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Ring 1FE (Thursday Doors)

sign in the window
says Ring 1FE—tempting,
full of promises

the lure of crystal
balls, lines written across palms–
your past, your future

yield to the lions,
passing through their golden fire–
stripped of illusion

gingerly we climb
with hope and fear, hand in hand–
seeking Lady Luck

The first thing that attracted me to this building was the brickwork, but the gold painted lions were hard to miss. As I crossed the street to get a closer look, the window on the right also drew my attention.

Hands in the window? Crystal balls, too, and other mysterious devices. Ring 1FE the sign said. For some reason this made me think of Joni Mitchell’s song “Roses Blue” on her Clouds album. Combined with the lions the invitation seemed both fated and ominous. I could see young Joni walking down this street in Chelsea and shivering a bit at the door behind which her friend Rose resided.

I continued on my way.

I’ve written a senryu chain for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, and you can always find a wide variety of doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.

Christmas Tree (Thursday Doors on Friday)

surroundings reflect
all of our many seasons–
circle and return

When I went to the Metropolitan Museum a few weeks ago, I discovered a treat–they were in the midst of decorating the holiday tree. This was during early member’s hour, before the museum was open to the public.

I even got a view of the work room…now I know what’s behind that door when I pass it again.

The tree is in a large cathedral-like room filled with medieval Christian art. Here’s one, appropriate to the season, that caught my attention.

I’m always interested in the many different depictions of Mary and have done quite a few drawings from sculptures in various museums. I’m especially attracted to the ones with expressive hands.

I hope to get back to see the tree completely decorated and unveiled. I also took photos of the fountains and as much of the front facade of the museum as was possible with traffic, contstruction, and the width of the street–but that’s for another post.

You can always find more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.

Tufted Titmouse (Draw a Bird Day)

not a sparrow, this
small bird—crested forager,
grey dusted with red

When I walk through Central Park I always see lots of sparrows on the ground, along with starlings, pigeons, grackles, robins in spring and summer, and the occasional blue jay, cardinal, or mockingbird. But the small birds always seem to be sparrows. Last week a flash of red caused me to look closer–a tufted titmouse! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one, although I often hear them.

The tufted titmouse, a relative of the chickadee, is a common species in the eastern United States, although their range has been steadily moving northward, due to both rising temperatures and the presence of bird feeders. They do not migrate, so bird feeders have allowed them to live in colder climates. They prefer evergreen-deciduous woodlands with a dense canopy and many tree species.

In the summer they eat insects primarily, adding seeds, nuts, and berries to their winter diet. Holding the seeds with their feet, they open them with their beaks. They often cache food in bark as well.

The tufted titmouse does not excavate their own nesting cavities, looking instead for natural holes, or abandoned nest holes. They will also use nest boxes or pipes. They line their nests with hair, and have been observed plucking hairs from many kinds of living animals, including dogs. That is something I would like to see!

#share your day (starting with turtles)

everything
needs salt in my world–
butter adds
zest—is it
any wonder my favorite
snack food is popcorn?

It’s #ShareYourDay week at Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. Today is stormy, full of wind and rain, and I’m hunkered down inside. So I made some popcorn and wrote a shadorma for the W3 prompt from Sylvia about one of my favorite foods.

So where do the turtles come in?

The Oracle is enigmatic, as always.

starting with turtles
dressed in thousands of skyclouds–
mountain water green

Volcano 5

strange, this
planet—silver
mirrors hidden behind
glistening gold light—self
consecrated
with fire

the locus that gyres–
gravities of orbiting
become somewhere else

Elisa Ang provided the artistic inspiration, below, for my series of volcano poems appearing this week at Pure Haiku. Serendipitously, the Kick-About recently hosted a prompt based on Turner’s painting of Mt. Vesuvius, for which I made a series of collages and wrote a cadralor of volcano-themed poems titled “In Search of Venus”. And Jane’s Oracle 2 words provided further inspiration for me to write five Badger poems to go with the volcano theme.

You can read my fifth poem, which connects with the two above, at Pure Haiku, here. And see the posts and links to the first four haiku in the series at kblog, here.

Thanks, as always, to Freya Pickard for her continued support of my work.

with wings we could travel through time (Thursday Doors)

this mythology,
portaled ornamentation–
do stone faces dream?

this mythology,
recalling the other lives
that once moved within

portaled ornament–
the way the light translates time,
rearranges form

do stone faces dream?–
the breath holds itself between–
waiting, intervaled

495 West End Avenue is another building I had passed many times without really looking at it until I started photographing doors. From a distance is looks like many other large apartment buildings on the Upper West Side.

The building was designed by George F Pelham in 1907. Originally called the Hohenzollern, after the developer Lorenz Weiner’s home country, the name was abandoned after WWI when German associations were shunned. As you can see from the original floor plan, there were three huge apartments per floor.

As is the case with many rental buildings, 495 West End Avenue has now been subdivided into 128 apartments, the largest being a two bedroom. Most are studios and one bedrooms.

But the exterior ornamentation remains, protected as part of the West End Landmark District.

The poem is a troiku, chosen by me as Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday form this week. I continue to enjoy playing with its possibilities.

And look for more doors at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.

Blue Winged Goose (draw a bird day)

wings open
to reveal blue sky
mirrored lake

The blue winged goose, native to Ethiopia, looks greyish brown when its wings are folded, but in flight the reason for its name becomes evident. They live in wetlands with adjacent grasslands and are largely herbivorous, serving an important role in the ecosystem by keeping aquatic plants in check. They are considered endangered, due to loss of habitat and poaching for Chinese consumers, although no one is sure of their exact population numbers.

I could find out little else about them. Every piece written about them claimed this is because they are largely nocturnal, but I found plenty of photos of them online, obviously taken during the day. Their coloring is lovely. Perhaps they just haven’t been well-studied because they have a limited range.

I’ve written my poem for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday where the first Tuesday of the month we include color in our verse.

The Fate of Fools (Thursday Doors)

shadows imitate
doors, dazzle you inside dreams,
whispering questions

shadows imitate
the complex language of choice–
abandoned, you jump

doors dazzle inside dreams,
appear as if sailed, transported
by complete darkness

whispering questions,
thresholds cast riddles—as if
life, opening, free

I wanted to construct a house as a sort of book, so I took a cardboard box and collaged this interior. It’s similar to many houses I visit in my dreams. It did not really work for my book idea (the exterior is also still a work in progress), but it fit well with the last Kick-About prompt. As Phil pointed out to me, it resembles a stage set.

I also have a liking for windows and shadows.

The poem is a troiku, written for the W3 prompt, in response to Steven S Wallace’s poem “In Praise of What is Private”, and his prompt poem, Emily Dickinson’s “Superiority of Fate”. I’ve also used some of Jane’s Oracle 2 words for the week–I realize I never finished what I started with last week’s words, but perhaps it will show up somewhere down the line.

You can find more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.

October 2022

like a sudden flash,
green turns into fire that falls–
autumn paths open

like a sudden flash–
unexpected, unmasking
the retreating past

green turns into fire that falls,
exposing the skeletons
underneath the veil

autumn paths open–
the earth folds into itself–
dusk-faded, shadowed

Lisa, at Tao Talk, reminded me of the troiku form, which I’ve borrowed from her to use also for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt, where the theme is lightning, suggested by Sangeetha.

It does finally feel like autumn here. Not much color yet, but it’s coming. We’ve had a wet day with the remnants of Hurricane Ian, and the building turned on the heat for the first time this morning.

Happy October!

July 2022

neither brave nor free–
our leaders bow down to Mammon,
cast life aside

Find the cost of freedom
buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
lay your body down