Artist of the Day: Taxis at NIght - Irene Suchocki

taxis at night irene suchocki  eyepoetryphotography

Back when I used to watch television, (all of three months ago), I liked to watch HBO's Taxicab Confessions. The show is evidence that people will tell a stranger anything and have absolutely no compunction about revealing themselves completely.

Even in this small, small world, we put up on our Facebook pages and blogs that which we never speak of, even to those closest to us.

Perhaps this need to reveal ourselves is like the postsecret phenom where we can secretly or not so secretly release the ugliest, best, or the most secret parts of ourselves without fear of reprisal or of seeing our dreams shot through will holes. 

It's the strangest thing sitting next to a stranger on a flight, or in line at an event, to have them reveal the intimate details of their private worlds. Just last weekend a women I had known for exactly ten minutes revealed her marital despair about her husband of two months, and her plan to divorce. She actually wanted my opinion. What could I say in response other than, good luck?

I haven't been in a taxi for a long time, but I have my computer, and access to blogs and websites the world over. If that fails, I always have the lines at the grocery store. I love all the stories, however I come by them.

Here's hoping your weekend if full of stories.

artist bio: In my photography I combine my love of travel and place with a dream-like aesthetic to create visual poems that evoke a sense of magic, delight, nostalgia and romance. I love to photograph iconic places such as Paris, New York, and Venice in a way that gives the sense of having tumbled through a secret doorway into a previously unseen world. When I am not traveling, I turn to nature for inspiration and for subject matter, with a particular fondness for trees and coastal landscapes.

Poem Therapy 2:34 27 September 2012: I Had Just Hung Up from Talking to You - Jessica Greenbuam

Jessica Greenbaum
I had just hung up from talking to you
and we had been so immersed in the difficulty
you were facing, and forgive me,
I was thinking that as long as we kept talking,
you in your car in the parking lot of the boys’ school
as the afternoon deepened into early evening,
and me in the study, all the books around
that had been sources of beauty to us,
as long as we stayed in the conversation
padded with history like the floor of the pine forest,
as long as I thought out loud, made a joke
at my own expense, you would be harbored in that exchange,
but the boys were leaving the track
and after we hung up I looked out the window
to see the top of the bare January trees spotlit to silvery red,
massive but made from the thinnest
twigs at the ends of the branches at the ends of the limbs
they were waving and shining in a light
like no other and left only to them.

Listening is important.

For the past few months, I have been paying someone to listen to me talk about the frayed edges of my life. I've had the impulse to apologize for talking about myself so much, but then remember that is the point. I spend a lot of the time there laughing. He laughs too. Otherwise, it would just be uncomfortable.

I know I couldn't do his job. I wonder how he deals with the litany of woe, real and imagined, his clients bring him every day.
It's very hard for me to listen and not act. I have to fight the impulse to enter the story, fix things, lay the enemy of my friend down, set the problem aright. Sometimes, I lose that fight.
When my husband had his first heart attack, I was certain I could keep him alive by cooking clean and getting him to exercise. After a few months, turkey bacon was the straw that broke the camel's back, and he complained that life wasn't worth living if he had to eat like this. It took me a very long time to figure out that his health was his business.
What I know for sure is that the only life I have authority over is my own. The only life I can save is my own.
I only have this one, and precious life.
So do you.

Artist of the Day: Empty Nest - Lucy Snowe

empty nest - lucy snowe lucysnowephotography

If I'm going to be honest, it's not entering a mid-life crisis zone that is the issue.

This is the heart of the issue.

Lucy Snowe is one of my favorite contemporary photographers.
artist bio: I live as a hermit in the Pacific Northwest, in a tiny town with no stop lights. My neighbors think I've moved away, at the grocery store, they often ask, "Do you still live here?" I miss the anonymity of Los Angeles, but I do like watching the wild duck parade her tiny ducklings around the pond.

