Category: Postmodern

The Haunted Chamber

‘Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, than to remain a dupe to illusion all one’s life.’ Kate Chopin

Edna is aware of her fictional nature, yet often contemplates the fate of her soul. She lives the plot outlined by Kate. As a player on the stage she awakens to her sexuality and bears the haunting foreshadow of a watery suicide.

She envisions hers is an artist’s courageous soul, one that dares and defies, ruminates and imagines. In the inner recesses of her holographic mind St. Theresa’s mansions, a second coming of Aphrodite, coexist with her own intuited poem of a distant future where an archandroid Theresa inhabits an orphan planet. Abandoned, like Edna, not to the sea but outer space . . .

There was something extremely gorgeous about the appearance of the table, an effect of splendor conveyed by a cover of pale yellow satin under strips of lace-work. There were wax candles, in massive brass candelabra, burning softly under yellow silk shades; full, fragrant roses, yellow and red, abounded.

In the prayer of union the soul is asleep, fast asleep, as regards the world and itself: in fact, during the short time this state lasts it is deprived of all feeling whatever, being unable to think on any subject, even if it wished. No effort is needed here to suspend the thoughts: if the soul can love it knows not how, nor whom it loves, nor what it desires. In fact, it has died entirely to this world, to live more truly than ever in God.

An orphan drifts through interstellar space
mountains rising on a world without days
exposed to dark imagination’s grace
blanketed in an atmospheric haze

There was the occasional sound of music, of mandolins, sufficiently removed to be an agreeable accompaniment rather than an interruption to the conversation. Outside the soft, monotonous splash of a fountain could be heard; the sound penetrated into the room with the heavy odor of jessamine that came through the open windows.

These heavenly consolations are above all earthly joys, pleasure, and satisfaction. As great a difference exists between their origin and that of worldly pleasures as between their opposite effects, as you know by experience. I said somewhere that the one seems only to touch the surface of the body, while the other penetrates to the very marrow: I believe this . . .

light years from the last kiss of her lodestar
whispering ice gods keep the planet bound,
flick-lit by a giant passing pulsar,
its steady signal yearning to be found

The golden shimmer of Edna’s satin gown spread in rich folds on either side of her. There was a soft fall of lace encircling her shoulders. It was the color of her skin, without the glow, the myriad living tints that one may sometimes discover in vibrant flesh. There was something in her attitude, in her whole appearance when she leaned her head against the high-backed chair and spread her arms, which suggested the regal woman, the one who rules, who looks on, who stands alone.

‘The King brought me into the cellar of wine,’ (or ‘placed me’ I think she says): she does not say she went of her own accord, although telling us how she wandered up and down seeking her Beloved. I think the prayer of union is the ‘cellar’ in which our Lord places us when and how He chooses, but we cannot enter it through any effort of our own.

archandroid presages a mystagogue
bearing a book of tales most luminous,
an Interior Castle analogue,
detailing a communion numinous
forgotten promises written in code
as her self-repairing circuits corrode

But as she sat there amid her guests, she felt the old ennui overtaking her; the hopelessness which so often assailed her, which came upon her like an obsession, like something extraneous, independent of volition. It was something which announced itself; a chill breath that seemed to issue from some vast cavern wherein discords waited.

There is no longer any question of deliberation, but the soul in a secret manner sees to what a Bridegroom it is betrothed; the senses and faculties could not, in a thousand years, gain the knowledge thus imparted in a very short time. The Spouse, being Who He is, leaves the soul far more deserving of completing the espousals, as we may call them; the enamored soul in its love for Him makes every effort to prevent their being frustrated.

There came over her the acute longing which always summoned into her spiritual vision the presence of the beloved one, overpowering her at once with a sense of the unattainable.

