Showing posts from 2011

The BeeGees Poem

On Finding Out the BeeGees own the Priory where Joan of Arc was Sentenced to Death I Write a Poem using 40 titles of their No. 1 Hits (I'm posting this in honor of Robin Gibb's announcement of his battle with cancer. Thanks, songman for songs that always cheer me up! The BeeGees are the only band to have number ones in five decades.) It was God whom she needed to show how deep was her love, and for one night only, spirits having flown, she was named guilty, doomed to stand, sticks and specks, against the flames' shadow dancing. Did she think, did she hear alone the melody, through the still waters of her timeless, god-connected mind for whom the bell still tolls, knowing a love so right, the words in the night, in the night we love, we know how to do it? Did a horn section blast out the hard beats, shout out as the ropes lashed her wrists, the words nobody gets too much heaven no more? Did she expect to get saved by the greatest bell? I just want to be

For Piya (Beloved) and Jiya (Heart) Patel

--for the children murdered by their ill-medicated mother on August 27, 2011 The city will remember your smiles, beloveds, and carry them in its heart. The shapes of your small hands will always be beloved, grasping at the world you were just coming to know by heart. The city will invite you over to play, beloveds, when the mountains are changing as they are always changing our hearts. The city will sit on the edge of your bed, beloveds, read you your favorite story until it knows it by heart. And the city will peek in on you at night, beloved, and watch the rising blankets as you breathe and listen to the beating of your heart. Though we now let you go to be with the spirit, beloveds, we will keep you here in our spirit in our hearts. We will watch you grow, beloveds. We will remember you when our hearts delight in play. Our children will remember the name of your most beloved fruit. They will know how high you could swing on the playground with a racing heart. T

The Mommy Moon

In 1940s movie consciousness, a honeymoon in Niagara Falls was that iconic holiday. The dream destination for beginning a life together, Niagara is the site of a millenia-old geological event. At the end of the last ice age, the newly formed Great Lakes crashed through the escarpment, forging a path to the Atlantic Ocean. Despite its being one of natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls was commonplace in my childhood. My grandparents lived fifteen minutes away along the Parkway in a Georgian house on the river. We picnicked just above the Falls where a ruined ship rusts away in the current over the decades. "This is my favorite part of the river," my grandmother would say, "just before the Falls." I grew up with one of the greatest natural phenomena just down the road.      When my daughter was three weeks old, I flew to Canada to introduce her to my 93 year old grandmother. We stayed in a Victorian Bed and Breakfast where my grandmother had played with her fr

Digital Silence, Digital Speech

I fell through a bridge into a river in Switzerland once. It was a glacial river. It was a very old bridge. I still don't know how I survived. I somehow climbed a brick wall and passed out in a woman's vegetable garden. I did survive, and I got arrested for trespassing. For years following, each time I heard the sound of running water, be it of a river or a faucet in a kitchen, my hands would itch and often swell. When I went with friends to a "swimming hole" on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I experienced a full-blown panic attack which led to my being carried up the mountain by rescue rangers in a white wicker rescue basket then taken by ambulance to the hospital. All of this was unconscious. My task was to consciously draw this fear of water forth by exposing myself to increasingly dramatic forms of this necessary element. I think of this "de-fearing" process when I think of Tweeting and Facebooking (and blogging). Public speaking is the number one fear amon

The Lovers

In the land of the esoteric, the tarot deck is much more than a box of thick, richly illustrated cards. It is a practicing ground for symbolic literacy wherein a practitioner "learns" how to "read into" things intuitively. This literacy renders the world a magical place, one where, as Paulo Coelho says, we can see into the Soul of the World. For the ancient Greeks, for the ancient anybodies anywhere, the world and all that happens in it is living organism, growing, breathing, changing every second.  As a part of this living world, we also participate in the whole. We are affected. We are transformed by experience. (Passive voice fully intentional there.) That is, when we are open, when we have been broken open just enough to let the world speak with us. From that point, with imagination and intuition, we can "see" the world at work inside the world, reflecting on the surface. So, this photograph. How incredibly well it has captured the very essenc


                                           The Wild Swans at Coole as Yeats saw them, too. I woke up this morning to a clouded over moon and news of a new war, this after a week of earthquake and following fifty nuclear energy workers as they strive to save the world. The vegetables are already contaminated, and the people will get sick from this, even if Ann Coulter continues to insist that radiation is good for us. It is the first day of Spring, and it is cold and gray out. It's a hard day to wake to. I read that it was mostly children who were harmed by the bombs over Libya, and Ghadafi simply replies, "Prepare for a long war." I slept so heavily last night. Today, I want to sleep some more. I feel the earth is tired, the people of the world are tired. I feel we all need to sleep. But we don't sleep. We will keep acting, keep trying, keep searching for the words that will balance out the silence of the dead and dying. I feel all of this invites me to move throu

Epicenter, a poem for Japan

EPICENTER, for Japan Japanese sailors rescue Hiromitsu Shinkawa Sunday, two days after the 60-year-old was washed to sea on the roof of his Minamisoma home by a tsunami caused by a powerful earthquake. Thousands are feared dead.                                 Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2011 When the home is shaken, then taken by the sea, when all they can compare it to are two atomic bombs, there is no such thing as waiting as when in this: the water wants. There is no such thing as meaning as when in this: the earth does break open. Sometimes it helps to lift one’s head in prayer and look around the world for what is missing, to count the waves and all the waves have taken and see how everything can be taken. The shoulder of the globe is always soft to cry on. The distance love will travel, salt to salt. I look to the man on his roof floating on the ocean and know he is a story unto himself, having made it safely out of the doomed city, then ha

The Full Dreaming of Asheville Wordfest

The Full Dreaming of Asheville Wordfest, a press release for a paper that might not exist yet. by Laura Hope-Gill on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 3:48pm ASHEVILLE WORDFEST 2011 May 2-8, 2011 All poetry events are free. Films $10.00 donation. It’s time for Asheville Wordfest, Asheville’s poetry festival. Between Tuesday May 2 and Sunday May 8, Asheville residences and guests can enjoy poetry events and readings around the city. Asheville Wordfest is the product of a conversation among poets Laura Hope-Gill, Glenis Redmond, Jeff Davis and James Nave in 2007. In 2008, Wordfest launched at UNCA. Director Hope-Gill expected “maybe forty people, but by the end of the weekend, more than ten times that many had come to the events.” Wordfest is a local festival created to bring the Asheville community together while also connecting it with global voices. Each year, Wordfest explores a theme, using poetry as a form of citizen journalism and not just as a Fine Art. This year’s t

Black Swan: Alchemy in a Tutu

For any mother who has taken her daughter to ballet classes at the local studio, the irony is evident. We hand our daughters wands and tiaras, while in the waiting room the mothers talk of all that goes on in our adult lives: husbands who have returned from war with deep psychic wounds, struggles with jobs and the efforts to keep a house (either clean or from going to the bank). Meanwhile, through the large plate-glass window, our daughters leap and twirl, engaging dreams of princess-ness. The dichotomy of girlhood and womanhood is clearly pronounced. The film Black Swan draws on an ancient motif. The whole goal of the alchemical process is transformation through a slow drawing forth of the "active feminine," or "mercurial," principle from within matter. It is the "dark nature" that dwells within things, including the alchemist, and once the "soul" of matter is released, the soul of the alchemist can work with it and make new things come about