Crystal Midden

I dug a piece of ruby red glass out of the ground,
Pulled it up with the dead twigs of last year’s peony flowers.
It was intertwined with them, as if they were holding on to it.
Keeping a little treasure for their very own.

Like arrowheads in the Southwestern United States,
Such finds are fairly common around here.
Not too far from Nybro, home of Kosta Boda.
Here in the Kingdom of Crystal.

Yes, it’s really called that.

It’s hard to tell what this piece was meant to be.
Maybe a handle of some kind.
It’s curved and perfectly smooth on one side,
Sharp and jagged on the other.

This little town used to have its own glass workshop,
But it shut down many years ago.
No trace of it left now.
Apart from little artifacts like these.
It was probably part of a failed piece,
Cast into a waste pile.

A crystal midden, redistributed by bulldozers.
The little broken treasures lost,
Until dug out of backyard flowerbeds.

2020 Vision: New Decade’s Eve Thoughts

There didn’t used to be such things as years.

There were seasons, summers, winters, moments. But these weren’t reckoned in the modern way. Folks knew what to expect by observing the cycles of nature.

The concept of time was not measured by the clock, but was understood to be evidence of predictable change.

At some point, however, we decided to number and to name the natural cycles, while at the same time still adhering to their rhythm. To do otherwise could mean starvation, deprivation, and eventual death.

Great learned men, scholars, and theologians decided for the rest of us when the so-called common era began, based entirely on supposition.

Because of them, we now view time not as the occurrence of change, but as a ticking clock, with its eras and hours, minutes and millennia, days and decades.

Its relentless march resounds in our ears like the pounding of a drum, reminding us with each passing moment that we are that much closer to the moment of our own death.

Yet, we still observe the passage of a year with a celebration, even though one year rolling over into a next one is not particularly special.

Could this be a hold over from earlier times, when surviving a year really was something noteworthy?

Anyway, Happy New Year.
Happy Surviving 2019.
Happy New Decade.

Here, there be boobies

Not literally here,
(Probably)
But at that time,
A warning was requested,
It may seem silly.
(Really silly)
Nevertheless…
It was a seriously,
Curiously real request.
Can I cover them up?
(No, not mine)
The little fantasy figures I drew.
Faeries, elves, mermaids
(Some of which were nude)
Was that something,
I was willing to do,
At my exhibition?
Cover my own work.
Would I mind?
Some people might be offended.
Do I have any stickers,
For their tiny, fantasy, boobies?
I laughed.
Honestly, I thought he was joking.
(Or smoking something funny)
That’s a good one.
But no..
He was genuinely non-joking.
He was a teacher, you see.
And wanted to bring a student group.
(Not kindergartners, mind you)
Teenagers.
Who might ask,
Why are they naked?
(They might not like it.)
Oh, well in that case…
Absolutely not.
They’ll get over it.
But next time,
I’ll post a warning:
“Here, there be boobies.”

Process Blue

Invisible processes metamorphic,
Occurring deep inside the earth, formed it.
A deep blue stone of royalty,
That’s known as lapis lazuli.
Where first appeared civilization,
In the Mesopotamian location.
Where slaves were captured, bought and sold,
For some bushels of wheat, or for gold,
And the treasure blue under their feet.
Under the earth, the surface beneath.
Ground into a powder, rare and fine.
Adorned the eyes of pharaohs divine.
Baked in a kiln hotter than the sun.
The process forming a pigment begun.
A pigment of brightest blue ever seen.
That’s known as ultra marine.
It painted the robes of the Blessed Virgin.
And Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Earth’s processes make the prettiest blue.
Which we process further into something new.

Process

~~~¤~~~¤~~~Process~~~¤~~~¤~~~

From a seed, the cotton sprung.
Grew up in soil and in sun.
In the summer heat it flourished
And with water, it was nourished.
Filled up with life, the cotton was.
So it made a little ball of fuzz.

~~~¤~~~¤~~~Processed~~~¤~~~¤~~~

The cotton then was harvested.
Balls of fuzz, spun into thread.
A textile made upon a loom.
All from a fuzzy cotton bloom.
A little plant, grown in the dirt.
Filled up with life from Mother Earth.

A plant sewn into clothes you wear.
Is the life that filled it up still there?

The Procrasti Nation

I am part of the Procrasti,
Which is the designation
Of the patriotic put-it-offers,
The proud Procrasti Nation.
There’s no task that a Procrast,
Cannot put off till later.
I have a much more pressing matter,
One that cannot wait, like…
Looking up the words that rhyme,
With procrastinate.
Abbreviate, attrition rate,
Evaporate, equivocate.
Such procrastination bliss!
I’m doing it right now,
As I’m writing this.
But, alas, this Procrast,
Must get back to work again.
The putting it off comes to an end.

There is something very wrong with US

He’d rather vent,
And sulk,
When he’s angry or frustrated.

‘Cause being president,
Is difficult,
And often complicated.

But he did not run for president,
To fight for human rights,
He ran for bragging rights.
And with our allies, pick some fights.

He did not run for president,
To lead or represent us,
But to throw us under the bus.

He ran not to preside over us,
But simply to ride over us.

Meaning

What does it all mean?
I work at an art gallery,
And I get asked this all the time.
But I’m neither a theologian,
Nor a philosopher.
I’m just an artist.
More like a doodler.
I draw pictures of faerie folk,
Mermaids, elves, fantasy figures.
Some of it was displayed at the gallery.
People asked me what it meant,
But my work is not particularly meaningful.
I suppose it means I have too much time on my hands.
It’s hard enough talking about the meaning,
Of my own work.
Let alone, the work of other artists.
They’re asking the wrong question, anyway.
Like Deep Thought pondering the answer,
To Life, the Universe, Everything,
For countless centuries,
And producing the answer, 42.
I can’t really tell you what art means,
But I can tell you what it does.
It gives us something to do.
Artists make it and you come to see it.
It provokes a reaction.
Indignation:
“My kindergartner could have done a better job.”
Most often, confusion:
“What the hell does this even mean?”
“Why is this so special?”
“Why is this garbage even here??!!”
I know the answer,
But the answer is boring.
It’s not the answer you want, anyway.
I usually just say,
“Well…that’s open to interpretation.”

A Tiny Trace of Her

Urn

“It all comes down to that.”

Four pounds of pulverized and fragmented pieces of bone.
Packed in a plastic bag labeled with the coroner’s information about the contents.

A plastic bag tied with a rubber band.

Several tiny delicate urns had been prepared, each about three inches high, each containing a small bag of grandma’s ashes. Keepsakes for me and my siblings, my cousins, my mother, and my uncles.

My brother saw those urns lined up on the beautiful antique tea cart in our mother’s living room. The tea cart that had once been grandma’s.

He said those words above, and turned his face away. His cheeks were wet with tears. My amazingly tough and strong brother wept at the sight of those tiny urns.

A larger box containing the remainder of grandma’s ashes will be scattered over family land in Colorado.

Mom showed them to me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to look at them, but I did. I poked at the bag with my finger.

They didn’t feel like ashes at all. They were hard and granular, like sand flecked with with small bits of white bone.

“It all comes down to that.”

Grandma was the granddaughter of Norwegian immigrants from the west coast city of Bergen. She once journeyed there, along with my mother and cousin, to trace her family roots. She found her grandfather’s name in a church registry.

One day I will go there, to scatter my portion of her ashes. A tiny trace of her, delivered back to her ancestral home.

For now, however, grandma is with me.