Akimbo

abstract 6

~

there are no round corners

my imagination is akimbo

jolts of current spark within context

without setting light

What to do?

~

I gather the dexterity needed

and carry it to the scales

only to find

it weighs more than I do

~

my skin is transparent

I employ a magnifying glass

angling towards the sun

the beam passes right through me

blazing and unhindered

~

I bulk up

looking for muscular advantage

and slip easily into the crowd

our words are hot but cool off fast

leaving nuggets between my teeth

~

I turn invisible

and pass easily through the crowd

floating a few inches off the ground

I still stub my toe

while leaving no footprints

~

I want to weep like a child

but worrying about the leak

I put duct tape on my face

covering my mouth

leaving space for my eyes

~

awkward and exploding

my imagination

is no longer rooted

in safe ground

I am uncomfortable

I am vulnerable

profusely sweating

in the slipstream

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painting and poem: Jana H. White

 

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Pencil Dust

~

Indomitable as a sovereign species

progress draws its discordant lines

straight through the rhythms of my days

move…

A bucolic bovine sound?

Or a swarm of ooooooo’s

persistent and indicative of shove?

five toothbrushes

pail of sponges

caustic powders

poisonous sprays

My disciples of progress

grooming the delicate interstices of

refrigerator seal

baseboard cracks

faucet edge

I wash the wood and plaster body

My thoughts anointing and releasing

each surface that held the poems, the remnants, the family,

the guests, the conversations, the discipline that twisted time

into sailor’s knots and tied dreams into a body of words

able to float in this deluge of constant progress

This particular move (one of too many to count)

This wood and plaster body

that held me disciplined within panes of glass

where I grew words into lines, into paragraphs, into pages, into life

enclosed in winter and summer solitude behind the glass

Erasing all outward signs of a life

We have nothing in common

this place and I

We have nothing now in common

except the fine pile of pencil dust

intentionally left behind

scrumbled raw into the grains of wood

in the floor of my kitchen

Finished, I set the keys on the counter

leaving progress

behind

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The past few weeks have been a scramble. In mid March my landlady informed me that she is downsizing, selling her house, which she has run as a Bed and Breakfast, and will be moving into my apartment! In a city with a 1% vacancy rate, after 3 years tenancy, she asked that I be out in 34 days. She also holds my last month’s rent and a considerable security deposit. She apparently needs to legalize the fact that she has three units behind the house that she successfully rents by the day, week, or month through Air B&B. This is illegal in this city unless the owner lives on the premises. If caught this may incur a $500 a day fine. I think she still may not be in full compliance because two of the units are unattached, but she’s getting closer to her cash flow.

I beat the deadline she set by ten days. Sanctuary! I am now back in the garden….

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Noh mask: Acrylic and graphite on black paper….  j.h.white

~

osmosis

~

thought hovers

is this thought mine?

~

I watch the few words

just there

I look askance to see if they move

do they move of their own volition?

no

they hover

simultaneously

we’re moving through walls

what does this mean?

~

I once could hear through walls

I’d lost my skin

rendered immobile

I heard nuclear indifference

red lights green lights

flying metal and a dying jesus

I wet myself

although the bed stayed dry

~

I looked for what was left

at the time

I was empty

much later I understood

this was the right place to start

~

it takes awhile

starting from nothing

to un-know everything

~

we hover

not knowing

we move through walls

~

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    Acrylic on paper….j. h. white

Lumens

~

The push the pull the moon’s sculpting hands

Its broad face spilling transparent

over lunar mountains

Full bright

but veiled by cloud’s chattering

Obscured

yet still felt in the marrow

~

With a tactile sensing

for the peaks and dark hollows

My blood its own compass

I map the edge of the sea

as the tide recedes

filling the carved pools as it leaves

~

The clouds drift away in their own mystery

as the moon glides free

in luminous ascending

and I sway as a puppet in a shadow play

bathed in luminous manna

~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pencil sketch and poetry: j.h.white

note: a photo attributed to Joshua Black Wilkins was the inspiration for the sketch. ( I was unable to verify the source however)

 

I dream of being a weed…

 

~

I dream of being a weed

traveling in my roots carving deep,

just carving, scraping away

letting go more of the surface

each time I tap deeper

~

These are restless nights

waking with soil packed tight

at the corner of eyes picking at

worm castings under fingernails

the scrim wrapped tight round my head

caked with quartz shards and clay

filaments of memory scattered about the floor

the moon an aboriginal instinct

~

I’m a veteran miner

more comfortable in the dark

where I can keep an eye on things

~

On the surface my tough rosettes

of green continue to vitamin the grassy bank

the untamed sun persisting in its pursuit

until finally … reluctant with abandon

~

There is no letting go. Why would I?

