Kansas Dreams

KANSAS DREAMS

Fireflies swarmed the shrubbery near my grandmother’s doorstep.
Fireflies – lightning bugs – by the time I was seven-years old,
I loved their descriptive names.
They seemed like miraculous events rather than insects.
They knew how to work a crowd.
Their brightly dotted tails sparkled with bursts of light.
As if they were pantomimic dancing – a graceful motion known only to them,
fireflies helped to shut down the day with their antics.
And they knew they could close tightly the evening with their mystery.
One of those Kansas nights forever beams back to my memory.
A storm betrayed tranquility.
The weather forecast included a steamy soaking.
Night’s pewter clouds began to seal away moonlight.
An uneasiness – a restlessness, was setting in.
Farm folks are aware of the fine line of fate.
One gentle rain shower is a healthy dousing.
And the other rain was a storm pounding stalks of green grain buds.
Wheat stalk, hulls – the gold of bread, would be embedded in soggy soil.
Midsummer night storms are often accompanied by destruction.
Once planted, what is to become of wheat fields?
They rely on both earth’s nutrients, and weather.
The kernels invite moisture, but not downpours.
On this night the sky’s face glared with ugliness.
No harvest is a chronicler of its own fortune.
Thankfully, this was a cooperating storm.
It flushed the vast sky of moisture, then waters turned to mist.
Thunder’s shriek drifted away into the night.
Worrying about the few lightning bugs my cousin had captured,
I hoped they had been spared, and found their way home.
Released from a Mason jar prison, they’d flown away quickly.
Their brief time as a faint lantern ended.
Their glow was too dim to usher a path for me to follow.
Perhaps they were beacons for my dreams.
When those dreams brought morning’s sunrise,
I woke with optimism.
The day of sweltering sun
dried remnants of last evening’s drenching.
So quickly through the day the landscape baked.
In the shade, I leaned against the oak tree’s bark.
Imprints were indenting my back with decoration.
Dried grasses crinkled and crumpled under my bare feet.
My mind shifted back and forth
from my library books to dripping Popsicles.
Would my life hold up against the world’s stormy agenda?
I’d never wanted the flash and cash of fame and fortune.
My dreams were not complicated, nor intricate.
I’d dreamed of the whispers of a thousand fireflies.
What would become of me when I grew up?
I vowed never to blink at earth’s loveliness.
I promised never to ignore kindness and love.
My Kansas dreams were never grandiose.
I wanted my own release from a Mason jar.
For I needed to light a moment of night.
I wanted nothing more than to place words together.
I needed only to write my heart’s language.

COPYRIGHT: Kieran York

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Please check out my love poetry in the best-selling poetry collection, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3; and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. These books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile, the 2013 Lambda Finalist in the Romance category, by Kieran York. A new books is scheduled for release in the summer of 2013, title Careful Flowers. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Listening In

LISTENING IN ON EQUALITY

Any moment a ruling will be uttered or muttered, or shouted, or whispered. It will have to do with equality. Am I good enough to have the rights that all Americans should have? You be the judge. Well, actually, there are robed Justices doing the judging. Beyond that there are the American people.

LISTENING IN ON EQUALITY

I listen in on equality.
Superficial music blooms with an unrelenting promise.
Across the airways, love happens or it is being gutted.
Long ago forgotten, the subject plagues me.
As if it has become lightning’s jagged tongue, it blares.
I squint to see where decency might be.
I recognize the lyrics, for the song is titled Insta-Bully.
It talks trash.
The lead singer was just released from hatred’s lockdown.
Legislation is bait and switch.
As if words are souvenirs tossed into the barrenness,
musical notes wane.
Theoretical concepts have their own atmosphere.
Artificial emptiness has never impressed me.
Cascading volcanos of spewing intolerance burns.
Brains filled with ego do not entreat my sympathy.
Sludge brags as it paints injustice.
I overhear crud as it splats against clean walls.
Lucidity is sacred, and has flocked to the streets.
Bigotry sound exactly like cringe-worthy shouts.
Once impelled toward hatred, smarmy words fade.
Hearts locked in dark silence begin their histrionics.
Their authorship hides beneath shame.
The font of harm prints only litter.
If love is seeped in culture, I hope to soon hear its roar.
I wander the byways of eternity.
My shoulders sag, folding with age.
Ravaged, I march on.
For my torrent of energy hears the drums of equality.
An answer becomes my destiny – my ballad.
My choir garb is frayed by disappointment.
With rusty shovels, I excavate, and examine fate.
With tight-fisted heart, I search and hope.
Does a human heart have nerves?
Who owns eternity?

