JFK Remembrance

JFK REMEMBRANCE

 

The following is an excerpt from a book written about my junior year in college. I was a creative writing student at the University of the Americas, in Mexico City. The year was 1963, and the month was November. Our president was murdered.

I’ll never forget those horrific days – and certainly, I shall never forget the funeral Mass held in Mexico City. I attended with friends. We shared a moment in history.

From my book an excerpt about that time – JFK remembrance:

It was a time for our somber pilgrimage to honor our martyred president.

While John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s coffin was taken by caisson to Saint Mathew’s Cathedral for a funeral Mass, the American colony of Mexico City assembled at the Basilica of Guadalupe. Seats had been reserved for Americans.

As young John-John was saluting his father’s flag-draped coffin, my friends and I were a country away, saluting Kennedy in the only way we could. The final leg of our journey across Mexico City to the basilica was by streetcar. Nora, Leigh, Carlos, and I traversed the city in silence.

Arriving, there was still only minimal conversation. We made our way through the plaza, passing wooden-faced merchants. We stopped for Nora, Leigh, and I to put mantillas on our heads. While we busily pinned down our lace head scarves, a Mexican handed Carlos a small American flag. Carols fished his pocket for change, but the peddler moved away. He had wanted to give an American one of this flags today.

I was in awe when we entered the basilica. It was magnificent. Transfixed by the image above the altar, I wished my Gran could see this. At the atrium was the venerated, miraculous painting of the Virgin Mary. I recalled hearing that Kennedy had visited this place. He had worshiped the image of the Madonna. I reflected, wondering if he had prayed for guidance and peace. Or if he prayed for a world without violence.

I bowed  my head throughout the Mass.

And when it was finished, we filed out onto the plaza as if we were weary warriors returning from a lost battle. Kennedy’s charisma and vision had ended. The Mass had ended. But the memory of blazing candles, the aroma of incense, the Latin chanting, and the congregation of fellow Americans would remain.

None of us could grasp it. But we all knew we’d been transformed. The chill of reality caught us. The fragile thread that ties us to life’s most precious aspirations had been weakened. Our leader was lost. The life of our youthful, vigorous president had been severed.

It not only shattered Camelot, it had rearranged history. It had rearranged us. It was seared into our memories. It painted our justice system with the primary colors showing our deficit – our infamy. It displayed our inability to resolve a complexity that yielded only faded images on tattered canvas. Throughout the muddied investigation, a futile search would continue. Our frailty was to be exposed. It would also brush away our own beliefs of immortality. For a portion of our best hope had been destroyed.

No one lives forever. Youth of the 1960s, as all youth, believed otherwise. But this act intruded upon our security.

We shall miss him. We shall miss the part of us that was Camelot.

Copyright: Kieran York

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Fiction by Kieran York: Careful Flowers, her latest release. Appointment with a Smile, is a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Both books are available in book form through www.bluefeatherbooks.com.  Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and e-books are also available through Amazon.

If you’re interested in poetry, please check out her poetry in the best-selling Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Wet Violets, Volume 2; and Roses Read, Volume 3. The collections are edited by award-winning poet, Beth Mitchum. they are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

Earth Artist

The book I’m currently writing is called Earthen Trinkets. In it the main character is an artist of pottery. It reminded me of a poem I wrote many, many years ago. I’d titled my poem “Earth Artist” –

