Collage and Poem for the New Moon an Solar Eclipse

A collage and poem for the new moon and solar eclipse on June 10:

Branches bend low
With the weight of growing fruit

At the center is a kernel of knowledge
Fed by sunlight, it cradles the moon’s secrets

Branches will split in all directions, yet
You cannot control every expanding avenue

There will be a time when it is clear
Which branch to prune, what fruit will be the ripest

Time demands respect despite our close desires
And we must yield to the flow of nature’s plan

I Published a Poetry Collection!

I have some exciting news to share… I finally published a poetry collection!
After withdrawing from social media and cutting back on a number of creative projects, I found I was able to complete a lifelong dream of becoming a “real” poet.

Instead of waiting for my work to be accepted and published by a literary press or journal, I decided to take advantage of the free self-publishing opportunities available through Amazon and make my debut poetry collection available as a Kindle ebook: Flora Fauna Blood Bone

If you have Kindle unlimited you can read it for free right now here:
Read on your Kindle

or you can read a sample by clicking here:
Read a free sample

I am working on a print copy, which is of course a learning curve and requires more editing, but when it’s finished it will also be available on Amazon.

Poem: Spring is Not

Spring is not the first whisper of snow
on a cold December night.
It is not chilly evenings with twinkle lights
strung to keep the darkness at bay.
It is not pine trees or poinsettia.

Spring is not pajamas with cozy fleece feet.
It is not heated blankets or flannel sheets,
wool socks, or turtleneck sweaters.
It is not ice, newly formed, on barren fields.
It is not a winter wonderland.

Spring is not a snowflake.
It is not holly wreaths, a shopping list,
peppermint, tinsel, or presents under the tree.

Spring is not mature and it is not a ski chalet.
It is not your aunt Ned’s hand-knit scarf.

It is not the turning of leaves
red, green, and gold.
It is not cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie
or a football game.
It is not cozying up with a book,
yoga pants, a cashmere blanket 
or hot cocoa and a roaring fire.

Spring is not dark or dismal,
death or decay.
It is not packing up and putting away.

Spring is not asleep.

It does not smolder in the midday sun.
It is not lemonade or ice cream
or the endless flat white heat 
of a fairground parking lot.
Spring is not a shining swimming pool.
It is not sparklers, hot dogs, 
or red white and blue.

Spring is not to be trusted;
it is not a twilight sky.
Spring is not a homecoming
or a sleek September tan.

Spring is not 
for everyone.

Poem & Collage for the Sun in Taurus

Deck: Sharman-Castello Tarot

A garden mermaid stands
succulent in her certainty
containing what is needed

each current has its own agenda
and water will not flow
to suit your desire

we harvest new ideas
put plans into action
stand close and watch
for tight buds to flower

sometimes it seems easier
to ignore the ants
under the windowsill
or aphids on the foxglove

nature’s details prevail
and the only sure defeat
is to expect perfection

can we learn to accept
the constant turning
the seasons, the endless
wheel of the year?

Always there is the longing
to honor each expanding bloom
as sand drips in the hourglass

we must learn to love the moment
even knowing
that the moment must end

In each other we see
a waterfall of creation

our river of dreams
may hit rocks of reality
and burst into being

in this fertile ground
the seeds we thought
too strange for planting
may yet yield
an abundant harvest
given favorable conditions

as spring discovers it’s full glory
the bees see flowers
fat with pollen
shining with enterprise.

Baby Lettuce

A poem for the new moon in Aries

What can we harvest in early spring
so quickly after planting?

tender lettuce and baby kale
stand ready to be plucked
there are many varieties of tomato
that grow well here, yet

we will never reap if we just
gaze at seed packets and
tend plots in our imagination

once things were more clear
we relied upon expectant rows
to generate a bumper crop each year

that cycle is complete.

What worked back then
will not work in this climate
we are left with untilled soil
waiting for fork tines of the future
to break through.

It’s tempting to let it all go and toss
out handfuls of wildflower seed,
but then the wild nasturtiums
remind you how expansive
wild can be

there will be ways to reap
what we have sown,
the necessary work is hidden
underground there is no glory, yet
it is here the foundation lies

dreamtime disappears
like a bright koi underwater

the need for action cuts
like a scythe through the last stalks
of last winter’s wheat

and underneath we see the soil again
dormant under dying crops
fortified by months of decay

the world shouts celebration
as spring’s buds bloom
but this is just one season

we can’t plant everything at once
there is a time for each idea
to have a moment in the sun
be tended to and watered with affection

the moon waxes and we plant intention
these are seeds of unknown origin
growing with roots tapped into intuition.

In This New World

In this new world,
I watch the rain for hours.

I know the sparrows by their
brown striped chests,
and golden crowns.

In this new world
there is time

to watch a butterfly
unfold her wings
in the warm rays of morning

or to trace the shadow
of the house next door
as the sun cuts across the sky,

Each day
the patch of light
on the back porch
grows brighter.

In this new world,
I check each day to see
if the plum tree
has blossomed.

I measure the size
of the puddle where
the gutter is rotted through

and look for snails
among the cabbage leaves
in this new world.

Now, we have left the hive
and spend hours
in the backyard
chatting with the bees.

My hands are in the dirt

My hands are in the dirt

the ground is soft
from seasonal rain

after the shadows
of deep winter
trap me inside

yellow Oxalis flowers
are a blanket

my fingers seek
the weeds between
tendrils of stonecrop

and tiny echeveria fallen
from the mother plant

February storms
may still destroy
newborn crowns

the sliver of sun
over my neighbor’s house

breaks raindrops into
pastel prisms

assurances of spring

Time to Write Again

photo by author

Time hangs like
exoskeletons
in amber.

