journal page – 9/23/08
Where the pulp lifts its germ and the sludge of beauty sighs,
where the leaf pulls the branch to the breathy earth,
where the rind cracks and buds rust into petals,
where the clove steams and cinnamon bark spits out cinnamon air,
where roots sweat and the earth boils in curds of steaming mud,
where the stem draws up the seed and holds it like a lamb to the sun,
where flowers rest their animal heads,
there, full throated, limp with seed, lush and smiling is
To come upon her you must journey through the rains,
and sleep through a night of fish smells;
there must be a dead man in a hot room,
there must be a basket of figs and plums on the pier,
there must be no new ship in the harbor,
there must be the sound of flowers falling upon flowers,
there must be no children swimming in the salt pools.
Where the Flamboyant spills into the vulcan dust,
where the wild pig chews up the door frames,
where the leper kneads his bones,
where the sun is stuffed with guns,
where the water flows like honey from the tap,
where black flies swell in the gecko’s translucent belly,
where these are, there is
Vegetable-Life: The Sultana of the Vine,
The Goddess of the Harvest Gone Bad, The Spectrum Swallower.
In an ointment of wild saps, ripe fronds and mosses, tumid wheat,
and bareley, Abundance pours down over the head, heavy with pollen
and in the puce interrogation of the harvest
the intellect sprouts leaves.
– Ned Gorman (1929 – )
It rained hard this morning, and I awoke with the thought that it would be a good indoor kind of day. A day to work in my studio… a day to create something that would make me feel joyful from beginning to end. But some days neither the process nor the product seem to please me, and today was like that. I think I just have too much static in my head, and as I mixed paints and made shapes on the wood panel, the static kept getting louder and louder and the process became so frustrating, I just had to stop.
This kind of confused energy often surrounds me when I have been away from my art for a while. I return to my studio with so much pent up desire, and I approach the act of creating with so much anticipation and expectation that I lose that sense of ease and flow that’s essential to the experience. I know that I need to step away when I become aware of such negative shifts… try to break that energy and get myself into a different space. It’s hard work though; almost a battle, because these little pockets of creative time are so rare and precious, and I find myself feeling disappointed, as if I’ve let myself down.
But I am forever a work in progress, and days like today appear to teach me something, if I am willing to listen. So I have been listening all day… trying to decipher the messages that come through the static… let go of expectations… approach art with a beginner’s mind… be with the process… stay the moment…
And while I’m listening to the wise voices of the Universe, here is the poem that inspired the painting that still sits on my easel… waiting for me to finish her.
Questions In The Mind Of A Poet While She Washes Her Floors
Will obedience leave me unknown to myself, stranded?
Is it enough for me to know where I’m from?
If I do more truth-telling will I be happier with what I say?
If I had three days to live would I still be sensible?
Is the break between my feelings and my memory
the reason I’m unable to sustain rage?
Am I a peninsula slowly turning into an island?
If I grew up gazing at the ocean would I think
life came in waves?
If I were a nomad would I measure time
by the length of a footstep?
If I can see a cup drop to the floor and shatter
why can’t I see it gather itself back together?
If a surgeon cut out my mistakes
would the scar be under my heart?
How much time will I spend protecting myself
from what the people I love call love?
Would my desires feel different if I lived forever?
Will my desires destroy my politics?
Is taboo sex the ultimate aphrodisiac?
If I fall in love with the wrong person
How do I learn to un-in love myself?
Can I make my intuition into a divining rod?
Is music the closest I can get to God?
How many of these questions will remain
when I kneel to wash my floors again?