A Puddle, A Bus, A Remembrance of Us

foto by jasonWEaver

Rainwater has soaked
within the soles of my
waterproofed boots
+++++++ (darn these cheap boots! and
+++++++ they were expensive, too!)
as I am with my trusty umbrella
thrust in one hand while the other
is in the air hailing a bus
that never bothers to slow
even though I stand in the spot
most clearly marked
BUS STOP!
Another is bound to be
not far behind and so
I await in the hour of rush
where I am going nowhere fast
and alas, I have nowhere to be
but home.

Alone in the mass
of sullen silhouttes
that pass me by, I
fix my eyes upon a puddle
formed in an overflow drain
where the showering rain
ripples across the top,
and lights from the nearby shops
draw circles around the drops
that provoke me thus
to reminiscence, back
to that fine night
in the late spring of ’89,
how we got caught in a rainfall
as we roamed about town
walking back to your home,
how we laughed and
skipped and shook
the branches of soggy dogwood
until we soaked ourselves
clean to the bone
of our youth.

Quite suddenly, then
I am back to the now
in a flash as a bus has stopped
with a puddle-busting splash
and is hurriedly awaiting me
to climb aboard and flee.
I close and fold and shake
my wet umbrella well
and with fresh rain upon my face
I step up to the entry where
to the expectant driver I say:
“Thank you! How long I’ve
been waiting to go home!”
Turning on my heel, I bound
both feet into the street,
leaving the bus behind,
my mind full of nothing
but a yearning to feel,
to walk home once again
in the falling rain,
to sing and to laugh
and let the water soak
within my soul
the secret calling
of life.

By jason WEaver, 2017

With a special dedication to an old friend, Elizabeth Miller. However much time and miles have come between us, I will always remember learning how to love walking in the rain that night with you.

Linking up to dVerse Poet’s Pub for Thursday night’s Meeting the Bar using irony in poetry.

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Reality Creation: Meditation, Painting and Life

Original Painting by Jason Weaver 2016

Thoughts
entwine in my mind as though
it was not my mind at all, but rather
the open air, an
ethereal canvas where
they
dart and zip like bees
in……and out
or swing and dip like
leaves blown in on a summer wind,
they
crawl and burrow deep within
the dampened earth and birth
memories
crusted in sap and mud,
love and blood – thoughts
on strings that stitch and sew
every stick and stone herein,
they
lace me to this place
raw burnt bronzed
we are
a confluences of ceaseless streams,
endeavors that begin
and end ever again
turbidity placidity chaos
calm, I must
breathe
in……and out
I must
wake adapt become
the thread that seams
this dream within a dream, I must
BALANCE between
the known and the unknownable,
the fluid and the indestructible,
the part and the whole,
weaving
a tapestry
of reality

by Jason Weaver, 2016

Original Painting, Riacho na Serra (Parnaso, RJ, Brasil) (2015-2016) Acrylic on Canvas (70×100 cm)

In Black and White

LoveMoreStudio11-22-2015

There is no solid ground
beneath my feet;
the plates shift
beneath me
and so I step to the next
nary a moment to rest.

Exhausted I am –or
am I?

Perhaps this feeling
is merely a relic of the old skin,
skin that I must slough off;
old consciousness, ego
pulling at me, weighing on me
like lead.

All of the old ways
of seeing this world
are so dichotymous,
so ‘this’ or ‘that’ so bold in
‘black’ or ‘white’ so that
I cannot help but see
how polarized, how
disparate our thinking
has been, how we’ve
chosen our sides and
made our opinions of
who and what was
wrong or right.

But all of these old ways
of being in this world —
they are no longer
beneficial, no longer
useful, no longer
relevant to us at all, and so
they must be
no longer.

I know nothing;
but the earth, it shifts
beneath my feet
and it is plain to see
that so too must I.

by Jason Weaver, 2015

Starry Night

Starry Night

Once,
we stared into the unbearable
darkness at being so
unloved, so
lonely and alone
even between us we were
misunderstood
with our heads hung low
we stood dressed in black
to show them all the
grief they gave us.

Once,
we slept in your room on the floor
and wrapped our selves
in sullen sheets,
where we found solace for our souls
in the woeful words of sad songs,
each lonesome lyric
we assumed, somehow,
meant to save us.

But tonight,
as I gaze between the lights
of a starry night sky
I think once again of us
and I wonder
how we had not understood
that the love and the care
we had so desperately cried for,
longed to die for in
those hours of dour
had always been there, so full and alive
because all that had we ever really needed
was us.

by Jason Weaver ©2013

Linking in with DVerse poetry blog tomorrow and every Tuesday for open link night– come by and read some really fantastic poetry and submit a piece of your own!! Check it out, here.