Artist of the Day: Folk Art Hummingbird Portrait - Tamara Adams

folk art hummingbird portrait goddessgallery
Over a year ago a hummingbird flew over to me and hovered inches from my face. It was a fascinating and disconcerting experience. I felt the air from its thrumming wings on my face. It was engaging and interacting with me in the manner of cats or dogs.
Of course I googled hummingbird + myth + symbolism, and in nearly every search, hummingbirds represented joy.
This painting by Portland, Oregon based artist Tamara Adams reminds me to find joy every day. Every day.
Check out the rest of her paintings on her site.  I especially love Mexican Madonna Guadalupe.
artist bio: The contemporary folk art of Tamara Adams hangs in private and corporate collections internationally. Featured by galleries, publishers and designers, her work is recognized for it's style, color and warmth. Adams' Mexican inspired acrylic paintings of women and children and her modern interpretations of traditional iconography pay tribute to the beauty, mystery and strength of the female spirit. Currently she works and makes her home in Portland, Oregon. She exhibits her original paintings and reproductions in galleries and juried art events on the West Coast and is represented every weekend at Portland Saturday Market.

Artist of the Day: Home Is Wherever I'm With You - Jan Skacelik

home is wherever i'm with you  jan skacelik

I love this image and what it represents.

My dream has never, ever, been to own or live in a trailer, in case you're wondering. The freedom of pulling your home with you where ever you go, is appealing, but the impermanence is unsettling. I can just imagine hitting a bump and there goes everything rolling down a ravine.

I've been thinking a lot about change, which has led to thoughts about scaling down. Way down.

Tiny house designs and blogs have really been fueling my imagination for some time now. 

I love my house. I really do. I don't love all my stuff, though. I've been clearing out each room and sending car fulls of bags to local thrift stores. I started with my closet, on the advice of Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project. She has a new book out, Happier at Home. I need to work through all the chapters of the first book before I get to the second. fyi: clear out your closet is the first chapter.

My daughter is moving to Los Angeles in a little more than six months, and the thought of it has me thinking of packing it in, packing it up, and just, starting fresh, changing the narrative, possibly entering another story mid-way.

Could be that I am heading into a mid-life crisis. Could be that what is, just isn't where I want to be any longer.

When I asked my daughter how she felt about what I've been thinking, her reply was, home is where you are. I feel the same way.


artist bio: My name is Jan Skácelík and I work as a graphic designer / photographer / composer in Olomouc Czech Republic. my blog:

Poem Therapy 2:57 P.M. 24 September 2012: effect shrewd preferences - Evie Shockley

effect shrewd preferences
Evie Shockley

the screed seen here blesses
        the sweet, the meek, the gentle,
                the serene. let eyes ensembled
peep the news sheets: ere
        december descends, we'll elect
                the next pres, reps, etc. when
we welter, cede the wheel,
        we let greed-questers enter
                (well-dressed jerks!). they send
themselves the green we need,
        help themselves fleece the sheep
                we be. we're the perfect prey!
the press sleeps the sleep we
        deserve, then bleeds berserk
                text between celeb tweets. we'd
best reject the mess, steer
        the fleet between these repellent
                hells. veer! swerve! reverse!
here's the pledge: we'll expect
        better press. elect the decent
                men, the keenest shes. revere
sense. never feed spleen lest
        we weep endless weeks, red-
                eyed, bereft. let excellent pens
represent the experts' ken, help
        peeps remember key elements.
                let's select well. we'll revel yet.


Can it just be over yet?

Here's the thing, after last week, I don't want to hear another word. Not. One. Word.

But, that is wishful thinking. Both sides are ratcheting up their game plan, resetting, polling, texting, emailing, tweeting, Facebooking, calling.  

It really feels like we're getting sprayed with perfume by those annoying sales clerks who stand at the entrance of department stores with decanters, squeezing and squeezing, chasing after us when we try to avoid them.

Hang on. One month and one week left.  

