Category: Personal


Cenotaph

Willem De Kooning

Willem De Kooning

poems like Snyder’s lost ponies
gallop down shining sand dunes
all heat and sweat and neighing
great stallions of imagination
humbled in embodiment
in motion, huffing, striving
toward the blue-dark horizon

frenetic birds flit at the edge of sky
stencils against the thread of clouds
unable to escape the picture
painting landscapes of loss
singing songs of lament
at the walls of the white monastery

within the hobbled monk chants
breaks the night with his strange descant
there is nothing to accept
prostrate surrender of an endless ritual
rhythm chime of an inner bell

words cascade, an avalanche of lost meaning
roaring down the scarred mountain
felling ancient trees, thundering echoes
through fire-kissed meadows
gods hover at Duncan’s margins of thought
here in the hinterlands of a long forgotten tale

Indigo Code

memory is a horse
drawing reigns
through the snow

myriad threads
of retrocausality
converging

mathematical
model predicated
on chaos

mind traces
a divergent
illusion of absence

melody haunting
blue interstices
of imagination

motion creates
waves of substance
woven in spacetime

Daedalus & His Muse

Olivier de Sagazan

Olivier de Sagazan

for David Chamberlain, Jr.
(inspired by his series of
Labyrinth poems)

here in the wilderness
encountering my fierce nature
thoughts lignify into woodcuts
thousands of barren landscapes
inculcating a melancholic picture

odd trees with finger thin branches
veiled in snow, grasping at the sky
painting blue stars in an empty heaven
I mourn what is irretrievably lost
something raw and enigmatic
written in my cathexis of longing

awash in an inaccessibility of meaning
I writhe sideways like an angry cobra
forming chalk outlines of the labyrinth
liquid mind streaming in slumber
an emulsion of ether, untethered

sands around me shift, amnesiac
creating fragments of identity masks
that reveal dreamtime spent in a desert
chasing my Minotaur shadow

there in the darkness I meet a Seer
who prophesizes my true nature
chained, I walk with two spirits
sorrow and pain expressing
nightshades of unborn ruin

I am merely the center-point
King Theseus of this lost tribe
ragged wanderer in exile
painting symbols in blood
a sediment of iconography
upon the walls of history

until Ariadne arrives like a mirage
finds me in the dreamworld maze
haunting the zero hour, engaged
in games of ritualistic sacrifice
and deftly cauterizes my wound

her sacred arts of magic
secure my inerasable love
offering an orgiastic thread,
triune passport to paradise
a string of beautiful words
creating an utterly pure tale
to reconstruct the mythic life
of my glorious and terrible wings

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

In memoriam for Dave King

‘I am writing a novel
in which no one speaks . . .
every one of my characters
moves like a shadow . . .
As of now, chapters ten,
and to a lesser extent,
maybe, eleven,
seem quite unpenable.’
written by Dave King, excerpts
from WAR AND PEACEfulness

I. Alasdair MacIntyre and Isaiah Berlin will engage in a civilized debate of moral philosophy and value pluralism in the divinely lit library of the hereafter

while it seems improbable
that the two will ever
arrive at the Answer,
hidden within the firestick,

their agreeable natures
ensure a kind exchange
and mutual respect
(as ours did)

II. Postmodern experimentalism encounters a fine intellect and a dashing wit

not only did he meet the bar
he vaulted it rather spryly

III. Anything can happen

unfortunately, it often does
cancerously and suddenly

IV. Stendal, Joyce, Hypatia, Riker, and Woolf toast his life by writing an eternity of allusions

words are like magic,
scintilla, igniting the soul’s spark
Plato’s divine spark longing
to unite with ever more
transcendent forms of beauty

Hypatia approaches the door
only those who’ve transitioned
may enter, opening a gateway,
releasing the fiery cries of seraphs

(I will meet you in the liminal
threshold between your faith
and my fractured metaphysics)

her radical eye encounters his pneuma
perhaps a whisper of which
will live a little here in the poem
as an act of remembrance

V. The consummate performance artist mourns the poet

you walked alongside us
desiring a dream of arctic skies
and ice floes captured in verse

now silk enrobed traces of your artistry
float by, a music, ever passing
as your gentle voice is lost to the wind

