Tag Archive | Joan Mitchell

Variation on a Theme

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I spend myself with what if.  I pray to spirits I don’t believe in about things I don’t really know if I want.

What do I want? A light-filled room?  Applause?  Kind words, a gentle touch?

And you? Not even the imprint of your body remains in the furniture.  But you haunt me with your past, the one that spills over into my present and keeps me tangled in lost hours, restless days, sleepless nights.

It’s easy to keep repeating variations on the same inner monologue, difficult to quiet it and focus on something that is beyond the boundaries of myself.

And so I talk to the trees, like Chet Baker did. Do they listen?  They give me mornings of birdsong, flowering into green and then transforming into autumn harvests of red and gold.  Their branches, when naked, dance against clear blue skies.

I talk to the stars—
they pull me out, glimmering–
circles of the moon.

Is that listening?

It’s close enough.

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The prompt for NaPoWriMo today asks us to write something inspired by another form of art.  For NaPoWriMo last year, all the art I used for the month of April was inspired by the painter Joan Mitchell.  And I have not stopped using her art as inspiration–lately I’ve been obsessed with her tree paintings.  Both paintings, above, were inspired by them.

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And so I thought to compose a poem about trees.  The reference today to Frank O’Hara, who was a friend of Joan Mitchell,  got me looking at his poems to see if there were any that talked about trees.  There were, and I modeled the beginning of my haibun on his “Meditations on an Emergency”.

But I also was thinking of Lerner and Loewe’s song “I Talk to the Trees”.  I like Chet Baker’s version, here with Bill Evans and Coleman Hawkins.

I talk to the trees
But they don’t listen to me
I talk to the stars
But they never hear me

You can see some of Joan Mitchell’s tree paintings here.

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Scarecrow Joins the Circle Dance

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Autumn. I fall into disrepair.  The sky still covers me, but my shadow dissolves into the remains of the golden ocean that heretofore eddied and flowed at my feet.  My skin lies ragged, unfilled.

I was crowned, once, with dark discordant ornaments. They sit on other thrones now, unrepentant pretenders, still calling the sun, the wind–the land itself–to task.

A crow flies over
a graveyard—blackness on stone–
change hangs in the air

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When I saw Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge about scarecrows, I was intrigued.  I can’t think of Scarecrow without  thinking of Robert Okaji’s wise sage.  So whatever I did would be colored by what Robert has written.  I also decided to use the words from Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, synonyms for ghost and hollow, as many of them seemed to fit on Scarecrow too.

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As to Crow–he’s always around here somewhere.

Once again, different light makes the metallic paint change like the weather and the seasons…and this is another artwork inspired by Joan Mitchell being inspired by Van Gogh.  Circles within circles.

Also linked to dVerse Open Link Night.

May Day

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Breath held, returning
we rise, dance the beginning
open to the sun.

Spiraling blessings hum wind,
blood lines quickening, bowing.

For Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, with synonyms for sing and celebrate.  This painting/embroidery is one of the Joan Mitchell inspired pieces I was working on for NaPoWriMo and didn’t finish.  So it’s still in progress.  I will definitely complete this one, but the rest may be put on hold (along with a pile of others…)

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I’m feeling at loose ends, and I need to put my work space in order so I can find what I’m looking for.  Still many boxes unopened as well.  Time to regroup…but May is starting out with plenty of sunshine!  That feels good.

what is it good for? (#9)

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the
long and
short of war
is recorded
in absence—spattered
between the holes in the
skin of ordinary lives–
those empty spaces echoing
with unknowing, with what could have been

Day 30 of NaPoWriMo linked us to oddness for inspiration–I clicked on “Pieces of History” first and was immediately confronted with war, long and short.  There’s no escaping it, it seems.

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When Nina and I first started our blog, I was doing mostly art, trying to make it a regular practice again.  One of the series I did then was called “what is it good for?” #8 was posted in 2014…and so it goes, the same question continues.  With #9, a nonet.

I want to thank the NaPoWriMo hosting site for connecting me to so many wonderful poets and pieces of writing, and for helping me actually do 30 poems for the first time.

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And to Joan Mitchell, for inspiring every piece of art I made for NaPoWriMo.  The works that I used as references are below.

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offerings

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these wells of wishes–
falling up into the air–
held by waves of light

For NaPoWriMo Day 29 and Sue Vincent’s photo prompt above.

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logo-napowrimoArt inspired by Joan Mitchell’s “Grande Vallee”.

 

 

 

Wheel of Fortune (X)

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Wheel turning over like a key
opening fate and chance and time.
In all directions destiny–
still center scatters fortune blind.

Lost in all possibility–
searching the hands and face for signs.
Wheel turning over like a key
opening fate and chance and time.

Shadowed by what may never be–
turning into a circled line–
all paths will mirror and rewind
exposing doors no one can see–

Wheel turning over like a key.

Day 27 of NaPoWriMo asks us to look to the Tarot for inspiration.   I’ve done the Wheel of Fortune before, but one of my watercolors based on Joan Mitchell’s “Blue Tondo” was a perfect fit.

The poetic form I used is Rondel.

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I Become Clichéd

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My windows open me.
My windows cover, enclose, hide.

I am reflected, pushed inside by darkness.
I am reflected, merging outside into the landscape of the sun.

My windows are two-way mirrors.
My windows are tricks of the eye.

How can I exist in transparency?
How can I exist as glass?

My windows know both sides of the story.
My windows reverse me into particles of light.

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for NaPoWriMo Day 26, inspired by Robert Okaji’s “Helinski

and one of Joan Mitchell’s sunflower paintings

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In the Wake

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When I think
of you, I see you
floating, sails
unfurled in
iridescence like fish scales
or maybe crows’ wings,

dark and light
reflected in waves
traveling
unanchored
by time.  Will we meet again
on unmapped seas? or

as birds, hearts unveiled, trailing stars?

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A elegy for both NaPoWriMo Day 24.  The first one I wrote was quite gloomy.  I took some of the images and began again.

I think the replacement was sent by the Oracle.  It has her mark.

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Earth Day Tanka

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I knew that the Oracle would have some words to give me for Earth Day.  She did not disappoint.

Rest you gentle world–
watch seasons breathe, wandering
through sun rain and night.

Follow darkness with long songs
spiriting—grow wild, complete.

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I have to make a respectful disagreement with the NaPoWriMo Prompt for Day 22.  Physics (if you’re scientific) and the Spirit World (if you prefer that approach to life) have shown us that the impossible is always waiting for us just beyond our current state of awareness.

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Happy Earth Day!  May we work together to find and nourish leaders who respect and honor our home and all of its inhabitants.

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logo-napowrimoMy monoprint sequence was inspired by Joan Mitchell’s painting “Another World Inside the Walls”.

In Wait

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I meet myself without mirrors
I meet myself masked by flowers
I meet myself beyond words

Inside the air, evoke words
Inside the stones, seek mirrors
Inside the earth, bleed flowers

I find my bones among flowers
I find my bones reflecting words
I find my bones as shards of mirrors

Inserting flowers inside the mirrors of echoed words

I’ve combined the NaPoWriMo Day 21 prompt about Narcissus with Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, “Waiting”, above, which reminded me of the way a re-mirrored image can seem to have no end.

I wanted to use a poetic form with repetition, and chose the tritina, which always sounds to me like a spell being cast.

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