Music & Poetry Mash Up: You Can Do It Without Me - Father John Misty + Exquisite Politics - Denise Duhamel & Maureen Seaton

sales job denny pinkham

You Can Do It Without Me


Exquisite Politics

The perfect voter has a smile but no eyes,
maybe not even a nose or hair on his or her toes,
maybe not even a single sperm cell, ovum, little paramecium.
Politics is a slug copulating in a Poughkeepsie garden.
Politics is a grain of rice stuck in the mouth
of a king. I voted for a clump of cells,
anything to believe in, true as rain, sure as red wheat.
I carried my ballots around like smokes, pondered big questions,
resources and need, stars and planets, prehistoric
languages. I sat on Alice's mushroom in Central Park,
smoked longingly in the direction of the mayor's mansion.
Someday I won't politic anymore, my big heart will stop
loving America and I'll leave her as easy as a marriage,
splitting our assets, hoping to get the advantage
before the other side yells: Wow! America,
Vespucci's first name and home of free and brave, Te amo.

Artist of the Day: Vintage Mugshot - Larken Design

vintage mugshot larkendesign

I want to know what she was arrested for. Don't you?

My guess is pilfering books from the local library. 

This trio would be perfect in my upstairs family room.

Have you seen the recent Amish mugshots? They are not to be missed.


artist bio: Larken is a design collaborative formed by an architect and graphic designer. Larken produces objects ranging from jewelry to posters. The work we produce has strong graphic and spatial qualities focusing on geometry, repetition, pattern and a play of color and shadow.

The First Day of Fall Wish List: Vintage & Homemade Gifts

The first day of Fall, the Autumnal Equinox is coming a little late this year. Instead of arriving on the 21st, the sun will cross the celestial equator on the 22nd.

The days are shorter. The mornings and evenings are chilly, but the days are still blistering hot. Summer's flowers still bloom. The first frost is still weeks away. Leaves have yet to turn red, orange, and yellow, or fall from thier branches.

Apples and pears are heavy on the trees. Squash and pumpkins are abundant.

The days of sunning on the deck have become evenings of staying inside, wrapped up in a blanket with a stack of books, sipping cinnamon coffee.

Fall is a mix of mischief, memory, trepidation, and comfort. Mischief because of the trickster Halloween holiday. Memory because of Day of the Dead ancestor ceremonies. Trepidation because winter is just around the corner. Comfort because of warm fires and soft blankets, and all the comfort food.

I mark the season by making stews and creamy vegetable soups served with crusty bread.

Here's my wish list:

fox hunt misfitleather
vintage photos americathebeautiful
day of the dead skull cookies sweet treats
organic dress marisilia21
wrap up with a good book scarf storiarts
cinnamon coffee blend pastryandcompany
handbuilt coffee mug justwork
instant book collection patinaposh
wish blanket handknitblankets
soup tureen red earthenware gwenfryarpottery
chicken potato soup nomarkatall
couscous caprese souperspices
handmade wooden tasting spoon tworibka
rosemary focaccia bread mix earth market

Poem Therapy at 8:35 20 September 2012: Palea -Tory Dent

Tory Dent

Only my mouth taking you in, the greenery splayed deep green.

Within my mouth, your arm inserted, a stem of gestures, breaking gracefully.

Into each other we root arbitrarily, like bushes, silken, and guttural.

Palaver, we open for the thrill of closing, for the thrill of it: opening.

The night was so humid when I knelt on the steps, wet and cold, of prewar stone.

A charm bracelet of sorts we budded, handmade but brazen, as if organic.

I cannot imagine the end of my fascination, emblazoned but feather-white too.

The gold closure of this like a gold coin is, of course, ancient.

Why can't experience disseminate itself, be silken and brazen yet underwater?

A miniature Eiffel Tower, an enameled shamrock, a charm owned by its bracelet. 
The language of this poem is beautiful.

I can accept the possibility that I am a charm owned by its bracelet.

The title brought to mind the image that each of us are encased in the other, in all those we love, those we detest, those we pass on the street, just as a simple bud of wheat is encased in the chaff. Even our experiences and perceptions are bundled in layers of emotion, thought, filter, perspective.

Language itself, the words, are layered with multiple meaning, and then how the words are spoken, the intent behind the word, even the voice adds a new depth.

