No Art (Revised)

.image courtesy of istock.com



I first wrote this a few years ago after reading Elizabeth Bishop’s work once again.  Well, after revisiting Mary Oliver and gaining familiarity with Pablo Neruda this summer, I once again returned to Bishop’s work and then had to re-watch Reaching for the Moon.  So I decided to dig this one out and tweak it and revise.  

In this thing called losing,
Bishop said we become masters
And that losing isn’t a disaster.

No, not a disaster.
Losing socks and such stuff.
I’ve lost earrings, bracelets,
Expensive ones too, didn’t care
Beyond maybe a minute or two,
And never was it a disaster.

And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia
Did I have upon saying goodbye 
To three houses and two cities,
And never did I feel it a disaster.

And yes, it was no disaster
To bury my mother, 
A father who really wasn’t,
The man who really was,
First one brother, then the other,
Then lastly, a wife.
With each, my body and soul
Savaged by a catastrophic hurricane, yes.
But no, no disaster.

No disaster is it, I’ll admit, 
For a tiny bit of soul to erode
As I buried each.
But nothing, nothing did I ever master.

Except, maybe this—
I did not look for them-
Looking to forget them
Since they were gone,
Emptied of this earth.

No, I did not look to forget
While driving home
In darkness under a full moon
Lighted with regret
Of a new unfamiliar scent.
Yet the swirling of this sad scent
Is no, no real disaster.

No real disaster is it—
That I look to forget
A lost return now.
A return to life
Captured, fleeting, lost--
Filled with a scent 
Of hope or a fool’s thought—
Matters not but now lost.
And in this thing
Called losing, 
In which I am well-schooled,
As are we all, 
I have tried to make an art,
To make an art of all this loss.

Yes, this may be no real disaster,
But Bishop lied.
There is no art in losing,
No art at all,
That I can find to master.


In the Long Ago So It Goes

image courtesy of istock

 

In the long ago

Youth’s armor

Stripping down fates

In acknowledgements

Of ruined selves

Where someplace we lost

The spare threads

To stitch everything back together

And could never touch another

As we once touched the other,

Letting go dreams

Sprinkled with desires

That only served to choke

The future we swallowed

In gulped decades

While watching dreams

Drift and float like the blown off

Heads of dandelions

Until settling into the

Drudgery of what must be done

In the day to day—

No answers exist when

The only answer is

There be no magic here,

No fairytales, no giants,

No forever’s or an eternity

Yet there be no lies,

No castles built on air,

No innocent beings with wings to rip away

In devilish delight,

No trust found broken

In garbage cans.

 

And so it goes.

 

And so it goes,

In essence,

Neither was what

The other really wanted

Resentments the wooden

Puzzle pieces of a child’s game

Tumbled down over us

In crushing weight

Until only the dust

Of us was left

To be swept away.

 

 

The Embroideress

Image courtesy of picClick
 
 

 

Like some ancient voodoo priestess,

Fears sits and smiles from her rocking chair.

Tilting her gray head to her work at hand,

Fear embroiders in red thread

The narratives of my old scars.

She stitches in orange and green thread

The flowers of my poorly made cobwebbed choices.

She stitches in black thread

The vanquished vines of  all my loss and pain.

She stitches in yellow thread

Her flowers of caution at the edges,

All the while chanting an ancient spell,

Giving her stitched yellow flowers

Magic to steal any power in the air,

Paralyzing– daring the pulse.

 

Fear stitches away in red thread

On the last cloth of daring I’ve left,

And I, I am paralyzed by the stitching made.

 

 

 

Heaven?

Image courtesy of istock

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge June 15, 2021 | Go Dog Go Café (godoggocafe.com)

 

Have I seen Heaven in her eyes?  You ask.

Can anyone see heaven in the eyes of another

Is what I must ask.

 

I have seen love, the soft one,

Take a seat and

Settle comfortably

In the eyes of others.

 

I have seen hatred, the snake,

Uncoil and dance,

Spitting venom at everything and everyone,

From the eyes of others.

