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I sometimes think that all works of art are born somehow of fire. Words burn in a writer’s brain, unforgiving until they can spill upon page. Motion burns from the core of a dancer’s muscles. Paintings are licks of flame risen from a spirit through a brush to a canvas. Even in photography, there is a burning peaceful need to capture what is seen by one set of eyes into something that can be seen by others, a sharing of the embers of the photographer’s vision. The center of the earth that we walk on each day is made of fire, and it passes through layers of rock and soil and the skin of the soles of our feet to the center of the souls of our being, and must be expressed somehow.

In this sculpture studio, we found the purest expression of the creative fire, molten iron casually poured by men protected from its destructive power, men looking like creatures from the center of the earth themselves, men who controlled the flow of creativity, channeling it into molds and frames, containing it, shaping it, melding with it, as it fashioned itself through the sculptors hands into art, cold to the touch but still retaining that fire within. As we all do.

It reminded me that art can be dirty and primal and beautiful, full of heat and passion and practicality all at the same time, blending hotly and gently to create an artist’s ever-imperfect vision, for imperfection is the nature of art as viewed by the artist, and what makes them strive to improve always, trying to touch that fiery core with their bare hands, capture it, rejoice in it, and share it.

IMG_8548

Shidoni, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I used to know a sculptor… He always said that if you looked hard enough, you could see where each person carried his soul in his body. It sounds crazy, but when you saw his sculptures, it made sense. I think the same is true with those we love… Our bodies carry our memories of them, in our muscles, in our skin, in our bones. My children are right here.” She pointed to the inside curve of her elbow. “Where I held them when they were babies. Even if there comes a time when I don’t know who they are anymore. I believe I will feel them here.” — Erica Bauermeister

Daily gratitudes:
Brief flashes of clarity
Some time with Kelsea
Realizing creative necessities
Water
Beach time soon come

Should you think that we did nothing but park ourselves on a beach during our sabbatical, you’d be mistaken. MKL, wonderful, indulgent husband that he is, drove our little VW bug into San Miguel for me to take pictures of the architecture. Although the driving was insane, MKL did a wonderful job. I loved San Miguel. We mostly avoided the tourist district, which is populated primarily by disrespectfully attired people from the many cruise ships that come into port each day, and  vendors using whatever line they could think of to make us stop (“Hey, Mr. Mustache!” was my favorite). Exploring the fringes of San Miguel revealed amazingly beautiful murals on building after building, as well as the small details that my photographer’s eye automatically seeks out. This piece was painted on the side and loading dock of the mercada, and our blue friend appears to be taking a sniff of the pink flowers. Oh, how lovely to see green and flowers and sunshine at the beginning of Februray.

Blue ManSan Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” — Vincent van Gogh

Daily gratitudes:
16 days until SpringContinuing to fight the battle with depression
My bed
MKL
Sun

 

The Edge

I stepped too close,
found myself looking into a dark hole
that held my future
which looked like nothing.

The edge of that abyss
that is called depression
is exhausting
sickening
terrifying
and compelling.

When hope feels as hard to find
a shards of glass in moving water,
and light is as faint as the echo
of a match blown out,
that edge crawls with seductive whispers,
promising ease.

Never forget that depression lies.

A Frozen Spring

First a winter that would not cool, and now a spring that will not warm.

Snow flies thick as fruit flies on old bananas in summer,
Heavy flakes full of the icy tears of angels crying for the lush heat of heaven.

The cold crushes spirits, makes us walk with heads bowed
not in prayer, but in submission, or perhaps penitence,
as we watch our world disappear in a swirl of unforgiving white.

I am still, crumpled in despair by a garden
never to bloom or so it feels,
the only heat that of my blood as it pulses slower, slower,
slower
through my fading body.

 

(Note to readers: Even though National Poetry Writing Month officially ended yesterday, I realized that I am seven poems short, so I am going to make up for the missing verses. Besides, I’m really enjoying writing poems again.)

Surreality

The shadows surround each parked car,
glooming up,
swallowing hoods and fenders,
lurking in front of darkened headlights,
stealing away as my eye
catches their evil.

Innocent bunnies
bare fangs
and have a Mexican stand-off
in the middle of the street,
dashing off angrily in opposite directions
when I approach.

A dog barks deeply
the sound lingering
in my backyard,
spreading out thickly through the
cool, damp, air.

I do not have a dog.

It is snowing in May.

I tremble from exhaustion,
fumble with the light switches
curl up in a soft bed
and live inside my dreams.

Across The Bar

At a certain time of afternoon,
The sun spills across the tops of the mountains
peeking out beneath a layer of cool woolen clouds,
Bathing lucky in souls in rapt light
Turning the ordinary into gold
And each of us – briefly –
into Midas.

On Regrets

I once gave you a two-headed coin
to protect you from fates that hurt you.

Now, you choose to hurt me with your words,
again
And I am thrown into the River Styx,
again.

I do not want to be here,
again,
trying to breathe.

I hope the ferryman
will accept that coin as payment.

Please ask him to take care
not hit me with his oars
as you pass by
for I have been hurt
enough.

The Fiddlehead Ferns of Fate

The passionate young man in overalls
has aged gracefully.
He tends his garden as he tends his children,
lovingly and in such a way
that each progeny,
be it flesh and blood
or root and leaf,
knows that it is treasured.

The wildness of soul is –

For now –

Expressed in a mystical empathy with beautiful beasts
and in decadent desserts.

He has danced in the pouring rain
and judged the quality of absinthe in a dim cafe
and always remembered a single promise.

A man of such heart
deserves
the cool and wonderous touch of fate
found in another’s hand to hold
as he passes through
this sun-dappled world.

I hope
he finds it
somewhere admist the ferns.

A Writer’s Spring

In a different realm,
the road to the future is paved with words.

They spiral before me on a natural path,
scrolling and spilling.

Spirits tell me
Some words will be kicked aside
and some will be embraced,
but just now,
no one knows which will
be which.

It is finally time
to take pen in hand
And turn
down the path
toward a writer’s spring.

 

Under A False Sky

The gondoliers drift idly by
Singing sotto voice for the tourists
As they ply their poles and their trades
Through the blue waters of the canal.

In the square, statues come to life,
If you watch with care,
And buskers play and sing for coins
With carefree abandon.

A wandering wench sells masques
To help you partake in the pleasures of the city
In safe anonymity.

And the sky changes from cerulean blue
To rose-tinted,
Blending with muted gold
Drifting into midnight blue
As the square lights brighten to the darkness.

You can almost forget
where you are.

Almost.

August 2016
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