Marietta Patricia Leis

A beautiful show of her work at the Harwood in Taos. I feel particularly close to this art as it was done in Iceland, at Gulkistan Residency.

Here is my poem for the artist:

Light is no rorschach
rather, a palindrome

can be read equally
forward and backward

always resolving, devolving into
twilight.

If I were a child at the edge of a glacier
I might, crepuscular,

appear as an old woman
yet still

retain the bones of a girl
who can leap, or roll

from dawn to dusk
or dusk to dawn.

Lava cools from fire
to the darkest earth

slow moving, it might just
be a necklace of fireflies.

On the island’s tectonic plate
if you squeeze the volcano

it becomes a handful of dirt
and in this way

time is distance…

Haunted by Japan: Photographs by Gail Rieke and Poems by Miriam Sagan

Certain experiences are so productive creatively that they continue on. Gail Rieke has been to Japan numerous times, and I only once. But we both visited this year, and I had the good fortune to talk to her before and after our trips. I’m combining our work below–not from the same exact places but I think from a deep ethos.

if there is a kami of sadness
she worshipped too long
at that shrine

hung books from wires
that could never
be read

not just ephemeral paper
but pages of air

the foam of waves
marbled the bookends of sand
in suminagashi

every woman
the world over
is writing a book
of herself

made of flesh and
north wind

Wayside Shrine

tears—
I haven’t heard
the temple bell
in so long

or ever before
seen a Buddha’s shrine
on the Tokyo
business street
or deep in country
where the earthen
sides of the lanes
loom over my head

offered an orange
like the ones
on the small trees
despite the freezing weather

for a few yen
lit a stick
of incense
with my cold gloved hands

stars, worlds

this smoke
that goes nowhere
goes
everywhere


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