Copyright Kieran York

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Please check out my poetry in the best-selling poetry collection, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3; and Web Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. These books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out the 2013 Lambda Finalist in the Romance category, Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and e-books are also available through Amazon.

A Cautious Lover’s Mumblings

The following poem was written when I was in my mid-twenties. Although I’ve changed, many of my mumblings have not. It’s always interesting to return to early roads, and past beliefs. Crossroads. This is from an early volume of my published poetry and the copyright is 1974. A very long time ago.

A CAUTIOUS LOVER’S MUMBLINGS

Rushing up and out against reason, and no optimism is worth the slam you are aware is hiding, just waiting to leap out of the dark and tangle itself into your deepest secrets.

Spread out into a layered slip-cover, the moment that beckons you greets the un-understandable.

Ok, say it to life. Say it all. Reach into you and pull out a fistful of truth – your own brand of truth. Touch that finely tune, precision instrument of you, and try not to be impressed.

I’m going to grab a few blades of grass in my hand and pretend that the green represents my soul. No bull about plain old grass for grasses sake. I’ll run my hand over the grass, the uneven, unplanned, stretching grasses.

I feel the shade, a sleeping coolness of shade. How much of life crosses over us, how indifferent we are to the shade. And yet, we weave our meaning together.

When I smile, you know what I mean. We mash our thoughts, tears, and smiles and we watch the leaves drop and become pounded into cement and as we watch the streaming, palpitating stars hanging on and knitting together a universe.

Ok, try to comprehend a comet or a smile. But first, I’m asking you to empty yourself out and show me your underneath fears and doubts. Scrape off crust, exterior, and let me touch the deep you that is so well-hidden.

Collars and yokes are never shrugged off without a struggle. So show me the inside. I’ve seen the rest. Nestled between the pews of church, within the partitions of office talk, trickling sweat between lovers in seedy motel rooms – never deep enough.

I’ve heard the rest. The sounds you make over coffee, against a spray of gin, all designed to tell me what  I want to hear, what you want me to hear.

Stop impressing me a minute. Allow me to stop impressing you. Peel away the layer, the skin of the drum and tell me the beat, where it originates – its womb. Allow it to trickle out and into me. Don’t pull back. Let the noise of you spill out and capture me.

Let the touch we share agree with what ingredients we are made up of. Don’t give me the tree’s bark, I want the roots. The veins, sinew, marrow of the very heart. Carve away the part I view and allow me to feel the tickling truth that is you. And don’t be afraid, I’ll also be discarding my armor.

Allow the breathing that once pretended to be a windstorm blowing against my center core. Overcome me with you. Penetrate into me and allow me to penetrate you. Don’t button out your meaning. Please don’t zipper off your mind from me. Don’t reject my pleas as if they were lonely words emerging from tonight. Take them up and work them into a pliable communique. Barter with me, challenge me, threaten me, and finally allow us to submit to one another – both victorious. Seeking not to destroy nor to be destroyed.

Walk into me, allow me to walk into you, grabbing up all of what makes us whole and complete. Holding one another’s beliefs and values in both hands to be closely examined and held with care. And as I pass through and into you, remember how we are all one. How very one we all are.

Green lights shimmering and telling us that it’s alright to pass into one another await us. Swim into my current, fly freely into the brightness of my light. Hammer your confidence and your secret you into me. Allow me to shatter the bricks and mortar and gain entry into you.