EARTH ARTIST

Earth is awhirl within the sprawling heavens.
It is designed as our natural inheritance –
of that I’m certain.
A potter’s hand sculpts earth.
Those hands reshape clay,
and interprets precious clumps of soil.
Those hands cut clay blocks with wire strings.
There is the lift and plunge of a fist into a rotating block.
Guesswork begins, and it turns into the calculating touch of skill.
Earth’s direction began unpredictably
as it unleashed across this universe.
In throwing clay, with each whirl of the wheel,
creation is forged.
Spinning discs promise the imagination a free ride.
Circular, orbital, as with the galaxies, the wheel rotates.
Clumps of gray, tan, red – and in between colors of wonder
stitch expression into reality.
The cool, damp clay is adroitly formed
with wet hands that allow the wheel to dictate its pull.
Edging clay upward is a communication
between the imagination and the touch.
A container is born, a sculpture is invented.
Clay lifts, edging as a sediment-sweetened sponge drips.
Stoneware is formed.
The land’s face connects, for it is tilled.
Potters caress molds.
Framing the terrain’s bounty into contours
of beauty produces life’s bounty.
Fine ceramics are engineered
as they are cradled by knowing touches.
Lessons of clay reflect chance,
just as our globe’s destiny presents itself.
The crust fades, when fragile material is overly stressed.
The clay is placed aside and restored by time.
Time settles both terracotta and territory.
Time strengthens both and gives each endurance.
With insured plasticity – art is constructed,
and becomes pliable, and then resilient.
It is sturdier than raw clay.
Learning patience with each effort,
the potter comes to know life’s wait.
Drying time, produces its own lesson.
As the vessels, and creations await firing,
the artist accepts the timing of existence.
Drying time is where ‘preludes’ seem most at home.
When the leather-hardened art is fired,
fortune takes command.
Cone-monitored temperatures assist in predicting creation.
Speculation is only a dream that presents a lesson.
For preparation corrects mistakes; prevents mistakes.
The beauty of earth takes on another form of loveliness.
From the kiln comes bisque.
After it is dipped into vats of glaze,
brushed with oxide, and twirled,
it becomes an artist’s vortex.
Chemistry has mingled the best rainbow designs
from inside a potter’s mind.
Sunrise colors and twilight hues
blend into nature’s visionary promise.
Although there is an awareness buried somewhere within,
there seems to be no way to encroach upon reality.
There is only imitating nature.
Nothing is overlooked, and nothing is ignored.
Inspiration finds its reverence
and appreciation of life’s components.
Expressing, translating, and conducting impulses,
energy flows from hands to the touch of earth.
Connecting, yielding, and sheltering,
is part of the process.
There is the beguiling swirl of invention and vision
when indentations are created from a serrated tool.
The corner of the artist’s heart must be shown.
From the glow of a prism, to the texture of life,
it becomes a replicated knowing of the universe.
Earth is often scarred, punctured, and battered.
Yet with peace, patience, and acceptance,
there is love’s reprisal.
It is captured within a magnificent reward called art.
Earth’s alloys and bonding agents are nearly as complicated
as each of life’s earthlings.
In each unfurling of creativity
wisdom is created as if by a miracle.
An earth artist’s task is to sculpt
an offering of pleasure.
And most importantly,
a texture of love.

COPYRIGHT: Kieran York

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Fiction by Kieran York: Careful Flower, her latest release, is available in book form through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon. Appointment with a Smile, a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, is also available through Blue Feather Books, Bella Books and Amazon.

If you’re interested in poetry, check out her poetry in the best-selling Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Wet Violets, Volume 2; and Roses Read, Volume 3. These collections are edited by Beth Mitchum. They are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

WAR CLOUD WORDS

At times it seems that we are surrounded by war. Explosions rob us of one another. Countries, with mad posturing, aim their threats across the world. And I go along with little-to-no understanding of war.

I caught the flowing thoughts that stampeded through my mind. War Cloud Words is written with pain, with hurt, and with ingredients I admit not to know how to decipher. My vision of a world filled with war cloud words has a flip side. I can also hope for humanity’s long reach to finally hold a sky filled with love and peace.

