peace me, loves peace me, strangers peace me, Beloved free us from dangers
peace as a river peace as a wave peace as a verb peace saves
peace my heart peace all of ours peace all the friends peace the wars
peace a gift peace a joy peace fearless always no war toys
peace me, loves peace me, strangers peace me, Beloved free us from danger
I kept the paper cup in the picture, because the cup is animals and plants, but the cup also is a pair of lungs. Breathe peace. And breathe for all the people recovering from covid-19, short haul and long haul. And breathe love and shelter and support to all those grieving for our dead and let us grieve too.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: apparent. And for peace.
That’s what makes them angry that I love my liar sister even though she lied even though she hurt me even though she lied to them
That’s what makes them angry that I love my liar sister they want to love her lies they don’t want to know the truth they want to hide from lies
That’s what makes them angry
they are hella jealous
they want to be loved like that
they want to be loved whole
they want to be loved entire
they want to be loved even when they lie
That’s what makes them angry
they are so afraid to be themselves
they are so afraid to tell the truth
they are so afraid to be honest with each other
they are so tired of hiding
That’s what makes them angry one says she will be friends if we only talk about the positive about my mother, father, sister I counter: let’s not mention them at all nor your husband. Not a word. She doesn’t answer. Silence.
That’s what makes them sad
they don’t want to feel the anger
they deny the heartache
they avoid the longing
they bargain with their souls
they refuse to feel the grief
let us feel the anger let us feel the heartache let us feel the longing let us feel our grief let us feel our souls
Beloved, we long for you so
Please, Beloved, love us whole
My sister sent me a t-shirt from Wicked. She died of cancer in 2012. The deaths from Covid-19 and every death brings her back to me. And this song sums up our relationship.
I am reading Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius, A Guide for the Poet Within, for a class. In the chapter about cliches, she suggests choosing a cliche and playing with it. The first example on her list is “A sudden fear gripped me”, so she inspired this:
A sudden fear gripped me by my nipples I hear my mother: Colder than a witch’s titty Why must the witch’s titties be cold? Must they dance naked even in the bitter winter? Can a witch retire at a certain age Sit warm, clothed, with her cat and tea By a fire with enough fuel for winter? You’d think they’d get pneumonia dancing naked In any weather; yet witches are usually old. Maybe it acts like jumping in to cold water To dance around a Beltane fire; maybe witchery is hot work and they aren’t cold at all. Maybe a witch’s titty is warm all the time And meanwhile the fear is gone, upstaged by titties.
denise levertov writes making peace
that it is an active process
it is not the absence of war
but a process in itself: how do we make it?
how do we wage peace? wage is not the word we do not do it for money we must be more active than hoping engender peace? spread peace: like a pandemic a pandemic of peace
the comfort of peace the joy of peace the love of peace
the peace of the grave the peace of sleep the peace of heaven peace here now peace not distant nor below the earth peace conscious, aware and present peace alive, breathing, welling up in everyone peace here now
a pandemic of peace a river of peace peace flowing through and around, above and below us peace full, peace out, peaced let us verb it I am peaced today I peace you I peace Russia I peace the soldiers I peace the Ukraine I peace the entire world
I peace you please, will you peace me? peace me now, then there will be two and everyone else peace the world now a pandemic of peace make peace
I taped a conversation with a wren one morning in Wisconsin. I never saw my wren and clearly I have not got the language down, but she kept talking to me anyhow.
I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway. Today’s post is about my mother and my sister: another woman artist. Christine Robbins Ottaway.
I do not have much of her fine art. She was a landscape architect and historic preservation expert and worked for Caltrans. She also wrote, on her blog Butterfly Soup, and in other places.
The painting is an oil, by my mother Helen Ottaway, done when my sister was 14. This painting seems especially creepy to me, the oranges and blues. I love the painting but it is frightening as well. My sister could write terrifying stories. Here is my poem about one of her stories. The title of her story is “We don’t make good wives”.
They are papering over your memory They want the clean version The inhuman perfect version I remember the violent sea serpent Related to Aunt Nessie: me, I think
He stole your skin, you say
But you lure him to, posing
On the shore naked
And let him take you home
And impregnate you
And then you have six daughters
What did he expect? you say
Cold blooded and beautiful
White skin and greenish hair
Who all can swim like fish
and all seven search
Until you find the skin
and then away
You say, he took my skin
Now I have taken his
Let them paper over your memory Let them pretend you were sweet I hold your words in my mind And I love you wholly
I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.
