Friday, September 4, 2015

Chicago Musings on the L

I do not fear you, brother bee.
We are the same, you and I:
We have in us one good sting
To deal before we die.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Online Hide & Seek

The above's the 1st round in my collage journal; it got edited down to the poem below:

Digital comes forth
to organize your life
into facebook - traces
of journeys, neon blurs
smeared on your path.

A forgettable past,
and the way it was
lost and found.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sneak Attack

(Trying this whole Instagram thing out since my vibrant, hip niece and nephew hooked me up with an account.)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon

the blue moon from my house last night

It’s the beginning:

a blue moon, blazing.
bright arms striking out
Black. Light, inverted
smoke wafting down
to my skin like ash. Alone,
waiting for the clock to strike
her witching hour.
Is she ready? Flushed, husky,
lust-filled for magic? This
primal drive invades my iris
rings. Binding, finding myself facing
the Dark from within. She sings.

Once, in a blue moon,
this is how it ends.

Friday, July 24, 2015

“Philologia: Such is this gift, that bites as it gives”

Each word, a name. A gift
to bind together and draw apart,
granted from a settled throne
crafted of collected expressions,

The queen’s a veil of incense between slate
and stars, whispering her dreams. Sometimes,
she howls, sometimes, she sings.

I cannot see the king, but his decrees
dictate this castle of universe, the etiquette of
interaction, court.

There is
comfort in them woven,
absence in their wake:
my king, the symbols,
my queen, their meanings,
together sweep us through (systemic
spells of aid and debt.)

Royal favors, words, and royal angers, too:
waves of welcome, banishment
twined atop the Omniscient
Word-King’s Scepter,
one dip weighing us all
like a scale with a feather.
One flick cremates, the other embalms,
both stuff our casings with meaning.

What tax must we pay for such privilege?

Beware their lexi-cons, precarious declarations
possessing us all. We drown, word filled or
word less. We drown and we find
our names are carved on the dotted lines
along the bottom of the settled throne.

-for Real Toads’ Get Listed – July, you have to use 3 of the following words: taxman, heat, prison, fear, mail, inevitable, premise, sovereign, system, advice, beware, & kept.

I think I used 2-and-2-halves of these words: sovereign, beware, system(ic), & tax (which is half of “taxman”).

This poem actually started as a reflection on several Real Toads’ Tuesday Challenge poems (Susie Clevenger's "Crumpled Scent" and Crayfish's "Over Tea - TB"), combined with a quote from Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings: “To name a thing is to acknowledge its existence as separate from everything else that has a name; to confer upon it the dignity of autonomy while at the same time affirming its belonging with the rest of the namable world; to transform its strangeness into familiarity, which is the root of empathy. To name is to pay attention; to name is to love.”

The painting is one of my earlier abstracts. I think it looks a little like an imploring dolphin, surrounded by an overwhelming world. Fittingly, it's drowned under layers and layers of other paint, becoming a (hidden) palimpsest.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rose Window, Notre Dame de Paris

images via wikimedia - click for wikimedia page

I was there.
The rain-sleeked
streets never dried,
staining the city steel.

(When the rain silvered more,
you could have taken it for
Granite. Glinting in the street lamps,
glittering through the fogged
net where cigarette smoke
settles to socialize and sense
the dull sharpening of the world.)

I loved steel.
I loved the streets,
small dog shits and all.
I loved fumbling through
Desolees and Parlez-vous Anglais?
I really loved the way the
lined, lean men gobbled me up
with famished eyes. Nobody owned me;
I braced, I softened.

The rose window of Notre Dame
watched me come and go. Watched the men,
the dogs, the rain, the streets, blanketing us
with shards of appraisal. Rainbows.
They gave me the creeps. Guilt, or something.
I hid from her, sliding round the curves
of the beetle-green Metra pole,
down into the absinthe hole,
I hid from her, my Rose. I hid from her in Paris,
from her glances there, from all shades of them.

Later, I would find salvation jaune at
Notre Dame de la Garde. But that is an
otro conversation, altogether, one for
the sun-burnt squeaky café tables
tucked round the docks in Marseilles,
between the abandon of Paris and the peacocks of Barcelona.

Stick to the story – C’est la vie.

Inspired by Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild's prompt and my own trip(s) to Paris.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wee Things: Dueling Poem and Wuthering Heights Mini-Book

“Intellect vs. Art: The Duel”

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” -Charles Bukowski

Does each have a sword, then?
The eye of the mind, the claws
of the heart?