Author’s Note: Dedicated to my friends from so many years ago…I never knew the love we shared…but because of you, today, I see the light in the darkness ~J

 

Also: After publication, I changed “woe” in the final line of the first stanza back to “grief” which I had in my original draft, and removed one word. ~J

Critcal Breakdown– Fractured: Of this, we are

Welcome to a new edition in the Critical Breakdown section of my blog. If you’ve read other pieces in my Breakdown pages, this installment will be familiar to you. If you’re new to these pages, then let me briefly explain. Here I will go into a detailed explanation of a phot0-poem recently posted to the LoveMore Studio blog.  I’ll discuss the meaning behind a particular piece, both photograph and poem, and also my method to achieve the final result. In this case, I will write a critical breakdown of the photo-poem Fractured: Of this, we are. I felt this particular piece warranted an in depth explanation since the meaning behind it is likely not obvious to many, and the relation of the poem to the photo may not be clear at first.

As is often the case, I’d like to discuss the photograph first. Likely, because our internet world is such a visual place, most glances at my post were probably because of the photo. And in black and white, this particular photo is striking. I took this photo about a week ago while hiking in my favorite park, Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos, here in my hometown, Petropolis, in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. I don’t come to this particular spot often, as I have found other spots that are more off the trail than this, but whenever I do, I just can’t resist snapping a few shots of this beautiful, serene, majestic cascade.

The Photo: Technically speaking, I took the photo with my trusty Canon Powershot SD1400 IS–yes, it is a digital pocket camera. I use this camera for all my shots because it has a nice macro lens and it is easy to carry in my pocket wherever I go. It has many, many limitations, including adequate light metering capabilities and focus adjustment to name but two. But I just can’t see myself lugging around my DSLR in a place where some people can’t afford to buy shoes.

Fractured_LoveMore StudioIn this scene, since the light at this location is tricky with the sun above the shadowed cover, I heavily underexposed. This allowed for a handheld esposure and created the slight misting effect which is what I had aimed for.  However, I did not want total misting as has become common in waterfall shots. I had wanted some simple blurring while retaining a natural feel to the scene. I adjusted the photo in PhotoShop CS4, shifting the image to black and white since the image as-shot was very monochromatic. Even though the shot was underexposed, I’m unsure how the darkness appeared at the top of the photo, since it was not there in the other photos of this series. Ultimately, it was this darkness at the top of the frame, where the mist appears to fall from nothingness, that made the photo appropriate for this poem.

As I worked the poem, I jotted down some observations in my poetry notebook regarding the image. The visual space is broken into three distinct sections: the upper secton, which is misty, still, and calm, like a distant memory. The middle, where the water hits the rock plateau is jarring and bold, crashing. And the lower portion is the drop, the descent into the darkness below. This photo has movement, from nothingness into light and back into nothingness. From still, to crash, to drop. From top to middle to bottom. From a beginning to an end. Seeing the waterfall in black and white helps to center our attention on the quality of the light mixed with the water. We achieve heightened emotion by removing color and asking our brains to percieve a common subject in a ‘different light’.

The Poem: Structurally, I took great pains to “fit” the poem into the blog space next to the photo which I placed on the left of the page. Normally, I post the photo first and allow the poem to run later. But in this case, it was very necessary to align the text of the poem with the photograph.  The poem is written in 3 stanzas, each part coinciding with corresponding section of the photograph.

I write my poems in a poetry journal, which is separate from my journal journal where I write my thoughts of the day. In my poetry journal, at the start of each new poem, I jot down words or themes that have come to me over the past several days. In this particular case, I already had the photograph from which I was inspired in mind. That made it easier. I wanted this poem to be harsh or critical, maybe about war or an angry god, cancer or apostasy. In total, I filled 8 sides of notebook paper with ideas and ruminations, with the final 3 pages my final revisions. I revise repeatedly in the notebook pages to get the right balance, rhythm and rhyme, but I always end up doing my last revision in the blog post upload page on the computer right before I hit ‘publish’.  In the end, it was an article which I read about how oil production from shale using hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in my birth state Pennsylvania is causing untold sickness and disease in both humans and animals alike that gave me the final overrall theme of this poem: Our desctruction of the planet is our own demise.

So, the first stanza. Remember, as related to the photo, this section is to be light and misty, still and calm. It is where the water begins, from nothingness (at the top of the visual space) as it moves into the light (leading down into the center of the photo). The first stanza is nature, it is the creation of us, me and you,  from nature.