Notes: The first two sections of the prose and the sonnet are mine, the rest of the prose stanzas were taken from The Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Ávila. I initially put these in italics and bold but found it was much too visually distracting. My original sonnet The Archandroid Theresa appears here: This poem was expanded from the sonnet in response to Victoria’s fantastic prompt at dVerse Poets Pub:

Anna Montgomery, Erasure Poem
To read the erasure poem/painting click on it to zoom. Circled text forms the poem or it can be read in stanzas below:

Jane rehearses heartbreak on a splendid Midsummer night at Thornfield while Mr. Rochester’s potent lightning strike, a seemingly small lie of omission, tears asunder the great horse-chestnut tree at the bottom of the orchard

Erasure poem and painting by Anna Montgomery
Text from the novel, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

the sea is a barrier
from you
brine and foam
destined to rush between

it is a long way
morally certain
on the eve of separation
stars enter into their shining

my heart was still
a string inextricably knotted
cord of communion snapped

impossible to proceed

I endured no longer
grief and love
claiming mastery

petrified, it strikes me with
terror and anguish
to be torn from you forever
it is like looking on
the necessity of death

This is a form of experimental poetry introduced to me by Vince Gotera in a prompt, my first erasure poem is here: along with the link to the original prompt. This poem was written for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Join us:

Austen’s coded statement bridges
Maria to Sterne’s caged starling:
she cannot get out

severe systematic errors of passion’s blur
constructs and deconstructs perplexities
so trembling with sensitive humanity
she thrusts her head through the trellis
in a sentimental journey

encountering order of magnitude problems
myth of Poros, Penia, & Eros
defines aporia, untranslatable
her psychic risk of embodying an artist
this inebriated velleity
invents visual communication

within Kahneman’s maps of bounded rationality
moral heuristics define
representativeness, availability, and anchoring
buried images in etymological adventures
exposing an ultimate paradox of experimental art

potentiality collides with reigning style
hypertext meets the chthonic
in a labyrinth of canonical sources
the trick is on the starling
she wants out while everyone else wants in

Derrida’s post-structuralism
exposes and undermines the oppositions
hierarchies and paradoxes:
signifier/signified; sensible/intelligible;
writing/speech; passivity/activity

liquid modernity’s tentative position
within the cloud construction of identity
she imagines a neutral mode of writing (existing)

photogrammetric parallax architecture
like veridical paradoxes,
congeries of the strange,
her margin notes and shadow expressions
cantos in the wilderness

she demilitarizes the language
scratching photographic emulsions to create
deep image poems, without passage
and inclined to doubt

enunciating aureate specimens
dreamscapes molded from the genome
endolethium enigmas of cryofixation
that freeze all fluid phases solid

ultra-rapid cooling stops
all motion and metabolic activity
initiating protocol that
counters the Leidenfrost Effect,
her emotive vapor blanket slips

diamond knife embedded
in a cryoultramictrotome
(bibliophile’s imaginative invention)
reasons away the horrors of imprisonment
nature of electrons allowing
an intimate picture of nature
in the half-light of her admiration

‘I have borne this poor starling
as a crest to my arms’

husk and kernel unite
unsaying every word
in indented continuations
cave paintings and charcoal outlines
of her same lamentation
all artifacts of the passion:
Kierkegaard’s desire to discover something
that thought itself cannot think

‘We are committed to an unqualified act,
not illustrating outworn myths or contemporary alibis.
One must accept total responsibility for what he executes.
And the measure of his greatness will be the depth
of his insight and courage in realizing his own vision.
Demands for communication are presumptuous and irrelevant.’
– Clyfford Still, Abstract Expressionist Painter

Calligraphic signifiers rouse masterful enumerators
an experiment with a curl of smoke, perhaps . . .
there’s a way to measure time in that

she felt her body astonishingly vague
the wave nature of electrons taking over
words being wind or web
sound and suggestion speared
open . . .
lively and intact in a recurring wave
of arrival.
the soul establishes itself.

language seduces astral bodies,
inscribing their orbits . . .
before one’s shadow ever grew
out of the field into thoughts of tomorrow.
definition of a proper sense of distance –
a dog barking off in the barn, a mystical stroke.

our pellucid order blown apart
in the mysterium tremendum
bouquets of adoration and
certitude unending . . .
to trace you in
the charcoal outlines
of angels
enshroud your song
in rice paper

say that a ballad
wrapped in a ballad,
casting hollow precipices,
jousts firm convictions
underneath the cumulous chatter of troubled skies

