Poem: blue sky lake

My friend was inspired to write a poem after seeing this photo:

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Image: Cynthia Via

She visited New Orleans this past month. We drove to Lake Pontchartrain, and sat there for a while contemplating about our fast-moving day. I forgot how much I needed to slow down. Biking has made me a hopper, moving through moments without settling down to think about them. Suffice to say I miss being a walker. Staring out at the water, I thought: there is love and sadness in that lake. It’s almost like it’s saying, you are no one to the sea. That’s how I feel when I’m floating over an endless body of water.

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I see the vastness of the world,

Like the sea,

it’s unrestrained and always moving

while keeping still and quietly examining

everything and everyone.

I am just another vibe.

The girl without a face.

“A girl has no name.”

And yet I still exist!

 

By Kit Kats.

A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts

Image: Cynthia Via
Image: Cynthia Via

 

The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur—
There was the cat slopping its milk all day,
Fat cat, red tongue, green mind, white milk
And August the most peaceful month.
To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
Without that monument of cat,
The cat forgotten in the moon;
And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light,
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;
Then there is nothing to think of. It comes of itself;
And east rushes west and west rushes down,
No matter. The grass is full
And full of yourself. The trees around are for you,
The whole of the wideness of night is for you,
A self that touches all edges,
You become a self that fills the four corners of night.
The red cat hides away in the fur-light
And there you are humped high, humped up,
You are humped higher and higher, black as stone—
You sit with your head like a carving in space
And the little green cat is a bug in the grass.
-by Wallace Stevens

Thoughts: The Idea of Ancestry

The Idea of Ancestry, by Etheridge Knight

When I read this poem it struck me as something powerful, a distant cry for a story that stayed within the confines of a jail cell.

The Idea of Ancestry makes me think about the people we leave behind. The narrator often interjects with anecdotal memories he draws from his recollection. In the 1960s Knight was sentenced to eight years for robbery, of which he documented in Poems from Prison.

“Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black

faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-

fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,

cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare

across the space at me sprawling on my bunk.”

The number of family members are tied to his present state; he feels they depend on his future. He carries with him a family legacy but also a burden. His family’s photos are taped to the wall of his cell as a reminder of where he came from, and it brings him pain that he can’t do more.

“The uncle disappeared when he was 15, just took

off and caught a freight (they say). He’s discussed each year

when the family has a reunion, he causes uneasiness in

the clan, he is an empty space. My father’s mother, who is 93

and who keeps the Family Bible with everbody’s birth dates

(and death dates) in it, always mentions him. There is no

place in her Bible for “whereabouts unknown.”

There’s something comically sad about the stubbornness of his grandmother that goes by the name of my father’s mother. (How well does Knight know her?) She’s adamant not to include any member who has disappeared or abandoned the family. There is no place in her bible for “whereabouts unknown.” Knight is perhaps inferring that this has happened to him.

“This yr there is a gray stone wall damming my stream…and I have no childrento float in the space between.” He paces back and forth in his cell, thinking he’ll have no one to call son or daughter, no one to call him dad.

The poem travels from present to past then back to present. This is often how I map my thoughts especially when writing a journal entry, which comes off as natural and intuitive. It beautiful to capture a story through the movement  of thought.

For the full poem have a read here.

 

This time last year

 

Time. Image: Cynthia via

This time last year, I was sitting in Bryant Park contemplating my existence possibly sitting at the center of everything in the grassy lawn, listening to the birds, and the chattering voices from the hundreds of people who were outside during lunchtime. From there I stared out at the surrounding buildings that outlined the park into a square. I sat up on the grass, closed my eyes and cleared my thoughts, imagining I was somewhere else. The wind grazed my face and made my hair wild, and I grew hopeful. This time today, I’m in New Orleans thinking about Shakespeare and listening to ballet music from Hamlet. Shakespeare was born on April 23. The last few years I was in New York City around this date. I somehow always found myself near Bryant Park where they had celebratory readings of his plays. I once overheard a couple arguing in his verses. When sitting on the lawn surrounded by skyscrapers and contemplating my future, I thought about time and how quickly it fades away. Youth seems to slip from your hands. I find a similar sentiment in the sonnet below. We grow and we are never in the same place twice. What better way to triumph over time than to write?

Sonnet 15

When I consider everything that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check’d even by the selfsame sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

 

Call of the Night

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Rene Magritte, The Eternal Evidence (1930)

 

 

Dark, and the wind-blurred pines,
With a glimmer of light between.                                                                                                                      Then I, entombed for an hourless night
With the world of things unseen.

 

Mist, the dust of flowers,
Leagues, heavy with promise of snow,
And a beckoning road ‘twixt vale and hill,
With the lure that all must know.

 

A light, my window’s gleam,
Soft, flaring its squares of red—
I loose the ache of the wilderness
And long for the fire instead.

 

You too know, old fellow?
Then, lift your head and bark.
It’s just the call of the lonesome place,
The winds and the housing dark.

By Djuna Barnes

riding an old bike

 

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Avoided accidents thanks to:

twin droopies on a leash

incoming trailer, passing

Who lives in that school bus?

“Hi, Ma’am”

dead possum on the road

“Are you Max’s friend?”

that house is pretty

“This is the first time I’m seeing this house.”

dead end

“You be safe, now.”

 

 

 

 

 

Limitations

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Image: Cynthia Via

 

The subtlest strain a great musician weaves,
Cannot attain in rhythmic harmony
To music in his soul. May it not be
Celestial lyres send hints to him? He grieves
That half the sweetness of the song, he leaves
Unheard in the transition. Thus do we
Yearn to translate the wondrous majesty
Of some rare mood, when the rapt soul receives
A vision exquisite. Yet who can match
The sunset’s iridescent hues? Who sing
The skylark’s ecstasy so seraph-fine?
We struggle vainly, still we fain would catch
Such rifts amid life’s shadows, for they bring
Glimpses ineffable of things divine.

By Henrietta Cordelia Ray

Story of the day: Wind

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The wind is frantic and I’m reading
The wind is whistling
The wind scares me, and I read
Nothing but a glass window
Outside the trees sway, bowing, and curving
To the blowing wind
Sounding like an impending wave about to crash
Washing out the tiny colored houses
There’s a tall palm tree which I will hang to