Truly, how can experience disseminate itself?

Artist of the Day: The Alley - Darjeeling Unlimited

Have you ever taken a Polaroid picture?
I have a collection of vintage Polaroid cameras. When I'm out thrifting I feel especially lucky if I find a Polaroid camera.  Lucky for me, and for you, The Impossible Project is offering compatible film, and cameras.
So, if you've never taken a Polaroid picture, or experienced the excitement of shaking the film, waiting for the picture to appear, here's your opportunity to shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Speaking of opportunities: I've been seriously thinking about starting a new blog with a specific focus, (unlike this blog which is really like my written journals - filled with ideas and drawings, musings, grousing, the previous night's dream, rants). The new blog will feature a daily photo and an essay of 100 words. By the end of one year, I will have a collection of images and thoughts.
What opportunity do you have up your sleeve?
artist bio: This photo shop features online art photography by two French photographers. This collection of artwork is a visual soundtrack of our travels. We offer high quality prints, black and white, colour, single shot or stories. A winter stroll in Paris, a cup of tea in Darjeeling during monsoon, a life-changing encounter on Russia's Transsiberian, an afternoon of cloud-watching in New Zealand. Pick your moment. Pick a journey.

The Day in Cartoons: Autumn Arrives - Joe Heller

Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette

Can I get an Amen!

Interesting Reading:

Artist of the Day: Reclaimed Metal and Bicycle Chandelier - Carolina Fontoura Alzaga

reclaimed metal and bicycle chandelier facaro

I love this artist, her aesthetic, her process, as much as I love this chandelier.

This chandelier makes me want to sell my house, buy a small, abandoned warehouse, remodel and decorate around it.

It would be one part industrial, one part vintage modern, one part French sass. I can see the chandelier in the living room hanging off center, over a fuchsia velvet sofa, with this as the featured artwork.

What about you? What art inspires you?
artist bio: Caro (Carolina Fontoura Alzaga) is a multidisciplinary artist with a penchant for repurposing castoff materials and exploring socio - political themes. Hailing from Mexico, Brazil, and USA, Caro’s Work is informed by her lifelong movement between spaces and cultures. What she produces are reflections and documents of these environments and her artistic vocabulary evolves with these shifting realities. In the Winter of 2007 Caro received a BFA with an emphasis in digital art and painting from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her current project is titled ‘the CONNECT series’. To view more models in the series please visit: www.facaro.comCaro is based in Los Angeles.

Artist of the Day: Antler no, 6986 - Kari Herer

antler no. 6986 kari herer

I've been lamenting the waning of the light these last few weeks.

Winter is coming.

Yes, I know I lifted that line from HBO's Game of Thrones, but nothing else describes the visceral dread September ushers in with its short days, dark mornings, and even darker evenings.

I used to love winter. Now when I let my thoughts linger on its broken bone blue-tinged whiteness, it's with exclamation points.

What I love about this photograph from artist Kari Herer is the juxtaposition of bone and bloom.

I am going to look at this everyday, and for that matter, Kari Herer's entire collection of blooms mixed with insects, bone, and drawings, to keep the edge from kicking off its shoes, settling in, and making itself at home.

Winter may be coming, but the certain knowledge that the bulbs of Spring's blooms slumber mere centimeters under the soil's hard surface, is enough to scatter the shadows.

artist bio: Kari Herer has been photographing since a young girl. Her work has been shown in Martha Stewart, Town and Country, Vera Wang Fine Papers, InStyle Magazine, Tiny Prints, Wedding Paper Divas, and William Arthur. Drawing on her experience in the fine arts and graphic design, as well as her deep love of nature, she provides her clients with professional portrait photography in a variety of beautiful settings. She currently splits her time between the East Coast and the Midwest.