Don’t polish your exterior, don’t paint your interior. Slot me straight into you. No detours, no bull. Just tell me where you are. Don’t leash me to you, but allow me to pull myself into you. Come not against me, but into me. Allow us to intertwine and become one another.

We touch the grasses together, we become the universe. And when we become ourselves within the universe, and within one another – we make love.
Copyright 1974 Kieran York

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Please check out my poetry in the best-selling poetry collection, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3; and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. These books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, Please check out the 2013 Lambda Finalist in the Romance category, Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order though Bella Book Distribution for Books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon 

Poems of Yesteryear

POEMS OF YESTERYEAR

On this layback Sunday morning, I chat and laugh with those I love. I survey the backyard, and my plans for intermingling herbs with sweet vegetables, and with ingenuity. And I rummage through my papers and books of yesteryear.

This morning I found two poems in a previously published book of my poetry. The year was 1976 – at least that was the report on my copyright. The poetry could have been written anywhere from the invention of earth’s stones – to 1976.

Although most of my poetry is now written on a computer – those poems were either handwritten or they were composed via a typewriter. They are both written from my heart as a youthful writer.

Heart as a writer! Hmmmmmm. Is that the heart that batters its way across a landmine- filled acreage of words? Punctured and mutilated, and sometimes exiled and scorned? Is it the heart that finds joy in a simple phrase? Or is placed upon an altar, or emulated, or loved?

Although at the time I primarily was writing journalistic feats about twenty-story buildings being tossed together, and a lost dog, and maybe a blurb about a fifteen-pound cabbage.

I took breathing time on Sundays to write poetry, stories, and other scribblings. “Mood Typer” and “A Writer” were two of my contributions – they explained the emotion and the longing I had and have for words.

MOOD TYPER

From the keyboard of existence, I sketch moods.
Exaggerated and underplayed, I twist events to manufacture poetry.
Jotting words that translate time.
Feisty and aware, counterpart to the zealot.
Downtrodden, lingering and shirking my duty to execute an exacting appraisal.
Argumentative and callous, when looking at the harshness of past events.
Sensitive, weighing carefully, I observe with compassion and love.
Objective and subjective, and seldom realizing the difference.
Trying to evaluate a never-ending series of emotion.
Slicing away at the words and editing out the milder moods, I am.
Penciling in the sideshows – developing a continuation of thought.
Meaning it, as I attempt to create mood portraits.
With quiet desperation – wanting to understand.
Feeling the vibs generated by a network of today.
A compulsive attempt to paint a social commentary – I pound a keyboard.
Going deeper and deeper into that commitment to capture an illusion.
Secret revelations of the interior have clutched me tightly.
Bypassing punctuation and carving away adjectives – I pour words.
Self is being exposed.
Painful, elevating, exhausting, and mostly meaning it.
Mostly attempting to mean it.

COPYRIGHT 1976 Kieran York

A WRITER

An interior flasher of sorts – a writer is.
Trying for the social commentary,
I’m tapped into the Muse.
Writing and tissue-papering a chronicle of today.
Peeling back and letting you witness my tranquility and my rage.
Me.
So why are you discussing punctuation and spelling –
when we could be taking about my meaning?
Insecurities are always a fun topic.
I can tell you what hurts me.
When I feel the pangs of war, I cringe as I jot them.
When I tell of hate’s terrible chain, my heart shrivels.
And I can pull back the flesh and let you peer in to see a happy beat.
The moment I experience an unfolding columbine.
A smile from a wayward stranger, who wants to see my smile.
Who needs to recognize my human hope.
A writer is an emotional stripper of sorts.
Because of financial gains and fame?
I’m told I must first die.
Why then?
A promissory note.
I know you understand.