Of this, dawn’s primal mist
where pristine waters run far
an effervescent essence lit
by kiss of the distant sun
we are –captured in an instant
born of silt and stone

(Out) of this….out of the mist, this primordial soup of a world before man–that is how the poem begins, and that is how we begin. I imply that we were created at the moment that the sun lit up the primordial mist, that we arose from the same materials as the water and the rocks and the silted earth.  It is here that we were pure. This part of the poem is to be light and airy, just like the top portion of the image. It is this section of the poem that is most like my other poems about nature, and I did not want the ready to suspect that anything would be different from those other works.

The second stanza, however, as juxtaposed agains the photo, is where the misted water crashed onto the rocks across the center of the picure. It is meant to be jarring. I did not want the reader to be aware where this poem was headed, and so this stanza represents the ‘fracture’ –in the poem itself– as well as the ‘fracture’ in hydraulic fracturing, where tons of chemicals along with clean drinking water are injected into shale below the earth to extract petroleum. This is what ‘fracking’ is– it is destructive and offensive, and I had hoped this stanza to relay that, both by what I say and the overall tone and rhythm.

Built of blood and bone
we are fractured– and choked
as we drill and we spill
and suffocate on its distillate
in an endless frenzy of
of butylated mutilation

From the first stanza, I carried over the concept of ‘born of silt and stone’  into the ‘built of blood and bone’  in the second stanza to show that we ARE of this earth, and that we too, are fractured in this process.  It is a transition, from pristine nature to damaged nature. I had wanted to include a list of the chemicals that are used in fracking that have found their way into people’s drinking water– and into our food supply, since most fracking takes place under farmlands all across the U.S.– chemicals like benzene, xylene, propane, toluene, arsenic, silenium, acetene, strontium, sulfates, chloride, methane– but they just didn’t seem to fit, and so I settled with simply naming ‘butane’ as in the line ‘butylated mutilation’.

The third and final stanza is the drop from the crash, corresponding to the movement from the middle to the lower portion in the photo (and into darkness at the bottom of the frame) as the water, now defiled, spills ‘until blackness takes hold’ into nothingness once more.

And with oil-slicked seas afire
about the knees of our
dire existence, we are
defiled by disease that rakes
our bodies and souls until
blackness takes hold–

Of this, we cease to be.

One of the neat consequences of all the chemicals used in fracking is that you can actually light water on fire! Since fracking uses hydraulic pressure to force the petroleum out of the rock below, often times, the chemicals are forced into peoples drinking wells and rivers and streams. Once you get this stuff in your drinking water you’ll never be able to drink from it again. These chemicals are flammable, so water from contaminated wells can be light on fire.  In the poem, I mention oil-slicked seas of fire, the fire being what I just explained, and with the BP oil spill in the Caribbean still fresh in my mind, I couldn’t help but conjure up an image of oil-slicked seas.

The ‘seas about the knees’ is a quick reference to rising waters due to global climate change. There have already been some island countries that have had to abandon their homelands in search of higher land. They have become climate refugees. And the mention of disease here specifically to me refers to my aunt who is suffering through a second bout of cancer. The types of cancers that she faces are so extreme, I can’t help but wonder if it’s because she had lived very near to the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania when there was massive radiation leakage in March, 1979. Related or not, our earth is diseased and now our bodies are diseased. To think that our spirit or soul is unaffected by the atrocities that we do to our home, our water, our food…well, I think otherwise.

I end the poem with ‘Of this, we cease to be’ — I repeat back from the first line of the poem, when all life was hopeful and new ‘Of this…we are…born of silt and stone …we are built of blood and bone’  and then continued in the body ‘…we are fractured…we are defiled’  and finally…’Of this we cease to be’ becaue, quite literally, we are all of this. We are the good, we are the bad. We are born of this and we will die of this. The title of the poem was originally to be just “Of this, we are”  and then later I changed it to “Fractured” but each of these separately didn’t seem to tell the whole story. I combined the two into “Fractured: Of this, we are” which I feel really sums it all up. We ARE of all of this, and we ARE fractured.

Review: Well, how did I do? With both the original photo-poem and with my explanation? Did I leave anything out? Did I overexplain? Did I bore you to oily-tears? Personally, I know my poems can be a little heavy. Really, I’m working on it. And I know that as far as poetic skill goes, I’m just a beginner. But honestly, I think my more recent works have shown improvement. My next task it to work on making my poems less about general feelings or ideas and more about specific emotions that the audience can relate to more immediately.

Please, please feel free to offer me any feedback, advice, criticism– whatever! I am always looking to grow and learn so any words of wisdom would be major help. And as always, thanks for reading my blog. Peace~ Jason