WAR CLOUD WORDS

Words, no louder than a wasp emits, were sighed.
Vividly detailed hatred shouted its message.
Each nation’s declaration was galvanized with stealthy resolve.
When trepidation converted to fear –
terror became a shiver announcing there was no way back.
Such a small deed was required – barely a blemish.
Watchdogs suffered from the violent feeding frenzy.
A veiled cradle had been leavened into time’s mud.
Metal twisted stick-figures.
Uncoiled trinkets were barely identifiable as they
anonymously cascaded to earth.
Hollowed-out lands, homes, people were estranged
from their mission of life.
Death remnants of pungent air, and hovering souls
were reinvented.
Exalted, vile, and evil laughter claimed sad victory.
A desolate calendar continued digging earth.
Naked flame of once bright ceremony
duplicated blisters of excruciating agony.
Life was haunted by love converging
in a cobwebbed corner.
Delusion invaded destiny.
Rushing away was the fake charisma
of a well-armed circus barker.
All songs smashed into their own silent stone of anguish.
No one had truly conquered the darkest day ever created.
War exploded – while love imploded.
Emotions were folded between crease of flesh.
Drills scratched the globe to find the depths of blood.
Hate’s taste had forever fouled the air.
Yet perfumed trails of love curled toward heaven.
If we pressed our lips to kindness,
would unkindness not hide?
Such a searing microcosm had ushered in disruption.
The clasp of love could assuredly will peace with simplicity
and with the majesty of perfect care.
Yet villainy intruded with deliberate intent
to scar that very decency and carve it away
Hostilities, so chaotic and cruel seemed ever-present.
So honorable was trust and benign hearts.
Prayer from the sky above sent utterances of charity.
And war cloud words were shrieking ever louder.
At least until the world became weary of listening.
And then without contrition,
without pseudo-justice,
yet with compassion for victim, and not villain –
reason lived.
The sky cleared.

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, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you are interested in romantic fiction, please consider the 2013 Lambda Award Finalist, 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 available through Amazon. York’s latest book is titled Careful Flowers, and will soon be released by Blue Feather Books.

Songs, songs, songs –

This blog is songs, songs, songs – I’m posting some of my song lyrics – written decades ago. These were songs sung by a regional Colorado woman’s band. I was fortunate to be a member and friend of the women. I wrote songs, and was a barely okay singer and guitar player. And so I’ll include the lyrics of three of my personal favorites.

The group’s theme song was “Denver Dreams” and we opened every performance with it. The second is a song I wrote for a very special woman. The final song is a love song I constructed so many years ago, I’m not sure of how it evolved.

DENVER DREAMS

* It always seems those Denver Dreams keep bounding across my mind.
Thoughts designed to comfort me, won’t loosen up and be
The way that dreaming takes you back into a yesterday
Mellow dreams of Denver times, seems they’re here to stay.

We shared so many mountain walks
With late night campfire talks.
Mica that reflects the stars
And country songs on our guitars.
So many ways that we both seemed to care.
Scouting trickling rocky streams
Blended with our wildflower dreams.
So many times I reached and you were there.*

Evergreen brushed weekends
Aspen, pine, the scents they send.
Wooded paths we wandered through
And cabin smiles I’ve smiled for you.
So many ways that we both seemed to care.
Those coming home to Denver drives
Coming back to our city lives,
So many times I reached and you were there.*
Copyright – Kieran York

ANNE, HAVE I EVER TOLD YOU

*Anne, have I ever told you
I’d give my world to hold you
And lace sunshine into your day
Kiss your troubles all away.

So give your love without a fear
I’ll have kindness always near
And soft and warm just to build
A world that’s ever daisy-filled.
Entrust me with your days ahead
I’ll beckon smiles for you instead
Of frowns that might have come your way.
You can count on me to stay.
So here’s my promise, I’ll be strong
If you’ll allow me to go along.*

Let’s turn our dreams all around
I’ll share with you the songs I’ve found.
With happiness to pave your time.
The beauty of a simple rhyme.
Turn your tears back into a grin.
Allow my love entrance in
And slide the sun back into your eyes
Place rainbows thick against your skies.
So here’s my promise, I’ll be strong
If you’ll allow me to belong.*
Copyright – Kieran York

WARMED BY YOU

I want to touch the leaves
As they fall down through the sky.
Finish with a somersault on the wings of a butterfly.
And when I land I want to finally settle
In the middle of a columbine petal.
Nap against the grasses in the afternoon shade
Dream about a caterpillar parade.
Listen to the stream striking over stones
Making up music with magical tones.
And as the day drifts out against midnight’s blue,
I want to snuggle up and be warmed by you.

