A MAGAZINE OF ZEN AND THE ARTS

 

Artist’s Note: The series, Ancestors, Mothers & Muses, is inspired by powerful koans from our ancestors and by our individual and collective experience.  Patterned after my mother’s wedding dress, the form of each ancestor embodies story and wisdom. The installation uses cloth, paper, and embedded objects, words, and images. I am drawn to create environments that stimulate others to listen to their own ancestors, mothers, and muses, to experience mysterious and surprising connections, to conjure a kind of conversation in community.

BLOOD-RED THREAD

still life with pomegranate

the knife in hand
her unrest gathers as clouds purple
the blade poises over rind
she knows she will find rubies
tart and sweet in the cut
she tears membrane
the inside out
and with lightning’s flash
what she desires     comes

clay reddens streams as rain is hard steady
the river sweeps up cruelty and debris
rips rusted barb and post from sandy banks
oil drums tumble down arroyos
join uprooted tree     boulders pound the night
she welcomes this momentum
slicing through the skin of the earth
the water’s fierceness as it carves
deeper to meet the Rio Abajo Rio
the source
the blood red thread pulsing with
birth     the throes of death     as ordinary as Monday

 

THIN-SKINNED WANDERER

catch the rawness

— of a world preparing for war,
collecting hate as rain forms a pool
in the slightest depression of slickrock.

Invite the world in.

Take the poison, chew it
like the Inuit woman chews seal skin.
Chewing takes time, a winter undertaking.
We have plenty of darkness.

Witness.

Grasp the world’s fear
roll it in your hand
until the edges smooth,
then return to the world
that which comforts any hand

a blue gray river stone.

 

OCEAN ANCESTOR

form recast

satin ties cinched my bodice
I turned en pointe in stiff net skirts
slippers with rigid shank-and-box

until

my bare feet (a requirement
in this tradition) pressed
into wet earth into the worn stone
of the spiral passage
now I keep the lighthouse
my face to the sea I attend ships of men
throw bone relics
spark the mirrored lantern
I join countless unknown women
stitch earth to sky to earth
say yes to the next step
unbroken

 

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