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Chuck Berry 1926-2017

chuck berry s

Brown eyed handsome man:
the things you used to do.  That
Rock and Roll music.

Portents

portents wht s

The clouds are cold, still
heavy with winter.  Layers
reveal blue borders.

Earth holds its breath, forecasting.
Throw spring, uncautioned, to wind.

Colleen’s weekly tanka prompt words were clouds and spring, accompanied by the photo, above.  I also used most of the Secret Keeper’s prompt words from this week.

circle spring

(…and we will catch it, gladly.)

Creatures of the Wind

nina simone

I have two pieces of art and a poem inspired by the great Nina Simone and her song “Wild is the Wind” on Marianne Szlyk’s  musical blog “The song is…”  You can see them here, along with a fun essay by Bill Cushing on not driving.  Marianne has also included a link to the song, as well as a variety of other musical pleasures.

“The song is..” features a lot of interesting writing, art, and music, so take a look around while you’re there.

Map

at sea s

the map forms
a circle, rhythmic
labyrinth
synchronized
with the tides, the turning of
the moon in earth’s night

the passage
reflected as fire
on water,
as air, wind
beginning in clouds of stars–
an endless return

horizon

For Sue Vincent’s prompt this week, “Horizon”.

 

When the Cold Wind Blows

fire and rain blk s

If you see fire, if
fire is spilled, smothered by rain,
stolen from the sun–

are bridges burned, rivers run
dry?  A cold flaming.  Unquenched.

James Taylor released his album “Sweet Baby James” in 1970, the year I graduated from high school.  It was a constant in my life for the next few years, and remains a touchstone for remembering that time.

When Colleen title her tanka challenge this week “Fire and Rain”, James Taylor’s song immediately began to play in my head.  Almost all the songs on “Sweet Baby James” talk about the sun, yet there’s a touch of melancholy in every word.  Colleen’s prompt photo, too, seems to reflect these contradictory feelings.  Endings, beginnings:  fire and rain.  My tanka is an imagined conversation with the album and the song.

fire and rain close up s

You can read the lyrics to “Fire and Rain” (the source of my tanka’s title) and listen to the song here.  James discusses some of his songs for Rolling Stone, with musical accompaniment, here.  (But you don’t need to explain yourself, James.  We understand these feelings only too well.)

Bridge

blk-bridge-s

Light reveals an opening, a net
caught by what is broken, muddied, wet;
scattered stones and history unmet.

blk-wht-bridge

Tangled edges under/over ground,
traveling as lines that make no sound,
camouflaged by fragments lost, unbound.

What remains? The inside of the fray:
all the shadowed hours that mark the day.
Every path holds dreams, or so they say.

wht-bridge-s

I decided to do something a little different for Sue Vincent’s “Bridge” photo prompt, below, this week.  I took the photo and abstracted it and then painted it.  I wanted to have a subtle color variation, so I used only 5 colors (green, orange, 2 browns, and grey) plus black and white, and mixed them in different proportions.

beneath-the-bridge

The poem is in a form that Jane Dougherty used a few days ago, which has 3 stanzas of 3 rhyming lines each, with each line containing 9 syllables.  I liked the rhythm, and playing with numbers and words is something I enjoy.  I always find that thinking about rhymes, too, causes me to see things I might otherwise not.

 

wavering

foggy-woods-s

dislocated map
the trees have changed positions
air and light play tricks

hiding in the miasma
the zone between yes and no

I was inspired by Colleen’s tanka challenge photo this week to pick up a brush and paint, something I haven’t done much of lately.  I used gouache instead of watercolor on the rice paper, which is worth trying again I think.

Draw a Bird Day: Red Rooster

gallo-mask-s

“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.

gallo-close-up-s

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!

Tracings

tracings-comp

Touched by tracings of
stars.  Holding life as breath in
surreal clarity.

Spellbound. Network of charms whirled
through passage to safe harbors.

Original image, left, altered through the magic of Photoshop.  Words for tanka from Colleen and the secret keeper.  Colleen also provided the inspiration image below.

012317_1941_ColleensWee1.jpg

“The magic of childhood is the strangeness of childhood–the uniqueness that makes us see things that other people don’t see.”
–Maurice Sendak

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
–Roald Dahl

Work in Progress

Our friend Claudia McGill suggested cutting up a painting to make a new piece so I tried it. Not sure if this is finished. I think it needs some more fine lines or graffiti or something. It was fun to do and I will probably cut up more stuff.