As the clouds sweep across the air I want to glide
And finish with a rainbow slipper slide ride.
Down onto a water-lily afloat
With rays of love spraying around as my moat.
Rest in a pond of sparkling sunshine rain.
Under a bluebell umbrella I’ll remain
Tranquil with my heart set into a smile
Hope I can stay right here for awhile.
And as the day drifts out against midnight’s blue,
I want to snuggle up and be warmed by you.

Copyright – Kieran York

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

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. It’s a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Books are available through amazon, and e-books through Kindle.

VALENTINE TRILOGY Part 3: It Was You Who Understood

This is a reblog from last year when I’d explored the definition of love. So what is love? The best answer I personally could come up with was: It is all speculative conjecture. Translated: I got nothing.

The emotion of love covers such a huge area. Perhaps each definition differs for each love affair. Each woman in my life has been and is a poem. Certainly not an object, nor have I objectified women.

My search has always started with the heart beginning its bloom. It ends with the majesty that spreads petals as the sun hits and sprays radiance. The person’s energy, truth, kindness, and love, are essential.

Forgive me if I idealize women. It’s my calling, I like to believe. As for love – poetical expertise only expresses what is felt by one singular poet. Is anyone rational when love is involved?

Maybe reminiscence is the great categorizer of emotion. How we feel about love – after the fact – might be most valid. Understanding before, during and after, is sought.

The third stanza of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Remember You” is about understanding.

I’ll remember you
When the wind blows through the piney wood
It was you who came right through
It was you who understood
Though I’d never say
That I done it the way
That you’d have liked me to
In the end
My dear sweet friend
I’ll remember you.
~ Bob Dylan 

I’m more convinced than ever – if it is love – it is never less. In my years I’ve come to realize that love impersonates a fragile latch. Love, like life, is perishable. Years ago, death took the love of my life. The loss of a woman I adored became a story I told in my novel, Appointment with a Smile. I had believed that life’s ‘piney wood’ emptied my future.

This Autumn, I could have lost one of my best friends – an ex. She is a woman with whom I spent a decade of my early life. After the breakup, our friendship has remained for the past three decades. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Now, after surgery, and radiation, my dear friend is doing well, and the prognosis is good. Another reminder to show love.

Why do I mention loss in a Valentine’s blog? Because the one thing I know about love is that it is an enormous gift. Yet we must never forget it is a tentative and interim gift. Taking love in an embrace, and holding on tightly, is one of existence’s truest luxuries.

I believe being cognizant of time is vital to life itself. Treating one another with love and respect is crucial – for we are impermanent. The value of loving can never, ever be diminished. Smile at your lover, as if it were the last smile. Make it matter. Secure each gaze – don’t merely glance. Taste lips tenderly, and be present in that kiss.

And if love ends – I hope there is letting go with love. If both people leave the relationship with respect for one another, friendship is possible.

Fortunately, most of my past loves have converted to lifelong friendships. There is only one estrangement now – and that will remain a permanent estrangement. Post-breakup behavior is revelatory about character.

My experience recommends letting go with love whenever possible. This is important for many reasons. Naturally, a conversion to friendship is exceptionally great. Second – cupids might decide to return.

I am fortunate and blessed. I am thankful that a love of many years ago has returned. The opportunity for romance was provided because we had let go with love. Effortlessly, love simply returned. What a great tribute to mutual respect.

You to me were true….At the end of the trail….It was you who understood.
~ Dylan must have known me when he wrote this song.

Examining what I do know of love – well, we should be kind to one another. Enjoy the moment of love, be swept away with one another for as long as life allows. Cherish the exquisite emotion that is love. Tumbling toward the center of one another is the best ride ever.

Never giving up on finding love is a reaffirmation that we are there for romance. Brand new love, lost love, longtime love, or reestablished love – it is to be venerated, esteemed, fostered, and protected.

I’ve come to value sweet, gentle, and loving moments – where love lives. The treasury of love is abundant. I recognize the glory, the unique charm, the soul’s serenity, flame-fueled passion, and other of love’s secret ingredients.