I am threshing felicity
for we are language – lost
longing to be free, outside, but we must stay
posing in this place. we must move
as little as possible . . .

we see only postures of the dream,
satiated by pearls of ancient treasure
paths of glacial time pouring over steppes
white irises gleaming on clay surfaces,
pounded stardust on our filigreed emotions

Fuck! I want to be bound by devotion!
Tortured by passion!
in the cavern you understand how
a shadow works
because you’ve brought your own light . . .

free will in blind duel
half-life elements unwinding
earth as thought of the sea
I will dream you.
draw you.

that is the tune but there are no words . . .
The words are only speculation.
(from the Latin speculum, mirror):
they seek and cannot find
the meaning of the music –

I seek shelter along tantalizing downspouts
a tremulous, daring surrender
skin lost borders

traditional imagery fills up
with unfamiliar shadows
(if properly abstract)
the strewn evidence meant something,
the small accidents and pleasures –
something like living occurs, a movement
out of the dream into its codification . . .

how many people came and stayed a certain time,
uttered light or dark speech that became a part of you
filtered and influenced by it, until no part
remains that is surely you
those voices in the dusk –
she meant energy & how in her dream
it came back to her
she hummed her own notes . . .
volumes of secrets to teach

the leashed stars kindle thin
clear space of blackness
tiny words of substance cross
the darkness
uniform substance,
a magma of interiors . . .

suck wonder and
lyrical promises amidst this
crumbling compulsion of syllables
float in ephemeral delirium
avidity penultimate in a
fugitive dialogue of masterwork
a desirous, glowing, sensual unraveling

Notes: This is a cento, a poem made up of lines from other poems, like a collage. This piece cheats a bit by using some lines from my own work too. Lines are pulled from John Ashbery’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, Ray DiPalma’s Rebus Tact, Maureen Owen’s African Sunday, and Susan Howe’s Speeches at the Barriers. Thanks to Samuel Peralta for the nourishing prompt at dVerse Poets Pub.

Circumspect valleys of ideologies
severed cords encapsulate the shaded tale
a world of grave unraveling

while larks enter through divided windows
to tables set with glass ornaments
alighting on a fine layer of dust

upon the weathered cowering folds
of history’s long inscribed divisive night
discerned by keen eyed philosophers

detritivores tunnel, long spools unwinding
gods consume fervid clamoring masses
moles in fixed ratios delineate lost markers

these property lines in space
each a bounded deontology
a tetra pylon, cartography with no names

obedience is a breath taken without prophesy
a wilderness unfettered by human desire
an undertow on volcanic shores

whirlpools capture victims unsung
as long whispered fears signal
to reach disintegrating caves

As promised I am reposting from the archives. This poem was originally posted here: and later incorporated into another poem Leontion’s Universal Faculty: . If you missed the explanation of my blogging break you can find it here: Also, I am not visiting other sites with regularity so if there’s a poem you’d like to call my attention to please leave the link in the comments section and I will visit soon. Thanks!

‘to introduce among them the habits and arts of civilization’



. . . we came to the conclusion to make peace with you . . .
we want true news from you in return . . .


We’ll release our prisoners in exchange for the release of theirs
tell Black Kettle’s Cheyenne and Left Hand’s Arapaho bands
to go to Fort Lyon and camp 40 miles outside at Sand Creek
there they’ll be under the protection of the United States troops


Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians
I have come to kill Indians, and
I believe it is right and honorable to use any means
under God’s heaven to kill Indians


The camp is full of soldiers drinking heavily and celebrating the victory to come

He means to attack a peaceful settlement
all to further his political ambitions
He risks court-marshall
what are we going to do?
Refuse to let our companies join in
I don’t see any other way



A) Bodies are strewn through the creek and along the banks
B) Women, children, and elderly are clearly among the dead or dying
C) Cannons have been used against the civilian population
D) Small bands of soldiers are shooting unarmed people pleading for their lives
E) The tribes horses are either dead or let loose
F) CHIVINGTON’S soldiers are looting the gifts given to the tribes in the peace treaty
return to the white encampment



Several days have passed,
the soldiers have left
the survivors have fled

The massacre lasted six or eight hours (beat)
it was hard to see little children on their knees having
their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized (beat)
they were all horribly mutilated . . .