COPYRIGHT 1976 Kieran York

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Please check out my love poetry in the best-selling poetry collection, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3; and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. These books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out the 2013 Lambda Finalist in the Romance category, Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Etiquette and Elegy

ETIQUETTE OF MORNING

The etiquette of morning exists within tame hearts.
Luminosity’s candor is the fresh smell of daybreak.
We are inspired by the gentle waking of earth.
As each roll of our orb shrugs us to light, we begin.
From synthetic dreams, we languish with contentment.
Trees, grasses, and flowers have a debonair strut as they grow.
Midmorning’s hesitancy bring new exhilaration.
It isn’t over, the graciousness of morning.
Unfiltered sunbeams have time before midday’s arrival.
Rays cultivate, regenerating warmth.
Even clouds give a diaphanous glow.
Mosses and lichens are encrusted upon staunch granite.
We have neared them as we walk.
Sprouting sprigs of blooming twiggy plants brush our legs.
Feathery leaves, with gentle touches, protrude.
Tufted petals open to swallow down sunlight.
They fail to recognize that they are life’s inducements.
Other breathing species crouch, and sprawl.
Mornings make us venturesome.
Propriety allows kindness.
Etiquette requires concern for others.
Romance is our greatest reason.
It is so like the gentleness of daybreak.

ELEGY OF A DAY

What is our private elegy of a day?
Are we here to take the pulse of meteors and magic?
We are humanity, and believe ourselves life’s linchpin.
Existence idles its way to become Homo sapiens adrift.
Our minds empower us with capability.
Wisdom is our resource.
Nudged by kindred concern, we attempt to please one another.
Yet we require stop-signs and fences.
Trapped by earth’s gravity, be banish one another.
But also, we covet the humanness we share.
Our mission – could it be learning the world?
Understanding our bounty, as well as our hazards?
Or living with the vicious nature of an earth searching mischief?
Our planet’s divine and disheveled moments are everywhere.
There are magnificent plundering experiments – yet we remain.
Our inscription is a riddle of antique messages.
Time has welded many clues within earth’s crusty quarry.
Nature has been compressed by carved ditches, and sprawling waters.
Outside our periphery are whirling gigantic marbles.
Within our own is a strident exchange of arctic blasts and blistering lava.
There is a mystical research of nature long ago sealed away.
Life’s residue reminds us of our value.
Nudged from rock and soil, we migrate.
We learn our world and ourselves – if we are fortunate.
We come to know another heart – if we are blessed.
Our elegy is the day we spend here together.

COPYRIGHT: Kieran York

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Please check out my poetry in the best-selling poetry collection, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3; and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. These books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you are interested in romantic fiction, please check out the 2013 Lambda Finalist in the Romance category, Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

My latest book, Careful Flowers is scheduled for release mid-Summer.

van Gogh’s Message

Over a year ago I visited the Denver Art Museum’s “Becoming van Gogh” exhibit.  Those of us in the area had awaited the exhibition for months, and years.

The career retrospective of Vincent van Gogh included seventy paintings, drawings, and prints. These masterpieces were borrowed from forty institutions and private collectors around the world. It required seven years, and twenty-two separate shipments.

Some wonder what is so important about seeing actual paintings. The answer is that in books and reproductions, so much flavor is missed. Lost in imitation of the original.

I have never been more impacted by artwork than seeing the van Gogh collection. I wanted to know his soul. I’d reached into the words of hundreds of letters he’d written during his lifetime. They were of his odyssey as a misfit and an artist. His exuberant art mirrored letters of elation. His depression was also captured in both word and paint.

But nothing prepared me for standing near his work – near enough to hold out a paintbrush and dab paint as he had. I witnessed it from his vantage point. It was like falling into the magic of the canvas.

Works were thematically selected to show van Gogh’s beginning. Early art, yet each seemed to forecast the explosive, unique, and emotional images. With his well-executed striation, he rearranged reality. From the density of paint evolved tremors of visual elasticity. Great tangles of brush strokes radiated energy. Bold nuances allowed exotic pictorial resonance to bloom.

How did Vincent van Gogh become the master of the Post-Impressionist period? Many critics consider him to be the greatest painter of all times.

From the amazingly different way the Dutch-born artist approached his art, we all came to look at art differently. Other artists were influenced by his thick, heavy colors. The public was impressed with his enthusiasm, and coloristic warmth. Across the surface of his canvases, and paper, we saw intensity, and felt his restlessness.