Artist of the Day: Seascape - Jennifer Squires Ross

seascape jennifersquires

This photograph matches the mood of the day exactly.
artist bio: I’m Jennifer Squires Ross and together with my husband Darren Ross we run a small photography business out of our home in London, Ontario, Canada. I specialize in picture taking and picture making and Darren is fondly known as the CFO (chief fax operator) and he takes care of administrative tasks, plus he makes a mean hot chocolate; earning himself extra points at 5am when I’m off to a location shoot. I’ve been photographing professionally since 1996 and opened our online shop in 2008. We have a blog that supports both our shop and our website, and is also sprinkled with other little posts that I thought you might find interesting (including some really yummy recipes). We even offer the occasional giveaway and free download so be sure to check those out too. So thank you for your interest in our work and have fun looking at everything we have to offer.

Poem Therapy 10:24 P.M. 14 September 2012: There Is No Word - Tony Hoagland

There Is No Word
Tony Hoagland

There isn’t a word for walking out of the grocery store
with a gallon jug of milk in a plastic sack
that should have been bagged in double layers

—so that before you are even out the door
you feel the weight of the jug dragging
the bag down, stretching the thin

plastic handles longer and longer
and you know it’s only a matter of time until
bottom suddenly splits.

There is no single, unimpeachable word
for that vague sensation of something
moving away from you

as it exceeds its elastic capacity        
—which is too bad, because that is the word
I would like to use to describe standing on the street

chatting with an old friend
as the awareness grows in me that he is
no longer a friend, but only an acquaintance,

a person with whom I never made the effort—
until this moment, when as we say goodbye
I think we share a feeling of relief,  

a recognition that we have reached
the end of a pretense,   
though to tell the truth

what I already am thinking about
is my gratitude for language—
how it will stretch just so much and no farther;

how there are some holes it will not cover up;
how it will move, if not inside, then
around the circumference of almost anything—

how, over the years, it has given me
back all the hours and days, all the
plodding love and faith, all the

misunderstandings and secrets
I have willingly poured into it.
Dissemble is the single impeachable word, the very word that tries and fails to cover the
circumference of almost anything
, even disingenuous apologies.
Dissemble and its family of small conjugations, is the word that stuffs its swollen feet into veracity's shoes. 
Consider the past week of endless chatter, the words stretched thin in the mouths of our national grifters.

Watch & Listen Playlist: September 14-16

This has been a savage week.

It brings to mind the saying, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Have a relaxing and peaceful weekend everyone.

Gawd Above - John Fullbright
Savage - Hacienda
You Get What You Give - New Radicals
Live and Die - Avett Brothers
A Town Called Malice - The Jam
Bad Thing - King Tuff
Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance - Patterson Hood
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
So Many Enemies - Neal Casal
Man on Fire - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
All Fall Down - Shawn Colvin
People Got A Lot of Nerve - Neko Case
My Rights Versus Yours - The New Ponographers
The Righteous Path - Drive-By Truckers
Warrior Man - Dr. Dog
Old Man - Neil Young
Gun Has No Trigger - Dirty Projectors
Empty Threat - Kathleen Edwards
Throw It Out - Megan Reily
Changes - David Bowie
Reboot the Mission - The Wallflowers
Take a Giant Step - Taj Mahal
Buscando Inspiracion - Eme Alfonso
Open the Door to Your Heart - Van Morrison
Golden - Kelly Hogan
Wordless Chorus - My Morning Jacket
Oh Brother - The Lost Brothers
Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
Open Arms - Elbow
It's Only Life - The Shins

Artist of the Day: Autumn Collection - Jamie Birkholz

autumn collection

encyclopedias jamie birkholz jaysworld

artist bio: Welcome, I am a mother of five awesome grown children and I have 5 beautiful grandchildren. I love style and color and have enjoyed creating book collections for weddings and special events, home and office. I like things simple and prompt.
I could get completely lost this weekend in vintage book decor curator Jamie Birkholz's world. At first I thought the collections were photographs, but each is a grouping of hue-themed books. 

I have put myself on a book-buying time out. Here's hoping Birkholz starts photographing her collections, and offering prints.

