Tag: need

poem: reaching out

Grubby, dirty hands
covered in ink
and clay
and pigment
reaching out
with desperate longing –

that is what art is,
one spirit calling out
to another –

an exhibitionism of the soul.

Reaching out,
fingers waving,
voice pleading,
begging to be noticed.

i am alive!

Here i am!

See what i have made!

Like a child
at show and tell –
the smiling commences,
pride and joy in the eyes,
holding out
some masterpiece
or another
for you to notice:

See this drawing!
Look at this pretty pot!
i wrote this story,
see what i can do!
i made this for me
but also for you.

Oh, how this desire
tears open
the heart,
this wrenching need
for someone to share
an experience
that was so primal
and private
in its birthing.

But, these hands
can’t stop reaching,
and praying
that these words,
and this art,
and these forms
will start
through the world,
making the artist
more real
through her art.

11 december 2015

haiku series: on those needing refuge

Those large, fearful eyes
bore deep into my spirit,
drove my heart to tears.

i understand fear.
We humans can be scary,
yet still we must love.

What if your children
were running fast for their lives,
and no one would help?

Being too loving
might be a better mistake
than cold rejection.

We can survive more
than our terror would suggest.
We can act bravely.

i am struggling,
my easy life dissolving,
this led to knowledge.

i think that kindness
creates sublime gratitude;
selflessness makes friends.

If we can reach out,
put aside all fearful angst,
we might change the world.

And, i write these words
from inside a bleak, cold hole,
living off such gifts.

Those who have helped me
became heroes of legend –
earned my loyalty.

Then, how much more-so
would those who help refugees
embody kindness?

What should we become?
We manifest deep truth:
this shows who we are.

Please, lets be helpful,
generous despite unease,
deeply courageous.

Work past our limits,
together we can create
miracles on earth.

Let love conquer fear,
breathe deep and soothe suffering,
make this world better.


quick and dirty

reachingout_qadFor two days, i have been utterly unable. Yesterday, it took all i had to put up the open flag and sit here in the studio.  Stuck in my comfy chair for hours, i drew with a cheap pen on cheaper paper – a fairly primal purging of image and idea.  Even at that level of semi-solid, i still managed to miss a friend visiting because i went to the bathroom. While i was able to chat with some wonderful people, there were no sales and simply staying awake had taken so much from me that my legs wobbled beneath my girth.

By the time five pm came around, i was ready for bed. i tried, very hard, to get some cleaning done, but could not move my limbs in a coordinated manner. Breaking three things in less than ten minutes, i surrendered.  Coordination and grace have become fantasies when i am in that much pain and that exhausted. So, instead of useful, tangible progress on the problems of my life, i created more of this quick and dirty drawing while i waited for the sheets, quilt and mattress pad to finish in the washer and dryer.

i keep hoping that things will get better. i repeat “All will be well”; i meditate for over an hour a day trying to keep the wolves at bay.  Maybe this weekend, i whisper to myself, i will make a big sale. If i advertise here, then i will maybe get a bump on my online sales. Perhaps that website or this commission will come through.  This job might be the one that i take, which will make the forsaking of art sit with greater comfort inside my heart. Most of the time, i am able to convince myself to keep going with these quiet reassurances.

Only, the past two days, i have been struggling so hard to move and breathe – i got stuck in my bra this morning, because i could not lift my left arm in or out – that all hope transformed into delusion.

praying_qadYesterday, i noticed the trees behind my house are turning autumn colors. They have always been particularly easy trees, ready to shed their greens at the first quick breath of cool air, but their eagerness feels even more like betrayal this year. Today, the wind and the rain smell of autumn, and i feel the urge to grab the clock off the wall and smite it against the cement floor.  i would hold off fall with a sword. Time, as always, shows no regard for my needs or wants and just keeps charging on like an angry, blind rhinoceros.

i wish i could explain it to myself, why i struggle with such desperate, perilous despair.  Even though i have been assured that this is incorrect, even irrational, i perceive myself as particularly week and unadaptable. Would someone else be crumbling like this?  Would their loved ones praise them for having such reasonable mental breakdowns or would they be praised for holding their head up and taking life’s blows on the chin?