I’m not an art critic. I’m not an art expert. I’m someone who simply loves the creation that art is. So I shall not attempt to do anything other than give my own slant on what that marvelous day spent with Vincent meant to me.

Van Gogh wasn’t a perfect human being – he was admittedly flawed. But his search to give the world perfect art was not flawed. After reading his entire collection of letters numberous times, I found so much humanity – in both the man and his art.

From a letter written to his brother on July 26th, 1882: If you work with love and intelligence, you develop a kind of armor against people’s opinions, just because of the sincerity of your love for nature and art. Nature is also severe and, to put it in that way, hard, but never deceives and always helps move you to forward.  

His words and his works tell so much about his becoming his own artist. The essence of the man is difficult to know. But I know more since seeing the monumental exhibit of his works. Viewing the herculean collection was up near the top of my bucket list. Achieved!

To share with you what I felt when I was within the interior of this group of paintings seems an impossible task. What I can say is that his work displayed in books does not touch the surface of emotion. His soul seems to have bled onto each canvas – which is visible in person only.

The downtrodden, bedraggled, eccentric had the melody of genius tapping to the tune of his brush. Of that I was convinced as I moved toward the painting A Pair of Boots, I heard the click of the boots as they hit the cobblestones. Van Gogh had recorded the battered worker’s boots – giving them their own dignity.

His paintings Peasants Planting Potatoes  and The Potato Eaters are done with a combination of reality and reverence for their work ethics. In one of van Gogh’s letters he explained: I plow my canvases as the peasants do their fields.

He had painted and sketched those fields. He filled his brushes with paint and exacted elliptical, dynamic strokes, and repetitive linear structure. He worked quickly, producing a treasure trove of work in a short lifetime.

And when criticized for the rapid creation of his impressive oeuvre, he responded to his brother Theo: So if people say that my work is done too quickly, you can reply that they have looked at it too quickly.

Thankfully, he continued to rapidly thrust pigment in his unique curvilinear flow – creating surface rhythms. As I walked through the museum’s rooms, I was in no hurry. I wanted to memorize the magnificence of wheat fields, portraits, and still life.

Works such as Pollard Willows at Sunset, Basket with Oranges, and Head of Gordina de Goot, brought tears to my eyes. One of my very favorites, Cineraria, bound me to it for nearly twenty minutes. As did Peach Tree in Blossom and River Bank in Springtime. As if being embraced by the paintings, I did not look too quickly.

The exhibit’s exit was with one wall of three of van Gogh’s self-portraits. They had never been together before. I looked into the agitated eyes of Self-Portrait. I saw the dignity, and tenderness of Self-Portrait with Straw Hat. And the many expressions at once in the eyes of Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat. I saw in three sets of eyes that he was probably self-critical, intense, autodidactic, and acutely aware that his life would be one of struggling.

“Becoming van Gogh” had indeed shown the roots of his trademark style. The exhibit made my pulse rush, my mouth become dry, and all else in life paused to make way for the viewing experience.

If he were to have whispered to me, what words would the great artist have spoken? Perhaps he would have told me his style had made him an interventionist of modern art – without his having known about it. Or in secret, he might have mentioned that his paintings were devoid of props. Life was his only prop. More likely, he would have smiled, saying only one of his paintings sold during his lifetime.

Maybe his tears fell in tune with all other artists. His works were selfless gifts to humanity. For van Gogh, it was a canvas, a paper, and his image of the world’s metaphors.

For me, that would be like a poem unclasping itself and falling into the enormity of existence. All those who create seem to echo one another’s achievements.

In his final letter to Theo, he wrote: As for my own work, I risk my life for it and my sanity half shot anyway because of it – fine – but you’re not one of those dealers in men as far as I know, and you can chose the side you’re on, it seems to me, and act with genuine humanity, but what’s to be done?

His words seem not so insane. It might be a message to us all. We can select to act with genuine humanity. 

  

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If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Please check out my poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2, edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. The latest volume, Roses Read, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3, will be published in January, 2013.