Excavating the Mind Round 2: The poem, the sequential mass

Amazing headlines and a burlap sack

 
I read across the yellowing paper under the burlap sack “Attraction Dear Reader Israel-Syria River Fastest Gun JFK To Head”

across from these headlines the fuzzy blue face admires,
casually aware of thumb tacks
ironic placement comes to light,
reminding me of cyclical efforts to tirelessly beckon sleep
and the weight that killing germs has taken on, so quickly changing focus
of mortal fears and intentions

Is the sky half full or empty when the clouds part only on my right?
wet makes the world reflective
I missed the camellia’s dance on the wind that must have caressed it
with strong gusts to deposit it so far from its bush.
Here, alone in loveliness, swirls of gaudy pink and white,
showing off its golden sex, it punctuates the pavement
But I can imagine the rhythm which lingers
in the metronomic drips of the accumulated leftover rain
microscopic twirlers within the droplets, like the camellia
her shocking cotton-candy petals betray her; she wants to fit in.
The relationship falters when she blooms; her strength and beauty overwhelm.
In a world of gigantic rhododendrons, this flower became a tree.

squatting down to see his world
new perspective’s surprises unveil
a small bit of crumpled foil on the walk so out of place like drugged teens
the follower staggers, attempting to communicate released control
he leads to places I can’t follow
and only pops his head out when I’m too slow
A canyon created, mysterious geological event.
Moss and detritus of trees collect on and in his new surfaces.
from here I see rot and damage near the base
but sometimes rot fuels new life, hope to feed a future
new points of view open whole new worlds, untouchable mysteries
he rears up, pounces on the unseen, again and again

Accumulating colors into the big box of crayons with the sharpener,
crayons juxtaposed with Miracle Gro Shake and Feed tell the story
of my nephew’s attention,
the hand drawn labels, his symbols of language
renaming my vegetables to be
adding the stove to the picture induces my own childhood
melting crayons between waxed paper to grow layers of color
to scratch away rainbow scenes of Halloween witches and jack-o-lanterns
trick-or-treating through the black layer of night

Joyful memories collect in a glass jar of buttons,
my precious gift from my mother who knows me so well,
a history of someone else’s sewing life, leftover closures,
one or more than needed for a loved one’s shirt, dress or coat,
or that one article of clothing wanted but too dear to afford,
replicated by a skilled hand over weeks or months,
this jar of time and intimate design found its way to a sink
next to a vacuum for cleaning a computer that,
at this angle, looks like a robot’s foot also by a sink,
a sink that dripped so it is turned off,
a useless sink, except for its shadow, swan-like, gliding to the jar,
to inspect the colorful contents, to peck and pry the lid,
to crave one button so entirely that it must pluck it in its beak
and taste its story only to enjoy the taste
of that story’s longing so thoroughly that it glides
down its throat and sticks there, choking and gurgling

Music, the skeleton key to memory, to emotion, to the subconscious,
enhancing the flavors of attention and mood
This decorative, vintage key I wear around my neck, the one
that opened our practice room in the old hotel that burned
or the small, recognizable key I called “the key to my heart” with a sly smirk
Music tempers all these keys, opens their doors with new light
flooding each room, perching on different objects each time
a blue note, turned orange by the days, alights a prism of shadows
the crooner’s microphone croons alone, a symbol of passions
warm vibrations again to come
I bob and sway to children’s songs of other lands
in the same way I move to your jazz variations
with joy of place and sound, with wonder and understanding,
I have no choice but to dance in my seat,
putting weight in my pelvis and shoulders, knowing my gut and my breast

I want to play, I search for toys and find
tiny soldiers hiding among the stones of the hearth
I want adventure and wander among the cinders inside the fireplace
goslings arrive as if to accentuate my childishness, so fluffy
this time the geese, now parents, don’t linger for photographic evidence
from the best side

Music holds history like a jar of buttons. A sound, the design of an age,
revealing tools, technologies, politics and fads
all revealed in only the first few notes of a needle on vinyl,
reminding me of a very different world view.
My innocent, naive openness, my rosy oneness
fueled by false advertising and deceptive equivalencies.
Her voice influences the lighting. His piano changes how I see.
The saxophone transports me through time,
then when the needle stops, I stop. I can’t go on with this manipulation.
I need silence, to rest and reflect. To clean up my mess.
Two lifetimes later, I remember everything
was in gelatin and the water tasted like iron,
but I can’t forget the man begging me for my ticket to the buffet

fresh goslings

Happy Reading and Writing!

