Tag Archives: Creative Inspiration

Overworked or Labor Shirked?



Overworked or Labor Shirked?

It’s hard for me to find the middle
between hard labor and the fiddle.
Work? I either overdo it
or endeavor to eschew it.
Work all day and then all night,
being very erudite—
putting words down on the page,
imprisoned in my muse’s cage.

Perhaps I fear my distant past
when good work habits didn’t last
and days were spent in dreaming or
novels read behind closed door—
midnight radio a chance
for fantasies to spin romance.
Whole days stretched as though to catch
an errant dream of true love’s match.

I feared such days were sloth, and yet
perhaps they were just roads to get
to the place where I would tell
the stories that I knew so well
because I’d lived them first in dreams
or days just bursting at the seams
with doing nothing but living life—
its pleasures, problems, romance, strife.

First the doing at my leisure,
then the writing, and the seizure
of all the details of the past
that, once down on paper, are made to last.
Overworked or over-lived,
life first collected, then finely sieved.
Panned like gold to find the treasure—
leisure and work in even measure.

Overworked” is the prompt word today.



This is a piece I did a few years ago entitled “The Circus.”  It deals with that part of us that wants to run away and join the circus.  The porcelain doll has my mother’s face superimposed on it.  Over my mother’s face, I put several layers of Frida Kahlo’s face, peeled off in varying degrees.  Over Frida’s face is a miniature antique paste mask that can be pulled aside or allowed to fall into place.  In her hands are a tiny pair of silver scissors and around her waist is a tiny bag woven of morning glory vines.  She rises out of a toy chest decorated with Loteria cards.  On the chair to her left is a small clown figure with wings.  He is painting a portrait of Frida. Many discarded portraits of her lie crumpled and discarded on the floor. They are all the same. Below him are circus animals and a juggler who have spilled from the pages of a tiny journal that has a story written inside about creativity, sides of the brain, intuition vs. reason and imitation vs. unique inspiration. The overall piece is about the importance of coming from a unique place in ourselves rather than depending upon judgement and imitation. For me, the purpose of art is that experience of going into new realms of ourselves—to allow ourselves to do what most of us couldn’t do when we were young—to run away to join the circus!



WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration


DSCF2144Sometimes I’m inspired by places.


Other times by special faces.


Stories going on around me.


Coincidences that confound me.


But if I see nothing else instead,

I simply go inside my head.


Night Gallery

Night Gallery

They surround me, wall by wall,
so many I can’t name them all.
Paintings of people, things or beasts–
my eyes devour this visual feast.
I sleep beneath each rendered ghost,
the lives of painters caught in most.

A shapely leg with heel inclined–
the painter lying full-reclined
watching his cousin’s shapely wife
reach in the kitchen for a knife.
His teenage mind caught fast in love,
touches the leg and what’s above.

To its side, a fish is rendered.
Its face is human, vaguely gendered.
Does it think or does it dream
as it floats at rest in a somber stream?
The colors muted, it seems at peace.
As though from the world it seeks surcease.

More fish in a smaller frame
float in water that’s not the same.
There’s movement here. The head of one
floats bodyless beneath the sun
of inspiration far above.
Does it dream of art or dream of love?

Farther right, the queen of all.
A stately woman, four feet tall
with birds on shoulders, palms and head,
she’s stood for years above my bed
reminding me that I am free
to be whatever I want to be.

To her right, a tall bookcase
holds ones I love, face after face.
And to its right, a rabbit–eyes
wide open furnish a disguise
for those for whom it is the task
to sleep behind a wooden mask.

Beneath the rabbit, a monkey sits
in landscape full of fruit and pits.
Prosperity and monkeyshine
perhaps leak in as I recline
just feet from totems such as these
to take my nightly dose of ease.

Beneath these animals again
a wide-eyed fish comes swimming in.
Its face is staring nose-to-nose
at a man with eyes closed in repose.
Just the head of man and fish.
I wonder which is dreaming which?

An angel and ex votos four
hang beside my closet door.
One in wood, the others tin,
they simply fill the spare space in.
I keep them there behind my back.
Perhaps they fill in what I lack.

How strange as I’ve said what I see,
I’ve missed the art in front of me.
The Huichole piece painted with thread
with angels floating overhead.
A deer head peering down into
a cauldron of peyote stew.

A bird and man pinned to the wall
to the right, far over all.
Beneath, a woman hung by her heart,
reveals where I both end and start.
It is a sculpture made by me
addressing creativity.

Just one more wall I’ve saved till last–
the hardest one to try to cast
my mind against, for it is hung
with fifteen pieces so far unsung.
But time, I know, is running out.
You’ve other things to read, no doubt,

and yet I simply can’t resist
mentioning them in a list.
Two nudes, a Huichole painting and
ten retablos made by my hand.
An etching plate, painted and framed,
a Victorian child, unknown, unnamed.

These are the walls I’m centered by
as nightly in my bed I lie
and in the morning as I write,
they watch in horror or delight
as my word portraits are unfurled
to grace the walls of a wider world.

You can view images to go with this poem HERE

Note: I’ve actually written today to an earlier prompt Wall to Wall that asked that we write about what is on the walls of our houses and what it reveals about us.  One friend joked that this could keep me busy for years!  I was at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference at the time and hadn’t time to write about anything, let alone a whole house filled with paintings and art and since I woke up before today’s prompt was posted, I decided to fill in the time writing about the earlier prompt. Three hours later, I’ve only finished the task as it describes my bedroom walls, so perhaps I’ll continue at a later date, perhaps not.  I still have today’s prompt to write about, but first…I’ll post this.

The Dogs Are Barking (May 19,2013)

The Dogs Are Barking

They break the morning––a daily rite.
It’s just a warning. The dogs won’t bite.
Two strangers talk but pass unseen.
I doze, they walk, with a wall between.
I lie here posed between thought and sleep.
My eyes still closed. I’m swimming deep.

I resist the trip––that journey up––
preferring to sip from the dreaming cup
whose liquid darker and bitter thick
reveals a starker bailiwick
than schedules, crafts, menus, schemes.
Much finer draughts we quaff in dreams.

I try to sink back into sleep,
once more to drink of waters deep;
but the dogs still bark. They leap and pace.
My dreams too dark for this morning place.
Those dreams lie deep and intertwined,
wanting to creep back up my mind.

But its slippery slope is much inclined
and provides small hope that I will find
again, that world well out of sight
where truth lies curled, still holding tight––
as oysters cleave and then unfurl
with mighty heave, the priceless pearl

of that other mind that slips the knife
beneath the rind of our daily life.
Time is a brew of present, past
and future, too—whatever’s cast
to stew and steep the story rare
that’s buried deep in dreams laid bare.

Dreams are stories we tell ourselves
that draw our quarries to bookstore shelves.
Pinned to the page, they reach their height
and bring our sage self to the light.
But the dogs are barking. They’re hungry, cross.
When I rise to feed them, the poem is lost.

Uncaught, dismembered, it blows away.
Like petals, scattered in the light of day.