November

Sad-couple
(c) Couple by Lette Valeska

There is one year of silence between us
One year since an entire universe collapsed
When love stopped gravitating around us
An untimely Big Crunch.
You killed my love
Like you squash a dying insect
And I killed the starman in the sky
Murder stop murder stop murder

A living breathing organism ceased to exist
Crushed under the force of our insecurities
Who is exempt from the horrors of grief?
Who is exempt from love?
A theory of everything in its incipient phase
Birthed hope and all that is good in the world
Turned grey into green and mud into gold
It turned all seasons into spring
It touched me with the healing power of a thousand gods
In the wizard’s tower, I wait and wait
But there is no arrival

You are permanently there
Where I feel.
You are the noise in the background
Disturbing the sound of silence
A distant memory I keep replaying
A universe shrinking
A tumor that sucks all being
A knife in the back
The sweet poison I tasted
All to the point of no return.
I’m still craving for my epilogue
But every month feels like November
Every day a rainy day…

With you I mourn, dear little heart
The love I once found and now ‘tis lost
May forever spread out there in the Universe
Like the ashes of my beloved
Touch every soul that has once known torture
And reunite long lost lovers
Under the gaze of the moon
And young stars

I have found that there is no way
To put my universe back together
But with building blocks of love
There is my epilogue
Where waves still crash on the shore
Where leaves still shuffle and announce the many possibilities
Where stars still collide
Where artists still polish their work
Where there is music still playing
In the laughter of a child
In a stranger’s kind gesture
Little by little, this grim universe becomes bright again
Mothering new stars
All at the touch of love

 

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I Fell in Love with the Sad Clown with the Golden Voice

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Puddles Pity Party

I fell in love with the sad clown with the golden voice
You play your part so well
With humor and sadness blending like colors in harmony on the canvas
You started the world’s first joke that made everyone cry
You’re a rock ‘n’ roll diva, a snowman in disguise
The Grinch who stole the spotlight
An operatic soul with humanity as your best card
The joy you bring into our lives isn’t the kind that’s for sale
While the real clowns are running your country
You show up at the pity party
With your greatest gift
And the usual makeup
Do be sad and show the world
The beauty that resides in vulnerability
And let another tear fall
And another one…

PPP5
Puddles Pity Party

I fell in love with the sad clown with the golden voice
What do I do other than go with it, where it takes me?
There is laughter and glee and the white color is growing on me
You fill in the blanks with your art’s tint
Ageless and full of nostalgia
In each tremolo of your voice
There’s a happy ending
The one I never had
A musical hug is on the menu these nights
As your art attends to my mournful soul
Bit by bit
I cherish this like children savoring chocolate with both of their little hands
Who wait for summer days when they can play for longer hours
There is whole in your baritone voice
Which hits the right notes to grasp the pain
And make it worthwhile
All we can do now is
Sing and smile
And join your circus of hopeful acts.

9 months

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(c) Frida Kahlo Henry Ford Hospital 1932

9 months
it takes an embryo to develop in the womb

9 months of silence and mourning
of consuming agony and faint flickering hope
like the pains of birth
which bring new life into the world
the pains of loss bury
bury deep and cripple
my womb is empty and sewn
isolated
birthing no more, but tears and endurance

9 months to grow a tumor
to grow apart and become strangers again
completely oblivious to each other’s suffering
and joys
what stars did not align and kept you from me?

9 months of labor
screaming and kicking
out of control
a mental menopause
a forced C-section through my soul
with memories pricking like flaming needles

9 months to become wiser
to stitch a cacophonous past
and make amends
reminisce over what brought us together in the first place
Life
the Universe
and Everything
once irrecoverably struck by the clock of love…

9 months to learn to unlove you
forcefully
unsuccessfully
with no epilogue in sight
i declare the baby dead
her little’s heart stopped beating

On Poetry II

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(c) Butterfly Series by Victoria Horkan

There is something peculiar about poetry. Here’s a thought I had today: I can schedule a painting session for the weekend (or all of my weekends for that matter) and I can plan my singing exercises (for warming up my voice) during the week (preferably on Mondays). But I would find it rather difficult to say that on Wednesday evenings I will be writing poetry. As if I can have an appointment at 8:30 pm sharp with a muse who will tell me exactly what to write and how to write it; as if I can plan to feel and exude my emotions as mechanically as I wake up, have breakfast and go to work.