There is nothing of worth to carry…

All I can do is bloom

~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 drawing and poem …. j.h.white

Slow Infestation

~

He was a wolf …

a solitary wolf culled from the pack

expertly herding his words

through her undulate terrain.

She welcomed the seduction

amply savoring his patois.

~

Beguiled by his seeming intimacy

she failed to assimilate the slow infestation

of his oblique aural patternings

insinuating edgy consonants

and limbic vowel howls.

It was her stomach at first that resisted the enchantment

with small flutterings of continual distress.

Slowly she became aware

that his words were predictable

acid but effervescent

lying tips of tongues

corroding her silence.

They dangled from her

like wind chimes with little meaning

Their fractured light cascading

from her now weary ears

pummeling the surface.

So she gathered herself

and sent him,

and his errant words,

away

Though at times she could still hear their echoing…

The scent of him having so easily

permeated her skin.

~

To ward off this sonic residue

she bathed daily in lovage root and vervain

and made a tincture of his words,

a verbal potion dissolved in fine brandy

She took one dose timed exactly

as the cusp of the horizon split day into night

Delicately,

Three drops under her tongue,

with a twist…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had fun with this one. Looking over older work I saw a story weaving between a few different poems and so I threaded a needle and sewed them together. The drawing is an old one too. Newer than the poems, it is cut from the same cloth.

~

PoePoem and drawing: jana h white                 Drawing: Pastels on black paper

balance balance

~

The swaths of sky above crisscross in a babble of breathy scars

I see more than chemtrails though…

I try to imagine the people up there in the winged bullet

making its way across the sky

their feet dangling in mid air

save for a foot or so of wires and baggage and metal.

From this perspective, looking up, it’s barely comprehensible

that people are really up there at all.

~

When I think about it,

anxiousness and excitement both feel the same

The same pit of my stomach startled wings

 A choice of persuasion then?

My choice what to make of it?

~

Perhaps ‘being lost’ and ‘being free’ are similar

the same choice of persuasion of this or that.

I’m not talking about real loss

The punch in the stomach that takes my breath away,

but the weightless existential can’t find my shoes

want to sleep all day being lost

translating into the realms of flesh.

~

Aren’t both ‘being lost’ and ‘being free’

a casting off from the perceived familiar?

Being pushed off or pushing off

from a finely honed routine of nomenclature

that causes a shift in my internal gravity?

Are they so different?

I stand in the middle of either …. lost or found

~

Even while recognizing the breath of this feeling though,

my feet want to touch the ground

whether covered by moss, or sidewalk, or water.

Pragmatic, I want intimacy to have a face, a hand, a leaf, a claw

and be swayed by ideas or feelings

that have grown from some shared fertile ground.

It’s simpler to pick them up and put them to use

to make something, to hold, to do.

Even if it is simply making dinner, holding my grandson’s hand,

or doing nothing at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Painting and poem by j.h.white

The Scent of Me

~

Dark, my scent the smoke of wood fungus

Hidden, my intimate flesh the sugared amber sap of trees

Returning, my under arms the rotting nurture of fallen leaves

~

The fertile air tentacles

leaving traces

of spores and maple and mold.

Some leave quickly and some take hold.

~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poem and painting … j.h.white.

Pencil Noir #9

 ~

The city’s crows peck and skewer carrion

selectively choosing between the perennial litter

left sodden and desultory in the winter rains.

I watch their darker shapes swoop about

on mite plagued wings

Curious and feisty feet hopping

through bony limbed trees.

~

I’d like to think we share

a similar response to the litter,

to this common visual insult,

despite our differences

of foot or beak or choice of cuisine.

They caw at me as I toe debris to the street,

summer’s occasional litter bagging I tell myself

improbable now in the drenched and cold.

~

Above me their black wings

posture and flex in raucous recognition.

I know they’re looking at me.

They’re intelligent birds

They own this side of the street

They recognize faces…

Startled I wonder what they see in mine?

Is there a password for this?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pencil sketch: j.h.white

Pencil Noir #8

 

Winter Solstice 2015

Every December for the past few years I’ve curated a storm of snowflakes from white paper. I’ll accumulate a blizzard eventually. Try as I may, because they’re small, I’ve never been able to duplicate the same snowflake twice.

Each year seems to have a certain design theme…a defining scissors Rorschach test of sorts. Some years they’re gracefully hypnotic, one year  like a child cutting with blunt scissors. Last year the flakes looked more like an archaic language waiting to be deciphered. This year I wanted to branch out and so I added glue, a pencil and a little paint.

There’s not enough peace in the world to feel giddy this year making paper snowflakes. Not that there ever has been enough peace in the world, but lately peace seems more fragile. I’m aware of the families sleeping in tents and under trees along the roadside. I think of the children as I draw.

I’ve also been daydreaming about the absolute quiet of snow. I wonder, what would it be like if the entire world experienced a few days of absolute quiet?

 

Drawing collage by j.h. white