Poetry & Music Mash Up - Blood - Naomi Shihab Nye + Grizzly Bear - Yet Again

firey autum raceytay

Yet Again


Naomi Shihab Nye

"A true Arab knows how to catch a fly in his hands,"
my father would say. And he'd prove it,
cupping the buzzer instantly
while the host with the swatter stared.

In the spring our palms peeled like snakes.
True Arabs believed watermelon could heal fifty ways.
I changed these to fit the occasion.

Years before, a girl knocked,
wanted to see the Arab.
I said we didn't have one. 
After that, my father told me who he was,
"Shihab"—"shooting star"—
a good name, borrowed from the sky.
Once I said, "When we die, we give it back?"
He said that's what a true Arab would say.

Today the headlines clot in my blood.
A little Palestinian dangles a toy truck on the front page. 
Homeless fig, this tragedy with a terrible root
is too big for us. What flag can we wave?
I wave the flag of stone and seed,
table mat stitched in blue.

I call my father, we talk around the news.
It is too much for him,
neither of his two languages can reach it.
I drive into the country to find sheep, cows,
to plead with the air: 
Who calls anyone civilized?
Where can the crying heart graze?
What does a true Arab do now?

Artist of the Day: Yellow Clouds - Helene Lacelle

yellow clouds helena lacelle neonmatisse

artist bio: Helene Lacelle is not only a recognized artist but also an actor/co-producer of several feature films and has illustrated several books and is the co-creator of the on-line publishing 'empire', curator of and organizer of, a hugely popular craft show in Ottawa, Canada.

Whenever I say I love folk art, naive art, and all outsider art, I always catch myself with the thought, outside of what?

Artist of the Day: Always Do What You Are Afraid to Do - Melissa Jennings

melissa jennings wordsigiveby

artist bio: These are a few of my favorite things....When I was in college, as an art student, I would cover my dorm room walls with quotes and/or saying that touched me in some way. After college, I entered the workforce. Days merged into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. For years, the cloud of data entry was only lifted, thinking back to quotes from that wall in college. Around September 2011, I found an art medium I had never tried before, linocut block printing. It instantly became a hobby. I was buying more blocks and supplies than I knew what to do with. Shortly after learning to print I found Etsy! Where I realized I could put the energy I had creating new prints to work. What started out as a hobby has become a huge part of my life.
I am taking Trancendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson's words as my own.

They are my new mantra until New Years Day 2013.

Every day.
Every single day.
Every day.
I will do the thing I am afraid to do.

The Day in Cartoons: 9/11 Fading - Dave Granlund


9/11 Fading - Dave Granlund
Eleven years.
Time may heal all wounds, but the scar has yet to soften.
Interesting reading:

Artist of the Day: Scissors, Paper, Stone - Jennifer Steen Booher

scissors, paper, stone jennifer steen booher

artist bio: I'm part magpie, part squirrel, part scientist, and part historian. I find things, hoard them, take them apart, and research them. Usually I photograph them. Sometimes I reassemble them. Sometimes I make new things from the bits.

This assemblage by Bel Harbor, Maine artist Jennifer Steen Boohner matches the mood of the day. Exactly.

Poetry & Music Mash Up - September - James Armstrong + History's Door - Husky

    cloud lori411

History's Door


I miss the tilt and racket of your face,
the collapsing factories of your anger,
the shoreline wearing your boas of foam—
the steel mirror of your silence,
your glass contingencies, in the night’s hold.
I miss the morning’s coverlet of cloud,
one gull flying east over the moving distances
while closer in
the same boulder is kissed again and again.
As the blacksmith plunges the bruised steel into the tub,
erasing the heat of his industry,
I have cooled my brow
with the ice of your disdain—
I have held your cold hand in the rain.

Give A Book!

San Francisco Girl By the Bay is one of my favorite blogs to escape into at least once a day. Victoria Smith is the hip bohemian creator of sfgirlbybay, and part of the Makeshift Society team, a new clubhouse for creatives. It will make you wish you live in SF!

To help stock the clubhouse shelves, Victoria is hosting a book drive for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

I'll have to go through my bookcases, and book towers, to see which of my darlings I can part with. 

