new tree in the yard

you will have focused intently on the tree in the yard. you will have asked yourself again, but for the first time aloud, if it had appeared in a low whisper of unnoticing. you will have gone about your day. in an instant, like a sound so small and low one only feels it, you will have seen that tree hanging again in the bedroom window. and wondered again. and pushed it away. and gone about your day. and wondered. and pushed and wondered. and the push will have needed more effort each time

your wife will have come home from work and kissed you. you will have obliged, forgetting the tree until she was gone from you. the image of it will have flooded back in pieces like a memory of a dream as you rounded the kitchen table, not listening for his little cry in the space above. the tree will have been hanging over instead. a bath of thought for your peace to sit and digest in. you will have exchanged pleasantries with her, and she will have noticed that you were not all there. that some of you was out in the yard

you okay? she will have asked.

this is going to sound, um… kind of weird, i guess, you will have said.

she’ll’ve smiled.

well, that’s not out of the ordinary.

you’ll’ve laughed a little.

yeah, i guess not. it’s nothing really, just… was that tree out front… always there?

her eyebrow will have moved together. she’ll’ve laughed a short little laugh.

the one out front? with the moss growing up it?

you’ll’ve nodded.

yeah, was that there when we first moved out here?

she will have opened her mouth, pausing for a moment in something like a smirk.

i mean… yeah? what do you mean? it’s a full-grown tree, we’ve only been here, uh… like three years. in october.

you’ll’ve nodded.

yeah, i know, it’s just like… didn’t i used to park right there, like when we first moved out here?

she’ll’ve shook her head.

you parked behind. remember, you parked too close that one time. you, uh, you dinged the car door on it.

you will not have remembered, but nod again.

okay. yeah, okay. i don’t know what i was thinking.

she will have smiled, embracing you. you will have wrapped your arms around her, moved your hands in circles on her back. the baby crying

you will have looked at it through the front window for a long, long while. you will have clutched the curtain until the joints of your fingers cried out in vivid white. you will have begun to mumble under your breath. will it have been there when your child will have been born? will it have stood in the window while you embraced the woman who will have been your wife and touched her forehead softly with your mouth?

in the course of wandering back and forth in a loop from the opening of the kitchen, into the living room, and over to the window overlooking the couch, you will have touched your wife on the head absent-mindedly ten times now to comfort her. Your movements will have become rough, you will have almost hurt her. She will have narrowed her brow at the table, book hanging limp in her hand

why has that tree got you so worked up, she will have asked.

you will have looked at her with strange, unending eyes.

i swear to god, that tree wasn’t there when we moved here. because remember, you wanted to take those pictures in the bedroom when it was, like, golden hour or whatever. and the light was coming… in the window… and now, um, now you can’t see the light… in the window anymore.

she’ll’ve walked to you as you will have been speaking and put her arms around your body.

it’s okay, she’ll’ve said, you’re just tired. sit down, let’s watch something.

you will have laid your head into her.

i just… am i going insane? am i just…

you will have started crying. your eyes will have given way and dribbled over her. she will have held you close to her, and you her. there will have been a weird silence. where comfort should have been, but you will have only felt the tree out there, in the space beyond. watching. upstairs, the baby erupting

ten days. you will have wandered the whole house in a loop for ten days. you will have told her not to look at it, that there will have been pieces of it coming in the room and connecting to you and they would likewise connect to her and drag her around the house. she will have given up showing her concern, instead tending to the baby as you will have paced. you will not have gone to work, you will not have slept. you will have withered into two legs walking and a rushing mind. Into an ache of odd, blank looks

the last day. the baby will fall asleep. you will sit in the chair facing the window and mumble. mumble what? prayers? something like prayers, prayers to me. to get your act together. she comes down the stairs in one trudging step after another. her feet sound heavy, her expression is the same. she stands beside you with her arms limp at her side and her hands curling and uncurling in tight, weak little fists

you will be on your knees on the couch, slumped over the sill and staring at the tree

…cannot keep living like this. i love you, i…

you will have seen it move a little bit in the corner of your eye. you will not stop looking

…a-and, i can’t take care of him all… all alone, anymore. you’ve got to do something, therapy or…

you will think back. first night back from your honeymoon, the moon will have come unfiltered through the window. the day you and her and the baby will have laid out there on a blanket in the yard, looking up uninterrupted at the clouds. not too long ago