i face major life changes, yes. i am falling apart physically, without doubt. That each of those feeds off the other, too, cannot be disputed although an engaging debate like the chicken and the egg could take place. i was already a broken unit before i decided to pursue art with all i had. Then, using all i had, which so clearly wasn’t enough, i wound up becoming more broken. However, i refuse to give myself permission to have myself days like today and yesterday.  i hate myself for falling apart, which does nothing to keep me active and healthy, but instead fills me with shame and graceless resentment.  i draw to stop thinking about my situation, or myself.  Only, even that desperate art reminds me of how futile this situation is: fall is coming, i cannot stop time, and i am dissolving.

As much as i hate to tell you this: i have nothing to give the world today. No strength, no inspiration. Indeed, i think with this blog, i will have used up my full allotment of words for the day.  Once more, i will use all that i have to make useless art – hoping beyond hope, this madness that drives my heartbeat, that somewhere in word or line, i will find that one thing that can save me.

addiction to art’s flow

IMG_1554Over the years, i have known too many people who struggled with addictions to things like cigarettes or shopping or sex or alcohol or drugs, or some combination of the above.  Watching their struggles, i felt this immense gratitude (along with waves of compassion) that i had not fallen down the same path.

Only, recently, i have realized that i did not escape the gene or the effects of environment that can foster addiction.  In a very real sense, i developed an one of my own – to getting lost in the flow of art.  When i make art, everything else disappears; my entire being seems to dissolve in the way the clay, paint, ink or story moves.  i crave this.  i demand it.  i seek it out, even if i am scribbling on a napkin.  Indeed, i will continue chasing after art even when every speck of evidence tells the sane rational people around me that this is a foolish, self-destructive path.

For the past several weeks, I have been trying very hard to redirect a portion of my effort and energy into finding more freelancing jobs, exploring other options for employment that can coexist beside my current business and obligations. Indeed, i am even preparing myself for the very real possibility that art must be put on hold for awhile, so that i can keep a roof over my head and food in my animals’ bellies. In addition IMG_1545to seeking non-art solutions, i took an amazing small business class to see how to better move through the troubling arena of selling art.  i am doing all i can to put myself in a better position.

i acknowledge that all these chores are necessary things, and good places to put my energy.  After all, financially at the very least, something has to shift quickly.   However, there is a drawback. i do this knowing that the energy to which my body has access is limited. Therefore, devoting a large portion of my effort into these areas has meant that other responsibilities and joys suffered. My dog is shamefully lacking time at the beach to romp and roam.  Except for meditation, my self-care has flown out the window.  The stress is wearing on me; i am letting everyone down while i scramble for better paying jobs and new galleries to sell my art.

As i fill out applications and take tests on my competency in different subjects (discovering that i am happily quiet competent at many tasks), i have been doing the same thing i did during graduate school and undergraduate and nearly every traditional job i have ever held: i am leaking poems and art like blood dripping from my hands.

The more i try to focus on other things, the more the art surfaces. If i swear off art even for a short period, my entire being destabilizes IMG_1547and creativity bleeds into inappropriate places and spaces.  Dialogue for plays murmurs from my lips while i am in the shower. Poetry finds itself scribbled in the margins of notes i take, just like in college.  Drawings swim around in my mind until i have to draw them – not just once, but twice or three times – in order to expunge the image.  Stories that were put aside earlier due to lack of time haunt both my waking and dreaming mind; characters shake me and demand their due.

For six days, an intense, nauseating migraine has been wreaking havoc with my brain, eyes, thoughts and coordination.  My  memory is off; my attention span, worse.  Writing, like i am doing right now, actually hurts as much from the effort of putting one letter after another as from trying to focus through enough visual distortion to make the IMG_1556whole world brighter than a sparkly Twilight vampire.  The one thing that has soothed is art: the flow of ink, experimenting with watercolor, the comfort of line and form.