No – I still don’t have the definitive meaning of love. What is most important is that I know love. Did I happen to mention how truly blessed I am?

I wish happiness to all – every single one – those women who have touched my life. I wish happiness to all of you reading this. May everyone find, relish, and appreciate their special ‘designer’ love.

Yes, I still do believe in angels. And I shall forever believe in love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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For J-SW.YTT.WL.k
Now and Always!

Please check out my poetry in the latest, best-selling Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Red, volume 3, and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. Soon to be released Delectable Daisies, Volume 4. Another great Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series edition!

My newest release of fiction is Careful Flowers. If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider by Appointment with a Smile, a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are available through Amazon.

VALENTINE TRILOGY Part 2: At the End of the Trail

This second installment in the Valentine Trilogy is primarily about solid, long-term, committed relationships. Last year I issued the disclaimer that my knowledge is limited primarily to ‘trial and error’ affairs of the heart. There were also the times when destiny parted what might have been. So any wisdom comes from the reference point of my years of observation.

This Valentine’s Day, my romance has lasted well over a year. That duration is only enough to say we’re comfortable, and planning. I love and respect her – more than anyone I’ve ever known. She is magnificent. And she is my smiling enchantress. (Smiling Enchantress is the name of my Valentine’s Day poem for 2014. I’ll be posting it on the 14th.)

I honor the couples who have endured. Through it all, they’ve matched up; they maintained their love; and romance has prospered in their care. The couples forging durable relationships  have my admiration. They are an inspiration.

The Bob Dylan lyrics are a gentle reminder of the tenderness required to make it through the trail. This stanza – well, it says it more eloquently than I might attempt to describe it:

I’ll remember you
At the end of the trail
I had so much left to do
I had so little time to fail
There’s some people that
You don’t forget
Even though you’ve only seen’m
One time or two
When the Roses fade
And I’m in the shade
I’ll remember you.
~ Bob Dylan

Memories stack up as we age. I still don’t know how love is jump-started. Is it elevated endorphins? Is it some fortuitous event? I wouldn’t want to guess.

Falling in love seems so much more effortlessly achieved than continuing the day-to-day refurbishing of emotion. Kindling and rekindling its magic is a tricky part. What secrets for success do ‘connected duos’ have? Married, partnered, in relationships for decades – melded together with expectations of the long haul. They believe in the important prospect of love forever.

Adoring relationship seem to know about the key ingredient of fun and laugher. Humor goes perfectly with love. They create a chain of cherished memories – lovely, to be sure. It is sculpting the divine out of the promise to never renounce loyalty. It is the sharing of happiness and hardship. It is an uplifting story of the intertwined soul’s endurance. It is being unable to do without one another.

The cherishing – well, there must be unspoken guidelines of love. In all cases, the couples work at protecting their relationship. That requires maintaining, tweaking, diligence, and cooperation.

My personal belief – honoring and respecting one another is paramount. Subheadings might be: honesty, kindness, humor, whimsy, passion, dignity, trust, and loyalty. In short, signifying the relationship. Lifting it to the highest altar – the one about ‘plain ole’ consideration.

These, and many more, are qualities that seemed seared into each heart as couples wreath their lives together. Two people have entrusted everything. They’ve invested precious life itself. Growing love as they go. With time assisting them in their creation. They get it right. They keep one another warm.

So, for couples achieving a sturdy, well-aged, and wonderful relationship, I commend you all. And I aspire to have achieve that – now that I’ve found the finest woman I’ve ever known.

There’s some people that you don’t forget…

These marvelous couples haven’t skimped on their true and abiding emotions. I celebrate this Valentine’s Day with their romances in mind. I thank them for giving us a lesson – and an example.

Happy Valentine’s month to all ‘lifer’ couples. And, to all who aspire to be a part of permanent love. As I do.

Thank you for reading this, I hope you’ll join me when I blog the final installment of my Valentine Trilogy. Part 3: It was You who Understood – will be published on Valentine’s Day.