…even listening to me?

she will grab your shoulder. you will turn to her, breathing heavy. beard unkempt, eyes sunken and off-white, mouth agape.

her mouth will quiver. tears will begin down her cheeks, she will shake her head.

i-i’m sorry. i’m sorry. i don’t know how to help you. i j-just don’t understand wh-what’s going on… the tree’s been there. it’s been there since we moved…

your eyes narrow.

don’t you think i would remember it? why don’t i remember that tree, if its been… out there?

i-i don’t know. i don’t know, maybe… maybe you just…

maybe i just what? maybe i’m going nuts, huh?

she will weep. standing alone in the middle of the living room. you point out the window behind you, still glaring at her.

it’s something… more… than a tree. it’s like… something that leaked in… from, um, from somewhere else. you understand? a-and it’s coming in the window… y-you can’t see… it’s coming in the window and going…

you motion to your head.

…going into us. like into our… heads. it wasn’t there. because remember, remember sitting out there and… and we looked… at sh-shapes, at clouds and… showed the, the baby… remember?

she shakes her head. whole body shaking.

i can’t do this anymore. i can’t be here…

the baby will cry now. opening the house up in tight, resonating sirens that compress against the ceiling and pierce in your ears. your face will flush.

it’s going into him, it’s going into him, like needles…

you will stand still while it goes on and on

now, you pace in much the same abandon. you look out at your yard, pull the curtain away. pretty curtain to tear the light to a stripe across your eye. and out in the yard there is nothing at all. it is a calm and pretty day. it is a lovely birdsong sinking into the interior of your apartment, the carpet and the walls.

you sit back down on the couch and trace the corners of the apartment with your eyes. there is no one, no wife and no child and no tree. there is only me. and if you do not believe that you will see these things, let me assure you that you will.

if you do not believe in your own failure, you will.

as you whittle into a stump, you will.

as the good in you dies slowly, weathered down to gnashing-teeth tendons grinding your legs around to the cadence of your racing mind, you will.

and when i stand over you in wave upon wave of what you will have become, begging you decades ago to open your head to the bright lines of the pretty curtain

you will

Wax-Paper Dogs

conceptualizations flower-forming on
the warping surface of my eyes
and sliding down into
the recesses of my
ideologies

new
patterns
moving in my mouth
run by to make
close-up transparencies
fracture into translucence
from a distance
like wax-paper dogs
crossing my vision
one by
one

and so my
arms move like
in a dream of honey
in a pattern of unfathomable waste

Miscellaneous Copier Collage Works

I don’t have anything in this style that’s worth it’s own post yet, but here are some of the pieces I’ve done recently that showcase various techniques for using a copier to make collages.

I started by copying images and cutting them into simple collages, like so:

Then, in this example, I copied the collage onto a separate piece of paper, then ran that piece back through the copier the opposite way so that it copied onto itself upside down.

I really like the result of this, and ended up using this technique to create a sort of backdrop for other elements, like this example that incorporates another image, as well as the scraps I’d cut out for the precious collages.

This also involved moving the original image a tiny bit so that the copy is blurred. This creates an interesting effect, especially with the line shading of these images.

I’ve also experimented some with copying low-contrast textural background elements onto pieces. In this collage, I began with an image of a waterfall and shook the paper as it copied to get the the wave effect. Then, i copied images of shells and other sea creatures onto the wave at a low contrast. Finally, I cup out an image of some monks and copied them into the middle at a high contrast so they were the darkest part of the composition.

Last but not least, I simply copied an image of a stairwell at a relatively low contrast with a plastic bag over it. It gave it a weird old photo-grain effect that I’m really happy with.

Overall, I’m very happy with the results of these experiments so far. I’m excited to see where this copy art takes me.

