Special thanks to Staci Poirier for the cover art, “virus” -acrylic mixed media which incorporates a branch from a tree, plastic worms and fish, worry dolls, mirrors, wire mesh, and a photo transfer. The piece is 20 x 26 inches and was inspired by the 2008 poem “virus” by Rick Belden.
According to Staci, the artwork is about ending the cycle of child abuse and preventing it from becoming a generational issue. If you read the painting from left to right, it goes from death, shame, destruction,shattered self to a story filled with potential hope and wholeness which reflects the movement of the poem. Staci completed the piece in June 2012. Fragments of “virus” appear next to the titles for each essay in this issue
Staci Poirier was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is a self-taught artist. Proud of her rich, Métis heritage which informs much of her art work, she has focused primarily on acrylic painting and working with mixed media since 2002. Recently, she has begun incorporating her dreams, and giving them conscious expression. Stacl holds a B.A. from the University of Alberta in History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture. Staci’s art works can be viewed at www.facebook.com/stacipoirier71
virus By Rick Belden
a liquid black cloud spreads its fingers
across the family sky
like ink from a squid
filling an aquarium tank
blotting out the sun
turning everyone and everything
the color of a funeral
a virus infects the family tree
twisting the future
obscuring the past
spreading from generation to generation
feeding on the children
turning the adults into monsters
or rendering them
a parasite enters the family bloodstream
burrowing into hearts and minds
anchoring in tender bodies
protecting and propagating itself with a trance
I will not forget
and I will not pass these nightmares on to anyone else.
I’ll pull those black fingers down out of my sky
I’ll dig this virus out of my roots
I’ll burn this parasite out of my blood.
I’ll hunt down every last trace of this psychic infection
this evil rot that was injected into me when I was a child
and I’ll haul it out into the daylight
where it can’t survive.
I’ll scream it out
I’ll vomit it out
I’ll drag it out of me
any way I can
tooth and claw
root and branch
blood and bone
until I’ve purged it from my life
and cleansed myself completely.
I reject the conspiracy of amnesia and silence
that allows this systemic scourge
to thrive unchallenged
in dark and helpless places
I reject the family commandments
thou shalt not remember
thou shalt not feel
thou shalt not tell
I will remember
I will feel
I will tell
I’ll take back my life from this shadow blue plague
Rick Belden is the author of Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood, widely used by therapists, counselors, and men’s groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men’s issues. His second book, Scapegoat’s Cross: Poems about Finding and Reclaiming the Lost Man Within, is currently awaiting publication. He lives in Austin, Texas. Excerpts from Rick’s books, poetry, essays, and video are available at www.rickbelden.com
A Mandala for Richmond by William Fraker
While constructing a sand mandala, A Tibetan monk smiled in a moment Across the room and mountains Of meditation. Calm delicacy Floated in patterns of brightly Colored grains of sand as the Great circle took form. Crimson Pillows cradled bended knees And patient transcendence. Elbows and hands outstretched To remember and re-create An ancient reflection of holiness.
Held in memory and the prayer Of expression, each monk Contributed to the mandala That took over a week to complete. Palettes of inner detail fell into A brilliant spectrum of temporality; Reverence in creative process Captured on the floor of a museum.
The monks swept the art into an urn. A procession led on-lookers across A footbridge to an island already Sanctified by Union soldiers who Suffered imprisonment, exposure, And frequent death in the winter Before Lee’s surrender. Leaning Over rapids from jutting rocks, the Monks offered a varicolored invocation; Grains of time cascaded into the water.
by Susanne M. Dutton
“Si lasci pure cadere il concetto di ‘Limbo se e necessario.”
(“Let also drop the concept of Limbo if necessary.”)
all cooing and whining, ready forever for nothing.
womb-red and wrinkled, fist-faced and neckless
shoulder to doorjamb, knee-keen to loll
fallow for eons, side-lined and shiny cosseted keepsake
of mourning and pouty reason and dread.
After a thousand
thousand and one beyond
the one way to nowhere
petal-peeled daisy-splayed open and back
in powder drift hillsides, sheen on sheen
sifted dust layers over far tickling valleys
where slow roaming rivers grassy and thick
caught them in mercy, the millions who dropped,
fat elbows flailing, spitty fingers, bud toes
their dough brows and bellies, bobbing like fruit
as the damp haunch of a white cow stirred the earth
and she groaned.
Dolphins By Silvio Machado
are slim instruments of contentment.
I realized this once while taking the ferry
from Pico to Sao Jorge at sunset.
In the open expanse between islands,
a pod of what I could only guess
numbered in the hundreds,
hunted unsuspecting fish
before taking to deeper waters for the night.
With repeated and effortless coherence,
they breached from the water
alongside the boat,
weaving together–their bodies,
moon-shaped needles–sky and sea
with what I dare say were knowing smiles
on elongated faces.
The arcs of their bodies
harmonized in the air
as they leapt with enjoyment,
one after the other and sometimes,
two at a time,
in celebration of something
I hope to know well:
the ordinary pleasure of the body
doing what it is intended to do–
in this case,
moving through the salty brine,
eating raw fish.
I fumbled for my camera,
hoping to capture the moment,
but there was no taking my eyes
off their sleek, muscular forms.
How could I?
Clumsily, I snapped a couple of photos that,
when it was all done,
showed nothing but fractured shards
of sun meeting water,
light meeting dark,
of animal, purpose,
and amazement at the place
where they came together.