Excavating the Mind: The poem, the sequential mass

Don't look down

The Dark-Eyed Junko’s Alert

He greets me for the morning game of follow the leader
don’t leave the door open, space will fill
light paints the world with shadow
our observations manipulate what we observe
captured in every reflective surface,
our shadows join the trees’
across the grass, the water, each other

Flowers steal focus, the little I have left
with shocking leopard-print spots dripping dew
and inviting fragrance on the slightest breeze
tickling my nose with soft petals and stamen
yellow dots of pollen cover
procreation fills the air

I chase the birds that chase each other
loudly displaying their worth
The geese pay me, my camera, and my feline companion no mind
The Dark-Eyed Junko’s alert: loud, short and sharp
is a song compared to Bewick’s Wren’s screams
like a fire alarm in a hotel
the huge call from its tiny, fluffy body amuses

Life punctuates the world with sound
the clear calls on one side of the house
like a volley, a game of table tennis, from the other

With everything blooming and growing new life,
the dead ivy on the side of the cedar
clings like a bad omen

upon closer look, mysteries abound in the mundane
That buoy is a clown nose on the lake
a fox head pounces in the movement of the water
What is that roll of hair in the fire-pit?
dissection only reveals more questions
rusted bolts and nails joined in concrete, resting on a rusting pail
(Why would anyone keep that?)
strangely phallic, yet looks like a human heart

Suds on the water surprise
gathering on only one side of the dock
pulsing against rocks, sharp edges and crevices
the bubbles do not pop
evidence of the folly of man’s
attempt to control nature
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
murky and choppy, the light swerves and curls
like tracing an oil slick,
golden snakes on the slate surface whisper
another omen
the lake does not invite today

My companion becomes impatient, he wants to wander on
He has accrued his own follower
We now play follow the follower of the leader
or follow the leader who follows the leader

my reflection shows up in unexpected places
patterns in nature-repetitions with slight variance
insights lead me back to previous observations
because sometimes it’s fun not to be in focus
and certain illusions can’t be photographed

taking pictures through doorways only re-shapes the frame
a truly different perspective is needed for change
objects joined in space invoke history
a juxtaposition of the absurd: my meaning

We three wander again
each unique but not unique
exploring an order of chaos
creating our pattern of observing
thus changing natural patterns
seeing through to the dramatic
light behind the subject
which has become a subject through our looking
then looking through
illuminating its veins, stems, roots
we pause, observe it from above, below and every side,
capture its light
never the same

 

I shared this poem with dVerse Poet’s Pub’s Open Link Night.

Next Week

I really enjoyed Excavating the Mind and think the challenge of repeating the exercise will force the observations deeper. So starting tomorrow, I’ll begin a new set of observations, for five days this time with drafting on Saturday and another poem next Sunday.

I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Excavating the Mind Day 7: Pattern and Perspective

Why is this jerk so pretty

I am working on a week long photography and poetry challenge inspired by a prompt from Poets & Writers called Excavating the Mind.

Day 7 notes and observations

When Levi and I got up for our excursion, Max was waiting at the door. Seems this week of observations has already created a new pattern of behavior, something to look forward to in the morning for more than just me. A small spider’s web lit by the sun inspired today’s focus on patterns.

Still inspired by yesterday’s exploration of light and shadow, I let the light show me where to observe. I followed the light around and took pictures of what it touched.

Levi and Max followed me past the shed to an overgrown area I don’t normally tromp around in and I captured this beautiful image of Levi.

pretty kitty

I decided to change direction and try seeing things in a new way, so I climbed up the stairs and took some pictures looking down at things.

Notes:

  • patterns in nature –repetitions with slight variance
  • each unique but not unique
  • the bird sounds from the porch sound like volleys, like a game of table tennis
  • that bird just changed its song, its saying something different
  • To really experience a new perspective, I might need to climb up on the roof
  • seeing through to the new, creating new perspectives

There you have it, Day 7’s pictures and observations.

Next Steps

I have my collection: Now what? I took hundreds of pictures this last week. Before I dive into attempting the first draft of my poem, I’m going to go back to the very first image and spend time with each one in sequence, jotting down anything and everything that comes to mind. Tomorrow, I will attempt a few drafts of poems that put the whole experience together. On Sunday, I will attempt a singular, somewhat finalized poem of my excavated mind.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

Excavating the Mind Day 6: The Dramatic Interplay of Light and Shadow

dramatic interplay

I am working on a week long photography and poetry challenge inspired by a prompt from Poets & Writers called Excavating the Mind.