Copyright: Kieran York

Happy Valentine’s Day. J-SW&LH.YTT.WL.K
ps – We Belong to One Another!

 

Please check out my poetry in the latest, best-selling Sappho’s’ Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3 and Wet Violets, Volume 2. A wonderful Valentine gift idea is giving your loved one ROSES READ. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. Watch for Volume 4 – Delectable Daisies.

York’s latest book is Careful Flowers. If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York, Lambda Literary Award Finalist in 2013. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

VALENTINE TRILOGY Part 1: When I’ve Forgotten All the Rest

This begins my Valentine Trilogy. Each part will feature a stanza of “I’ll Remember You” – by Bob Dylan. The magical, mystical words of the legendary poet/lyricist have captured me.

I’ll remember you
When I’ve forgotten all the rest
You to me were true
You to me were the best
When there is no more
You cut to the core
Quicker than anyone I knew
When I’m all alone
In the great unknown
I’ll remember you.
~ Bob Dylan 

The splendor of these words were my inspiration for this trilogy blog. For I was reminded of yesteryear and those magnificent women who have traversed my life. This includes memorable friendships, as well as the rendezvous of intimacy and of goodbyes. Although some highways have parted permanently; many others have been resurfaced throughout the years. All are stories of love.

Gentle memories of the past make their way through the currents of our being. We sway, tilt, swerve, elude, and scurry to where we must be. Predictions never unfold our futures. Tomorrow is a guessing game. Certitude is that raw collectible moment of now.

Those leaving our area of life might move away, run away, or stealthily redirect. Nearly everyone experiences loss at one time or another. Events are terminated, exchanged for different jobs, locations, or situations. People – family, friends, acquaintances, and lovers – are disbursed toward their destinies.

We are left behind by those with whom we’ve gathered near  – loved. We’ve felt the estrangement in many ways: abandonment, replacement, and loss. Horizons have recast us all. The days of pertinent people are rewoven as yesterday discards them from our lives. Others coast slowly away because they must. There is an overriding commitment – an obligatory reason.

Reunions also differ. Some partings have left only skimpy memories. Others create indecipherable aches in which we realize how sad parting is. As if there is a missing wanderer who has not been beside us, the trail is emptier. And inside, inherent knowledge announces that there should have been two on that path.

Our eras become provisional fate where romance is concerned. The mind continues to be drenched in remembrances. Questions forever arise that invite a longing. We desire one more lustral flare to be held up for another glance at possibility.

Years later, many friendships reunite on a soft landing, and become relevant and joyful. Years simply are picked up like fine embroidery, and the stitching continues. Many of those have become a treasured luminosity within my heart.

When the love is deep, secure, and resiliency is everlasting – the heart-print remains completely intact. Indelibly bonded, with time having intensified its clasp – it endures.

I find complete amazement as to how one gets from dot-to-dot as we are slid across life’s game board. The lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Remember You” recently set in place my game’s contest rules with precision, elegance, and truth:

You to me were true…

I wish you all a Happy and Loving Valentine’s Month. And I hope you’ll catch my next two Valentine installments – Part 2: At the End of the Trail, and Part 3: It was You who Understood. They will be published in the next week and a half.

Copyright: Kieran York

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

Kieran’s latest book is Careful Flowers. If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Contented Flowers

Poetry is the ticking of my heart. Energy from words flow through my veins as music might through my body. The light of each syllable sparks from a newly created flash.

