the studio series

‘But what is it? What is Culture?’
“Oh Brother Toad who am I to tell you?”
‘So, you fail at defining this culture thing?’
“Nope
Look, you have asked a question in words
But the answer can’t be spoken in words.
Culture is beyond all words,
Beyond all Worlds.”
‘Then how can you answer if you can’t use words?’

And I smile
(Yes, my best know-it-all smile
the one that shows all my teeth
the smile I practice in the mirror most mornings)
Open my arms to indicate all the art hanging in this studio
And answer
everso elegantly
without saying a word. . .

Day 13 ~ Rust ~ Voyages of a Ship Named Heart

The metamorph awakes
and the entire ship has been rendered transparent

She has learned the trick
of navigating the chambers and corridors of the Heart
by touch

Resonating in the hallways . . .
The sound of one violin (maybe a viola)
A bow scraping . . .
A knife cutting heart strings . . .
slowly
It’s the loneliest sound
in the ‘Verse

She finds the pilot in the center of the Ship
reclining in mid-air
(or so it appears)
Without speaking she turns to see
the World over which they are float

It is a place peopled by barren trees the color of rust
the color of old blood
forking up from the pulped-dank soil like frozen lightning bolts
And the irregularly shaped clumps of pewter cloud
are streaming through the tree fingers
like a rivers of mist

She notices convolutions in the mist
Fantasy Creatures the form and then disperse
All to the macabre strains
of a tormented viola

She says . . .
‘I wonder what the First Ones thought . . .
This is it
isn’t it?’
He remains silent
‘This is where we all came from
this is Heaven . . . isn’t it?
I can see why they left . . .’

She moves beside him
and kinda leans into him
a playful gesture
He says
“You haven’t told me your name”
She says
‘I’m saving it for a surprise’
He says
“Surprise me . . .”
She says
‘No’

She watches as the Beasts of Heaven
Form
change
dis-evolve
dissolve . . .
There is no pattern

The Ship Chimes lunch
the Pilot remains still
the viola plays . . .

Day 12 ~ Names ~ Voyages of a Ship Named Heart

With steely determination
She climbs into the part of the ship
That no one speaks of

A slight tingling sensation prickles
all over her body
This part of the ship is invisible and she
Must grope toward this unknown goal

Her finger-tips brush against a barrier
Pushing through the barrier
She moves into a room that a dusty
rich and aged smell
The room was silent
save a disquieting sub-sonic hum

In the center stands a massive marble table
The rest of the room contains only a reading chair
a massive bookcase
hunting tapestries
and a few other odd pieces

As her eyes adapt
She makes out four semi-sentient watchers
Stationed at strategic points around the seven-sided table
Their inhumanly intense regard focused on the center
Where a woman’s pearl-handled
Silver mirror floats within a pale violet amethyst crystal

Air circulating through the room
Makes the watchers’ gossamer hair ripple
Like sea weed dancing as the waves pass
Sensing the watcher’s attention is only for the thing inside the crystal
She ventures into the room

She sees the mirror holds the likeness
of a rather plain looking woman beside a lake
As the crystal and mirror revolve
The woman scoops a handful of water
and offers it to someone off to the right

She feels somehow strangely compelled
to feel sorrow for the woman

The Pilot is beside her
He says
“Her name is . . .”
And his voice breaks
She can’t hear the name

Day 07 ~ Forgetting~ Darkness in Light

I keep forgetting this diary
Truth be told I seem to be forgetting. . .

I eat when I’m hungry
Sleep when the suns set
I hurt both inside
and out

Forgetting. . .
That’s why we do things like this

Yeah
there was a reason. . .
What was her name?

Day 09 ~ Freefall ~ Darkness in Light

Is there a darkness in all this light
Shadows washed by reflection
And I reflect on the way
You were falling away from me

You said there is a world within the Earth
A molten landscape of inverted mountains
And oceans of liquid rock and iron
Topological and contoured

But is it light in there
Or is the molten core a dark place
Am I in that world or am I in freefall?

I have walked this desert of Light
Since I awoke this morn
Or have I always walked here
Is this heat delirium or rapture of the deep?

I wonder if I forget to cast my shadow
Will it become formless
In a molten world of Light is there anything to see?
I seek forgetting but will settle for respite

I have come here to face the Eye in the Heavens
Come to blink in this lidless place
I have come to open my rib cage
And let my heart bird fly . . . into a sky so bright

I have come to purify my thoughts
By pushing my brain through the Eye of this needle
I have come to lose all semblance of civilization
But in some part of me I know

The Metamorph ~ Voyages of a Ship Named Heart

The Metamorph lays in bed
Listening to the rain . . .
She likes the staccato of rain
Pounding on a tin roof
Yeah
She remembers it from her childhood

She remembers watching rain
Falling in sheets
The stroboscopic patterns of rain falling
on the standing waters of the parking lot
Watching rain cling to barren branches
In winter mist
Trees so dark and stark
Like frozen lightning forking up from the Earth

She turns under the covers
Mumbles something not unlike a song fragment
And quietly drifts off into dreams of Love
Under a sky that doesn’t change

The Passenger ~ Voyages of a Ship Named Heart

She feels her way through the hatch
She climbs aboard the ship
And discovers she can see everything around her
If not for the footing
She would have no idea she was aboard

The Pilot walks to a position beside her
Makes a gesture
And the world falls away

She screeches as the world shrinks to a spec
She is Falling
(she hates falling)
And she shifts through several shapes
Trying without thinking to find a way of balancing

Nothing works
She is falling through star fields
She is falling forever
Not unlike Alice down the Rabbit Hole

He whispers into her ear
A voice deep like the Sea
He whispers and she can’t hear it
Because she is screaming

But after a time
She has to get breath
And he is telling her
The most amazing things

Things and places and . . .
Wondrous stories of distant sky lines
And Gentle beasts . . .

