was made.
At the shore she look to the boats. The one on the left it would be. She was left handed as much as she could be, although many things called to her right. Today it would be the left.
She reached into her basket and removed one package. She gifted it to the man in the boat who would row her to the left sailing ship. It was then she realized she wouldn’t have enough packages to pay for her return. One for the rower. One for the captain. One for the new rower on the other end. And nothing left for the return.
That was how it was supposed to be. Nothing to fear. She would know what to do as truth would reveal itself.
She had never stepped onto a boat. It rocked more than she thought. Just as she felt herself leaning too far over the end, he reached out his hand and she grabbed it to steady herself.
A stranger to help. Imagine that.
She didn’t have to do this all alone.
His hand was large and chocolate brown with lines deeply modeled into his skin. Some would say wrinkles. She saw roads to many journeys and much experience.
He hand was firm and safe. All would be well.
How could you lose it?
I didn’t. It was there. And then, it wasn’t.
It was her lilypod. How will we ever find another?
We don’t need to find another.
What will we tell her?
Exactly what I just said. It was there. And then. It wasn’t.
She’s not going to believe you you know. She thinks you hate her and that you would do anything to anger her. And this will definitely anger her.
No it won’t.
It won’t make her mad.
Yes, it will.
No. It won’t.
How can you say that? It was her lilypod. She loves it more than chocolate rain. She is going to be furious.
It was there. And then, it wasn’t.
Her lilypod. Her precious lilypod that appeared one day when she was so very sad.
It made her happy.
Say it again. It appeared one day when she was sad.
It appeared one day when she was sad.
And it made her happy.
And that’s all that was needed.
We had a visitor in town and I had the honor to write with her! Cj Prince took us through her writing practice.
First, we each wrote one word on a slip of paper. These would be used for each delve into words.
For five minutes we wrote using the first drawn word “chocolate” and in only short sentences. Then we shared.
Another word, “grove,” was pulled from the pile and this time we wrote for ten minutes “chaining.” The word we ended with, we would begin the next sentence. We shared.
Next, we wrote for twenty minutes stream of conscious writing. This is not stopping your pen or fingers from moving. If you can’t think of anything to write, you just write anything until it begins to flow again. You don’t stop no matter what! The word was “my drone.”
Our next long write – 15 minutes – we pulled tarot cards. We used these in the writing. We could use the meaning of the cards, the images, and/or any mix. They were the Hermit, the six of rods, and the three of rods.
Our finale was a five minute quick write of dialogue with no attribution – meaning we didn’t delineate between the two speakers. Our word was “lilypod.”
Today I took some time going back and editing and coming up with this piece. I delight in it as I do Cj. I am blessed.
And all on the full moon.