“For if I try to seize this self of which I feel sure, if I try to define and to summarize it, it is nothing but water slipping through my fingers.” ~ Albert Camus, from “An Absurd Reasoning”

Fremont Ellis The Summer Rain acrylic on canvas

“The Summer Rain” (nd, acrylic on canvas)
by Fremont Ellis


Two for Tuesday: Kevin Hart

Armin Hansen Monterey Bay and El Toro Mountain 1921

“Monterey Bay and El Toro Mountain” (1921)
by Armin Hansen

The Word

Say wood and everything is clean again.
The word is all around you, like the night,
Impossible to grasp. Your mouth is dark.

A splinter found its way into your quick.
That old tree slit by lightning won’t be moved.
Last year’s thin rain froze hard inside a trunk

And now a honey flesh shines through cracked bark.
Your mouth is dark. Go far into yourself,
Let quietness gather there, then say the word.

                   

Emil Nolde Still Sea 1936

“Still Sea” (1936)
by Emil Nolde

Here

In a bare room where light pours in from the ocean
You are still sleeping
You are still here

And nothing more happens except the sound
Of a page turning
While you sleep on

The sound of a story turning and the ocean stirring
Near our thin room
With you asleep

Perhaps with the thought of a storm much later on
When you awake
In this bruised room

Two people still here perhaps with ocean light
Fragile and turning
Dark as your voice

That lives in the air and mirrors here. But look,
You are awake;
I am still here.

Music by Michael Giacchino, “London Calling” (extended version, from Star Trek: Into Darkness)

 

Sunday afternoon . . .

All images are by Russian artist Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (Кузьма Петров-Водкин, 1878-1939)

 

Life on Mars (Another New Year’s Day)

Words for the wind were filled with trees

I was filled with a feeling I couldn’t name

I knew I would never be seeing her again: the girl with the shy tuck to her head, in the folkloric
embroidered dress

In the aftermath I found myself in the mirror of ambivalent desire

Stripped of all continuous nature

The moon glowed blue through the tears in the clouds

The moon glows blue like Orpheus’ severed head

The tundra swans bark like dogs in the night

Or dogs bark like tundra swans

I have lost again the fluidity of tears

I am once more the child filled with unformulated words

A loony-tune torn apart by the trees

Or I found myself a stranger in my own bed

I couldn’t see or I couldn’t hear

Or the porous casement of my skin rippled by sleep

That old, lunar, crazy-making sea

I couldn’t recognize the sounds inside myself as thoughts

Their sloshing waves, the garbled stuttering tides, syllabic particles
loosed from the tack of grammar

Or I wake to find myself walking upright, a vertical figure in a horizontal field of burnt and broken trees

A walk takes shape, a walk takes the walker’s shape

How to pull this apart, part the air, the wind from the air, the trees from the trees?

Again the moonlight

Again the moon

The moon like Orpheus’ severed head volleyed by the sway of the boughs

I send my voice ahead of me along the trail

My voice carves the shape of a thought in the dense, viscous air

We fall redirecting evolution’s course

We fall toward one another, lift off and fall

We are the televised reunion of twins separated at birth

We locate ourselves in relation to the tundra swans

Is this life on the wet red moors?

Or I wake to find myself, my husband asleep beside me, breathing softly,

his hand resting at the small of my back

What opera is this?

Who turned the tides?

Where is the moon I know?

The unicorn? The virgin’s lap? The cloister? The frozen citadel?

Where is the girl with the slate-gray eyes?

Is this the soft delusion of a dream?

What are these glittering sparks?

Is this life on Mars?

Life unmoored?

Marks etched into the strand, the slate-gray margins of a Mars-Black sea?

Is this a marriage, a chronicle, a walk against the wind, a tender conversation
made private by the white noise of the surf, the whorl of screaming gulls?

Where is the first fine dust of snow, the dusty moths, the wind-slurred words?

Are these the straining ropes that moor the dream to its source?

What is the source?

Where is the first snow of the first day of the first breath of the world?

