Splattering the Canvas
Journalism provides a way to tell others’ stories and link people to their communities. It’s a good feeling to know that I’m helping raise awareness about a cause or that my words will live online even after I’m gone. Sometimes, when I write a piece that features just one person, I imagine that he or she will save the hard copy and show it to his or her children and grandchildren years from now.
Nevertheless, the creative part of me loves having a blog to write more freely. Sometimes I just get the urge to scribble down a poem that pops into my head. Although I find it hard to begin and even harder to follow through with, I’d really like to complete one novella at some point in the near future.
There’s something about the arts–whether its writing, painting, movies, singing or theatre–that cuts through to the heart of a matter. Translating the arts into an analytical perspective doesn’t work nearly as well as just trying to intuitively grasp them.
Although writing so many literary essays where you pick apart a work until you’re pretty sure you’re making it up as you go can make anyone feel like a crackpot psychologist. I guess I do miss that linear and literal writing as much as its creative counterpart.
So, in a tip of the hat to the literary community–the literati as I like to call them–I’m including two poems I wrote a few months ago into this post.
*** A Capitol July ***
A city in ruins
Stone wall rubble crumples into
Dust beneath the only feet
Left to walk down the abandoned
Streets, which once were paved
And shone like gold.
A sparrow arcs gracefully through
The sky beside a destroyed
Silver tower, looping off
Toward treetops on the horizon.
Far below, weather-beaten sneakers
Continue forward, ears waiting
For any sign of life.
A billboard ahead shows a young woman
With a too-bright, artificial smile
Fingers wrapped around a toothpaste tube.
Weeds push up through cracks in
Cement, a wooden swing creaks
In the breeze of a forlorn playpark and
The heat haze settles on vacant, overgrown
Lots on the outskirts of what was once an
Jungle-bright vines and wilting
Yellow flowers surrender to the
Dying sun and rising crescent
Moon. Night fall looms, and at last,
Beyond battered baker’s windows and the
Barber shop’s spinning chairs appears
The fence, straight ahead.
She finds the footholds in the
Tangled links, climbing higher,
Hoists over it onto the soft dirt
Path that winds into forest, natural noise, and
The last patch of daylight.
***Being and Becoming ***
Fifteen billion years ago
The universe exploded
A firework of color and sound
Raced itself to the edge of perception
For its pleasure of just because
We cannot be certain.
Like a toddler with sea legs
It reached and stretched
And grew–who knew–
Who could guess to what proportions?
The Earth became a speck
Of blue and green
Gliding through blackness in
Deep space, in no-thing-ness
Where all things are.
Like an elegant ice skater who
Twirls and cuts the ice with
Metal’s blade but cannot see
Her audience until the song’s
Last note fades
When dreamer and
Imagining know each other
For the first time.
House lights go up and
Absence with Presence collides.
And you and me and all we see
Are here, are now
Shared, multiplied, yet divided
By random strains
That plague our days
Of traffic and technology
Of what to eat and who to be,
Of gas prices and global war,
Thought-rich but in essence poor.
We try and fail and try again
To make it to that future
Moment where bliss
While folded laundry waits on steps
To be returned to closets
We jet off in steel rockets
Toward those other things
Between the no-things
Hoping to find buried treasure
In a wooden chest
On a red planet
Before the contractions start
And we are birthed again.