Tag Archive | poetry

compressed into outer wings

 

archer compress night like an accordion

usher its scenery into outer wings

the lady wears her black mantilla

 

archer fold nightmares into paper fans

fetch fanned breezes for the mothy air

the lady day dreams.

spring_equinox_2016_qtrsz

 

archer lower your bow

the lady dreams leaves out of bare wood

 

she dreams trees for the forest where

you will have lease to shoot.

 

 

 

 

Welcome, Spring.

–The Odalsisque

exit night. enter light.

I have a long night ahead.    You do, too, if you live north of the equator.

I haven’t always lived north of the equator.  At one time, I lived in a painting which means outside of time.  I left all that for my new life in an oddly-conceived obelisk sticking irrationally out of a marsh by the shore.   My life may be odd but it is not a work of art.  It’s not timeless.  I have to live through long long nights.  Too bad I didn’t wash up near the equator.  Just think of the birds I’d have had as friends!

Stop it, Odalisque!  Stop thinking about what never was.  How easily I fall into fantasy to avoid now.  NOW is the dawn (?) of the LONGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR.  No, the CUSP of the longest night of the year.  The crepuscular CUSP.

How will you make it through?

I think I will observe my shadow.

If I sit still in the dark it will not be cast, and I can better observe it.

<Black Swan would like me to explain why Black Swan does not cast a white shadow.>

<I say ‘Perhaps your soul shadow is white.  Your soul shadow is not the shadow you see on the wall.”>

<Black swan blinks, uncomprehending.  Black Swan’s shadow is still black on the wall.>

<About swan brains:  They don’t understand that one word means can signify multiple things, especially if one of those things is conceptual.>

I didn’t have much of a shadow when I was art. I was painted to be luminous in a murky dark. If I had a shadow it vanished into the background.

It occurs to me that when I was a work of art I was the light casting someone else’s shadow.

I am very fortunate that my obelisk is well-lit.  I have a shadow and it changes size.  I will see my shadow again in the morning, when my window is passage for the first rays of dawn.

My niche objectifies that blessed event.

Stop Odalisque!  Stop thinking ahead.  First, I must get through tonight.

Maybe a stew of bitter roots and powders.  Sun powders: paprika, tumeric, cayenne, saffron, the colors of heat and warmth ground fine and digestible, enlivening to blood.   Or, foods rich in iron, as if this night is a furnace in which swords and anvils are forged.  Or,  tubers of Helianthus: all summer that plant grew high in the marsh, well over my head.  Whatever sustained stems, leaves, pods, the root has sucked dry and stored, earth-white-crisp, inside.   Let transubstantiation feed shadow tonight.

Drink red wine from a quartz cup.

Beat taut skins of drums or thighs with the palms of hands.

Cover yourself in cloth that catches the littlest light.

Or don’t, and let your eyes sparkle.

If the sun were a king and not a star, if you thought the earth was flat and the sky a dome, tonight the king would almost die.

The king is not dying.  Unless the king is like a shadow:  conceptual.  My bringer-of-light.

Do not let your sun king die.

It is a long night.   The sun is not dying, (at least, not on a human scale).  The earth is just moving like earth-mass moves a sun-scale gravitational field.   Starlings move like starlings in the twilight sky.  Grasses move like dry grasses in night-fall winds.

The king does not die.  Neither does the shadow.  Both will be weak for months now, but come spring, the earth will be pummelled by roots into abundance, solar powered.

 

 

wintersolstice_2015_halfsz_noborder

 

Merry darkness.  Happy soon-to-be dawn.

–The Odalisque

of late

My scrapbook, of late, has looked like this:

notebookpaper - horizontal lines

Lines.  Pale blue lines.  Blank paper.  With lines.

Having spent most of my life in works of art, I know all about lines:

Horizontal lines suggest a feeling of rest or repose because objects parallel to the earth are at rest. Horizontal lines delineate sections which recede into space.  The lines imply continuation of the picture plane to the left and right.  [Elements of Art]

Please orient your screen so every line is parallel to the earth.

notebookpaper - horizontal lines

Do you feel rest do you feel repose?

Imagine the lines extend out of your screen, infinite continuation, left and right.   Let’s walk towards the blank paper’s beginning.  Or do you prefer its end?

Maybe these horizontal lines do not begin or end, but circle like latitude lines.  We walk inside a column of paper, round and round.  The white space, delineated, recedes.

Here I am, stuck in the middle of a cyllindrical blank-paper drum.

Hit my head, see if I thrum.

