Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October 12

We're writing poetic letters!


  1. Jeanne: Artist of Peace.

    Dear Thick Nhat Hanh.

    You rode a bicycle. In Saigon you took a secular course. They thought you were nuts. Were they angry, or did they just not understand? Your monks had never done these things. What did you see in their eyes? You opened curmudgeon minds.

    Monks chanting soothed a war torn world - napalm heavy, raped tears, helicopters and carnage. You decided to leave the monastery doors, to walk the streets. Your monks had never done these things. You told them to follow. Some did.

    You walked in rubble. You walked in death, despair, and anger. You looked into people’s eyes. You embraced each one. They glimpsed peace. I try. I’ll keep trying. I think you’re right. Nothing else works.

    Thank you.

  2. Dear Georgia O’Keefe,

    I first loved your seashell paintings,
    so many colors of white on white,
    with blue or orange hints, grayed or tanned,
    creamy or beige, then the dried up cattle bones
    for the same colors. Next, I discovered the adobes,
    rounded rectangles piled in heaps, toasty brown
    with black windows, no lights inside those churches.

    Then I found your flower closeups that so many
    blamed for sexy fantasies they had themselves.
    When I went to Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu
    I met Pedernal, the Kitchen Wall, cottonwood catkins
    piled in corners, cliffs streaked with red and gold.
    I heard the beetles clicking in the few tiny trees,
    desperately seeking a mate while sending listeners
    among the humans into a calming quiet state.

    In one exhibition, there were large canvases
    blue with patterns of tiny dot clouds in lines
    or swirls, arrayed as far as the eye could see.
    A placard said when you were elderly, you flew
    in a small plane and were entranced by the
    cloud patterns you saw, and made the pilot
    fly over them until he was almost out of fuel.

    I peeked inside your bedroom, still furnished,
    to see the be-not-afraid Buddha’s hands there
    in a niche. If you opened your eyes while abed,
    the reassurance would meet you immediately.
    No wonder you took on so many strange, new
    subjects and styles of painting, you had a rock
    to lean on if ever you had a single doubt.

    Thanks for gorgeous, fearless images,