I've posted a partial from her blog. If you want to read the entire post, click here.

makeshift society is opening its door mid-september and we have sky-high bookcases we need to fill so that members will have an abundance of learning materials in our lending library. makeshift is receiving generous donations from chronicle books, laurence king and princeton architectural press, but we still need to fill those shelves. that’s where you come in. if you have some design and reference books you’d be willing to donate — even just one — please send them our way, and we’ll give away a $50 amazon gift card at random. so you can buy more books!
• mail us your book(s) via usps media mail (so it doesn’t cost you an arm & a leg! it’s only around $3-4 bucks) to:
makeshift society
235 gough street
san francisco, ca 94102

• send any book you think members can learn from, be it interior design, crafts, architecture, photography, language, typography, any skill at all — that’s what we’re in need of.
• include a business card, 3×5 card, or a piece of paper with your email address on it.
• we’ll draw a winner at random from all the donations received.
• please send your books by october 5th and we’ll announce a winner on twitter and facebook the week of october 8th, so follow us there to see the announcement.

Poem Therapy: 11 September 2012

2a abstract feulingartstudio

Poetry is our first language. Poetry has the longest memory.

Andrew Motion

he voices live which are the voices lost:
we hear them and we answer, or we try,
but words are nervous when you need them most
and shatter, stop or dully slide away

so everything they mean to summon up
is always just too far, just out of reach,
unless our memories give time the slip
and learn the lessons that heart-wisdoms teach

of how in grief we find a way to keep
the dead beside us as our time goes on -
invisible and silent, but the deep
foundations of ourselves, our corner-stone

Sunday Morning
Lucille Clifton

for Bailey

the st. marys river flows
as if nothing has happened

i watch it with my coffee
afraid and sad as are we all

so many ones to hate and i
cursed with long memory

cursed with the desire to understand
have never been good at hating

now this new granddaughter
born into a violent world

as if nothing has happened
and i am consumed with love
for all of it

the everydayness of bravery
of hate of fear of tragedy

of death and birth and hope
true as this river

and especially with love
bailey fredrica clifton goin

for you

To the Words
W. S. Merwin

When it happens you are not there
oh you beyond numbers beyond recollection passed on from breath to breath given again from day to day from age to age charged with knowledge knowing nothing indifferent elders indispensable and sleepless keepers of our names before ever we came to be called by them you that were formed to begin with you that were cried out you that were spoken to begin with to say what could not be said ancient precious and helpless ones say it

History of the AirplaneLawrence Ferlinghetti

And the Wright brothers said they thought they had invented
something that could make peace on earth
(if the wrong brothers didn't get hold of it)
when their wonderful flying machine took off at Kitty Hawk
into the kingdom of birds but the parliament of birds was freaked out
by this man-made bird and fled to heaven

And then the famous Spirit of Saint Louis took off eastward and
flew across the Big Pond with Lindy at the controls in his leather
helmet and goggles hoping to sight the doves of peace but he did not
Even though he circled Versailles

And then the famous Yankee Clipper took off in the opposite
direction and flew across the terrific Pacific but the pacific doves
were frighted by this strange amphibious bird and hid in the orient sky

And then the famous Flying Fortress took off bristling with guns
and testosterone to make the world safe for peace and capitalism
but the birds of peace were nowhere to be found before or after Hiroshima

And so then clever men built bigger and faster flying machines and
these great man-made birds with jet plumage flew higher than any
real birds and seemed about to fly into the sun and melt their wings
and like Icarus crash to earth

And the Wright brothers were long forgotten in the high-flying
bombers that now began to visit their blessings on various Third
Worlds all the while claiming they were searching for doves of

And they kept flying and flying until they flew right into the 21st
century and then one fine day a Third World struck back and
stormed the great planes and flew them straight into the beating
heart of Skyscraper America where there were no aviaries and no
parliaments of doves and in a blinding flash America became a part
of the scorched earth of the world

And a wind of ashes blows across the land
And for one long moment in eternity
There is chaos and despair

And buried loves and voices
Cries and whispers
Fill the air

The Entry of Osam bin Laden into Paradise
Max Speed

Imagine that it exists, and that he travels there-
The bright warrior star-the meteor
Climbing forever up a rainbow reputation.