The Witch-Mother’s Dress

My mother gathered her dress like a memory
Tattered and withered with age
Laid it’s caress in a pattern of symmetry
Lit up her censor with sage
Fear bothered at her like falling pinecones

She took her scissors to sever the fine lace nape
Eyes polished riverbed stones
Yes, by this dress would her firstborn escape
To the far north where every witch goes
When Salemites come sweeping another town

By the strange firelight, flurries alighted
To no avail, they kissed the gown
Tracing the rubies she sewed alongside of it
They pulled the thin fabric down
Cotton swayed about them like butterflies

So was the garment impressed by her vibrancy
Filled with the light of her eyes
Lovely the dress, the violence of it’s primacy
Born as a token of flight
She held it’s shining form to the window

Soft little cries drew her mind from the planned escape
She let the swaying cloth go
Her fingers spidered over the bone crib she’d made
Her child’s eyes wide and aglow
I cooed and babbled at her solemn frown

She took me up from the crib with a heavy sigh
Smiled at my murmuring sounds
Sang lullabies in the still autumn silence
To drown out the noise of the crowd
As the mob descended on her hollow

Animals quiet, the forest forewarning her
My little arm brushed her throat
My mother nodded, the sounds of the morning birds
Gone up in torchlight and smoke
She crossed the little room to the garment

She laid her child on the cloth and drew it about
Wrapping me up in her scent
Wide-eyed and mouth gaping, how close the crowd was now
Singing their hymn as they went
My mother opened the window to dawn

She took a last look as the little face of me
Curled when the curtains were drawn
Quivering lip, the witch took a moment to breathe
Ears crucified by their song
She let me go as the dress swayed and swelled

Framed by the sun, I remember my floating on
Carried by my mother’s spell
Up in the clouds with their furrows and trailings long
Wrapped in the sage’s sweet smell
Passing to the north’s dark and open arms

She watched me float on the breeze she’d arranged for me
Fingers caressing her charms
Now the crowd traipsed like a storm in the willow trees
Brimming with hatred and harm
At the front of them, a weeping handmaid

Some of the townsfolk put force to the doorknob
They screamed o’er the din the crowd made
“Come ye, and look on this widow, witch! Hear her cries
For you have stolen her babe”
The door hinges groaned and gave to their weight

Backed to the back wall, my mother grinned viciously
Tasting the spice of their hate
As they pulled her to the light, she sang blissfully
“I’m afraid you’re all too late!”
The handmaid that birthed me choked on her cry

Then was my mother’s neck looped by a heavy rope
She screamed with mirth as she died
They say she lasted an hour before she croaked
Smiling until her last sigh
And she twitched for days after she was gone

Ah, but the witch will not rot in her earthen tomb
For she lives on in her spawn
Though I was born of the handmaiden’s womb
In truth, it’s the witch who lives on
I drown in fever to finish her work

Author’s Note- This poem constitutes yet another less-than satisfactory attempt to create a good story through a highly structured poem form with a dense rhyme scheme and strict adherence to syllable count per line. I’m posting it because a) it has a few lines I really like and I think the story is pretty interesting, and b), so I can look back and see how my narrative poetry progressed. I’ve had more luck recently with freeverse, so I’ll get back to posting some of that soon. 🙂

The Angel of Disfathoming

Do not undress to fear or doubt my love,
her         whisper in       your ear.
that leaves your will to leave the house undone
You have shown her form to me, my love
you have        let her in
and turned me to an angel of my own
until the coffer rings for you, my love,
i will keep disfathoming
alone and forever
because

memory                                is                           a funny thing
that comes                          abrupt                    a strange thing
to me                            without                     a warning
suddenly    sort of            carving           me     up in smoke

Memory that comes to me suddenly
sort of is abrupt, without carving me.
A funny thing,
a strange thing,
a warning,
up in smoke.

Memory is a funny thing
that comes abrupt, a strange thing to
me. Without a warning,
sort of carving me up in smoke.

in the middle                 of the night
of the memory             a piece severed
a thing little              filled with fright
a sort-of-me            is tethered
that picks between
her ribcage
and her hip

Two Words at Once

picture a language where
every  l e t t e r
represents one single
separate
sy lla ble.

and each letter could be
combined
with every other letter
to form a new symbol
so that the
total number
of symbols
was the number of letters
times itself.

and the symbols stood for
the two syllables
comprising them
being spoken
at once.
so that instead of just
writing a
word
you could write
two words
at once.

words within words
telling tone
and underlying intent
and pronunciation
and nuance
and all thought
becomes
clear
in the page.

harder to write         easier to express
harder to learn         easier to want
easier to lie              easier to tell the truth

harder to tell the difference
harder to care

and would there be
subtext
even to this?
would
something
lurk
deeper
a third level
down?

moving in those
perfect words
like the
vibrations
your throat
makes
without your
permission