Archive | masks RSS for this section


tv mask s

streaming magnetic

clouded brain
which system opens your head
upload stars and create streams
of spacelight

I’m a bit late consulting the Oracle this week.  I found this collage I did awhile ago, which for some reason reminds me of the televisions we had when I was a child, and the Oracle was insightful as to my brain at that point in life (or maybe even now…)

Can you tell my printer has been ill?  It works for this poem, though, I think.

I know you’ve been missing Nina, she’s on a much needed vacation and will be back soon!


The Door is Always Open

the door is always open s

“…that what you fear the most/could meet you halfway…” –Victoria Williams, “Crazy Mary”

The horns that
make you.  Tell me what
endures:  you,
masked with fear,
burning life to ashes,
the ender?  Or the most
wild transformation that could
be?  We meet
face to face.  But you
pause.  Halfway.

Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, was the inspiration for my junk mail collage and poem.  For some reason, it reminded me of the song “Crazy Mary” (it’s true, everything seems to remind me of a song); and I wrote another shovel poem.  Although Victoria Williams wrote the song, I’m partial to Eddie Vedder’s version.

I was reading recently that many scholars think the Devil is really all the horned gods of pagan religions turned into pure evil by the early Christian church.  Gods inspire fear as well as reverence.  Whether Devil or God of Fertility–both know the ways of the snake.



Lines that quote
the face, the hair, the
reign of years
first captured by sculpted earth.
Copy as copy copied.
Serial disguise.

I went to the Met to see Max Beckmann (excellent) and ended up drawing masks, as usual.  The one above is French, from the 1800’s, sculpted on a vessel of some sort.


I drew this Mexican “twisted face mask” (dated 600-900) twice, because it looked very different from each side.  It reminded me of Jack Davis’ artistic attempts to define his relationship to his autistic brother Mike.  It must have been based on a member of the community, providing a link to the long-standing effort of humans to consider and include those who fall outside the spectrum of “normal”.


This grinning monkey from the Ivory Coast also caught my eye.

The poem uses the Secret Keeper’s prompt words this week.

I’ll be here a bit irregularly for awhile as I have some projects I need to finish…

Draw a Bird Day: Red Rooster


“Watch out strange kind people
Little Red Rooster is on the prowl”
–Howlin Wolf, interpreting Willie Dixon

This embroidered painting was inspired by a Mexican Carnival mask and the blues, and also in honor of the Year of the Rooster.


Red as a rooster. Red
as a heart that bleeds with
fire.  Red as the rose
that blooms inside the heart’s desire.
Red as the anger that
is trapped inside the flame.  Red
as the burning blood that
saturates the vein.  Red red.  Red.

The poem uses the red rooster as a starting point.  I finally managed to do a quadrille properly:  44 words.  The rhymes just happened.

Happy Draw-A-Bird Day!

At the Hawk’s Well


In 1916, W. B. Yeats wrote a dance play, “At the Hawk’s Well”, inspired by Japanese Noh theatre (to which he had been introduced by Ezra Pound) and Irish folklore.


The Japan Society recently had an exhibit of UK artist Simon Starling’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Yeats’ work, along with some of the art that inspired both him and Yeats.


I watched the beautiful video of the hawk dancing several times


and then I drew masks until my hand cramped up and my legs hurt from standing.


When I looked at the drawings, it struck me how humans have always struggled to understand and live their lives well.  We are united in both sorrow and dignity, all cultures, throughout history, all over the earth.



Mask of the Galaxy (inspired by Nina’s skull mask)


searching bloodlines
for resemblances
light and dark
collecting dust
into faces present yet
progressively veiled

Nina’s painted skull mask inspired me to do a collage mask–I haven’t done one in quite awhile.  I bought some books of space photos at a library sale, and I’ve been using them quite a bit for my collages, as you may have noticed.  Except for some blue sky, all the colors in the collage come from space photos of the great beyond.

The poem uses this week’s words from the secret keeper, and thoughts from reading about the Egg Nebula.


Junk Mail Art: Retribution

exceptions s

Jane Dougherty has a new microfiction challenge.  I know this is not what she had in mind, but I couldn’t resist the photo and word prompt “retribution”.  It’s definitely less than 200 words…maybe micrographicnovel?


Jaguar Masks

jaguar mask drawing s

I’ve been featured on Marianne Szlyk’s blog “The Song Is…” with a poem and 4 junk mail art pieces of Mexican jaguar masks.  She also always has great musical links included with her posts.

Click  here and take a look!

Moonlit Shadows

moonlit shadows s

“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye–it also shows the inner images of the soul–the images on the back sides of the eyes.”
–Edvard Munch

winding beneath the
tangles of neural pathways
I follow myself,
moonlit shadows reflecting
mirages deep, heavy, dark


Jane Dougherty’s challenge this week included the Munch painting above and the words
winding – moonlight – follow – heavily – path

I took a few liberties, but then I always find Munch to be darkly ambiguous.

moonlit shadows close up s

So this is it…I did it…30 poems in 30 days.  Considering I didn’t write 30 poems in the past 2 years, I’m feeling good.  I do have to give a nod to Jane and the WordPress poets she has connected me with for encouragement and support, and also to Charlie at Doodlewash, for inviting everyone to share his month of celebratory days, giving me instant inspiration for every day of the month (I participated a little over half the time).

ms faces s

You can see the entire month’s 30 days of poems and artwork here.  My favorites?  I had lots of fun with the fools, and wrote my first Shakespearean sonnet.  But I learned something with all of them.

poetry month

Now I need a break!

More Shaman’s Masks

shaman mask comp 2

More masks from the Rubin Museum “Power of Masks” exhibit.

The shaman’s masks I sketched indeed appeared to be very powerful to me.  Shamanism is humans’ oldest and most widespread method of healing, appearing for at least 20,000 years in cultures all over the world.  Shamans serve as intermediaries between man and the spirit world, mending the soul to mend the body.  Masks are an important part of the ritual, identifying the shaman and helping to facilitate communication.