Turning the page the other way changes things a bit:

notebookpaper - vertical lines

Vertical lines often communicate a sense of height because they are perpendicular to the earth, extending upwards toward the sky. Vertical lines suggest spirituality, rising beyond human reach toward the heavens.  [Elements of Art]

My obelisk is a very strong vertical line rising from the earth’s horizontal plane.  I’ve conveniently positioned myself between heaven and earth.  I don’t want to ascend any further (like the birds) or go down to the shore.  I like it right here.  For now.  I can see the sky and I can see the shore and the birds come into visit, bringing seeds and grasses from the out-of-doors.  I open my window.  The wind carries in its light arms molecules of pollen and salt.

Would you rather face heaven, earth or a the delineated white page?

Of late, I’ve shown my back to the conceptual page, and faced my little world.  The kettle’s on!  We’ve buns for tea!  The weather is unseasonable, but the starlings will flap their wings to create a gusty breeze so phoenix can blaze pleasantly for the rest of us.  The warm weather has made black swan molt.  I’m collecting the downy feathers to stuff a new bed.  Crow has flown north on the annual spiritual strengthening retreat, but will return on the solstice, through my new niche (remember my solstice niche?)  May crow return as crow, not parrot.  What celestial bodies must I implore to bring that about?  I don’t know who crow listens to, so I implore crow:  be black black crow, not flashy parrot.  Stop asking me where I am going.

Hawk is reading Adorno.  Eyeing the ethereal blue lines on the blank pages I’ve taped one-by-one to the obsidian walls, Hawk quoth thus:

In her text, the writer sets up house.  Just as she trundles papers, books, pencils, documents untidily from room to room, she creates the same disorder in her thoughts.  They become pieces of furniture that she sinks into, content or irritable.  She strokes them affectionately, wears them out, mixes them up, re-arranges, ruins them.  For a woman who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.  In it she inevitably produces, as her family once did, refuse and lumber.  But now she lacks a store-room, and it is hard in any case to part from left-overs.  So she pushes them along in front of her, in danger finally of filling her pages with them.

..In the end, the writer is not even allowed to live in her writing.  [II.Memento, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life]

I hope you bear well the shortening days!  We’ll celebrate the turning very soon.

‘Till then,

–The Odalisque

mooning

I know.

I did not make an equinox page.  Did you miss it?

Here we are again.  Dark days.  I mean nights.  I mean LONG nights.

They are coming.

I’m depressed.

Maybe I should move closer to the equator so I don’t have to go through this every year.  Otherwise, I’ll have to go back to being an unravished bride of happiness, i.e., art.  Oh happy happy art!  Music unheard is sweetest and in truth, beauty such as an odalisque’s may be eternally still, fading century-by-century to fall at last in entropic decay.

You may have noticed I don’t make so many scrapbook pages anymore.  At first it was so exciting to be out and about in my own obelisk.  But everything passes so fast.  Like starlings sweeping the sky time is, a hypnotist, and I, Odalisque, am hypnotized, with a soft focus dream-floating in all the flux.  Why stamp myself upon this flux of time?   Why afix myself to the pseudo-permanent?  Why art?

I miss crow.  Parrot-that-is-crow doesn’t talk anymore, doesn’t ask me where I’m going.  It’s obvious to all us birds that TIME is what’s going.  It’s a sensation, round and round.  Parrot is plucking her own feathers.  Maybe beneath all that caricature will step my black crow.

Crow would know how to party in this mad, strung-out scene.  We’re all exhausted and too paranoid to  get out o <f/i>n time.

eq2015_owlhereeq2015_oisstupid

OWL HERE.

ODALISQUE IS STUPID.

ODALISQUE!eq2015_become

YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE OR WHO TO BE

THERE IS A PLACE TO ARRIVE AT IT IS NOW TO BECOMEeq2015_mooning   owl_signature

 

 

 

My face is like the moon /the night grows long /long reign of moon.

Don’t moon about.  Wane.  So you can see the stars.

Here we go again.

It never stops does it.

 

–The Odalisque

 

 

 

 

 

pre/se/rve || e

August, die she must, minute by minute.   The hour, in July, appointed for tea now lingers too late for dinner to be prepared before dark.   Rush I must to get myself fed without burning some light.  Like most of my birds, I prefer to be active in sunlight; as the days shorten I slowly become overwhelmed by routines and chores, my working hours constricted. Imagine how most birds feel–fewer minutes each day in which to find their requisite calories.

I say “most” because though Hawk’s hunting days are waning, Owl’s are on the rise.  Owl looks forward to the equinox when time-dominion tilts in favor of Owl.   Owl pities Hawk, who had hunting good when the weather was gentle and pleasant.  When hunting is hard, and most necessary, Owl has time.   Hawk shrugs.  Always, somehow, Hawk, also, stays alive.