What day is this? What hour of the day?

Where is the snow?

How does it all turn out?

(….)

I woke to a blizzard

No words can describe it that haven’t described a blizzard before: white quiet cold

I opened the shutters unto a void of white, everything blotted out, a white hole
sucking in the sound of human enterprise

I walked into the white quiet void, I walked toward the subway

There were skiers cutting through the snow, children tumbling very quietly into the banks

Dogs nosing at the drifts, steam pluming from their red, panting mouths

~ Genya Turovskaya

See more at: http://www.pen.org/poetry/life-mars-another-new-years-day#sthash.vZc2Xjdm.dpuf

                   

Music by Asa, “The Way I Feel”

“We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.” ~ Carl Sagan

Got back from Ohio late last night. Trying to catch up with everything. Here, have some Sagan:

Carl Sagan

                   

Music by Poets of the Fall, “Heal My Wounds”

“I dream of lost | vocabularies that might express some of what | we no longer can.” ~ Jack Gilbert, from “The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart”

Aleksandr Golovin Birch Trees oil on canvas

“Birch Trees” (oil on canvas)
by Aleksandr Golovin


Jan Mankes Maanacht 1914

“Maanacht” (1914)
by Jan Mankes

 Two for Tuesday: Jack Gilbert

Horses at Midnight without a Moon

Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.
Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.
But there’s music in us. Hope is pushed down
but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
The summer mornings begin inch by inch
while we sleep, and walk with us later
as long-legged beauty through
the dirty streets. It is no surprise
that danger and suffering surround us.
What astonishes is the singing.
We know the horses are there in the dark
meadow because we can smell them,
can hear them breathing.
Our spirit persists like a man struggling
through the frozen valley
who suddenly smells flowers
and realizes the snow is melting
out of sight on top of the mountain,
knows that spring has begun.

                   

Umberto Moggioli Sera di Primavera aka Spring Evening, Venezia 1914

“Sera di Primavera, Venezia” (1914)
by Umberto Moggioli

Bring in the Gods

Bring in the gods, I say, and he goes out. When he comes
back and I know they are with him, I say, Put tables in front
of them so they may be seated, and food upon the tables
so they may eat. When they have eaten, I ask which of them
will question me. Let him hold up his hand, I say.
The one on the left raises his hand. I tell him to ask.
Where are you now, he says. I stand on top of myself, I hear
myself answer. I stand on myself like a hilltop and my life
is spread before me. Does it surprise you, he asks. I explain
that in our youth and for a long time after our youth we cannot
see our lives. Because we are inside of that. Because we can
see no shape to it, since we have nothing to compare it to.
We have not seen it grow and change because we are too close.
We don’t know the names of things that would bind them to us,
so we cannot feed on them. One near the middle asks why not.
Because we don’t have the knack for eating what we are living.
Why is that? she asks. Because we are too much in a hurry.
Where are you now? the one one left says. With the ghosts.
I am with Gianna those two years in Perugia. Meeting secretly
in the thirteenth-century alleys of stone. Walking in the fields
through the spring light, she well dressed and walking in heels
over the plowed land. We are just outside the city walls
hidden under the thorny blackberry bushes and her breasts naked.
I am with her those many twilights in the olive orchards,
holding the heart of her as she whimpers. Now where are you?
he says. I am with Linda those years and years. In American
cities, in Copenhagen, on Greek islands season after season.
Lindos and Monolithos and the other places. I am with Michiko
for eleven years, East and West, holding her clear in my mind
the way a native can hold all of his village at one moment.
Where are you now? he says. I am standing on myself the way
a bird sits in her nest, with the babies half asleep underneath
and the world all leaves and morning air. What do you want?
a blonde one asks. To keep what I already have, I say. You ask
too much, he says sternly. Then you are at peace, she says.
I am not at peace, I tell her. I want to fail. I am hungry
for what I am becoming. What will you do? she asks. I will
continue north, carrying the past in my arms, flying into winter.

                   

Music by Plumb, “Cut”