Thursday, October 1

the re-telling of stories...

As I move through each day of this pandemic, this political crisis, and the devastation of climate change all around me, I look for ways to spark creativity, even if it's painting or writing for just 30 minutes. But my brain is so often in shut down mode, frozen, unable to move. What I find most helpful, is looking through projects I haven't finished, or looking through my art books and papers, and sometimes I am moved to work on these little bits of forgotten art. And that feels good, to squeeze fresh paint on my palette and just play. As for my poetry, writing prompts don't always work for me, or trying out a new poetry form just feels claustrophobic and constrained. That said, I want to share a prompt I stumbled upon a couple years ago, that goes like this:

Tell the story about something interesting that happened to you, or in my case, re-write a poem and tell it in the form of an instruction manual.

Now this I could do. I simply took a poem, and re-wrote it in the form of an instruction manual. I didn't have to create something new, I just re-structured an existing piece. The original poem was about rescuing a dead Redtail hawk that was crisping on the freeway. First, is the original poem, followed by the new version.

Shaman's Toolbox

Nocturnal victim of russet and ivory
fuses to the asphalt
as cars rush past in a parallel universe.

Sacred tools at my side,
gloves, newspaper and a garden trowel,
I kneel on the blistering gravel.
Squeezing the sun from my eyes,
the fisted talons come into focus.
Carnivorous beak, still.
Eyes fixed in a death stare.

With prayer and intention
I wrap the fallen raptor
in a shroud of Sunday funnies.
Flesh beetles drop from the frayed edges.

Hidden in the safety
of a Steve Madden shoebox
cornmeal and tobacco dust
the decay, the beauty, the silence.

A balanced pyramid 
of precambrian rocks
holds the spirit deep in the arms
of a dry California hillside.

Beneath the unforgiving shade
of yarrow and sagebrush,
heat blows across my face,
and I wipe the grieving sweat
that stings my eyes.

How to stop on the freeway to scrape up roadkill...

  1.  gather these items for your toolbox: newspaper, latex gloves, garden trowel, cornmeal and tobacco, sage, matches. carefully place items in a Steve Madden shoe box. 
  2.  put Steve Madden shoe box containing items in the car, the trunk is fine. If you don't have a trunk, on the floor in the back is good.
  3.  get in car, merge onto freeway. this is the most common place to spot the fallen messengers, usually found fused to the asphalt.
  4.  when you see the rust-striped wing flapping like a fancy-dancers headress, you will need to safely pull over on the side of the freeway.
  5.  get your toolbox, and carefully get out of car and walk slowly toward the body.
  6.  while kneeling next to the body, open the shoe box, put on latex gloves, lay out the newspaper, trowel, cornmeal and tobacco.
  7.  carefully lift the body from the asphalt and put on the newspaper. you might have to do some scraping with the shovel. allow the flesh beetles to drop from the frayed edges. 
  8.  dust the decaying raptor with cornmeal and tobacco and wrap with the newspaper like a shroud, then rest inside the shoe box.
  9.  drive to the country, away from traffic, people, negative energy. you're looking for a quiet peaceful final resting place on a dry California hillside.
  10.  once you have a spot picked out, get your shoebox, and don't forget the sage and matches this time. ceremony is key here.
  11.  dig a hole deep enough to bury the shoe box. With pure intention of the heart, offer prayer, song, gentle words.
  12.  fill hole with the red dirt, stack rocks, add greenery, and erase any signs of footprints, or humanity.
  13.  beneath the unforgiving shade of yarrow and sagebrush, wipe the grieving sweat from your eyes, and light your sage.
  14.  embrace the beauty, the silence and let the spirit finish the journey.

Monday, April 6

Eostre's Eggs

.. and the Legend of the Easter Bunny 

 The Anglo-Saxons hailed Eostre as the Goddess of Spring the Greening  Earth, and FertilityHer name means "moving with the waxing sun."Around the time of her festival, when light and dark are equal, the animals began giving birth or going into their sexually receptive cycles, named "esturs periods" after the goddess. The woodland animals, who also worshipped and loved Eostre- would play in the warmth of spring light and feast on the new vegetation Eostre provided. 

One of Eostre's devotees was a small hare who wished to give a gift to his goddess, but he didn't know what he could possibly offer that would be of any value to her. One day while foraging, the hare came across a fresh egg, a very prized commodity.The little hare wanted very badly to eat the egg, as it had been a long time since he'd feasted on anything finer than dry grasses. Before he could take a bite of his prize, he realized this egg might make the perfect gift for Eostre. But, he thought that Eostre could have all the eggs she wanted. She was a goddess, a creator of Life itself. Giving her just any egg would never do. How could he make this egg a fit offering for his goddess? 

The little hare took the egg home and pondered how to make it as beautiful and new as Eostre made the world each spring. He began to decorate the egg. He painted it in the hues of Eostre's spring woods and placed upon the shell symbols sacred to Eostre. When he felt he could not make the egg any more beautiful, he took it to Eostre and offered it to her. Eostre was so pleased by the little hare's sacrifice of his egg to her, and by the manner in which he decorated it for her, that she wanted everyone-especially children, who are themselves symbols of new life- to enjoy these representations of her bounty. 

Since that Ostara day long ago, the descendants of that hare have taken up the task of delivering decorated eggs to the world's children at spring. They are called Eostre's Bunnies or, more commonly, the Easter Bunny.

Friday, June 21

Honor the Sacred Sun

Today is the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer. The journey into the harvest season has begun. The colors are yellow, green and blue. With the sun at its highest, this is a time that energy reaches its peak, flooding the surface of the planet. With all the light, this is a good time to reflect and make realization. What did you plant in the year that has now matured during this season? Prosperous thoughts? Charitable thoughts? Or do you have lots of weeds in your consciousness? 

And what can you do to celebrate this day? Since water is essential for life to continue on Mother Earth, this is a good time to honor the water beings and ask for enough water to care for our gardens. Make a pledge to Mother Earth of something that you can do to improve the environment. You can have a special gift exchange with friends or your family in your garden, to encourage growth and prosperity, and to acknowledge the gifts of the past season.

enjoy this day

Friday, June 14

A Buddha State of Mind

Time to put words on the page. Fill up the space with twisted vines of thought. Reach out to the Universe and pluck red shifting galaxies. Release gases into withered lungs and plant trees on mars.

Are poets visionaries? or are the visions poetry? The poet sits on a tiny portion of the painting, gazing at the untouched palette.

I am an empty vessel, waiting to be filled. I am a universe within a universe. I am a sea of blossoming womb.

Paint, write, gaze.