In Owl-time I will have to attune myself to other productivities, the less active and quickly satisfying.  The obelisk will be grimier but in dark Winter I’ll hardly be able to tell.  As long as I can keep the window clean, to let what light there is in.  I’ll remember how to attune to other chores, tasks of the mind cupping itsself around a dim candle, confronting cold space, recalling how to preserve, a word which looks an awful lot like “persevere”.  I will remember how to persevere.

handwriting_preserveperservere

Why do I worry for winter?  Now is summer, late summer, to be sure, but the flowers all blowsy, gold, purple and white, the colors of royalty.  August is an august time, leonine.  Nature, regally bedecked, processes nobly towards decline.

These days are pleasure-full.

I just paused to appreciate that fact–NOW is pleasure-FULL–and bright crow-who-is-parrot (I’m so sick of parrot, repeating himself), landed on the sill, dropping a red feather.

I like collecting the birds’ feathers.  I pick it up.

first_leaf_of_fallIt is not a feather.

Parrot-who-is-Crow brought me a leaf.

The first autumn leaf.

–The Odalisque

 

 

other marvels

I made a grid and titled it THE SHADOW UNIVERSE AND OTHER MARVELS.  The rows and columns are labeled with shades of black.  There is a storm blowing about, strewing  fury and frustration.

Outer-space is where an odalisque escapes (read odalisques in space if you’re curious about that), but universal is all.  The witching hour is the hour in which things are made.  Look at a clock whose hands are stuck how they stutter stutter at what-o-clock don’t panic.  Kill the clock.  Clip the coil, pull the plug, flip out the cylindrical case for reactive chemicals, all toxicity (cadmium, mercury, lead), these mechanisms that have the power to drive hands.

When you’ve incapacitated the clocks, give your hands their work.  Soon the birds will whistle, churtle, stir.  Black becomes grey becomes white, even blue.

Clouds will pass.  Sun time is gentler, more subtle,  than numbered dials.

textexcavation_shadowuniverse

day’s end

space: absence [storm at sea]

universal: constant connection  (expected to listen passively)

midnight

space: you describe the world

universal:  stop.  lost.  [clouds]

witching hour

space: i should be right now [black iron fence or gate?]

universal: I am reclaiming.  The writer always triumphs.

the writer always triumphs.  I am betrothed to the stars.  each pierces me like a pin.  identify me for future generations: Saint Sebastian, beloved of art.

–The Odalisque

else is over

kernel

This is my coast my shore.  The sea crashes, shapes, heaps, carries away.  My coast.  My shore.  Here a wrecked shipman would long for fresh water and hot food.  I weep salt and speak-sputter wet wood.   My house is built apocalyptic on sand there is no rock here.  Shifting sands.  Nomad- I  of miniscules, foot by foot my house moves, between dune and shore.

The jewels of my country are secreted.  Secrete/secret the thick glossies that mollusk thumbs fist.  Spiraled, scalloped, with fishy smells.  A captain landing here would find no treasure except what the ocean will break and cleanse.  My wealth is all paper on a standard of feathers and shell.  I’m worth nothing without irrational faith.

Here no ships but maybe.  Here no sails but maybe, too far for hawk-eye to see, one trawls, nets too knotted and tangled to sail home.  Better to be a boatman in the hollowed trunk of a tree, steadying his gaze, hand to a spear.  Better skim the deep waters armed with knives and spears, sharp and precise, than drag behind a powerful vessel indiscriminate nets.

Feed me.  I will eat gold kernels out of my hands and sea eggs, grey yolked.  No more nets, knotted and tangled, in constant need of mending, They dredge the dark living sea dusts up I will not feed on its bottoms.

Gold grain and grey yolks.  Feed me things that might be born.  Feed me the raw germ of wanting-to-be-born.

shore egg–The Odalisque

lead gray shadow

lead gray shadow

this place.  maybe elsewhere?  i don’t know.  somewhere was home.

my fantastic unbelonging.  now what.  i am always here.

steps

steps1-2-3

 

 

steps-1

 

Don’t force.  Little things.  Days.  Hay the heap in which pricker lost,  scintillant sharp-eye.

Pay attention.  A haystack is a stack of needles. Needles of hay.  Stop scouring gold for cold steel.

 

 

 

 

 

steps-2Transmission weak and flatulent, slack-jawed lines on a pole poorly buried.  No electrical ground.

Engage the operative.  Draw the lines taut and subtle like muscle tissue like sinew bow strings, foreleg of deer drawn taut to down the fleeing deer.