Our sweaters layer like
the rings of trees,
revealing how long
we’ve been waiting.

Events need to happen
to write poems about them.

Something more than
making waffles every morning
how the tomatoes lasted
well into November this year
the way we watch a film noir
from 7-9 am each Sunday
waiting for the football
games to begin.

We are relying on
a new trapeze of trust
to hold us
learning how to balance
on a high wire
with no end in sight.

The false floor falls out and
mountains of sand
form dunes beneath us
it is slow going
either up or down
our shoes fill with grains
and feet sink ankle-deep
with every step.

From deep inside the line she said
this is not a poem
and so I stop, but still

pissed off because, you know,
Bukowski never edited
his shit.

Black History Month: IGBO Landing

I am participating in Black History Month using the resource provided by Rachel Cargle in her Patreon platform, The Great Unlearn.

Day 2: Igbo Landing

(CW: Suicide)

In 1803, a group of Igbo people who survived the Middle Passage, brought as captives from an area of Africa that is now Nigeria, committed mass suicide by walking into a swamp on the Georgia coast rather than submit to enslavement in the Americas.

The one written account of the tragedy comes from a white overseer of a nearby plantation on St. Simons. 

For many years, this account was considered a myth. White historians simply could not believe that the Igbo overthrew their white captors.

The narrative has been told via folklore in many different forms, including the tale that the Igbo people, already enslaved, simply put down their tools in the field one day, grew wings, and flew away.

I learned a great deal from researching this bit of history. When I was young I had a beloved book of folktales, “And The People Could Fly” by Virgnia Hamlton. Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon” also incorporates elements of this folklore.

I understand now that these allegorical stories are related to the mass suicide at Dunbar Creek, because the story of the Igbo Landing has been retold as the story of freedom, of escape from insurmountable hardship, as the only alternative to enslavement.

Research has of course proven this story to be true. Despite the sacred nature of the area, and despite vocal protest by the African American and Black community, a sewage treatment plant was built in the 1940s. Apparently a private land dispute prevents a memorial from being built on the site.

The lives lost at Igbo landing are not forgotten. In 2002, a ceremony was held to honor the dead Igbo people and assist them in returning to their ancestral homeland.

The erasure of black history is so much deeper than we realize because of that very erasure. The horrors of slavery are well-documented, but they are made more so by the constant disappearance of narratyive such as the true story of Igbo Landing. Again and again, it is not so much the history itself that is shocking, it is the intentional erasure and degradation of truth and of reality that remains problematic. Not only could the truth about this tragedy not be accepted, white people attempted to double erase it by degrading the very site with a sewage treatment plant. Not only was the area not honored and respected, it was actively desecrated. 

Learn more:

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/igbo-landing-mass-suicide-1803/

https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/ebos-landing

http://www.glynncounty.com/History_and_Lore/Ebo_Landing/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igbo_Landing

https://library.si.edu/donate/adopt-a-book/legacy-ibo-landing

Support:

You can donate to the education fund on this page which I relied on for my research:

https://www.blackpast.org/donate/

I could not find an active organization raising money to enact a memorial at this time. Please let me know if you are aware of one.

Black History Month: Unlearning

Source: author’s own photo

I am participating in Black History Month using the resource provided by Rachel Cargle in her Patreon platform, The Great Unlearn.

Source: https://www.patreon.com/thegreatunlearn/posts

Day 1: The Middle Passage and Port Markers Project

What is it?
The Middle Passage refers to the horrific journey enslaved people were forced to undertake, crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Africa in brutal, inhuman conditions aboard ships bound for the “New World.” There are many accounts of this journey, which can only be described as terrible beyond imagination. For more than 350 years, from about 1525-1859, millions of captive peoples undertook this miserable passage.

“Though the great majority of Africans survived the crossing, more than one million died during the Middle Passage. Many men, women and children survivors stepped ashore weakened and often gravely ill. In the first three years ashore in Brazil and the Caribbean, the high death rates likely were due more to the victims’ experience on the ship and in Africa than to life in the Americas.”

http://slaveryandremembrance.org/articles/article/?id=A0032

The Port Markers Project was established in 2011 to

“honor the two million captive Africans who perished during the transatlantic crossing known as the Middle Passage and the ten million who survived to build the Americas.”

https://www.middlepassageproject.org/

Why is it important?
Remembering and commemorating the sacrifice and contribution of enslaved peoples has long been overlooked in the celebration of America’s history. Just one small detail about this period in history illustrates why it is crucial to unlearn the dominant narrative of our development as a nation:

According to Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, from 1710 until 1808, eighty-one ocean crossings brought 132,267 captive African children, women, and men to Charleston. That number has been projected upward to at least 200,000. Eventually Africans in bondage and their descendants outnumbered the European-descended population.

source

Virtually ignored and made invisible for centuries, these individuals deserve to be honored and held in remembrance for their contribution and sacrifice. Facing this history as a nation is also an important part of understanding how racial inequity has become a foundational part of modern American society. It is just one step im making visible a history that has been marginalized for far too long.

Learn more:

The Middle Passage:

http://slaveryandremembrance.org/articles/article/?id=A0032

The Port Makers Project:

https://www.middlepassageproject.org/

http://slaveryandremembrance.org/partners/partner/?id=P0041

Support:

https://www.middlepassageproject.org/2020/11/23/mpcpmp-2020-end-of-year-fundraiser/