Sunday, June 24, 2012

Digital Watercolors- Organ or Angel

Started as a free sketch, and morphed into this. All done in Paint Tool Sai over 3-4 hours.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Watercolors- The Mockingbird

I started this last month, but hadn't finished it.   Watercolor, very wet, with pen and ink at the last.  I like very wet watercolors a lot-- you're using form and color, yes, but you're also playing with water, guiding an element, producing a sort of fossil, like a recording of motion and gravity.   I also like starting pictures with no clear understanding of what I'll be producing.

I saw this today, partially finished, lurking in my office/studio, and I knew.  There's so much that pisses me off about the mockingbird-- it so incessant and inconvenient, and it deprives you of sleep.  You don't ask it to sing, it just does, whether you want it to or not.  And yet, over the years, I've written many poems to it, some before I knew what it was, some after reading up on it.  It has often seemed like the perfect muse, purely song.  Something that can annoy me that much and yet deeply please me at the same time must have some real value to me.  There's a true flute in its voice.  It draws and draws me.  If a falling star were to have a voice, or the breeze at night a body, perhaps for me it would be the mockingbird. 

I actually painted this listening to him.  Oddly, I seemed to have to paint this upside down.  For the longest time, it was flame and roots, fire shooting up.  I saw, later, that the image made so much more sense, and was better composed in some ways when I saw it as water and leaves, so I turned it and inked, and dared to see if it was a mistake.  Perhaps I'm water and leaves, when I think I'm flame and roots?

Poetry- The Mockingbird

I wrote this a month or so ago, and thought it time to share.  I have a sort of love/hate relationship with the mockingbird that's moved in to the oak next to our house.  It has a beautiful, beautiful song in my opinion, that pulls out a kind of luster from the night.  It also, pardon the language, never f*cking stops and can keep you up all night with its varied and ever-changing tune.  It's come in the past, for a few days late each Spring, and I've often been moved to write over the years by its call.  This year, I think we've got a male, who is looking for a mate. This means the song is strong and never ending.  I've had to sort of learn to make my peace with the bird, so I could learn to sleep again.

I'm doing an art class, and we're supposed to find a totem animal to paint. I thought of a fox, a frog, a butterfly, all things I've been drawn to.  But it's the mockingbird in the end that was the most contentious to me, that bothered me the most but also spoke the most strongly.  Probably means its a good fit.  ::sigh::  

The Mockingbird

That fucking mocking bird.
Kept me awake again last night.  I felt very alive
and at rest,
            when I heard it singing again.
The way it throttles the night
                                               like a beautiful fucking curse.
Water falls down from the moon
through the mouth of a vase,
and out comes the mocking bird’s song.

I don’t know why but I can’t help
but listen.
He keeps
plucking a string
and the tension
seems to pull me from my bed,
like a ligament attached to my mind.
And like any good string that has been plucked
I suddenly am compelled to produce music.

And therefore I must get up
and write
and imagine his dark shadow
residing in the darker shadow,
so that I too
may climb into the tree.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Poetry- To the Reader of this Poem

To The Reader Of This Poem

I imagine you
perhaps reclined,
on a couch or a bed, a bench perhaps,
though best in a hammock,
where the poem is used like a good herb,
to season
the conversation of birds, or the first blooms of Spring.
I imagine you reclined, for poems are best received
as plants receive rain
or sunlight.
You cannot chase a poem, or hunt it
as you would a deer.
Some say you can chase love, or that you must,
but I think that’s just foolery.  With love
you cannot take
what must be given.  And so it is with a poem.
So I imagine you reclined.

And it would be nice
if you were interested in listening.  The kind
where you exit
the drumming of blood.  Such as a grandparent does,
who seems
to have nothing better, absolutely nothing better to do
than listen to the ramblings of a child in a swing.  Until
the creaking of a swing, or the chatter of a child
rises into the air undivorced.

Yes, you should be that way.  So that, listening,
you’ll reach the end of the poem, carried in its arms,
as if waking from a dream
you did not know you were having.  You’ll wonder
if you’ve  been dreaming at all, or just remembering, and you’ll say
“What was that poem all about?”


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Poem- How to Climb a Tree

When you climb a tree don't
simply exert force. You’ll break
that which should support you.
 It’s not the trees job
to hold you. You
must support yourself
and be prepared
to receive
force from the tree. It is the tree
that exerts a force on you. And you
must exit yourself
and balance
between the two. Until suddenly you see
it is the tree
that is climbing you.


Poem- I Saw a Plum Growing on the Side of the Road

I saw a plum growing on the side of the road. The kind
only birds plant. Twisted around a fence, where no one, ever,
will ever pick a fruit. They’re in bloom again,
must be spring. The plums have a kind of
 mischievous charm to them. I like that. Full of
indecision and exuberance,
     much like the young.
in bloom, half putting forth leaves, still
     with the kind of delicate skin,
lush and flushed, before
they callus up with time. That green we love so much,
and take for granted.

Soon they’ll start making fruit
with a kind of industrial efficiency
 born directly from a will to live.
They’ll be the small ones with a big pit, sour perhaps.
That’s what happens, you know,
when they escape from cultivation.
I’ve heard people say
that they’re not really good for eating.
What a waste, on the side of a freeway.

Birds eat them all the time.

Friday, 2/17/12