The deer enables the hunter.  Without her there is no hunt<h>er.

Or is there?  Her taut-strung sinews string his lyre.  Therefore, he thinks, they commune.

 

steps-3No rest always a space simple let it fill itself with play.

Head too heavy to lift up?

Look down, upon reflective surfaces.

Try cans of spent motor oil.  Try backside of spoons.   Try sphericals.   Try eyes of adoring animals.  Try shiny-ing your shoes.

quiet please quiet

Quiet, please, quiet.

Let me sleep.

Let me pull this darkness (this darkness that is still natural in many places of this world) over my face like a black hood wrung in cool water.

Let me be blind inside it.

Let me sleep as deeply as sleepers in the dark regions.

Let me sleep, fists curled like a skinned animal who dreams of the moldy earth, of thick plush fur.

A dream that closes on waking like a heavy door heaved against a beast who wants to tear my bones away from themselves with its jeweled claws.

(Odalisque dreaming recorded here)

are you awake?

i am writing you it is the longest night of the year.  there are astronomical charts and time tables which tell me this is so.
no matter when you read this let it be known: I wrote this on the longest night of my second obelisk year.

I am vigilant.  the birds are asleep.  crow/parrot is nesting on the teapot. black swan’s head is tucked into a wing with a hammer.  hawk’s claw clasps a chisel.  starlings sleep in my tree, which is perfect because they will rustle and chirp at exactly the necessary moment.

I have an obelisk-improvement plan which begins with our marking tomorrow’s first ray of light.  I’ll show you what we do, but you’ll have to wait until next year.

now, now now, cold and colder (metaphysically).  the obelisk receives information on its obtuse cosmic angle as it (as we) tilt far back on our polar heel, away from the atomic crematorium called sun.  I am wearing my coat and holding phoenix, who burns my candle at both ends.

i don’t like these long nights.

tomorrow night will be one minute shorter than this night!  every minute counts when you’re all alone in an obelisk and your friends are birds who go to sleep with the sun.

correction: owl doesn’t sleep with the sun, but where is owl?  out torturing the rodents who plant seeds in my bed when I’m not looking.  all kinds of seeds stashed in my bed!  will they sprout to my warmth when i sleep sound?

i sleep in sound.  mice eat the seeds.  owl eats the mice.  owl eats the trees, twice-removed.  the marsh flowers and the burnet grasses.

i like my solitude, but these dark days weigh heavy on me.

are you awake, too?  hush holy in the old days, before people like you and I understood the earth’s axial tilt, how it–not the sun–moves.  There was a time when night-wakers-we would labor with rites and song to call back the cold sun.  come back, chariot of cosmic fire!  run your course directly o’er, you barely crest the distant edge of our apparently flat fields.

people like you and I, night-wakers-we, would worry about star-lit days and moon-less night.  the trees are already dead and if the sun said “no, i won’t come back” and didn’t, they would have stayed that way, bare of leaf, electrical snappage in a voltless day-called-night.  we would have been eaten by the night-hunters, like owl.

crow-who-is-parrot cracks one eye as if crow were wholly crow, and croaks “some day some day”.  it is true.  one day the sun will burn out.  go back to sleep, parrot-who-is-crow.

I am glad to KNOW that this is the longest night this solar year.    Tomorrow night will be a little bit gentler than this one here.

my winter solstice, 2013 scrapbook page.   happy hol [ly] days.

figure_solstice_orion_ahome

fig 3

home [page]

figure (anamorphosis) was my 100th scrapbook page!  One hundred is a special number because I have ten fingers and a hundred is ten to the second power.  I will have to publish 1,000 pages before I reach another power of ten.

post100_1000One thousand scrapbook pages!  Taped in a line on the walls…or bound into a book?  A record of the evolution of someone called “I”?…or ever-more intimate layers, papery tissues, peeled off with each page turn?  If the pages only reveal what was always there, what will be unveiled when the last obfuscation is lifted, the last page turned?

A funny endpaper, the edging of a book.  The knobby surface of my old desk, slid up beneath the window of the obelisk.   For you…a still, illuminated screen?  What lingers in the mind as our eyes lift to the view…who will sit, unveiled, in our thoughts, perplexing and welcome, when the scrapbook is at last closed?

centenary invitation

www.conversewithbirds.org

Now Featuring

post100_aslideshow

of my favorite pictures

AND

post100_aboutmeandmyscrapbook

where you

post100_youyesyou

can read an odalisque primer, hear my dreams, watch my movie, and browse some of my favorite pages from each obelisk year.

All this, and we are not even finished with year 2.

handwriting_thankyouforlooking

–The Odalisque

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