Even when i am at my worst, i bleed art. If i try to pretend i am a normal person, like the adult that i imagine everyone else to be, then the bleeding becomes a hemorrhage. The compulsion to make it grows irresistible.  It wails within me, disconsolate and brutal, until i give in.  So, i feed the addiction, no longer caring if i am forgetting other things, neglecting important obligations or crumbling into dissolution.  Inside the flow of creating, nothing matters but what pours through me.

And, for that, i thank the entirety of this super-sparkly Creation, every moment, including those dripping with pain.  There are worse fates than being a hopeless artist.  This strange little addiction feeds my soul; it helps to pull me back from despair; it fuels the rest of the struggle to move through this life.

rosary for the broken artist


Christ, I have been drowning.


Desperately, i want to believe that you would not have given me this intense sense of purpose and the awesome bliss i find in creating just for me to demonstrate all the ways i can fail when given such gifts.


So, my Lord, i hold out my heart to you – i ripped myself open so you can see my urgent, naked need.


1 – Please, Christ, make me strong

2 – give me wisdom

3 – stoke my courage

4 – bring me inspiration

5 -bestow some confidence

6 – lead me gently

7 – make me able


i pray thus because it is through my work that i honor you best – my weakness and limitations impede much i would do, so i worship as i draw, paint, throw, sculpt and write.  Thankfully communion can always be found in the flow of art.  There, i feel your fierce love.


i strive to serve you well, so i beg in the Name of Jesus Christ, please add a few more blessings onto the heap you have already given me.  Please, hear my prayer.  AMEN

poem: Lord, i surrender

Lord, i surrender.
In the grey light
of early morning,
i give up.
Nothing i do
makes it better,
nothing i say
makes a difference.
Without you guiding me,
i have no idea
what direction
i should choose.
Too many false idols
would give me the wrong advice.
My Lord, my God,
i am failing.
i am falling.
This prayer must sound
like a broken record
on endless loop.
The repetition makes it
no less earnest.
i need help,
my Savior,
my Christ,
and i am so deeply wounded
i do not know
where to begin.

6 april 2012

poem: dinner guest

My Lord, my God, my Christ
if you sat here
with me
at this table,
i would bring
such gratitude to you –
shower you with food,
as much laughter
as is possible.

i anthropomorphize,
i know,
but i cannot help it.

i am lonely
on this day
when my hard work
has finally come to fruition.

A tremendous fear
had surrounded moving forward;
the conviction that the life i chose
might be beyond my abilities
had to be beaten back.
Even now,
i feel a stirring with me,
almost like a post-coital funk.
My heart remains heavy
with potential doom.

You have given me
with innumerable blessings,
so that i am left staggered
and wild-eyed with awe.

Only, i feel ungrateful.

Tonight of all nights,
i would have loved
an embrace, a kiss.
Fiercely, i crave
a sense of connection
found only in two places
during this life:
the arms of a lover
and communion with you.

The latter will only be found
by your grace –
i have surrendered such things to your care.

So, i sit here,
drinking and eating
thinking of you
as my dinner partner –
wishing you were here
in a form tangible enough
to say “good job.”

23 september 2013

poem: if i could ask

If i could ask,
my Lord, my God,
for even more things
that i do not deserve,
i would beg you for help.
My body lacks the strength
to rise and be brave.
i want to cower within solitude
because my loneliness
seems to isolate me
from humanity.
My Lord, my God,
i ache with my irrelevancy
and i reach out clutching hands
like a monstrous baby
begging for some hope.
Only, my Lord, my God,
i am never grateful enough
for the miracles that find me.

Please, God, i am crying out
from the emptiness around my heart.
Please, God, help me manage
when all i feel is lonely brokenness.

10 march 2013

poem: suffering and nobility

Lord God Almighty,
As always
i pray and i beg.
Friends need help.
Another tragedy
has lost countless lives
i feel lost,
unsure of what to do,
of what would help
and what will harm.
My dreams may not be yours.
My Lord,
Mother of God.
i feel so selfish
asking for anything
when friends need help
and people world over suffer
in ways i cannot fathom.
So, Mary,
i lift everything up,
this whole insane world
with all its suffering
and all its notability.
Love us, Lord,
all i can really do
is anchor my heart
in prayer –
and remember –
and all will be well.