 

Too often, I have seen death, the thief,

Steal all the treasures from the eyes

Of those I loved,

Leaving them hollow and emptied out.

 

I have seen other things

In the eyes of others

Along these long years

But heaven—

I don’t really think so.

 

I may be too old to see such a wonder

Or too young yet to know it

When I see it.

 

So, to answer,

I would have to say, no.

No, I have not seen

Heaven in her eyes.

 

The Great Heron

Image is my own

I greeted the Great Heron

With a hello.

Then asked for some wisdom

Or some secrets of the earth.

 

But the Great Heron

Didn’t bother with a no.

Just a fluff of feathers

Before turning away

Without being troubled

To even look at me.

The red wing black birds

Chittered away in laughter

As the gentle doves

Cooed soothingly.

 

The crows cawed,

Rather obnoxiously,

About time running down.

I said I knew

And was aware of the beauty

In lessons along the way.

Even in the lessons so painful

You thought they might

Break your soul in two

Held a beauty in the end.

 

The crows disliked what I said,

And they couldn’t disagree,

So, screaming out a caw,

Flew away.

 

Turning his eyes to me,

The Great Heron shifted on his log,

Before opening his wings

And flying away,

Letting me know

He had nothing to say.

 

 

			

Dear Robert Frost

Image is my own. Taken at the Hockney/ Van Gogh exhibit

VJ’s Weekly Challenge: roads – One Woman’s Quest II (onewomansquest.org)

Before this moment,

All roads coalesced into one,

The present, the now.

Then,

Seeing this wall of roads,

I cannot help but ask

Where each road would have, could have

Led.

Different places, people–

Certainly, yes.

The mind swirls,

Possibilities,

A Tilt-A-Whirl—

A daughter lost?

The fetal tissue of a son not lost?

A different daughter born?

A heart not broken by cancer?

All the rewinds and fast forwards

Of a life of lived down different roads

Of different choices made along each way–

All the differences of each win and loss

And every other thing implied by this wall

And dear Robert Frost—

 

The choices I’ve made

Gave me this now,

This daughter,

For whom I would give my life,

Rather than trade.

The Work of Spring

image courtesy of anoregoncottage.com

I clipped away dead branches

From the living shrubs today.

Not an easy thing,

But a thing that must be done.

Strange it is how dead things

Will cling so tightly to the living

As if to squeeze

The last remaining bits of life away

And thus, have company in death and dying.

There is yet more to do

So only the living things are left

To flourish in the spring sun.

Decision on a Birdfeeder

image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

 

I hesitate in remembrance

as if the fates would choose

a day of gray and leave me there,

as if a blossoming could be had upon

a second visitation to any day.

 

The creamer clouds disperse and swirl

in my extra strong coffee

like memories of things I wanted–

never had, never attained

all those years ago.

 

Stirring the coffee still,

I stare out the kitchen window.

Decide against a bird feeder

filled with black oil sunflower seeds.

I do not want cardinals here.

People say cardinals are spirits

of those you’ve lost come to visit you—

No.  I want no cardinals here.

No spirits of the lost to visit or say hello.

No twittering or chittering away.

No vibrancy of color outside this window.

No.  Not here.  Not in this place.

 

I’d rather this be a spiritless place,

A virgin place, void of spirits, void of touch—

 

At least for a time

 

 

 

Angels Call

Image courtesy of PixelsTalk.Net
Weekend Writing Prompt #197 – Call | Sammi Cox (wordpress.com)

 

angels call, singing for a while,

watching us,

aping things they’d heard, saw,

obsessing over things                                            

we tossed away–

time, primarily–

angels lost feathers, attempting to understand

our tossing away time like used tissues, soiled food tins–

when we held little.

 

 

Thirsting

image courtesy of Dreamtime

Emptied vault opens,

casts leavings of shriveled seeds

beyond redemption.

 

Between the edges

nothing could penetrate here,

wind, rain, tears—nothing.

 

Sound had no life here,

dying in small deaths of emptiness,

eternal silence.

 

A life damaged beyond

repair, encased by cold stone,

a life of shriveled seeds,

lived in a stone vault—

lightless, soundless

thirsting.

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