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Flying Shoes (a sonnet for Townes Van Zandt)

flying shoes 1s

“Days full of rain, sky’s comin’ down again
I get so tired of these same old blues, same old song
baby, it won’t be long ‘fore I be tyin’ on
my flyin’ shoes, flyin’ shoes
till I be tyin’ on my flyin’ shoes”
–Townes Van Zandt

The leaves of autumn linger in my mind,
disturbing the returning of the sun.
I thought my time of shedding skin was done.
Instead I crumble, fragile, in the wind
that blocks the way before I can begin.
The threads I gathered turn away unspun–
the landscape ebbs, and with it shelter—one
by one the seasons falter, fall behind.

If only I could tie myself to stars
and rise, my surface shining like the moon,
my sails like wings that shimmer in the sky–
I’d find a motherland in my guitar,
that I could voice with harmony and song–
a refuge where my dreams could wake and fly.

flying shoes close up s

I was listening to Lyle Lovett’s 2-CD salute to  Texas songwriters, “Step Inside This House”, which includes so much wonderful music including four songs from Townes Van Zandt.  There is a mystery and a melancholy to all of his music, and “Flyin’ Shoes” has always been a favorite of mine.  Townes died in 1997 at age 52 after years of substance abuse and mental health problems.  I hope he’s got those shoes tied on tight.

I wanted to try another sonnet for the dVerse challenge this month.  This one uses the Petrarchan form, which has a very different rhythm from the Shakespearean.  I’m still reading my way through everyone’s sonnets, but I want to thank dVerse for providing such a good forum to explore this poetic form.  I’ve learned a lot from not only my own attempts at writing, but from seeing the variety of responses.

I also used the Secret Keeper’s prompt words,
LEAF | HOME | ALTER | LIGHT | FRONT 

And here’s Lyle.

 

It’s 4 am and I’m wearing a blue raincoat (after Leonard Cohen)

blue raincoat comp 2

It’s 4 in the morning, almost December–
each day I return to you hoping you’re better,
New York is a hospital, dying and living,
machines full of numbers, the music of beeping—

Do you dream of your house with its ceilings and stairs?
Are you living inside it now, making unseen repairs?

As your past comes by full of stories and tears,
what you gave what you feared–
all the things left unsaid…
drowning in the unsaid—

Now each day is the first and the last and the always,
no masks to uncover, disguise what the time plays–

We come and we stay and we go meeting only ourselves,
spending fortunes and throwing them away like wishes in wells—

You hand us no thoughts and your eyes gaze beyond,
skipping dreams through the air like stones on a pond—

I see you there still breathing harshly with pain,
what abides, what remains–
will we waken or sleep?
to release or to keep—

Oh what can I tell you, what can I tell you,
what can I possibly say?
All the sorrows forgiven, lost tomorrows now riven,
our lives intersected and frayed…

All is circling round to the center of you–
you can be who you need to be now without fearing the truth—

And thanks for the gifts that you didn’t intend–
thread to bind and to mend—lives I didn’t expect—

And the years collapse spilling stories and tears,
nothing left now to fear–
all the words disappear…

Picture

Inspired by William Edouard Scott (above) and Leonard Cohen.  The responses to Scott’s painting (which immediately brought to my mind Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”),  can be read here, at The Ekphrastic Review.  My thanks to Lorette C. Luzajic for selecting my poem for publication.

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Also linking to dVerse, “The Art of Confession”.

 

The mandala was photographed wet (left) and after drying (right).  The mystery and surprises of watercolor.

Aretha

aretha s

sounds become
music erupting
suddenly
awakening
into everything as fire
blended with pure sky

 

Draw a Bird Day: Hoopoe

hoopoe 2s

I Ask the Hoopoe Three Questions

In my dreams I am always traveling: as Joni says, “looking for something, what can it be?”  My home is the stairway down to the subway, up to the train platform, watching the landscape moving beside the bus.

Here I am again, on the road…in the median I see the bird—huge, red crested, black and white striped wings. I step off the highway into the lush green.

Hoopoe is both real and mythical.  It is associated with death, war, and disease, but also with purity, virtue and leadership. Sometimes it is a messenger between heaven and earth.

I like best the hoopoe in the Sufi story-poem, “The Conference of the Birds”.

What did you
find at the end of
your journey?
Dark and light
intermingling inside your
eye?  Do you know Crow?

hoopoe dream blk s

I really did have this dream, and spent a few days online looking for the bird.  I knew the hoopoe from the Sufi story, but I don’t think I knew what it really looked like.  It’s a beauty!  dVerse also had a prompt earlier in the week about hometowns, which was the starting point for my haibun .

