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)

 

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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

~

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 drawing and poem …. 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

Pencil Noir #7

” There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive.” ….Philip K. Dick

 

hello….hello….hello….

I’ve returned from traveling on the dark side of the mountain. I was never really (completely) lost. It did require entering the mountain to find my way out though, as the mountains began to float away.

While underground I made steps through the dark tunnels trusting a lighted candle. Finally I came upon an immense cavern and there I found a working head lamp, a pencil and a passage to the open air.

The moon’s light cast long shadows as I swam towards shore. Floating on my back, I sent it kisses. Digging in the sand at the shoreline I looked for wave washed shells to tell me their secrets. Before continuing on my way along a phosphorescent passage of singing shells.

Now I am here retrieving my poethead. And finding rhythm in the alchemy of the virtual heart.

 

Pencil drawing by j.h. white

Pencil noir #5

ebola workers~

I want to understand my part is in this tragedy. I see these images every day…..the white suits, the latrine green or bubblegum pink plastic gloves.

I stare at the photo from NBC World News.  I’d googled face masks worn in epidemics after listening to an NPR broadcast about the Liberian aide workers who have taken the job of bringing in the dead. How does one comprehend such a thing?

I decided to draw one of the photos…to find the spaces between the forms…to make this intimate in some way. It becomes a meditation as I concentrate on the crisp plastic suits, the individual postures of the men, the dark slits behind the masks. I breath in, paying attention to the act of drawing what I see.

I breath out. I begin to feel I am breathing for the aide workers who are praying that they remain protected within those suits.

I breath in. I breath out. I feel as if I am breathing now for the ones in the bags. The ones who are no longer breathing. I breath to ease their passage in death. I breath for the loved ones, the children left behind. I keep breathing and concentrating.

I begin mixing the colors for the gloves. Zinc white, phthalo turquoise, a little Jenkins green. I’m almost finished. While applying the paint to the gloves, however,  I am overcome. I watch as all my own sorrows rise to the surface. I realize now that sorrow is simply sorrow.  I am unable to separate one sorrow from another.

But through this experience I have learned one personal way to be with what is happening in the world I live in and am a part of. Each moment as I breath in, as I breath out, life presents itself.  This becomes my prayer….my quiet revolution.

~

Here is the link to the NPR (National Public Radio) episode. It’s one of the more human articles and well worth a look.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/28/343479917/they-are-the-body-collectors-a-perilous-job-in-the-time-of-ebola

 

Pencil noir #4

trio 1

~

She’s asking me if I’d do something a little weird for her….saying she needs someone to pose for her…some project she’s working on. All I have to do is look up. “You’re kidding, right?”

But I follow her up the back steps from the kitchen into the side alley. It’s a slice of sky. Blue. No clouds. Some festival music, piped in, drifting over from the Square.

She’s saying, ” OK Joey… relax. You’re really helping me out … just move around, slow like … and then look up.” I look at her instead. She’s animated, laughing, messing with her camera but I can tell she’s concentrating on getting her shots.

It isn’t easy…her looking at me this way. My shoulders tense and I notice my hands are balling into loose fists.

Between shots I look over and catch a glimpse of my car in the parking lot next to the alley. Mat black, it’s stripped down. Everything is in the engine.

I see some kids walking into the parking lot. The music from the Square is getting louder … not piped in anymore … charging the air.  One of the kid stops, leaning on my car to light a cigarette.  It ticks me off but then I can see it. I mean… look what else is in the lot. It makes him feel cool.

“OK … just one more. This is great.” She turns her head to see what has caught my attention. I look back at her and give her a nod.  Her back is to the kids now as she angles to get her shot. I lift my chest, suck in, and look up one more time.

~

~

Pencil drawing ….j.h. white