In time
She relinquishes herself to the Night

Jydur ~ Voyages of a Ship Named Heart

The Metamorph finds
A large Gentleman with a ginger mustache
In the Galley
A leather bound journal on the table
Is tied shut

The walls are a scene of a mountain meadow
In Spring
She had requested this feature
Eating in the free-fall of Space
had been too much for her digestion

She finds him
Lifting one of those huge mugs of something dark
frothy – like sea foam
And eating the most massive sandwich
Something electric happens the instant of eye contact
Something she is not sure
she likes

He puts the mug down
Says
“Hey
I am Jydur”

She secures two flasks of clear water
And a pac of peanuts from the stores
Then slides into the seat across the booth
She is glad she wore the tight jeans
She smiles her best smile

The Gentleman with the ginger mustache
Pulls a card from the journal like a card shark
like a magician
And holds it for her to take
She does and for the slightest second
She smells evergreens in summer heat . . .
And . . . and something . . . nice
just nice
It says
The Warrior/Poet Jydur ~ Eleventh Level Servant/Defender of the Lady

She relaxes without showing it
She says
“What are you eating?”
He says
A bedda-meitch sandwich
So popular now in the Province of Regwen
Not a lot of fat
but a nice Juilden-berry scent and a robust flavor
Really good with the local dark green beer
if your tastes run in that direction”
She says
“Do you think anyone could love me?”
He says
“I think the unique shape of your mind
it is very attractive . . .”
She says
“I get so tired of telling everyone
I am what I am . . .”
He finishes whatever he’s drinking
Retrieves another

He smiles when he sees her watching
“Its brewed by Druids . . .
They run this micro brewery
And boy can those guys cook . . .
A variant of mead
Taste of honey . . .”

He says
“You have very unusual eyes
dark and stormy eyes
wild and free
A gift . . .”
She says
“A gift I’d gladly return”

She says
“I loved a man once
He told me I was precious as gold
That was back
When I could have been saved . . .”
She starts her first bottle
Looks for her cigarettes
Remembers she no longer smokes
Eats a peanut
“That is
I thought he loved me
Broken bits and all . . .”

The Gentleman with the ginger mustache
Pulls a photograph for the journal
It is a picture of the man she loved
And he’s holding a woman
Wait a sec
He’s holding her
The Metamorph . . .?
She tosses it back
She doesn’t care how he got it

She says
Now that he’s seen the monster
Behind door number 1 . . .
Well
As they say that is that
I am so completely over it . . .”
He pulls another photo
It’s a woman she doesn’t recognize

Strangely the photo is cold
Frost is forming on the edge
She lays it on the table
She can’t make eye contact
with the woman in the photo
She decides she doesn’t want to
She asks
“A former lover?”
And he laughs
Not a good laugh
A laugh flavored with a hint of remorse
A dry laugh
He takes another drink

He says
“Lover . . .?
No . . . well yes
She was my muse
And she is gone
She said my work made her feel transparent
Made her inside out . . .”
The Metamorph feels something she hasn’t felt before
At least as long as she can remember
She can’t put a name to it . . .
For a split second she feels the pain
Of someone else

She finishes her first flask
Opens her second one

She says
“He opened me like a book
And I was laying there
Screaming
Read me
Read me . . .
God I was so pathetic”
He reaches for another photo
and she stops him
“Please no
No more pictures . . .”

She says
“It’s a ceramic universe
Lathed by the Higher Powers . . .
They broke the mold . . .
After they cast me . . .
He liked the way . . .
I no longer appeal to him
The mold of my creation now offends him . . .”

He says
“It does not offend me . . .
In fact . . .”
He reaches for the journal
Stops
Thinks about it
Pulls his hands back and interlaces his fingers
He says
“I am an poet of sorts”

She says
“Are all poets mad?”
And he laughs
She likes this laugh
This dragon laugh
Clear rich and passionate
She says
“So you kill people?”
There it was
The ultimate question
Laying there on the table
He says
“No
I protect people
You for instance . . .
and this ship . . .”

The Passenger ~ Voyages of a Ship Named Heart

She feels her way through the hatch
She climbs aboard the ship
And discovers she can see everything around her
If not for the footing
She would have no idea she was aboard

The Pilot walks to a position beside her
Makes a gesture
And the world falls away

She screeches as the world shrinks to a spec
She is Falling
(she hates falling)
And she shifts through several shapes
Trying without thinking to find a way of balancing

Nothing works
She is falling through star fields
She is falling forever
Not unlike Alice down the Rabbit Hole

He whispers into her ear
A voice deep like the Sea
He whispers and she can’t hear it
Because she is screaming

But after a time
She has to get breath
And he is telling her
The most amazing things

Things and places and . . .
Wondrous stories of distant sky lines
And Gentle beasts . . .

In time
She relinquishes herself to the Night