You can read about “The Conference of the Birds” here.  And I highly recommend Peter Sis’ beautifully illustrated version of it, which you can read about here.

And any excuse for some Joni Mitchell (I was at this concert).

Happy Draw-a Bird Day!

Repent

is is not

Desire is hidden
up our sleeves, playing us with
serendipity

Joker’s wild with make-believe
(better hide those foolish hearts)

I’ve bent everything here–prompts, forms, words, cards.

The prompt words are from Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, but liberties have been taken with the tanka.  Also inspired by–although not really following–the dVerse pentimento prompt (well, pentimento does mean “to repent” in Italian), and a poem I wrote awhile ago based on Laura Nyro’s “Flim Flam Man”.

I do love that Joker/Fool card too.

Fare Thee Well (Year of the Rooster)

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“When your rooster crows at the break a dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone…”
–Bob Dylan, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”

You say you’re leaving–
but your crowing lingers,
louder than the blackest cry,

echoing down that dark side
where your soul wanders, lost,
afraid to open either window or door.

Did you really once love?
I wonder not why, but how–
how and where and who—

Who? The call that you can’t hear
is not for you.  Not your name,
but a chorus for a new dawn—

(when you’ll be gone)–bound
for a land beyond the telling.
It’s all right then; it’s all right.

It’s Draw-a-Bird Day, and I’d like to say (almost) good-bye to the Year of the Rooster.  I did 3 Bird Day posts with roosters last year, but my initial post, for the Chinese New Year in 2017, has an eerie similarity to this (not so fond) goodbye.  As I said in that post: “The disruption of the Year of the Monkey gives way to more intensity….the cockiness of the Year of the Rooster.  Most of the predictions I read online for 2017 were not too positive.  They recommended keeping your head down, staying organized, and working hard.”  My poem even mentioned the Dark Side.

Let’s hope the Year of the Dog is kinder to birds (and all other living creatures as well).

 

 

Blue (where are you going?)

blue 1s

From here a line, a border,
the horizon.  From there, shapes
patterned in shades of indigo.
From everywhere.  Scattering blue stardust.

Skies changing in rhythm
with the planet, encircling.  The night
that follows day that follows night.
From here a line, a border,

paths seeking yonder, wild,
a prelude to unwritten chords.
Mirrors that merge into
the horizon.  From there, shapes

following the ripples in the fabric
of years, dark and light.  The collision
that becomes its opposite.  Waves
patterned in shades of indigo.

Almost nothing. As old as the universe,
born again, dying.  Becoming again,
a point of turning.  Echoing
from everywhere.  Scattering blue stardust.

This cascade poem is in response to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.  It was also inspired by Maria Popova and all the links in her end of the year rumination, “In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective”, and, (with a title “Blue” how could I not think of her?) Joni Mitchell.

blue 2s

“We are stardust”–yes we are!  Now if only those bombers really DID turn into butterflies…

Fly Me to the Moon

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the textbook opens to page 13 (for Laura Nyro)

If you could
learn to be lucky–
if you could
hitch pathways
to stars–would the road go on
infinitely, light?

Bottoms fall
out and down with luck,
mirroring
in reverse
the patterns so recently
aligned in those stars.

Why not drink
of sweet blind dumb luck?
Tempt fate to
work its will?
Why not open the gates to
floods of temptation?

Floating boats
on darkened rivers,
out of hands
to lend—out
of sight the treasure map–
out of luck the tide.

fly me bottom s

 

The birdlings are back…in this case, it’s serendipity.  “The Song Is…” blog has published several of my works inspired by Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell (the Joni piece appeared here already).  The above poem appears on the blog with a different piece of artwork, but this one was also done for the Laura Nyro theme.

fly me dove s

And to prove how much I have always liked and used the shadorma form…also serendipitously for along the interstice and Shadorma November

fly me top 3s

 

 

Hope in a Hopeless World

Nina and I will be taking a break for a little while.  Nothing major, just lots of Things To Do.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some thoughts from Phil Roy.

Learning to Fly

tom petty 1s

Working on a mystery, going where it leads.  Into the great wide open under skies of blue.  Will you sail into the heavens, constellations in your eyes?  A red-winged hawk is circling.

White light cuts a scar in the sky.  Take it to the heart; face up to your soul.  Stand in the moonlight.  You belong somewhere you feel free.

The shape of the mist–
feels like something from a dream–
you’re learning to fly.

Songs quoted: Running Down a Dream, Into the Great Wide Open, The Dark of the Sun, You and I Will Meet Again, Luna, The Waiting, You Can Still Change Your Mind, Only a Broken Heart, Wildflowers, The Waiting, Learning to Fly

tom petty 2s

Words from Tom Petty and Colleen’s poetry challenge.