Sometimes, the brain is a shield,
only (.) fiery hearts assault.

(jotted down today and passed along to Real Toads' Tuesday Platform)

Wee Wuthering

“I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and in it.” -Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

I have been obsessed with miniature things for a long time. As a kid, I'd pass the time making paper Polly Pocket-like structures with characters from my favorite books. Fairy (or dollhouse, I suppose) sized books particularly captured my imagination and still do. I've been watching a ton of them, especially from this shop on etsy. Since I really, really wanted to buy some but have no job and thus am pretty much broke, I decided to make one, purely for myself, with no intent to sell.

I found a few different tutorials, but this one was my favorite. (Just like with recipes, I draw inspiration but never follow directions. Good thing, cuz that tutorial's in Russian.) After glancing at 'em, I shrugged and surveyed my art corner. I had cardstock and glue and a printer... everything I needed. Then I searched Online for Wuthering Heights covers, picking a Fritz Eichenberg cover. I used some of my favorite quotes. I also found various images Online that were fitting, including some Kate Bush stuff and some The Gaslight Anthem lyrics that capture Wuthering Heights so well. All images in my book come from others; none are mine. If I were to make any mini-books to share in full with the blogosphere or to sell, I would use only my own images.

Here's the start of the project:

Anywho, after cutting the pieces to size, I added details like gold leafing the pages and adding textured lines to the spine:

Here she is!

I'm happy enough with the results that I'm contemplating making a few mini-books out of my own art and poems as table decorations for my wedding... What do you think?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

flowers by the chapel by the sea

Thanks to Rock Rose - this image was taken by her, and captures what I imagine the landscape of my poem looks like. Check out her blog and her "Small Plants for the Sunken Garden" post.

My mind is a chapel
carved from rock meeting
tongue of the sea, licking
away the centuries.

The beach is sonorous dips
of prayers sung without words,
gut-uttered, offered to the wind,
the waves, the simple tides of
time. There are worlds within worlds.

From the belltower, I can see
three flowers. Each sings. Each
shines with the seams of Fate’s fickle
threads woven to Transpire.

Emerge the first flower. See?
Hugging the cliff, there to the left,
just beyond the sea spray, the wire fence
to fend off sheep. Look through the lace of
the reeds, there. Yes, focus on the purple head,
poking from beyond the fence, the single flower
in the mist of weeds. She is lovely, is she not?
She is the sharpest, melodramatic saccharine,
as such, she stings. Her name is If
Only. Pluck her, and bleed.

Back to our safe stone, hewn from the cliff, the peace
full place of worship crafted for the sake of sanctity,
sanity. From here, look to the sand path, worn, its border:
skeletal shells, wily bracken, and the pale white flower,
petals like pointed rays of moonlit beams, whispering their
secrets like stars to the far corners of the universe.
Whispers because they haven’t found their voice.
The blossom must look deep, but it is proud and frightened.
Try to pluck, it will recede. Oh, and mind the bees.
Guardians of all that Is.

But there is one other flower this old chapel
sees, one other flower that calls to me. This one is
yellow and big as a bowl, follows the sun, swallows me
whole. She is so bright that she almost blinds, hers is the
flower that captures my dreams. She holds in her petals
the paint of delight, the plan for the future, the Want
to Be, the seductive howl of a new-moon night.

Together, they set my chapel
humming, fan my skin aquiver,
a breeze skimming the smoothest
pool of my neck, my flesh
set aflame even as it freezes,
the pleasure and the pain, weathered
in the crumbling call of the chapel bell.

The world I know
I will only know
the way a child knows a beach:
bucket by bucket, she builds a sandcastle,
then mourns when the wave clears the slate clean.
Propelled by unknown forces, she plucks and leaves
a flower in her wake.

Inspired by and written for Real Toads' Play It Again, Toads #18. I glimpsed at Writing the Inside, Out, but mostly used the pictures of the three flowers for this one. Thanks for the fun prompt!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

mother tongue

Inspired by and written for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads' Word Count with Mama Zen.

Here's the poem, by itself:

The worm is the mother tongue,
the origin of Man. The hiss that spits
our enemies, sets our fears aflame. Through fire
we rise, the power of ash in our fists.

This is what we have to give: a hand
with a knife, ill-hid.

