Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquakes and Hurricanes

News for those of you who've been following the Sage saga! I just got an amazing mock-up of the book from my creative partner, Claire Owen, and now we switch to printing/publication mode. And look forward to an exhibition at the Chicago Botanic Garden in May 2012 of Sage and other related work. Put it on your calendar all of you in the Windy City.

Speaking of which, it has been a crazy week here in Philadelphia. First, a hail storm. Next day, a simultaneous flash of lighting and thunder that shakes the house...and there goes the electricity. I guess you heard about the rare phenom of an earthquake that became a Philly bonding experience up and down Broad Street as people relayed updates from their iPhones so we all knew we weren't crazy or suffering from collective vertigo. Now we wait for the rare Northeast hurricane.

I am not one for omens or cosmic messages but jeez...what's next... a plague of locusts? Clearly, someone is doing a meteorological mash-up and leaving us all stunned.

In the weather vein (small pun there, very small), I have been playing around with new poems now that Sage is in Claire's capable hands. A.V. Christie, my poetry mentor and provocateur (provocateuse?), challenged me to write a ten-line poem that was all one sentence. Well, I doubled that and considered the ways in which nature (and the rest of us) struggle, day-to-day to be our best selves...with varying degrees of success.

Flood Stage

When the Mississippi crests far above the flood stage,
it eventually floods itself back into its tributaries
and becomes one itself -- a tributary I mean -- no longer
the thing flowed into but the opposite of that,
so there must be a moment or more likely
an hour or possible a whole day, when waves meet
themselves returning from where they have just
been and, if they were us, they might recognize the curve
of a bank or a low branch and be surprised to find
that they have not made any
progress at all, despite

the swift churn of their efforts that, actually
are effortless since this is what a river is
meant to do -- flow I mean -- except now
in the extreme, which is when we show
what we really were all along and maybe
we are not all singsong majesty but something
else entirely that we can mostly contain and even,
most days, make some good out of, which surely
outweighs the days when the currents
overwhelm us.