Your presence is a mirror, taut and round, a love letter from a time I can’t recall, so much of me, it’s hardly there at all, the surface of a depth far more profound than space. You are the wind with which I run, the movement in the sky, that which I breath, the essence of the soul that I believe conjoins us all, the shining of the sun without being the sun itself. Mute voice reciting all the poetry I write, inverse dark matter cradling me in light. We look into each other and rejoice. We never knew that we would find a twin. We reach our arms out and then step within.
Some things just fall out of the end of the pen…..
When I’m dead
You’ll be the first I’ll visit when I’m dead.
I guess that you’ll be waiting there for me
and we can say all that we’ve left unsaid
about things that were never meant to be.
You’ll get the joke I never did tell right,
unless we’re in a place jokes can’t be told.
You’ll know that fuss I made was not a fight,
and love that would have stayed as we grow old –
because it did, despite lives that diverged
for reasons that need never be explained.
Each time I thought of death, my feelings surged
that it would be when I see you again.
You’ll be the first I’ll visit when I’m through
and then you’ll know I wrote this one for you.
I decided to spent some of my new free time to call people I haven’t seen in a while, or have stopped seeing in the course of life because of the social distancing. I also decided to use the time for some more poetry. On Sunday afternoon I sat down to write a poem but didn’t find any inspiration, so I decided to call someone. I got voicemail. So I called someone else. Ditto. Eight voicemails later, I had my inspiration.
A quiet day with little going on,
in Covid times the schedule is quite bare.
I miss my friends, hope they have not become
statistics with what’s going on out there.
I guess they also won’t have much to do
so thought I’d be the one that would reach out,
pick up the phone and say “Hey, how are you?”
not leave our friendship’s worth to me in doubt.
But all I got was voicemails! Every one!
Had I missed out on something? Checked the news…
there’s really nothing different going on!
I guess just me that’s sat here with the blues.
They’ll all call back at once, that’s what they’ll do
And get my outgoing voicemail message too!
Got the inspiration for this one while doing a little clean up for my absent neighbor. I was working early in the morning before it got way to hot, even for the acclimated desert rat, to be doing yardwork. I decided to turn the inspiration into a kid’s summer day because the first line had a bit better ring than ‘I caught the sun while grubbing in the yard…..’
Catching the sun
You caught the sun, you held it like a ball
in two-year hands – a shining rounded joy
so newly given, a perfect rolling toy
and never thought that it would burn at all.
Your retina was blotched from gazing up,
your shoulders burned, your face, your arms, your knees
from summer’s day your heart demand you sieze
to dance beneath the heated turquoise cup
of sky. And as earth rolled round to sunset
you played your heart out, flew it like a kite
upon the solar wind, til it grew night
and tiredness told you it was time for bed.
Your red face says you caught the sun today.
Your smile, that it was worth it just to play.
It was inevitable. At some point someone was going to challenge me to write a sonnet about Covid-19. Despite my science background, I was mostly inspired by the roadwork at the corner of Highway 86 and State route 22.
Behind the cones
Workers dismissed, how long for, they don’t know.
Equipment lying folded by the street’s
half torn-up surface; they’ve been here for weeks –
the crane, the gravel truck, the red back-hoe,
all wondering if they’re going to start again.
It’s been a month now since the workers left –
something is wrong – the world’s been set adrift
and they are out here rusting in the rain
that’s also started to erode the work
they’ve done so far. Nature takes back the earth
freed from the blacktopl strange kind of rebirth
spawned from the fear of one small viral quirk.
One day when covid-19’s finally gone
the work behind the cones will carry on.
If there’s a challenge for a sonnet, it’s when the power goes out and it’s soooooo quiet.
Silence can be the loudest sound of all –
the emptiness between the beats of heart,
the absence of now-frozen water’s fall
from rock to pool, in winter. When we start
and fail to stop and listen to each sound
that tells us so much if we just know how
to hear it. The when quiet comes around
we simply can breathe out, breathe in the now,
the peace, the solitude, the soundless bath
of spirit washing over a rattled mind
and so, refreshed turn back to our own path
with spaces between the stars still left to find.
Dark windless nights aspire to extol
the virtue of the silence of the soul.
Riverside Art Museum is holding a fundraiser called Art Bark in the Park to which I applied and was assigned a pup. I decided to paint the pup in oil – a skyscape with lawns on the bottom of each paw with dogs on, and my sonnet about dogs painted into the clouds. So far I’ve done the sky and the lawns. I will need to wait a week or so until that is dry enough to add the dogs and poems. I didn’t know until I picked up the dog that I was getting a beagle.
The blank canvas. I’d had to fix the undercoat in a few places. The difference in undercoat color won’t affect the painting.
My fellow artist Mary Foote came over to see this as a demo so took some photos of me in action
I was showing Mary how to blend clouds in oil
Photographed this one at an angle to get the entire dog in.
And it’s possible to paint on the back, so I have another canvas to dream up!
I haven’t posted a sonnet in a while. I was going to post one about hot flashes (seeing as I’ve been enjoying to the extent that I need to start laughing about it) but Andrew Eales’ post this morning reminded me about this sonnet:
It’s in man’s heart, because it’s in his head
to merge both words and music into song.
There’re places in our brains they both belong
together – feelings more than just what’s said.
But too, we wonder how that seed was sown
that made us lilt our words into a tune.
Was it the wolves a-howling at the moon
or cat’s meow, or buck’s loud rutting groan?
It’s much more likely that the sound above
that we sometimes call angels, were the trills
inspiring us to develop singing skills
to tell our stories, feelings, sadness, love.
Whatever was that singing that we heard
outside our souls? It was a little bird.
This morning I got an email from one of the art websites I work with – storiestoart.com. This is a little different that most art websites – although they do offer artwork, they actively promote commissions both of artwork, poetry and songs. And the staff have been wonderful people to work with!
I often get asked about the Salton Sea. Whether it is still there. Yes, but a little smaller. I am looking at a mid to dark blue sea as I write this, sitting at my dining room table (the view is better than the wall in front of my desk), which means it’s pretty breezy out there. I love the fact that I can tell the windspeed by the color of the sea, and that sometimes one half of it will be dark and the other light. That when there is no wind, it is the same color as the sky.
This morning I walked down to the shore, such as it is, now perhaps a half mile of what will eventually be salt flats – some of it dry enough to walk on, much of it not, so I can no longer go to the water’s edge without ending up up to my thighs in fish guano.
I took a photo of the ‘reflecting pool’, which when I moved here almost fifteen years ago was full of water up to the far side of that little row of vegetation in the front.
When I returned I wrote this:
Palm Springs to Yuma – not a hint of breeze,
the silence is so loud you’ll hear your heart
beat in your chest. Your breath will stop and start
as you behold the mirror Salton Sea’s
become on such a day. A piece of sky
stretched on the desert floor – cerulean rug
of knots so fine. And ’til a stop will tug
the air, that blessed earthly canopy,
and then that sea to ever deepening blue
then gray, then black with whitecapse, watch this glass
this polished surface thirty five miles vast
reflects the sky it lives under, to you.
On windless days, the Salton Sea shines most,
more than the oceans found on either coast.