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.
This sonnet has been something of a challenge – in that it is the first poem I’ve written in over three months. Some things been going on in life that just take the stuffing out of you sometimes.
A poet friend of mine, Larry Jaffe, once wrote a poem that all poets connect with. It had no lines, just a title: “I lost another f****** poem in the shower.”
I lost a poem in the shower today –
as water flowed, it ran right from my mind.
It formed and then the liquid washed away
the verse, leaving no residue behind.
I lost a poem driving down the street –
blanking my mind, the idea began to sprout.
I listened to it, it really was quite neat
but by the time I’d parked it’d fluttered out.
And in the doctor’s waiting room one time
I couldn’t find some paper fast enough
to get it down a pen and catch the rhyme,
my turn was called, it vanished with a puff.
And I’m sure there’s many a poet that has said
They’ve lost a masterpiece, snuggled in bed.
I realized that I had not posted this sonnet, despite the fact that it was inspired by the experience of a fellow blogger. Rhi had gone for a very important interview and had asked for some accommodations to help with the difficulties with environment unfamiliarity due to autism. They guessed at how they needed to overcome her difficulties and did not succeed too much. Perhaps as a consequence, neither did she at securing the job. I recommend you read her blog entry before you read the sonnet.
A day in your moccasins
We able-bodied try to understand
the difficulties of the body bent
into a chair, or missing foot or hand
by hobbling ourselves, with the intent
of walking in your shoes – or wheels – or world
of silence. We can don masks, hold a cane,
experience the perspective of hands curled
to uselessnes by age’s creeping pain.
This path we walked can help us build a bridge
across the chasms that hold back those not whole;
and yet one group we still leave on the edge
unable to feel how you’re untypical.
We can’t take steps inside a spectrum mind.
Only see footprints in the sand you left behind.
Sometimes I think poets go through all the circumstances themselves so they can write about things from a personal perspective.
Outside of prejudice, a place that’s learned
like old wives’ tales, absorbed at parent’s knee
to recognize the ones that should be spurned,
no why, just that’s the way that it should be.
Inside of prejudice, that face is turned,
for reasons I can’t fathom, away from me,
til whispers, giggles stop when I get near
and conversation turns to other things.
I know I am the joke I cannot hear
and my imagination then takes wings
and rises on the heat of latent fear,
the wind that is despair, and all it brings.
Outside of prejudice can see no wrong.
Inside of prejudice I don’t belong.