My family was not Normal. No, no, not normal. I don’t think anyone is normal, really. In clinic one year I think, wow, all of my people are SO interesting. Why am I so lucky to have all of these wonderful people? And then I think: OH. Everyone is interesting. No one is “normal”. They may try really hard to pass for normal. I certainly had MY work cut out. And why is that, you say. I am so glad you asked that question!
My parents were both obsessed. My mother was obsessed with art. With music, a secondary joy. My father was all about music. Mathematics and language was his secondary joy. By age nine I discover poetry and that is it for me. That is the be all end all. I am so obsessed that I am amazed at age 40 when I make a discovery: poetry is not it for everyone.
I am fired by the hospital for fighting a clinic quota of patients. I might have kept the job if I had shut my mouth and been diplomatic, but I was not diplomatic. I write a protest song and sing it at the open mike and sing it into the CFO’s voicemail. I think I could be the poster girl for the opposite of diplomatic, right?I thought about quitting and then thought, no, I stay and fight this for my patients. I am fired the next day.
A group of people try to intervene and get me rehired. At some point I suggest sending one of my poems to the hospital commissioners. Six people email: NO!
I am confused: What do you mean, no? Why not?
YOU DO NOT COMMUNICATE WITH HOSPITAL COMMISSIONERS VIA POETRY.
I am still confused: I communicate by poetry. Poetry is the highest form of communication.
HOSPITAL COMMISSIONS DO NOT LIKE OR UNDERSTAND POETRY.
Ok, THAT is mind blowing for me. I call my father. What is this about?
My father says People are afraid of poetry.
I say You are kidding me.
My father says Poetry is magic. People are afraid of magic.
I say I’m not afraid of poetry.
That is because you are a poet, says my father.
And I really look at my thoughts on writing and poetry. I realize that writing and poetry are SO IMPORTANT to me that I assume that EVERYONE WANTS TO WRITE AND BE A POET. I ask my group of people trying to get me reinstated. None of them want to be poets. I ask my father. He does not want to be a poet. I am completely floored. I realize that I thought my mother loves art but wants to be a poet. My father loves music but wants to be a poet. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
It must have been rather weird for my sister Chris, three years younger. She has three people who are all obsessed with their form of art. My sister Chris was a brilliant writer, an excellent musician and an artist. But I don’t think she was obsessed with any of them the way the rest of the family was. That must have been a little lonely.
The photograph is me and my sister in 1965. I am four and she is one year.
I say to a counselor once that in spite of alcohol problems in the family, the music was amazing and my sister and I learned it. The counselor replies, “Children connect with adults where they can.” I think OH. That is amazing. My sister and I see my father praise my mother for knowing all the words to the songs. She is always be the last one singing because she knows verse 8, 9 and 10. My sister and I assume that this is a woman’s job: memorize the words. We did. We photocopy the back of Beatles albums and on long car trips we memorize ALL THE WORDS. I think I can still sing Yellow Submarine start to finish.
I start school. I know there will be singing. No one knows my songs. The songs they know are the songs to television shows and we do not have one. I quickly go silent. I play flute and I sing all the songs in my head when I am bored, but I do not sing out loud. And I choose medicine because I want to understand people, for the writing. I still think people are very very weird. But I have written the whole time, every single day. And that is how my mother did art and how my father did music. Every single day.
G for greenish blue. I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.
Greenish blue is a stretch, but this is a blue crab. They are greenish blue. I wrote the poem and my mother did the etching. I was thinking of a cooked crab, but H. Ottaway did a live crab. I went with her to the crab restaurant, where she explained that we wanted one live crab. “One live crab?” said the restaurateur. “Yes, one live crab.” The owner shook her head, but sold us one live crab.
At home, my mother got the crab out and put it on the floor. The cat was intrigued. The crab was NOT happy. I took photographs of her drawing the crab and making the etching. Apologies for the reflections but I am not at home, so I can’t retake these!
You can see the crab and her drawing it, as well as the etching press. I took the photographs in the mid 1980s.
Our poem/etching collaboration was a delight! She said that she would illustrate poems as long as they rhymed. “No free verse,” she said. “I don’t like it.” So, the poems had to rhyme. We did ten different ones. I am so glad that we did, since we didn’t have nearly enough time together!
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