Pandemic Verse in Senryu

Cold days are here now

How the body craves warm skin

Unsafe to be close

Manzanita path

I walk with humans I love

No smiles are seen

A thousand mornings

Only dog and I in bed

Isolation still 

Autumn apples rot

Many on the cold hard ground

Food for the loud birds

Virus to learn from

It is not just about you

Compassion is life

Harmful to gather

But nature is always there

Be grateful for this

Photo by Georgina Marie, Fall Morning, Lakeport, CA

To Be Still Is to Be Animal

How the sun glimmers and glistens through Valley Oaks on a rustic hillside. How the warmth permeates amber honey skin and a tense body loosens. How the ground cover of fallen autumn leaves aches of a soothing vibrancy. How I breathe between these happenings. How yearning for more makes the muscles weak, turns the heart to a tiny blue egg, an oval shape, a crack on all sides as if someone took it and threw it into the night sky. How the brittle shell was adorned with cornflower and flaxen. How I came home to myself after the breaking, half-human, half-bird. How winter frost is arriving again. How a hunger remains. How the Burrowing Owl and the American Robin observe, witnessing all of this. How they don’t swallow time in the same way or long for difference. What if all of this was enough?

Photo by Georgina Marie, Autumn Leaves, Lakeport, CA

Eyes and the Unsaid

as if the light blue marbles I’d toss around as a child 

were used to make the eyes of the man sitting beside me

the hues of the sea staring back at him, a mirror

a cold, wet wanting nears and retracts in the ebb and flow 

waves creep slowly onto moist sand

new sensation, same old desire

want. yes. all of it.

I soften my tongue to let the words loose, to

deliver an ancient scroll made of persimmon 

and saltwater berries

a practiced reveal shudders around in the heart valves

words crafted in silver

sweet, sweet but I still don’t speak 

a chew of raw attempt 

the outlining of letters in the mouth 

how a woman once a girl manifested a high seas man out of marble

and lost her words to the sea

Photo by Georgina Marie – Mendocino, California

“U’i (Beautiful)

My brother

on top of Koko Head peak today

any other day

he may be lost

or just on other mountaintops

Diamond Head

Lanikai Pillbox 

Some days he is small 

in his head

bible in hands

pain, remembrance of

days lost as a kid

We all had to grow up

a little too fast

we all had to survive

a little too much

to make it through days

as skeletons floating

like piñatas 

above winery land

We were hot air balloons 

in Calistoga

on days our childhood house

was always in mode

of lights out and violence

Now you walk outside to see 

colorful fabrics high in the air

flames giving way to

speed and light to

fly away from this life

to be bigger than this life

Brother

you and I

they and us

we aren’t kids anymore

it’s like we took those shades off and

see this new panorama

see this scenery

see these murals with messages

broadcasting how we don’t belong

to our skeletons of sad children

We can be anywhere

like you are now

in the Honolulu hills

Oahu beaches

pineapple mountains 

and palm trees

There is nothing bigger than your grace

bigger than you

e kūlia i ka nu’u

Photo by Georgina Marie, Tropical Flowers in Rural Country, Ukiah, California

e kūlia i ka nu’u” is a Hawaiian proverb meaning “strive to reach the highest”.

-Georgina Marie, Poet in Residence

The Spaces in Our Togetherness

risk everything.

And nothing.

I found you whole, a perfect imperfection.

Saucy and hot!

Stay close, hug up on me, bump me–again, worry, smile, cry, mansplain, masseur, get provisions, pay the bills, pick up G, wake up too early, laugh, grade papers, water the garden, teach, teach right after, teach some more, learn two or three things from your wife, get takeout, walk up the hill, put out the bins, close up the house, deliver my bud, check your email, call your siblings–

all kind as love!

And, just this morning.

Edissa mentors artists and writers of all ages in alignment with her conviction for working in radical solidarity to achieve social justice.

Featured photo by Jason Reyes for Living Artist Project.

“Seaside Obituary” A Poem by Poet in Residence Georgina Marie

I remember it exactly as the day it was:

gray, overcast, the air salty

from pounding waves the coastal winds learned to master 

To get there, you had to enter a winding road

where each side of the concrete pathway 

was lined with standing gods in the shapes of redwoods

the scent of the air pungent with pine and petrichor 

as it entered the pickup truck windows

rolled down just enough to feel the chill 

I was his daughter, once 

This day may have been the last day it was apparent

 

A drive to the ocean side

A walk through old settlement grounds of Jenner

Place of original windmills, place of migration

He bought me an abalone hairclip

He ripped seaweed from rocks to humor his daughter 

to feed his grumbling hunter stomach

How I long to remember how gentle this day was

how softly he tore the long, dirty green leaves from rugged rocks

contrasting how often his hands and words hit harder 

than the ocean hits sea stacks that have existed 

long before the sand we once stood on ever contained memory

  

How strange, what is revealed when remembrance 

chooses to reveals itself to you

how a sense of lonely becomes an unraveling tide

controlled not by the moon but by memory that pushes and pulls

opening neurological seascapes of muted recollections

that still call my name 

The ocean will always outlive us

I have outlived him

Photo by Georgina Marie, Limantour Beach, Point Reyes, California

This is my first post with Karma Compass! You will see poems from me on grief, trauma, healing, and more.

-Georgina Marie, Poet in Residence

excerpt from “The Will to Change” by Adrienne Rich

PART I

11/69-2/70

1.

We were bound on the wheel of an endless conversation.

Inside this shell, a tide waiting for someone to enter.

A monologue waiting for you to interrupt it.

A man wading into the surf. The dialogue of the rock with the breaker.

The wave changed instantly by the rock; the rock changed by the wave returning over and over.

The dialogue that lasts all night or a whole lifetime.

A conversation of sounds melting constantly into rhythms.

A shell waiting for you to listen.

A tide that ebbs and flows against a deserted continent.

A cycle whose rhythm begins to change the meanings of words.

A wheel of blinding waves of light, the spokes pulsing out from where we hang together in the turning of an endless conversation.

The meaning that searches for its word like a hermit crab.

A monologue that waits for one listener.

An ear filled with one sound only.

A shell penetrated by meaning.

For all the fallen angels of the Black Lives Matter Civil and Human Rights Movement of 2020, your life has meaning. You are not forgotten.

“Heart Parts” a poem by Kelechi Ubozoh

This thing inside me beats again

Size of a closed fist

Strained muscle

Pink insides

Awake Aorta

Vulnerable

Artic exposed

I can’t control it.

Years of being buried under another’s name

tattoo across closed tricuspid valves.

See, he wants lazy phone calls and holding hands.

He wants sky gazing on a blanket.

He wants to ask me all the questions.

This Chicago kid with a chipped tooth smile.

Honey brown eyes, full lips…

He wants conversations about books.

He wants soft whispers.

He wants time.

I want to devour him and drown in this feeling.

Who knows if I’ll ever feel it again?

Contracting heart

Blood flowing

Pumping

Woke up from a death like sleep.

Oh precious heart, I thought you perished in the fire.

Awakening hurts.

Fleshy pink, so raw and open

No fresh dew softness

Jarring sharp

Numb breaking

Band-Aid ripped off a cool scabbed wound.

Missing film around my heart.

I lean in.

He leans back.

Don’t turn me crazy with your silence.

You woke up

all my heart parts.

FullSizeRender
Elliott C. Nathan in collaboration with Living Artist Project