Poem: A Delicious Way to Die

medicine bottles_resize

A Delicious Way to Die

Bottles.
Pills.
Something for everyone,
and yet
too often
we choose poison
over medicine,
sure we are better doctors
than the wise men
who surround us.
“Evidence be damned” we cry
as we swallow
the very things
that kill us most effectively.

About this poem

Could be medicines, or emotional care, or faith, or politics.

No, you don’t need to choose one.

Tom

Poem: Burial Elements

elements_resize

Burial Elements

A bowl to catch my blood.
A box to hold the remains,
all neatly packed away
awaiting forgiveness
that may never come,
and a resurrection
that will.

About this poem

When people batter me (emotionally, and yes, a few still do), I still bleed. I still suffer. But I guess I have finally hit grown up status. I let the pain go to the appropriate places, and wait for the healing.

Which always comes.

Gratefully,

Tom

Poem: Strange Zen

fabric 2

Strange Zen

Bolts of cloth,
one stacked on the other:
art
without meaning to be,
a picture of peace,
a memory of grandmothers’ feather beds.

You stand,
less looking
than soaking in the strange zen,
their aura, something
perhaps
only you can feel,

and only in this moment.

About this poem

I can’t sew a lick. But I’ve always loved going into fabric stores and seeing the patterns and colors. A poor man’s museum perhaps.

It began when my mother used to take me to Joanne’s Fabrics as a small boy, and it continues to this day. I have a friend, Maria Wulf, who is a fabric artist and when I get to visit her studio I can stand and look at the piles of cloth for what probably seems, to outsiders, a bit too long of a time. This particular stack of cloth was at the Shaker Villiage in Stockbridge, Mass.

Tom

Thoughts: Tattoos and Thankfulness

tattoo

Last Saturday I had a booth at “Art on Edie’s Green” in Pawlet, Vermont. It is the only outdoor show I do with my art, preferring to sell at galleries and on-line. I do it because it’s a community thing. Most of the artists live kind of locally, and each of us give 20% of our sales to the Pawlet Scholarship fund, a group that provides twenty or so scholarships each year to local people furthering their education.

I don’t find outdoor shows that much fun to do, but I like this one. It is large enough to provide a nice variety of arts and crafts, but small enough that all of us showing art can wander around, enjoy each other’s work and just chat. I never sell that many pieces, but I sell a few and have a good time and get to give something back to the community. It makes for a fun Saturday.

This year I sold three pieces and gave away one.

“Gave?” you ask. Yes, gave.

Like I said, we all wander around and enjoy each other’s stuff. At one point, one of my friend’s daughters came by and was flipping through some of my unframed pieces. She kept going back to one particular piece, which as it happens, is also one of my favorites.

The sky is falling

She left the booth and came back a second time. She asked me how much it was.

Now, when a young person wants to know how much something is, they really like it. it is particularly true of this young woman, because her mom is an artist. She knows the work of art, and she knows what we have to charge to make it all work. So even a dense old man like me could see she liked it.

I gave it to her.

You see, I want young people to love art. To be surrounded by it. To appreciate it. As it turned out, the colors also matched her room. What more could you ask?

But she was not content with being given the art. She asked me what she could do or give me, and I suggested she do a piece of art for me. I have no idea what I expected, but I have seen her doing things at art shows and at her mom’s studio. I knew whatever she did, I’d enjoy.

What I got was a temporary, painted on tattoo. Yeah, the one at the top of this page. We came up with the idea of the compass rose and right there on the spot with her pens, she drew it in, all freehand. A compass is perfect because I, like most of us, am always trying to find my way in life, trying to keep my bearings and path straight. A compass is a perfect symbol of that.

“It will wash off in a couple of days.” she assured me.

As good as the tattoo was, I was glad of that. I’m not a huge tattoo fan, although I have to say I have become a big fan of my son’s tattoo. It’s just not for me. I like skin and I think the human body is wonderful enough that we don’t need to add anything to it.

But I need to tell you, this thing’s grown on me. I have been careful with it. I haven’t scrubbed it hard in the tub each night. But true to her word, the thing has been slowly fading. There’s only a shadow of it left. Tonight’s bath, or maybe tomorrows will pretty much finish it off. And I think I am going to miss it.

I’ll miss it’s symbolism, for sure. But what I will really miss it the reminder that there are still people, and still young people, who don’t want something for nothing. They want to return good for good. It’s how I raised my kids and perhaps how you raised yours, but we all know that often the best raising still gets pretty poor results, and that people of all ages are more than willing to take something for nothing. Anxious too in fact. The whole “a sucker’s born every minute.” thing. I know, I’ve been that sucker more than a few times. But not Saturday. I left Saturday rich.

How did I come out at the show? I sold three small paintings. Not a bad day. And I gave away one that paid me in a joy the money from the other paintings will never match, and left me pretty thankful indeed. A good day. A very good day.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

Poem: The Sky is on Fire

angry sky

The Sky is on Fire

The sky is on fire,
as if it knows my love for you
and burns from the very thought.

About this poem

This was going to be an entirely different poem with the same picture, but the muse had other ideas. Never argue with your muse.

The picture was taken just down the road from me in West Pawlet, Vermont.

Tom

Poem: Discovery

  
Discovery

Dark. Silent.

Waiting. 

Accepting.
Unsure

of the timing and color, or even

if morning will come, 
for there are days, weeks, 

lifetimes when it has never arrived, 

when darkness lived far beyond

it’s natural life span. 
And you survived. 
That is your mantra, 

that you are old and your skin is tough

and your scars are worn proudly

like a Warriors’ jewels, 

gaudy and horrible, terrible signs

of a strength you had no idea lived inside of you, 
But now you know
and the knowing brings you peace, 

And patience

To outwait the silence. The dark. 

To will the light that once you believed was beyond the horizon

Until you discovered

It lived within you, 

waiting only for your call. 

Poem: Museum Guards

guard in the gallery

Museum Guards

There is you
and space
and someone sure
you are a thief, watching you,
their mind full of scenerios of your malfeasance,
surprised
when all you want to do is look.

About this poem

I had a fascinating talk with a museum guard a few weeks ago. He talked about his training, and how they are trained to be thinking in terms of how every person in the room might try to steal or damage things.

“Even me, standing here next to you in an empty room?” I asked.

“Even you, standing next to me in an empty room.” he said.

I know people like that too. What a way to live.

Tom