Day 6 notes and observations

Levi was not excited about our adventure this morning, so I left the door open and set out. Today, the light was beautiful. The glittering dew on the grass instantly caught my eye and inspired me to turn off the automatic focus on my camera.

I was drawn to the long shadows across the lawn and started thinking about the dramatic interplay of light and shadow. My hunt began. Levi joined me on a search for exciting contrasts.

Searching out shadows, my morning quickly became intense. It’s fascinating how some long shadows can turn a simple curve in the road into a dramatic scene.

While capturing the break in color on a long stem, I noticed the light coming through the thick bushes behind it and thought about focusing on the light instead of the subject. This led my adventure in a fun direction (and to my favorite image of the day).

When I arrived at this discovery in my adventure, I realized I needed my notebook, so I ran back into the house and found Max staring at me. A reminder not to leave the door open: You never know what might wander in. Max is another of my neighbor’s cats. He joined Levi and me on the rest of our journey of observation.

Immersed in observing light and shadow, I noticed how light paints leaf-shadows on the house, lilacs on Mom’s mural, and abstracts on the grass.

I especially like this simple line:

light painting four

Notes:

  • the light is great today!
  • sometimes it’s fun to not be in focus
  • focusing on the light behind an object can make a fun picture
  • What? There’s a Max in my house
  • It appears that Levi has started posing for me, knowing my theme

 

There you have it, Day 6’s pictures and observations. For fun, I recommend looking through your photos for dramatic shadows and jotting down notes about feeling and mood. If you don’t have any dramatic photos, try getting up early on a clear day to get that slanted, bright light.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Excavating the Mind Day 5: The Observer Effect

I am working on a week long photography and poetry challenge inspired by a prompt from Poets & Writers called Excavating the Mind.

Day 5 notes and observations

Today, I thought I’d switch things up and make observations inside. I didn’t want to just take pictures of stuff; I wanted to really observe something. At first, since Levi wanted me to open doors so he could wander around, I thought I would take pictures through doorways.

I quickly realized I was only putting lines and edges on spaces. Then I saw myself reflected in a light fixture and started thinking about how the observer alters what they are observing. So, today’s observations are a philosophical study of how I put myself into the images and the observations.

Now I’m brushing up on quantum physics. Though my observations were originally more philosophical, I’m playing with light, so physics it is. The observer effect is the theory that observing an object or phenomenon, changes that object or phenomenon.

 

In today’s images, I put myself, in reflection, into the images as I took them, thus changing the image through my observation. I know that this happens naturally, often not recognized or observed. It was different doing it with purpose.

Notes:

  • taking pictures through doorways only works as a frame
  • my reflection shows up in unexpected places
  • certain illusions can’t be photographed
  • I wonder if my reflection and shadow are in my photographs and I never noticed
  • I find how objects end up together in space intriguing
  • example hulk hands and taxidermied hornbill–hard to make that up

 

my feet and their shadows

There you have it, Day 5’s pictures and observations. For fun, I recommend going back through some of your photographs and finding yourself in reflective surfaces or shadows.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Excavating the Mind Day 4: Ooo Hummingbirds

I am working on a week long photography and poetry challenge inspired by a prompt from Poets & Writers called Excavating the Mind.

Day 4 notes and observations

As if the birds knew I was focusing on them today, two geese greeted me at the dock as soon as I went out and didn’t seem to care about me, the camera, or the cat. They swam back and forth in front of me until I had all the pictures I wanted.

The mountain has a new puffy coat

Sadly, the light wasn’t nice like it was yesterday. It only wanted to light the snow on the mountain and nothing else. However, the birds did cooperate and after spending a long time chasing a little screamy bird flitting about the bushes, hummingbirds filled my morning.

Notes:

  • bird alert: loud, sharp, and short
  • the light is not cooperating
  • I find it funny when little birds have loud, screamy calls
  • this little guy sounds like a fire alarm in a hotel
  • getting a good shot of little screamy birds takes a lot of patience
  • ooo hummingbird
  • two hummingbirds chasing each other
  • hummingbirds have a tight chirpy song
  • I know what they sound like now

 

There you have it, Day 4’s pictures and observations.

Happy Reading and Writing!