And here's the painting, by itself:

The painting was my way of dealing with an insane finals week... I felt as if I were trapped in a burning room watching my own skin sizzle away while just off in a corner, beyond the blinds, was a world that might still be untouched. As with most of my work, it contains some found objects/mixed media elements. The curtain hanger is a chopstick, held in place by a few bolts I found. The window is framed by pieces of rusted metal. The blinds are words I tore out of an old, decrepit, almost unsalvageable book. The twisty device and the frame are tea packets, and a small mushroom bead acts as the pully thing. I then painted over it with the frenetic madness of a hummingbird on crack. (& I kinda like the results!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Original Omen: Familiar Estuary

There is a Nowhere,
the meeting of the wet trickle of the rainbow line
of our stream and the north fork of
Massie’s Creek, the beat of the water rushing
against itself. Nothing escapes the Scylla
of self entrapment, backwatered estuary.

While not the sea, Massie’s Creek is
bigger, faster, fuller, less slicked
with neon-hued oils from the roots of
clicking gangly reeds. The stream,
though, is less touched by Man. Clear, cold.
From the fields past the Creek, the pipes
poke up, spew currents of planting and reaping.
The Creek is deer-scat
colored sludge, the stream
is the mist of a waking dream.

In the dips where they dare
to meet, watch how they
change… without changing at all.
Welcome to Nowhere,
original omen,
the crash before
the desperate fall.

-for Real Toads' Tuesday Platform

Monday, June 22, 2015

How 6 months went by: a poem, a note, and a personal elucidation

A Poem

“From the Beyond”

A year sliced in half, with the six months askew:
days spanning many suns and spilling into many moons.
Weeks like hours and months like moments, waves consume,
Retreat, return; sand dripping and creeping
Until the glorious night soothes. Beneath the calming
Dark, the crickets chirp, the fireflies blink,
The ones and zeros lie asleep, the wires tripped
Over themselves, a clear free path revealed,
At risk of being overgrown.

A Note

Greetings, friends of the blogosphere,

It’s been awhile, eh?

In the last six months, I didn't really exist. Well, I did, but it didn't feel like me, really. It felt like a big robot brain, Face of Boe style. There was grad school, teaching, volunteering, student leadership, state lobbying, job applications, dissertation proposal writing, conferences, and many little trials and triumphs. It was a time my heart felt overly full and I knew I was where I needed to be, but I am happy to move on to the next phase in my life – writing and defending my dissertation.

What’s my dissertation? You ask.

Called “The Squall of the Wind Farms,” it’s an exploration of the policies and clashes among entrepreneurs, politicians, and various community interests in the development of wind farms. Nerdy, but I love it.

I did not have my dissertation in mind when I created this blog, but I delight that its title (Through the Wind Winding) so accurately captures the dissertation process. I feel a little like a ribbon that’s been blown around for months, finally caught in a tree, waving limply as the sun sets in a bright burst.


A Personal Elucidation

Someone asked me why I don’t post about politics on Facebook or my blog. (After all, I am a political science doctoral student.) My choice not to post my political opinions here stems from a few interconnected reasons.

1. The older I get, the more I see values and pitfalls, benefits and detriments, from multiple perspectives, and the less sure I am about my own opinions.

2. In each of my various professional roles as teacher, academic, journalist, and political scientist, I deal in the presentation of facts and perceptions. These are just as variable as opinions. Show me a study with one result, and I will dig up another study with a contrary result. Methodology is only part of these differences; we all want to be heard so badly that we speak past each other, asserting others are wrong before we try to understand how their perspectives actually compare to our own.

3. In a world where so many voices seem to shout, I genuinely want to listen. I want to know what each person means by the words they use. Political differences seem slightly less insurmountable when we peel back emotional rhetoric to look at substance: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

4. Every single person has something to teach me, and it’s not my place to shout over these potential learning opportunities. You won’t see me posting much about police brutality, race, or the 2016 election campaigns, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I care very deeply, which is why I spend so much time pushing these issues from multiple angles, particularly in the classroom. (Boy, am I excited to teach American Politics this fall!)

5. Finally, everyone needs an outlet. I love my job and my field, but I also love literature and poetry and silly pictures of cats and dogs… I use social media to fill these gaps. Politics is present in almost every aspect of my daily, face-to-face life; it is, after all, my career. I relish having a tiny little corner free of it.