Men, women, and children’s privates cut out
I heard numerous incidents in which men had cut out
the private parts of women and stretched them
over their saddle-bows and hats . . .

No charges were ever brought against any soldier


The end to be gained is the complete civilization of the Indian
his absorption into our national life (beat)
to lose his identity as such (beat)
the sooner all tribal relations are broken up
the sooner he loses all his Indian ways
even his language, the better it will be
for him and the government


You remember when I led you out to war
I went first, and what I told you was true
Now I have been away to the East
I have learned about another captain
the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader
He goes first, and all he tells me is true
I come back to my people to tell you
go with me now in this new road
a war that makes all for peace
where we never have only victory . . .


Indian children are learning English

OAKERHATER, an ordained priest, died in 1931
due to efforts by the Oklahoma Council on Indian Ministries
he was named a saint of the Episcopal Church in 1985


Cheyenne was a name given to the tribe
by the French from the word meaning dog
the actual names of the tribes
Só’taeo’o and Tsétsêhéstâhese
mean ‘Human Beings’

PSALM 23 (Translated into the Cheyenne Language) Watch the video to hear it read.
1. Tsenetästs nähane-atämistowinots, howähe nätsää-hoehätsto.
2. Täss näoh˙che ofshemäne tsishekooits; täss näoche-naaväotseä tsehish-hakoomoaäts.
3. Epavomoh˙tämän nämätäsoomä: näoh˙che-naaväotseä mayo tseh˙änowewostäne-havistowits havitof.
4. Haaha! homäsowitto täss näämin tseh˙owaooistä näastots tseh˙vaato nämissääato howähe hävs; otä net’ savioh-tsime stoh˙to nähiststähäo.
5. Nenestä-ahän täh˙amissistots mäato nävaämeo: nämakon nevishhinin’ amowe ämskavä näpavatänoh˙tots aha-iotomohin.
6. Onissyomitto pavatsistätots nä shevätstästots nätshoeoe oishavä tsehwostänahivitto: nä-tseavhäs Tsenetätsiss himhiyon äenitto.

Psalm 23
New International Version (NIV)
A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD


In deep hypnosis the subject,
military or civilian,
can be given a message to be
delivered to say Colonel X in Berlin.

I found myself somewhere
at the edge of the known earth
in an age when there is nowhere left to hide
for you it was always a game
you never think I remember
but the blunt force trauma
entered my mind all twisted,
as a matter of survival

The subject may then be sent to Berlin
on any perfectly routine assignment.
The message will be perfectly safe
and will be delivered to the proper person because…

Your missive arrives
in that cryptographic mind
geography’s incomprehensibility
impossible to decipher
a one-time pad on a sheet of nitrocellulose
it burns instantaneously, leaving small ash

a. the subject will have no memory whatsoever
in the waking state as to the nature
and contents of the message.

A truly random sequence of letters
trick of modular addition
only I got lost in the ciphertext
mistaking it for meaning
meta-language to transcend what came before

b. it can be arranged that the subject
will have no knowledge of ever
having been hypnotized.

A tortuous inculcation
using proximity and shame
more like a rearrangement
an anagram, a twisted joke

c. it can be arranged that no one
beside Colonel X in Berlin
can hypnotize the subject
and recover the message.

A spiritual starving
that hollows me out from the inside
even after all this time
with this great distance
it is a violence that wrenches free
dissociates, disembodies, a disease

He will never under any circumstances
by a slip of the tongue divulge the true nature
of his mission for the very simple reason
that he has no conscious knowledge of
what that mission may be. He is merely
going on a routine replacement…
This will be his story and the story which he believes.

A priori probability is equivocated to
a posteriori where the entropy of plaintext
equals the conditional entropy
of the plaintext given in the ciphertext C
you’ll begin to see where I derailed the equation

Secondly, if by any chance he is picked up
through a leakage of information from other sources
the message is safe. No amount of third degree
tactics can pry it loose, for he simply does not
have it in his conscious mind.