Sun Feast

Jade werejaguar mask of the Olmecs

Jade werejaguar mask of the Olmecs

mercurial volcanic ash
disintegrates the constructs
of permanence,
scarring the landscape

wind collides with the world tree
marking the cardinal directions
we are shaken about
beaten by life and one another

untethered from identity
in the borderlands of cyberspace
I became a shape shifting supernatural,
an apparitional avatar

arboreal hunter, spirit guide,
constellations imprinted upon my pelage
I prowl the numinous threshold
to the home of the spirits

ravens guard the branches
draw the edges of death
scream warnings and watch me
bloody my pelt on thorns

wounds of my animal form
create caves to the underworld
I am wise and foolish, powerful and weak
never capable of being otherwise

psychic scars form the light
witnessed through the veil
I reveal my ancestors and progeny
my dream time chameleonic nature

jungle dwelling dangers
find exorcism in expression
liberate my vulnerability
inspire your intentions

you coax me from the treetops
dispel my debt of gratitude
salve my Godsmitten paw
unite us in shamanic ecstasy

Jaguar (public domain)

Jaguar (public domain)

Less Intense: Equally Effective?

mixed media visual journal by Anna Chamberlain (sticker is from a Listerine bottle)

mixed media visual journal by Anna Chamberlain (sticker is from a Listerine bottle)

my depth of processing
a sensitivity to subtle stimuli
creates emotional reactivity

being overly aroused –
not as fun as it sounds –
contributes to my
vastly nuanced nature

an innate trait
hardwired into my
nervous system
makes me different
I live in a CAPITAL
letter world

full of bright lights and loud noises
a shock and awe campaign
against my nerves
a life of too much stimulation

I need time alone
to recuperate from this
strongly empathetic,
intuitive existence
this overactive conscientiousness

introversion encounters
my complex inner life
I’m moved immensely
by music and art
these creative gifts
of my active imagination

I chastise myself:
don’t cry at road kill
feel love with casualness
develop thicker skin
focus less on others
BE NORMAL FOR FIVE MINUTES

I engage my copings strategies:
overachieving (an understatement)
because I don’t want to be criticized
walking on eggshells (tightrope)
because I am deeply affected by your moods
project a veneer of self-assurance (pretending)
because I want to be like you

yet I cannot be other than I am
so this intense, responsive,
O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-E-D
(highly sensitive person)
will have to become empowered
by naming this state of being,
become emboldened by its truth

If you’d like to take a psychologically valid self-test to see if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) you may do so here.

Acrylic on paper 2005 Anna Chamberlain, poetry 2013

Acrylic on paper 2005 Anna Chamberlain, poetry 2013

snow sends fathomless missives to the ocean
frozen kisses that kindle love
and we become one

storms thunder and unleash rain
born from a mountain glacial lake
in the watery center of my being

across the distance I traverse to you
naturally responding to the power
of your gravitational pull

ebb and flow I travel and remain still
upon a rocky shoreline,
deep current and unending whole

This is a digital alteration of a polaroid picture I took when I was 6. The original was purposely out of focus.

This is a digital alteration of a polaroid picture I took when I was 6. The original was purposely out of focus.

Peering into the past
lenses initiate selective focus
a fantastication brought about
through a child’s eyes
prismatic sensibility only possible then
encased in the vault of unextinguishable incunabulum

developing the picture as it emerges
revealing the essence of a life
showing one moment, one side of perception
in its inability to capture without speciousness
(the exposure length is too short)
belying motion, upheaval and change

in the niveous nature of memory
my meandering dreams recast
glimpses of truth like halations appear
ocular glitches hinting at tathata
of what can be distinguished, claimed
flashbulbs of burning visions

encoding through elaborative rehearsal
all known and unkenned phenomena
to create a picture story, a meaning,
yet these converging lenses are limited
by one focal length expanding as
depth of field grows, patulous schemas incubate

my evolving mind forms eidetic imagery
uniting as episodic memory stitches an identity
holographic retrieval reveals
clarity amidst the circle of confusion
a positive memory distortion prevails
polaroid process makes positive images

without negatives (they were never created)
artmaking acts as my nepenthe
coalescing strands of experience
collaging each image of striving
into a concatenation of aspects of a self
lighting recesses in this house of mirth