At his hands, at his feet are angels one-five at angels one-five.

Their singing unravels death's mysteries and its stillness,
Causes the dead to wake, to swarm like bees
Outnumbering all the living.

Their waking voices gasp and echo in Heaven's pyramid hives.
Some spill into its cavernous, rumouring streets,
Death's if-onlys and its might-have-beens.

Some, the more restless dead, sit astride Heaven's
Terra cotta rooftops, its Chinese warrior horses.

They stare upwards at Heaven's runway,
Unrolling like a famous tongue to meet him

From Sirius to Polaris, their hands sway like anemones
On coral reefs. They lift their children so he can see them:

So many dead
So many dead.

C.K. Williams

I keep rereading an article I found recently about how Mayan scribes, who also were historians, polemicists, and probably poets as well, when their side lost a war—not a rare occurrence, apparently, there having been a number of belligerent kingdoms constantly struggling for supremacy—would be disgraced and tortured, their fingers broken and the nails torn out, and then be sacrificed. Poor things—the reproduction from a glyph shows three: one sprawls in slack despair, gingerly cradling his left hand with his right, another gazes at his injuries with furious incomprehension, while the last lifts his mutilated fingers to the conquering warriors as though to elicit compassion for what's been done to him: they, elaborately armored, glowering at one another, don't bother to look.

II Like bomber pilots in our day, one might think, with their radar and their infallible infrared, who soar, unheard, unseen, over generalized, digital targets that mystically ignite, billowing out from vaporized cores. Or like the Greek and Trojan gods, when they'd tire of their creatures, "flesh ripped by the ruthless bronze," and wander off, or like the god we think of as ours, who found mouths to speak for him, then left. They fought until nothing remained but rock and dust and shattered bone, Troy's walls a waste, the stupendous Meso-American cities abandoned to devouring jungle, tumbling on themselves like children's blocks. And we, alone again under an oblivious sky, were quick to learn how our best construals of divinity, our "Do unto, Love, Don't kill," could be easily garbled to canticles of vengeance and battle prayers.

III Fall's first freshness, strange: the seasons' ceaseless wheel, starlings starting south, the leaves annealing, ready to release, yet still those columns of nothingness rise from their own ruins, their twisted carcasses of steel and ash still fume, and still, one by one, tacked up by hopeful lovers, husbands, wives, on walls, in hospitals, the absent faces wait, already tattering, fading, going out. These things that happen in the particle of time we have to be alive, these violations which almost more than any altar, ark, or mosque embody sanctity by enacting so precisely sanctity's desecration. These broken voices of bereavement asking of us what isn't to be given. These suddenly smudged images of consonance and peace. These fearful burdens to be borne, complicity, contrition, grief.

Invitation to Ground Zero
Into the smouldering ruin now go down:
And walk where once she walked and breathe the air
She breathed that final day on the burning stair
And follow her, beyond the fleeing crowds,
Into the fire, and through the climbing clouds.

Into the smouldering ruin now go down:
And find, in ashes bright as hammered tin,
A buried bone-white naked mannikin
That flung from some shop window serves to bind
Her body, and its beauty, to your mind.

For You
Jessica Greenbaum

Of course there is a jackhammer. And a view, like Hopper,
but happier. Of course there is the newspaper—the daily
herald of our powerlessness. Easy go, easy come: thwash,
the next day another, an example of everything that gets done
in the dark. Like the initiative of the crocuses from a snow
that was, as it works out, warming them. Or in this case,
the strange October weather warming them. There were the
conclusions we jumped to. To which we jumped. There was
pain, and then there was suffering. Of course there was my
ambition to offer you the world, but one that I have rearranged
to make sense. Here are all the sensations of being alive
at the turn of the twenty-first century, here’s how they ring out
against each other, here’s how one brings out the sense of
another, here is the yellow next to the fathomless blue.