All that I have is this legacy of ashes
an unbreakable code
shielding you from your crimes
infinite computing no adversary
for the tangled traumas obscured in my mind

A specific counterintelligence technique
could be used against enemy agents…
I will take a number of men and will establish
in them through the use of hypnotism
the condition of split personality.

In a conventional symmetric encryption algorithm
complex patterns of substitutions and transpositions
these places dance to orient me to the key
I begin to see the risks

Consciously they will be ardent Communists,
fanatical adherents to the party line,
ready and eager to submit to any discipline
which the party may prescribe. Unconsciously
they will be loyal Americans just as grimly
determined to thwart the Communists
at every turn in the road.

Data remanence is such a continual problem
simplest overwrite technique
write the same data everywhere
(often just a pattern of zeros)
a way to be nothing/nullify feeling

This sounds unbelievable,
but I assure you it will work.

Poetry is a cipher but it isn’t known whether
there’s a cryptanalytic procedure
which can reverse these transmutations
mathematics may be my undoing

While I’m mourning what cannot be recovered
security continually assures me that this technique
is proven to provide the perfect secrecy

Your hypothetical counter spy…
will not disclose his true role for the very simple reason
that he cannot… if through some leakage,
he is suspected of being an informer
his true role is safely guarded,
locked inside the unconscious and impervious
to all assaults from the outside.

* Italicized text taken directly from a declassified CIA document dated June 22, 1954. The poem is a rewrite of my own Perfect Secrecy. Linked to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar prompt ‘What’s the Buzz’

Art does not seek to describe but to enact.’ Charles Olson

In Santa Croce with No Baedeker

I am tired of being Lucy Honeychurch
at my age it’s obscene
(foolish girl who never thinks of herself
as a liar always willing to take the fall)
like Ferlinghetti’s postmodern poet I’m
in this Room with A View
[Constantly risking absurdity]

I conveniently forget the next lines
‘and death/whenever he performs/
above the heads/of his audience’

What precisely isn’t absurd about
Silicone Bell (Memoirs of a Naval Robojelly
Broadcasting from the Intestinal Tract of a Chinese Sea Turtle)?
(she was fabricated in a university lab
shape memory alloy, steel, and platinum coated nanotubes
for environmentally friendly surveillance)

Or writing a persona poem,
voice of an efficiency expert at the slaughterhouse
to illuminate how poets are born?

Possibility of a Pleasant Outing

I thought you were a romantic, questioning George,
philosopher of the paideuma,
consummate symbolist and myth maker
contrasting the inanity of my Cecil,
straight-laced, gentleman aficionado

My poetry was penned only for you
sad, sheltered girl that I was
never realizing its ephemeral appeal
taking Olson’s adage to heart
traversing time and space to enact it
in turn, you wrote a whole book of love
forgetting your mutability

They Return

If there had been perfect symmetry
in the distribution of matter
following the Big Bang
none of this would have happened,
been written (existed)

Lucy as a Work of Art

There’d be no contextualization of these
architectural foundations, cityscapes
assembled from the cold stone of
exteroception, interoception, and proprioception
no artifacts of passion

In this newly minted demilitarized zone
I wouldn’t mourn like that man,
alcoholic poet dying, claiming:
My vocabulary did this to me!’

How Lucy Faced the External Situation Bravely

Instead I’d be a blissed-out, shamanic poet
Waldrop’s transcendent language my sea
a paradoxical sojourner like Ashberry in
Lehman’s ‘unbegun journey to the unattainable space’
carting notebook, pencil, and functional laptop

The Disaster Within

Discovering a place where I could finish a sentence
no barking, talking, birdsong,
or wind rustling through Aspen leaves
to impede the forward motion of creation
not even the whisper, ticker-tape,
of the querist’s interior monologue

