I am collecting
the petals of other possible
haunts, dandelions pressed
to paper, the pipe’s amber
evening shadow weighed with
pear blossoms and traces
of happiness floating, children
bleating while lambs
play hide and seek until the lights
wink in the distance
your cities do not
A conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan in Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.
Snippets from the actual passage in the book: (pipe’s amber/ evening shadow/the lights in the distance/your cities do not exist)
A feeling that comes with reading this collection of prose poems — that travel leaves us weighing alternate realities…
Did the wind whip up
the cold and self
doubt on cresting waves?
Did the sun break out
and light the depths stirring
golden when you had the idea?
Or did the light, the breath, the entire
scene surface from deep, deeper than body,
Emotion, the organizing
principle, the chaos,
As humans, when we walk out of the house with love bursting in our chests, does it clear the sky and send the clouds away in lifting oranges and purples?
Or does the first chirping bird of spring, the melting snow have the power to thaw…
La neige, aux sourires
du soleil chante,
rigole et pleur en retrouvant
son amour la terre
qui s’effondre à son tour,
ce tapis de vie sous
de nos pieds.
The snow, with the smiles
of the sun sings,
laughs and cries finding
her love the earth
who collapses in turn
this carpet of life under
of our feet.
Author’s note: I am lucky to be working with Jessica Tefenkgi Ruelle on her upcoming book on mindfulness and language learning.
She had a writing prompt for French learners that I found…
Objects you can hold in your hand and a Vagabond Voices writing prompt…
Tiny heavy chunks of
rock, catch the light
gold, fool’s gold hard
to tell she held the pan, imagined
sloshing over the side, mud
sifting away and only
heavy things being
left. So simple. The fading
light, the shifting, passing pleasure —
innocence. For the longest time,
they didn’t even think
to go down to the singing
river. Maybe the heavy shiny
things are best left
A reversal of fortune, the object you noticed on the street, on the seat of the bus abandoned…
This is not our place. We are not hunters ready to enjoy a long winter sipping spirits and staring into the fire. We never feel quite at ease under the sliding glassy gaze of weasels, badgers, foxes, squirrels, deer on the alter to taxidermy. Furry monuments to hunting seasons past. Their eyes remind me of my own, sleep-deprived gaze, skimming the mid-distance, avoiding eye contact, yearning to close for an hour or an eternity.
My mind wanders when I come here. More than usual. It takes me a moment to reply when spoken to. I should be finding a way…
Un ciel qui prend des tons
ocre, chargé de sable,
visage voilé, regard tamisé,
Sahara, cette danseuse, emportée
par les vents, et avec chaque baiser,
teintant de jaune nos joues nimbées.
A sky that takes tones
ocher, loaded with sand,
face veiled, gaze sifted,
Sahara, this dancer, carried away
by the winds, and with every kiss,
tinting our haloed cheeks yellow.
This is a found poem that I wrote after I went out cross country skiing and found myself watching sand sift down from the mountaintops and gliding over the gold-dusted snow. I kept thinking of the Sahara, finally, not…
We are form
baked in red
clay not set
singing to the
waters that will
undo this artist’s
may we be
This is a (belated) response to the Literary Impulse writing prompt, Andoumboulou and Vorfreude. These words, these sounds, and these concepts made me want to play with the music in the words forever, allowing no rough edges, no full stops, nothing final or finite.
Thank you Sylvia Wohlfarth for sending me this beautiful invitation to write about Andoumboulou, a word that sounds as beautiful as its meaning…a rough draft of…
(A Vagabond Voices writing and living prompt)
holding my first
when he was a baby, how
he was a white basket,
rice cakes on New Year’s —
soft as warm
— One line poetry adapted from a line from the novel Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
How will you do this?
Perhaps with a one-line poem? A collage? A bit of blackout?(Just be sure to reference the book and author, please.)
Maybe you’ll write a story or poem where a book is one of the characters…or takes on a surprising role…
Maybe you’ve got the…
On creativity, community, resilience, creative acts that get us through…
And holding your words in my hands.
Times when I stared into the vast
and open unknown
wondered if I would be the abyss
but when I felt the tug of fear, I tied
a knot in my thread, one
upon another until
this woolen reassurance:
words, and love
in my hands,
It has occurred to me, in the face of everything that we have left behind and everything that still lies ahead…are we not a series of repetitions?
Those tiny things we do again. Again.
Don’t they know? This is their last run for a long time in these woods, their last chance to meet friends, or anyone else. The lasts are rustling from the trees, drifting and whispering underfoot.
The children are running loops and spirals around us sometimes bursting through a lingering stroke of yellow, at other times, melting into the crimson background. At times I guess by the padded rhythm of their feet that they are lost in the deep earth tones.
Alexis is two steps ahead of me shuffling her feet through the leaves, her wool coat reaching ever closer to…
Immigrant, bilingual, mother, teacher, book-worm, writer. Life is better when we create - together.