Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thinking about Dirt and Poetry.

My brother, Upfromsumdirt, a.k.a Mudman, a.k.a Dirtyboy is a poet. Extremely prolific.  He is 6 years younger than I.  To sum up our background...I spent most of my childhood and adolescent years resenting him upstaging my 'baby of the family status'.  He made me a feminist.  I contributed his excessive preferential treatment my mother gave him due to him being a "male" child.  It wasn't until he flunked out of college that I begin to see the "golden boy" as having the possibility of being human and thus likeable.  He became a rebel. A quiet, reflective rebel.  He started writing poetry about 15 years ago and has developed a raw passion and sensitivies to self-study.  He still resists being defined by others even when the advice is in, he should really obtain advanced degrees in literature and get paid for what he feels compelled to do already.  I've tried to encourage his exposure on the local scene but he resists that also.  He did read for a small venue in Atlanta 2 weeks ago at the encouragement of a girlfriend (he was trying to earn points no doubt).  He, like myself, prefers to write over talk. In the last ten years we have put aside all sibling rivalries and have gotten to know one another genuinely and I have learned to respect the soul of the man.  Here is one of his poems that makes me smile when I read it, followed by one of my own. 

Where Babies Come From

We are all cocoons of flesh

and brittle bits of husk, housing

whatever it is that makes us us.

...spirit or soul or shadow or something...

Beneath our human coil

we are the soil of the universe!!

We are the breath of God

infested within congested lungs.

He spits us out and we are flung into creation.

That alone makes us beautiful...but we are more...

Extra-celestial and kin to solar wind,

our speech is red giant sun & blue moon with

black hole knowledge...

We speak constellation-slang with supernova breath

and ride solar flares barehanded.

We are never alone or stranded,

everywhere is our home.

We hold our love eternal,

each star is a journal

inscribing our secrets

upon their surfaces until God

decides to publish our essences.

Spirits riding down upon the tail end

of falling stars landing on womb

until BOOM! we are born anew...

and the ancestors say, "welcome to the world, little stardust".

One Mother's Blood, for Deborah

From the Underground

through Mama's birth canal

we rose to life's Jubilee.

You swam the water, tides

delivered you first into the future.

I followed by the map you inscribed

on the palms of my hands.

                       six years apart, separate journeys, one mother's blood

Your feet were planted

on earth before mine.

I learned to walk by

crawling in traces

left from your dances.

We grew toward the sun;

other parts of us grew

toward each other.

                      bloodstains marked us women, not sacrilege

We now dodge daggers

only to burn our heels

on the fire.

Damn near choke on the water

and suffocate on this air.

We kick, claw, jerk, and scream

through atmospheric pressure.

I can't hear your visceral sounds

Can you hear mine?

Sister, Sister, Sister

turn turn turning to me

reach, grip, hold, carry,

don't let go!!!!!!!!

My piece was published in an anthology of women poets from Louisville a long time ago.  The name of the book is Dark Woods I Cross.  Here is a family photo. Deborah is in the red. Dirty is the adult male and I am next to him.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Music Recommendation

At the word of my friend Michele I downloaded (legally) KEM's Album II.  I've enjoyed it so much that I wanted downloaded his first album Kemistry.  As Michele described it, and she is so telling the truth, this is grown folks music!  He sounds a lot like Al if you love Al, check out KEM. But put the kids to bed first ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2005 art critique group!

I blew my goal I had for yesterday...BUT today I made it to a meeting of a new group forming for art quilt critique.  It will have a regional flair as members came from northern Indiana and Cincinnatti to make up half of approximately the 15 in attendance.  Like this blog, this group feels like another solid step toward helping me prepare a body of work and grow.   

If any members find their way to my blog...please give me a shout out. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Gabrielle's Question and What's Up w/ Me

I remember a Maya Angelou quote that said something to the effect that grown at 18 is really a myth and a woman doesn't really know enough about life until she is at least 40.  So if I had possessed 40+ year old wisdom at 18...I would have majored in English Literature, obtained an MFA in writing, and a PhD at Temple University in African American Studies.  I would have blown less money on partying (well maybe not....I really enjoyed myself back then but do wish I would have purchased a house).  I would have definitely not gone through with my first marriage...I was in the basement of the church crying with my sister and best friend because I knew it was for all the wrong reasons but didn't have the courage to call it off.  And I paid dearly for that mistake and it took me over 10 years to work out the guilt behind it.  I would have traveled outside the country and at least lived for a few years in West Africa... I no longer have the desire due to my health that has declined. I would not have purchased that damn Plymonth Horizon!  Thats about it.

More than likely, I am not anticipating much new to post here on my blog until the end of the month when I return from a dye fest at the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts (see sidebar links).  I've been feeling "somewhat" better and am trying to resume some household chores and cooking. P. has been working 12 hours and picking up the groceries and my 13yo and 15yo have stepped to the plate on doing laundry and some housework (early training is paying off.)  Unfortunately, I don't have much energy and mental focus left to trust myself with sharp objects, new projects, or operating the sewing machine.  I've been spiraling around in my head of all the new ideas I'd like to try but have decided to rest my little brain until I can get the fabric dyed in a few weeks.

I did spend some inspiring time today with my friend and art quilt guru, Juanita Yeager which always gets me going in a more focused and jazzed way.  We talked about design ideas and working improvisationally with intent.  She informed me of a planning meeting this Saturday for a new group forming around Art my focus will be from now until then reserving enough energy to make it to the meeting.

Hangeth in and peace!