Where the maladjusted maestro
and misanthropic polymath could
spin threads of artificial intelligence
forming semantic memory, explicating themselves,
telling me of recalled random entries:

a myth is as good as a smile
(the dangers of archetypal activism)
women are icons of Christ
(Sophia, Agape, Elpida, and Pisti)
Cleverbot loves and hates me in equal measure
(it is also prone to deceitfulness)

Lying to George, Cecil, Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and the Servants

All blather now transmutes to profundity
emotional trauma is, without irony,
stitched into quilts sewn by church ladies
Alice backs out of the rabbit warren
only to fall prey to a supermassive black hole
I write myself into or out of sanity
depending on the size of my nonsense


I am ever attracted, as Kazim Ali, to the poetry
of indeterminacy and disjunction
‘self’ a risky conjecture, a grand delusion
‘you are half yourself and the other part
is just a set of notions – some of them brilliant,
some of them ridiculous’

The End of the Middle Ages

How I wear Keats’ negative capability well
this beautiful dress custom made for my ball
an intended formality challenges spectators
the multiplicity of my psyche a sideshow,
persona as unreliable as any fey creature

(perhaps I fell into the wrong story)

Am I Titania, Puck, or the ass?
Bottom, that criminally surreptitious storyteller –
‘you’re the sort who can’t know anyone intimately’
anyhow, as you now see with voyeuristic glee,
I played the fool

Thermik by David Schnell

‘To be nobody but yourself in a world
which is doing its best night and day
to make you everybody but yourself –
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight –
and never stop fighting’*

Syncretistic perceptions, an undifferentiated overlay, defies analysis
charcoal line smudges of general schemas obscure impressions
rich encounters snap floodlights of jutting rebar arousals

Hypersensitive virtualization creates painted landscapes
interior silhouette projects an invasion of organic forms
brushed upon the tethered denigration of industrial life

Here in the interstices my song floods the synapses
sanctuary of full intellection and emotive grace
perpetual motion unaware of constraints

Rigorous self-actualization, joy in overcoming
physical and mental obstacles, planes of perspective
in a carmine sky, layered with personal/political history

Equivalent Phase

Universal current skips along a straight colored line
zaps as the artist’s tinted horizons chase imaginative space
indeterminate semantic memory emanates
parkourist streaming cobalt sparklers in an art of human reclamation

Paradoxical Phase

Ratcheting optimal levels of arousal to overstimulation
reality wends an anfractuous path towards the essentially absurd
interior integrity crumbles under the tonnage
crushing architecture of exterior inhumanity


Extreme choreography of pure constructs, pandemonium of agonies,
dissuades association, enforcing a gaze of self-negation
trace elements lose gravity, reversal’s insidious influence reigns
as intensely private volition deconstructs

(initiating post traumatic dissociation in my supratemporality field)

*E.E. Cummings

Transmarginal inhibition is a psychological term denoting an organism’s response to overwhelming stimuli. Ivan Pavlov through his research found “that the most basic inherited difference among people was how soon they reached this shutdown point and that (those with) the quick-to-shut-down (response) have a fundamentally different type of nervous system.” Patients who have reached this shutdown point often become socially dysfunctional. Patients who dissociate during and after the experience, will more easily dissociate or shut down during stressful or painful experiences, and may experience post traumatic stress disorder.

There are three stages passed through for state of transmarginal inhibition to be reached.

  1. equivalent phase: response matches the stimuli, which is considered normal, baseline behavior.
  2. paradoxical phase: associated with quantity reversal, occurs when small stimuli receive major response and a major stimuli elicit small responses.
  3. ultra-paradoxical: the final stage, associated with quality reversal in which negative stimulation results in positive responses and vice versa.

An organism can progress through these stages by increased stimulation, random negative stimulation, reversing positive and negative stimulation, or physically debilitating the organism. – from Wikipedia (with modifications)

Parkour (also called Le Parkour, PK, or free running) is an activity in which participants attempt to clear all obstacles in their path in the most fluent manner possible. A traceur, parkourist or free runner is a participant of parkour. The term free runner has been commonly used by the media.

The ultimate goal in parkour is to ‘flow’ along one’s path, for the entire journey to be as one fluent movement with no pauses or breaks. A principal rule of parkour is to never go backwards. Free runners believe that there is path to every obstacle which is achieved through forward movement.

