Category Archives: Poem

Black Cloud

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Black Cloud

She felt she was a target for adversity
and rued the problems of her life in their immensity. 

Each day was a new puzzle produced for her to solve,

as though she had to face it in order to evolve.

Her very productivity was challenged day by day—

always a new dragon to face and then to slay.

Year after year she dealt with trouble after trouble,

each day another needle meant to burst her bubble,

until her forced retirement brought relief at last.

No more new dilemmas coming at her fast.

When life that had been speeding by shifted down in gears,
still that feeling of relief she’d waited for for years

always seemed around the bend. Her spirits never soared,
for when her life turned trouble-free, she ended up just bored.

 

Prompt words today are puzzle, productive, target and adversity.

Star

photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash. Used with permission.

Star

When asked to elaborate on his fame-plagued life,
he only mentioned family—his folks and kids and wife.
His whole battery of movies went without a mention,
and when they broached the subject, the air grew thick with tension.
“If you only rate yourself by how you earn your keep,”
he said, “you dig a trench that’s wide but isn’t very deep.
My work was just a scribble on the margins of my life.
Those roles I played of other people’s lives, I fear were rife
with violence and sadness, full of passion and its ills,
but they were all fiction just meant to pay the bills.

The story of my life was written out in grocery lists,
outings with my children, that woman that I kissed
at the least two times a day—each morning and each night.
My fame was a reflection of a deeper light.
The true role of my life was one that had nobody writing it,
no director or producer or studio inciting it.
It seems these days that what we seek is just escape and fiction.
We don’t have to live ourselves–a mere contrived depiction
of other people’s lives and thoughts more valid than our own,
preferring fruits of other lives more than the ones we’ve grown.
So though the meaning of my films are constantly debated,
the roles that mattered most to me were ones that I created.”

 

Word prompts today are elaborate, battery, yourself and scribble.

Short Story

Short Story

Have you built a final fortress behind the winding wall
so you need not deal with this crazy world at all?
Is your lofty Shangri-la an adequate escape
from the headlines of the day—the raw world’s rub and scrape?
Have you left behind the saga of this noisy world
to hide out in your quiet cave where you are snugly curled
in your Barclay lounger, an old cat on your lap,
your only excitement rubbing against its nap?

How the needles click and clack as you knit and purl,
remembering small triumphs from when you were a girl.
No need for social intercourse or charity or giving.
Each year you knit out a life that contains less living,
striving for an entity devoid of stress and trouble,
sealed up neat and tidy in your private bubble.
This is really living, you tell yourself each day—
loneliness the only price that you have to pay.

 

Prompt words today were lofty, escape, quiet and saga.

My Weirdest Post Ever. Sorry.

Prodigy

He shook his bag of marbles at me in a jocular fashion.
It seems this childhood game is his secret guilty passion.
He had faith that eventually I would slake his thirst,
in spite of my conviction that marbles is the worst
game ever invented, for you see rampant sciatica
coupled with my daily dependence on Sal Hepatica
made my kneeling difficult, uncomfortable, and
rendered it most difficult, afterwards, to stand.

But his most stubborn diligence in begging for a bout
at last contradicted my reluctance and my doubt.
I picked me out a shooter and commenced to knuckle down—
the fact we played for keepsies occasioning my frown.
But it seems I am a prodigy—most artful with my thumb.
It wasn’t very long until he realized how dumb
it was to introduce me to this game that hurt my ribs
bending low to shoot at his dragonflies and mibs.

First I won his cats eye and then I won his aggie.
And when I won his shooter, I fear I became braggie.
In the end, I won at that game that he called ringer
by making a maneuver that proved to be a zinger.
And my friend the marble shark paid for all his sins
as I emptied out his marble sacks and emptied out his bins.
I left with all his marbles rattling in my tin,
grateful that he’d never ask to play the game again!

Prompt words today are marble, shake, jocular and eventual.

Natural Events

Natural Events

Hear the wind’s soft whistle as it explores the eaves?
What a perfect harmony each new zephyr weaves.
Each mourning wail original, each sad and keening cry
takes my heart on with it as it passes by.

All man’s detailed projects for capturing the wind
only make short use of it. Again, it will ascend
far up above all of us to what created it.
For all our petty problems, the wind cares not a whit.

The sadness we project upon the wind is ours alone,
for the wind has nothing for which it must atone.
In our attempts to harness it, as we make our demands,
we forget we’re part of nature. How have we served as its hands?

 

Where does the wind live? Find out HERE.

The prompt words are wind, whistle, project, original.

Mentor

Mentor

As an old man, he grew his hair long
and wore it unsecured, flowing white over his shoulders,
hiking it back as he walked with one sure toss of the head.
Few except himself would have judged him anything but superior.
His art, original and finely-crafted, showed him as the rogue he was,
yet he poured over art books piled around his chair—
large books rich in imagery and heavy to lift—
a laborious chore to plow through
page by page for anyone except him,
looking for himself in the pages, perhaps,
or looking for part of what he would become.

She thought he thought too much,
looking for answers in books
instead of in himself.
Religion, philosophy, art—
he searched for solutions
in Swedenborg and Picasso.
Compared his poetry to Sarton, Frost and Whitman
while others compared their art, their words to him.

Every piece he completed, he saw himself in as he created it,
but once done, it was as though he’d lost a part of himself in it
and so he started the search again in metal and wood and stone
larger and heavier each time, risking everything
to build himself ever higher.
Seven feet, then twelve, then eighteen feet—
stretching himself to the heaven
that he sought, also, through books.
Searching for what to be.

Wood, stone, metal, clay, glass, paper, words.
None quite solved the puzzle of himself.
Books on the shelf he read again and again
never had all of the answers.
He went as deep into himself as he could go.
Digging for the words he mined
from the parts of himself he most feared,
he often came up empty-handed,
as though he could not bear to see
all of the truth already revealed
in the pure instinctual lines of his sculpture
and those few fine poems he got out of the way of.

A virile man, he worked his angst out
in the shape of children—ten of them
with three different women—going through women
as he went through plasticine or wood or stone,
leaving crumbled remnants to reconstruct themselves
afterwards, as he built poetry out of their mutual pain.
He moved through the world
as most beautiful things do—unaware of his swath.

I rose from his rubble, missing him but remembering
all he taught. The scrape and cut and vibration of a fine machine,
the shaping with hands, the dip of the mold and deckle,
the power of a 20-ton press, the fine hiss of a torch.
Showing me how to get the beauty out of myself,
he formed that confidence within me that he lacked in himself.
Looking in books for what he already had,
looking in the faces of women for love
he never quite believed in,
he never fully realized that it did exist,

even during his worst rages,
right here in the heart
of one who so long afterwards
tries
to sculpt his essence
through these words.

 

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Here is also a write-up and photo shoot that a gallery owner did of our home and studio during the Santa Cruz Open Studio Tours a few years before we closed down our house and studio to I move to Mexico: http://www.wmgallery.com/cruz/brown.html

And here is another blog I did on him and his art: https://judydykstrabrown.com/tag/bobs-sculpture/

Prompt words today were hike, write, original and superior.

Faith, Fame and Family

 

(I think I have a bit more faith than is demonstrated in this poem. What enters us to write through us is more an exploratory being than one completely sure of what we write. I do believe, however, that more evil has been done in this world by those absolutely sure of the rightness of their faith and their beliefs than by those who continue to explore, and the older I get, the more I realize that although part of a larger world and universe, we are all unavoidably alone in our existence.)

The prompt words today are solitary/solitude, alive, ephemeral and inspire.