Tuesday, April 12, 2022

So Much Happiness


Tuscany (M. A. Reilly)

So Much Happiness

-Naomi Shihab Nye

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records . . .

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known

Monday, April 11, 2022

Winter Recipes from the Collective by Louise Glück


M.A.Reilly, December 2021

Winter Recipes from the Collective

Louise Glück

1.Each year when winter came, the old men enteredthe woods to gather the moss that grewon the north side of certain junipers.It was slow work, taking many days, though thesewere short days because the light was waning,and when their packs were full, painfullythey made their way home, moss being heavy to carry.The wives fermented these mosses, a time-consuming projectespecially for people so oldthey had been born in another century.But they had patience, these elderly men and women,such as you and I can hardly imagine,and when the moss was cured, it was with wild mustards and sturdy herbspacked between the halves of ciabattine, and weighted like pan bagnat,after which the thing was done: an "invigorating winter sandwich"it was called, but no one saidit was good to eat; it was what you atewhen there was nothing else, like matzoh in the desert, whichour parents called the bread of affliction— Some yearsan old man would not return from the woods, and then his wife would needa new life, as a nurse's helper, or to supervisethe young people who did the heavy work, or to sellthe sandwiches in the open market as the snow fell, wrappedin wax paper— The book containsonly recipes for winter, when life is hard. In spring,anyone can make a fine meal. 2.Of the moss, the prettiest was savedfor bonsai, for whicha small room had been designated,though few of us had the gift,and even then a long apprenticeshipwas necessary, the rules being complicated.A bright light shone on the specimen being pruned,never into animal shapes, which were frowned on,only into those shapesnatural to the species— Those of us who watchedsometimes chose the container, in my casea porcelain bowl, given me by my grandmother.The wind grew harsher around us.Under the bright light, my friendwho was shaping the tree set down her shears.The tree seemed beautiful to me,not finished perhaps, still it was beautiful, the mossdraped around its roots— I was notpermitted to prune it but I held the bowl in my hands,a pine blowing in high windlike man in the universe. 3.As I said, the work was hard—not simply caring for the little treesbut caring for ourselves as well,feeding ourselves, cleaning the public rooms—But the trees were everything.And how sad we were when one died,and they do die, despite having beenremoved from nature; all things die eventually.I minded most with the ones who lost their leaves,which would pile up on the moss and stones—The trees were miniature, as I have said,but there is no such thing as death in miniature.Shadows passing over snow,steps approaching and going away.The dead leaves lay on the stones;there was no wind to lift them. 4.It was as dark as it would ever bebut then I knew to expect this,the month being December, the month of darkness.It was early morning. I was walkingfrom my room to the arboretum; for obvious reasons,we were encouraged never to be alone,but exceptions were made—I could seethe arboretum glowing across the snow;the trees had been hung with tiny lights,I remember thinking how they must bevisible from far away, not that we went, mainly,far away—Everything was still.In the kitchen, sandwiches were being wrapped for market.My friend used to do this work.Huli songli, our instructor called her,giver of care. I rememberwatching her: inside the door,procedures written on a card in Chinese characterstranslated as the same things in the same order,and underneath: We have deprived them of their origins,they have come to need us now

Sunday, April 10, 2022

On the Water by Moheb Soliman


M. A.Reilly, 2021

On the water

Moheb Soliman

And the world, entire
would load
before your eyes

And there's no more
And caches clear and all songs stream at once
The sound delayed, avatars retired

And all seasons complete at once
with the earth tilted on its axis no more
The weekend's lightning, languorous

arms stretched after lunch—you can't take more
And the robes are soaked; why,
they can't absorb another drop

and what's more
washes over unimpeded now
And there's more

The morning after
all justice meted out
all grudges would be lost

in the cloud
And power would go out
And all leisure would be more

radical then
And the fight would go out of you
with the world at your fingertips

guiding your hand
to the ends of luxury
It doesn't get any better than this

there's more
of the same
And who could want more

Saturday, April 9, 2022

A Banquet by Jana Prikryl


M.A.Reilly, 2021

A Banquet

Jana Prikryl

But having braked all the way to the floor of the valleyit dawned on us the slope we'd have to climband it was night, you on the back of my bikewe'd passed the place that burned down—the peoplerich enough to continue to produce some kindof banquet, placing candles and dishes, in the ashesbeyond roof—so you said let's go home, but lookthe hill we came down is as steep as the hill ahead of us

Friday, April 8, 2022

Diving Into the Wreck By Adrienne Rich


An Atlas for Our Time (M.A. Reilly, 3.28.12) 

Diving Into the Wreck

By Adrienne Rich

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear

Thursday, April 7, 2022

From Song of Myself by Walt Whitman


M.A.Reilly, 2017

From Song of Myself

By Walt Whitman

I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

100 Collages in 100 Days, March 2022, #87 - #100

This is a continuation of the previous post of collages created during first half of March, 2022. This is part of a 100-day project of creative practice beginning from Winter Solstice in 2021 through Spring Equinox, in 2022.  This chronicles the second half of March, 2022 - #87 - #100. 

#86 - March 16, 2022

#87 - March 17, 2022

#88, 3.17.22

#89, 3.18.22

#90, 3.19.22

#91, 3.20.22

#92, 3.21.22

#93. 3.22.22

#94, 3.26. 22

#95, 3.27.22

#96. 3.27.22

#97. 3. 28.22

#98. Saving Katie, 3.23.22

#99, 3.24.22

#100, 3.25.22