CONTENTED FLOWERS

Carefully, the day grows with colors encroaching.
Flowers press the top layer of earth.
So tender are the petals.
They pretend to be silk dressings of garlic cloves.
They breathe as if they’re recently incubated.
They turn the page of top soil.
We tend the garden of them.
They are where our memory lives to unfold their story.
Spun around, their centers feel yesterday and soon to be – today.
The planet’s dream takes each drop of breath.
The glitter of butterfly wings releases a breeze.
They zigzag through tufts of foliage.
Those wings appreciate the lopsided curves of earth.
The lands are where seeds scatter.
A script is being written.
Each word is savored by the sacred colossus.
Moments are elevated with a harp’s sunlight.
There is a mythical heart beating out prose.
If unfurled, each flower’s price tag exceeds the cost of glory.
Harvested terrain renders a journey of tomorrow.
Vining roots, venturing stems, and leaves are all exposed nerves.
Contentment grows steadily within rich loom.
Blooms stand like sundials.
Mysterious, shadowy agents tame the light.
Canonical rolls of rays dash the fields.
There are flowers growing with sampler colors.
As if kissed on the inside, petals are dipped in a multitude of hues.
As if caressed on the outside, leaves shelter.
Cast in the wonder of wilderness, blooms lift their heads.
And we recognize the side-effects of contented flowers.
Copyright: Kieran York   

 

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 this month.

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.

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.

Eternal Beginnings – To Be Continued

Recently I was mentioned in Bev Prescott’s blog – I don’t like tofu-dogs, nor do I want to be one. I had posted a quote on Facebook and it was of some assistance to her. That pleased me immensely – I highly respect both her blogs, and her amazing classic, My Soldier Too. This novel addresses the treatment of gays and lesbians in the military.

Her blog was brilliant, and she explains so much of the writer’s soul in so few words. Bravo, Bev.

That spurred my own thoughts about my generation’s love affair with the printed page. Also our quest to find literature. Yes, it was a struggle to find information on lesbianism. It was a hushed, scorned, and suppressed topic.

Unfortunately, in many areas of the world, it remains so. Yet with each level of elevated education – and empathy, there is a breakdown of bigotry. We continue marching. One paragraph at a time and one book at a time continues our legacy.

Now, there are bookstores for lesbians and gays. There are online opportunities. The publishing world is expanding and flourishing. 

Sapphics are helping Sapphics – we are supporting one another. Many of us recall the days when we were coming out – with only limited support systems in place.

I want to take you back with me to my college days of exploration. In the mid-sixties, my friends and I went on a scavenger hunt to find lesbian literature. When we arrived at the small storefront, I was selected to go into the dive that sold the books we wanted. The other two women hung back. They thought I was the least contentious, so would be up to the task.

I sidled into this questionable retail shop. Being sold were items that might be seen in a petrol service station, a thrift shop, and a porn salon – if they had conjoined into one shabby store.

Trembling, I made my way to the counter. I whispered to the clerk, “Would you have any women’s….er, books about women? Women together?”

His eye gleam told me he planned on playing with my request. “Women together, hummmm.” He rubbed his chin for impact. I glared at his obvious enjoyment. Those rheumy eyes were alive with some weird, lewd, sexual fantasy. “What’s a nice girl like you want with girlie-girl trash? Get rid of the dykes. You can get yourself a guy.”

I’m thinking he should get rid of the bulge in his groin area. Also, I think he’s an absolute p-word, that rhymes with sick. “Do you want to make a sale, or not?” I questioned.

“You’ll buy the book. You can’t find your kind of books in the library.”

He reached under the counter to pull out a few shopworn books. With edges lifting, and with torn, stained covers, these books were my connection to who I am. We were all hidden away, with souls moldering. For literature keeps souls healthy. And ours literature was difficult to come by.

I selected Querlin’s Women Without Men; Bannon’s I Am A Woman; and Rule’s recently published Desert of the Heart. It was a treasure trove, to be sure.

I’ll forever remember that night, and other times we searched to find our tradition. When I read Bev’s words, I thought about the stream of energy that is today’s great sunburst of our culture.

And it’s nice to know that we contribute to one another’s magic – as it is happening. Thanks, Bev. And thanks to all my Sapphic sisters – the writers and readers that keep us inspired.

In an interview a few months ago, I mentioned that I believe we are in a splendid lesfic golden age. I’m proud to be a part of this era. We shall continue to expand freedom – our heart’s and our mind’s freedom. Not only for Sapphic women, but for all women.

Ending as I began – a quote for today:
But since everything is an eternal beginning, I think that in the future there will still be fine days ahead for both men and women. ~ Marise Querlin, Women Without Men, last line in her book, (1965)

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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.