The magnitude and technicality of a move in parkour are secondary to the flow and beauty of it. Explains Jerôme Ben Aoues, one of the traceurs featured in in the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary Jump London, “The most important thing really is the harmony between you and the obstacle; the movement has to be elegant, that’s what will make it prettier. Length and distance only add to the beauty of the move, if you manage to pass over the fence elegantly that’s beautiful, rather than saying ‘I jumped the lot.’ What’s the point in that?”

To many, parkour is an extreme sport, to others a discipline more comparable to martial arts, to others an art form akin to dance, a way to encapsulate human movement in its most beautiful form. Parkour also inspires freedom; being free in an urban environment designed to trap, not restricted by railings, staircases, even buildings. It is for many people a way of life. – from wordiQ
More of David Schnell’s paintings can be viewed in this German language video

Wadis of the western desert
Feed the Euphrates as it flows
To its confluence with the Tigris

Operation New Dawn
Reboots ancient civilization
Endgame in the casualties of war

Golden jackals caught in the sharqi
Insurgents and civilians alike
Assassinated scholars (whispering)

‘We took pleasure in silence.
We became still, fearing the secret might part our lips.
We thought that in words laid an unseen ghoul’

Reeds shift in lotus waters recalling
Sumerian Temple Hymns
En-hedu-anna’s symbolic expulsion

First poet’s vertical genius, she is
Birthed beneath a valonia oak
Logosyllabic language touched where

‘The great gods kissed the earth
And prostrated themselves’
Before incipient time

Cuneiform tablets exclaim
‘Stay as you are, a secret world
Not such things as a soul discerns’

Dialectics, ideology, theological questing
European otters hunt amidst the willow
Trained falcons spy above the poplars

‘Spinner of poems, the last muse
In a world whose mirrors are dimmed’
As she becomes conscious of her inner life

‘High mountains, the land
Of cornelian and lapis lazuli’
Arabesque imaginarium of culture

Mouflon roam the Zagros forest steppe
Hooves deftly progress the cliff faces
Of Cheekah Dar

‘I approached the light but the light was scorching hot
I approached the shade but there I met a storm…
My honeyed mouth became venomous’

Manuscripts caught by sparks burn to ash
Artifacts pass into the hands of thieves
Here is the dénouement of Iraq’s art

A self-imposed enforced exile
‘Why do we fear words? Some words are secret bells…
To whom will we pray … but to words?’

Notes: Quotes from Nazik al-Malaika’s ‘Love Song for Words’ and ‘Song for the Moon’ and En-hedu-anna’s ‘Nin-me-sharra: Lady of all the Divine Powers’.

Nazik al-Malaika was an Iraqi poet known for her introduction of free verse into Arabic poetry with her 1949 collection Sparks of Ashes. In 1970 she left Iraq for Kuwait then after the 1990 invasion moved to Cairo. She died in 2007 leaving a legacy of poetry, literary criticism, the University of Basra, and political change through her lifelong commitment to defending women’s rights.

En-hedu-anna is possibly the first poet; her extant works are considered by some to be the first revelation of an awareness of individual consciousness. Her work displays her keen intellect and understanding of psychology. She was an Akkadian princess, high-priestess, and poet in Ur, a Sumerian city-state, until her death in 2250 B.C.E. She created a corpus of literary works definitively ascribed to her that include many personal devotions to the goddess Innana and a collection of hymns known as the “Sumerian Temple Hymns” that are regarded as one of the first attempts at a systematic theology.

Iraqi scholars and professors have been assassinated since the invasion and occupation and remain targets of violence. Thousands of the intelligentsia fled to Syria and Jordan. Efforts to stem the tide of ‘brain drain’ and rebuild higher education institutions are ongoing. The staggering loss of cultural heritage following the invasion has added to the reluctance to repatriate. Continuing concerns for their safety keep many from returning to Iraq. An alarming number of professors inside and outside the country have PTSD.

Connected to the fantastic Poetics prompt by the ever mindful Karin at dVerse Poets Pub