That’s because if painting and singing could be treated as work, for which I need to show up, poetry is that which sneaks up on me from the darkest or tenderest rooms where I left the back door ajar. Sometimes it’s recognizable, other times well-camouflaged; nonetheless, it’s an itch that begs to be alleviated, a fervor to be expressed, manifested and sent out into the vibrating world. It cannot dwell in you for long because you would congest and eventually decompose. If you’re gleeful or grieving, poetry can help you express both.

There’s a reason why maybe the greatest poetry will not be scribbled as you sit at your writing table, but sufficiently close to it – standing near the window to smell the lilacs in the spring or saying farewell to someone you irremediably lost. These are the moments of nascent poems, when something within and without compels you to give birth to it.

On that (poetic) note, here are other revealing quotes on poetry that will hopefully awaken the dormant poet in you. You may read the first part here. Enjoy!

  1. The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation. Margaret Atwood

  2. Yet, it is true, poetry is delicious; the best prose is that which is most full of poetry. Virginia Woolf

  3. It is poetry that will save the world, not commerce. Art Professor Luther from the Glory Daze movie

  4. Poetry is the only life got, the only work done, the only pure product and free labor of man, performed only when he has put all the world under his feet, and conquered the last of his foes. Henry David Thoreau

  5. Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do. Stephen Spender

  6. Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them. Dennis Gabor

  7. Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. Kahlil Gibran

  8. Poetry can be dangerous, especially beautiful poetry, because it gives the illusion of having had the experience without actually going through it. Rumi

  9. Poetry is an act of peace. Pablo Neruda

  10. Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space; you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals. Sylvia Plath

    george mckim poetry
    (c) George McKim Poetry – Poem Painting
  11. At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. Plato

  12. Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. Paul Engle

  13. There is poetry as soon as we realize we possess nothing. John Cage

  14. If you want to annoy a poet, explain his poetry. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

  15. Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity. William Wordsworth

  16. Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things. T. S. Eliot

  17. Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people. Adrian Mitchell

  18. Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own. Dylan Thomas

  19. Poetry is frosted fire. J. Patrick Lewis

  20. I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering. Robert Frost

  21. Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing. Lucille Clifton

  22. I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls. Anaïs Nin

  23. I know you are reading this poem/in a room where too much has happened for you to bear. Adrienne Rich from An Atlas of the Difficult World

  24. There is a pleasure in poetic pains which only poets know. William Cowper

  25. Well, write poetry for God’s sake, it’s the only thing that matters. e. e. cummings

  26. Poetry is, at bottom, a criticism of life. Matthew Arnold

  27. A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. Salman Rushdie

  28. The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it. Sylvia Plath

There is no stopping it…

Ode to All Lost Things

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(c) The Lost Thing – Illustration by Shaun Tan (from the picture book with the same title written by Shaun Tan)

Where do all lost things go?
Is there a special Universe for them?

An elegant corner
A lost and found box
Hidden from our sight
The keys you misplaced this morning
While in a hurry on your way to work
That notebook with all your best sketches
All the breadcrumbs you never ate
The nights you were out and drinking
Befriending the dawn
The breakfast you skipped so you could
Sleep for ten more minutes
A loss of appetite after a fight
The millions of cells that die in us every other minute
The hair loss we have to deal with on a daily basis
The missing bus that reminds you how poor you are
That train you were about to take from platform 5
Never coming back…

To that earring you loved so much
Now lying in solitude on the floor somewhere
To the broken jar
The smashed vase
To the pieces that cannot be reassembled
To the teacup that shattered
Turned to bits
All forgotten and devoured
In the kitchen of lost things
An entire cupboard of loss
Accompanied by spilt salt and milk
Losing your train of thought in the middle of a speech
To lost empires and fortunes
Lost a prize, the gold medal
Losing a bet with your friend
To all those times you lost your temper
And never apologized for it

To lose your chance at saying goodbye to your dying cat – that is cruel and undeserved
To all the lost grandmas and grandpas
And all the love letters
Sent and misplaced
Forgotten, suspended in time
To all the choices we’ve never made
To all the lost babies
Who have grown up and are no longer babies
To all the miscarriages
To the loss that forever aches
Night and day, day and night
A loss so grave no one can deny