Notes: Method of Loci: A mnemonic device that relies on memorized spatial relationships to establish order and recollect memorial content. Selective Focus: Is a technique in photography that allows one part of the image to be sharp while the rest of the image is out of focus. It works to great effect in macro shots where the foreground should stand out intensely from the background. Fantastication: Action of framing in fancy. Incunabulum: Early stages of development. Speciousness: An appearance of truth that is false or deceptive; seeming plausibility. Halation: Spreading of light beyond its proper boundaries to form a fog round the edges of a bright image in a photograph. Tathata: Ultimate nature of all things, as expressed in phenomena but inexpressible in words. Encoding: The process of transforming information into a form that can be stored in memory. Elaborative Rehearsal: A memory strategy that involves relating new information to something that is already known Unkenned: Unknown, strange, unperceived, unexplored. Converging Lens: Lens such that a beam of light passing through it is brought to a point or focus. The lens of your eye and that of a camera are converging lenses. Focal Length: The focal length of an optical system is a measure of how strongly the system converges or diverges light. In most photography where the subject is essentially infinitely far away, longer focal length (lower optical power) leads to higher magnification and a narrower angle of view; conversely, shorter focal length or higher optical power is associated with a wider angle of view. Depth of Field: In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Although a lens can precisely focus at only one distance at a time, the decrease in sharpness is gradual on each side of the focused distance. Patulous: Open, expanding, gaping Schemas: The integrated frameworks of knowledge and assumptions a person has about people, objects, and events which affects how the person encodes and recalls information. Eidetic Imagery: The ability to retain the image of a visual stimulus for several minutes after it has been removed from view. Episodic Memory: The type of declarative memory that records events as they have been subjectively experienced. Circle of Confusion: In optics, a circle of confusion is an optical spot caused by a cone of light rays from a lens not coming to a perfect focus when imaging a point source. In photography, the circle of confusion is used to determine the depth of field, the part of an image that is acceptably sharp. Positive Bias (Memory Distortion): States that pleasant events are better remembered than unpleasant ones and memories of unpleasant events become more pleasant over time. Nepenthe: Something capable of causing obliteration or reduction of grief or suffering. Concatenation: A series of interconnected or interdependent things or events.

Nirvikalpa

Nirvikalpa (work in progress) - oil, acrylic and pigment stick on board by Anna Montgomery

Nirvikalpa (work in progress) – oil, acrylic and pigment stick on board by Anna Montgomery

Wandering in the cold choking darkness
blistered fragile feet on eggshells
loneliness is a prison
torn knuckles rapping on bars of isolation

People don’t listen
they just wait for their turn to talk
turn inside and disconnect,
waiting out the storm

Love is a flower unnourished
in this Eden of the heart
weary veins pump a love story untold
searching the hopeless dawn
for a brighter day

Scrying the skies for a star of rebirth
constellate a new form
Dionysus seeks the Gemma of his crown
praying for the piece/peace he’s not yet found

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Ariadne meanders along a path
repeating permutations
of sublimated desires
wound around in concentric circles
on a dancing ground
of intellectual games

The Mistress of the Labyrinth
spins her golden thread,
sutra, to escape the restrictions,
rise above encapsulating
the supreme artistry,
the manifesting order
connecting this world to the eternal –
human to divine

Prophesizing the paradoxes:
multiplicity and unity
imprisonment and liberation
separation and intimacy

Her sussurating heart
beats a transcendent pattern
resounding his true name

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Her heavenly form
celestial symmetry of solace
sanctum of the surrendering heart
eternal peace within her labyrinth
guided by crystal tears
shining beacons
and whispering the luring
language of love

His fertile mind
anacrusis in the symphony
of devouring time
irreplaceable beats of exuberant strength
he initiates a sacred marriage
of Heaven and Earth
eternal taijitu

Swirling whispers in the aether
found two ears
one in the lowlands
one in the mountains
symphony of symbiosis
floating like leaves in the wind
the Sun and Moon
elliptical eclipse
upon the earth dwellers

Raining sensuous energy,
an initiation into sound,
each string taut with potential
striking bell awakening
along the constellated lines
of the subtle body

Eternal vibration of this sacred thunder
resonates between the lovers,
nirvikalpa samadhi unveiled

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Notes: This is a collaborative poem written with David Chamberlain, Jr. for the dVerse Poets Pub prompt on peace. “In Hinduism, when used as a technical term in Raja Yoga, the phrase nirvikalpa samādhi refers to a particular type of samādhi that Heinrich Zimmer distinguishes from other states as follows: Nirvikalpa samādhi, on the other hand, absorption without self-consciousness, is a mergence of the mental activity (cittavṛtti) in the Self, to such a degree, or in such a way, that the distinction (vikalpa) of knower, act of knowing, and object known becomes dissolved — as waves vanish in water, and as foam vanishes into the sea.[3] The difference to the other samadhis is that there is no return from this samadhi into lower states of consciousness. Therefore this is the only true final Enlightenment.”