The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.

quote in the title: W.H. Auden

Sometimes, poetry is the only way to describe, explain, distort and contort my present moments of now-ness.

digital art: HA! 2020

At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon
and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts.
I fought with my knuckles white as stars,
and left bruises the shape of Salem.
There are things we know by heart,
and things we don’t.

At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke.
I’d watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos,
but I could never make dying beautiful.
The sky didn’t fill with colors the night I convinced myself
veins are kite strings you can only cut free.
I suppose I love this life,

in spite of my clenched fist.

I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree,
and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers,
and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath
the first time his fingers touched the keys
the same way a soldier holds his breath
the first time his finger clicks the trigger.
We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe.

But my lungs remember
the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly
and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister’s heartbeat.
And I knew life would tremble
like the first tear on a prison guard’s hardened cheek,
like a prayer on a dying man’s lips,
like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone…
just take me just take me

Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much,
the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood.
We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways,
but you still have to call it a birthday.
You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess
and hope she knows you can hit a baseball
further than any boy in the whole third grade

and I’ve been running for home
through the windpipe of a man who sings
while his hands playing washboard with a spoon
on a street corner in New Orleans
where every boarded up window is still painted with the words
We’re Coming Back
like a promise to the ocean
that we will always keep moving towards the music,
the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain.

Beauty, catch me on your tongue.
Thunder, clap us open.
The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks.
Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert,
then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women
who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun.
I know a thousand things louder than a soldier’s gun.
I know the heartbeat of his mother.

Don’t cover your ears, Love.
Don’t cover your ears, Life.
There is a boy writing poems in Central Park
and as he writes he moves
and his bones become the bars of Mandela’s jail cell stretching apart,
and there are men playing chess in the December cold
who can’t tell if the breath rising from the board
is their opponents or their own,
and there’s a woman on the stairwell of the subway
swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn,
and I’m remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun
with strip malls and traffic and vendors
and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it.

Ya’ll, I know this world is far from perfect.
I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.
I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.
But every ocean has a shoreline
and every shoreline has a tide
that is constantly returning
to wake the songbirds in our hands,
to wake the music in our bones,
to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river
that has to run through the center of our hearts
to find its way home.”
― Andrea Gibson

digital art: HA! 2020

My voice is born repeatedly in the fields of uncertainty.

Quote: Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

The exercise for centering oneself is a simple one.

Stop thinking of what you intend to do. Stop thinking of what you have just done. Then stop thinking that you have stopped thinking of those things.

Then you will find the now. The time that stretches eternal, and is really the only time there is.

Then in that place, you will finally have time to be yourself.”
― Robin Hobb, Royal Assassin

Adversity….it’s what’s for dinner.

Struggling, like many, if not all. Painting as much as possible. Lost in line, tone, texture, color and intention. Quarentine is a fickle muse. I am worried. So many worries….

I send you all love, at the moment it’s all i have to offer, but it is true. <3

Your friend in the arts,

HA!

P.S. Black Lives Matter

1 Comment

  1. artfrank
    July 1, 2020

    Great stuff ! I want to thank the author for publishing this great read. I love your effort for putting in this blog. Stars wall art – starsonart .
    starsonart

    Reply

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Perfect for a stay IN date night, The Simplicity Collection, a 3D Virtual Art Gallery (FREE) Get comfortable and enjoy the show

The Simplicity Collection is our newest body of work and we are so excited to share it with you.

10 large format, abstract landscapes, done in oils. 

30 Original poems

10 creation videos (super fun)

Over an hour of entertainment! 

We miss seeing everyone in person and hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy.  

We put together this virtual gallery so that everyone can see the works and enjoy the show from the safest place on earth right now, our couches. 

We love you and are so grateful for your support and love. Stay safe and enjoy the show. 

Your friends in the arts, 

Heather & Bill Alley

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