There’s no loss like human loss

Losing your best friend to the world
In your darkest hour
Losing all your senses
Losing your virginity
To the one you love
Losing portions of you
Standing unrecognizable in the mirror
The flesh is still yours, but everything else isn’t
The loss of what you cherish the most
Where does it all go?
The hug that brought together multiverses
The gaze of love
The loss of a chance at forgiveness
Losing all meaning
Losing faith
Losing your childhood dream
Your dearest memory
Losing sight of that which matters
Losing the now in the tumult of life
Losing your life over a death sentence

Where do all lost things go?
Is there a special Universe for them?

We search and search
Because no speck of hope is ever lost.

Lilac Requiem

Lilac in Kiev Anastasiia Grygorieva
(c) Lilac in Kiev by Anastasiia Grygorieva

Lilacs are waltzing and waltzing in pairs
On the quickening sounds of rain
Falling on the tin roof
A satiating fragrance of lavender and amethyst
Lullabies me to sleep
Away from the odorless dystopia
That we call life

The wet flowers cleanse with their innocence
And through an open window
They stretch their petit petals and hand me a return
I would do it all over again

As I watch them blossoming to a climax
They begin their descent back into the ground
Darkened by misfortune
With violet tinges of violence
The lavender turns mauve with raisin reflections
In unison with the damp soil
The dirt and moist that cover tombs and flesh
The dirt where maggots and insects crawl
I would do it all over again

Watch the lilac grow and wither
And learn about the ways of the world
Listen to raindrops weeping their fate
Onto the wound
Never bound to heal
Like an open skull with brain cancer
Like paint that never dries
Like ominous leftovers
Carrying me into a starless night
I would do it all over again

Little creatures below the ground
Engulfed in a universe of their own
Not once do they leave me alone
They scratch and hurt the Mother Earth
In the midst of a smearing drought
I lose the sense of touch
And what used to make perfect sense
Ends up making no sense at all

With no green or purple in sight,
The last odorless droplet falls from the sky
I would do it all over again

 

At the Artist’s Table

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(c) Leonid Afremov

At the artist’s table there’s always a seat
A place to carve art in flesh and wound
To bake sounds with poems and tint
Where the thick brush slithers on the moist greenish cloth
With almighty stains of vermilion and sweat.
I stand nude at my large table
And, bare-handedly, begin to caress the brutal cloth
Which speaks back tales of beginnings and hope
As my imagination becomes a sewing machine
That shoots words and colors like bullets.
I hold hostages all the blank papers towards my release from the blues prison
While a red string commits adultery with my art every Sunday afternoon.

The artist’s table is the whole world viewed from a dying angle
The frowned-upon outsider looking in
Feigning a pas de deux to begin her oeuvre
And end it with a supernova coda, the masterpiece’s last musical cry.
As the spectacle unfolds, I pour myself another glass
In the midst of the dénouement
I proclaim nobody a winner, but the vicious circle of day and night
Day and night
Art is my prayer, my battle, my middle ground,
The playground on which I stretch and stitch myself

At the artist’s table I find closure
And you come find me
Bare-footed, with dreamy eyes
Always made whole by what she creates
But always unfinished
I paint the blues away, sing of possibilities,
Commit all the non-sense,
And dream of an afterlife of heartbreak.

Long live the repetition and the major keys
Arias with tunes of random
Play play play
There is grace and god and stars during daytime
At the artist’s table.

The space around me becomes the whole cosmos
And the little pieces we give birth to
Carry the marks of forgiveness
Of rage and radical honesty
Of emptiness and foul
Don’t colors make life easier to bear?
Shout in ecstasy that this table is all you possess
Then walk hand in hand with your sorrow
In the place where the poet writes a poem
The novelist drafts a novel
The drummer plays the drums
The painter varnishes their canvas
And the lover awaits, and mourns…
What was lost becomes a distant memory
A leaf in the wind – forgotten but vivid
Alive with breaths that hurt the diaphragm, the soul.

Near the window sill
There is scrutinizing of the dead landscape
And in the lonely hour
When the clock ticks the last goodbye
I sharpen my pencil. I breathe in it my woe
And take a seat at the artist’s table.