Summer Fields By R. L. Boyer
There was a time when meadow, grove and stream
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
Sweet memories of youth, echoes in the Mind’s Eye: the face of a girl, golden hair blowing
Wild in the breeze; glittering sunlight on a
Deep forest stream, swimming with trout; a
Calm hidden lake in the blue sunrise; sweet
Innocence of a boy, at play in summer fields that
Sing to him like dreams.
Then the change came, a darkening of the
Moon: a child lost, Nietzche’s orphaned
Shrieks, a festering, wounded soul; knowledge of
Good, and evil-of life, of loss and death. Dark
Side of the god that dies, the wounded thigh, the
Rib torn out; an invisible stain that won’t wash
Clean; innocence betrayed, grown proud, and
Sad, an eagle devouring its liver; flesh enclosing
Vision, like a heavy eyelid or a shroud, like
Melancholy-heavy with tears that fall like
Rain on the lost gardens of Paradise.
O child of sorrows, twice-born, wounded
Healer, shaman, initiate, hero, poet-the one who
Walks with a limp: Orchards grow fruitful in
Springtime; a serpent sheds its skin, and grows
Another. Swallows return to their nests each
Season. Sunset, sunrise. To the ebb, flow; to
Death, regeneration. To the dark of the Moon, Her
Fullness; to the journey of descent, Return.
The Way of Return is difficult, cry the poets,
No one returns unmarked. But for that one, the
Golden wheat ripens in summer fields that
Sing to him like dreams.
Note: This work first appeared several years ago in Mythic Passages: The Magazine of the Imagination, a publication of the Mythic Institute
Sacred Art By Laurie Corbett
Wee one, brought bare into cacophony,
this emergent pantheon.
This is your place
of smell, touch, blaring light.
This is how we show our face
annoyed with your lack of social grace.
Immersed, made into a person, a defined moving space,
bound in time, mesmerized roughly, softly,
whirling colors, voices, hands demanding
Outcast from warm womb, safe discipline, of
to create beyond common form,
the pain of separation, bravery called,
life’s instinctual desire,
tricks of the trade.
Within this sad parade —
the human will to cure, kill, carry on
if the art is true, burnt pure in sacrificial
flame, aimed impeccably —
— cathedrals of
awe and inspiration, hallmark of salvation
Taste! Be made aware
of sensation — touch this instant a place
beyond who you’ve ever been.
graceful soul-wrought energy
pours through these
poisoned by immortality.
It is for you we bleed,
imbued with such weight — to hold
that spark you know could set you free.
By Laurie Corzett
Cloistered for warmth in this area between.
I’ve learned its scenery, like lattice worked into my eyes.
Slowly turning toward a wise relief, pausing at this
portal to awesome wonderment,
pure radiant bliss
dispelling knots of pain and betrayal.
Magnetic, archetype of mystic dreams carried through
into the world of Man — psyche searing brand,
I come to the promised land,
potent stream of prophecy.
Commanded, I lay down my burden, weight against my back
of gathered assets I was certain to require.
Freed to meet my mission, to accept desire,
immortal pleasure, the opportunity to sketch,
to draw out beauty, to paint leisurely upon prism glass.
Have I reached the bridge upon the crossroads, the glimmering?
Magick’s sea through which I now may travel, native soul
returned, having earned my keep, my long journeyman’s
wage. I have looked at age, a deep reflective pond.
A wild road calls, beyond this threshold, sculpted by
oceanic power, drifts and meteors. I feel self-created destiny
shudder slowly, seismically, as I prepare
BLUE WOMAN LONGING: Thoughts on a self-portrait By Judith Harte
There are lovers content with longing. I’m not one of them.
Blue, here is a song for you …
You’ve got to keep thinking
You can make it through these waves….
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
What does one say to a blue woman longing?
Will only the words of others suffice?
Poem after poem
Thought after thought
A splash of tear
A cape of clay cushions sorrow’s face
Then … falls away.
I encounter the Self, as portrait
And I am on my knees.
My own ugliness revealed.
Inner vision still unseen outside.
Me as toad, where no princess can exist.
Grandma Lena wrapped in babushka.
Witchery at its finest!
Grandpa Sam left for another woman.
Lena boiled his hat to cast a spell,
Hoping it would bring him back.
Seed the generations
And bring on the longing.
The first is sweet.
The other burning,
Worst, when you’re in it alone.
I’m ancient inside,
Not as sad today.
Ancient equals eons of time,
Billions of people.
It’s hard to be sad
And ancient at the same time.
I place my sadness there,
In antiquity’s container.
Gimme some shelter.
It’s just a kiss away.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”
Might it be that the Blue Woman isn’t really blue after all?
At least not only blue,
But the kind of black that turns slowly,
And urges me to leave that sad woman,
Who fights for her life,
Tonight the blue woman refuses to be sad.
Perhaps the clay wants happiness?
Longing fills the room.
What does the longing want?
Mirror as self,
A captured reflection?
Or mirror as Self?
An image begins
And slowly evolves into a recognized subject.
Is that me?
And … yes!
“No one does Blue like Margot.”4
Especially her “Dream Anima(l)s.”
She knows Anima is Soul,
And that dream souls are dream animals,
And that soul animals are blue animals.
Weary after class. Unhappy with the work tonight. I curse that Blue Woman and her longing. I arrive home, open my car door, drop my keys on the half-lit ground. As I bend down to pick them up I notice a tiny, dark, shape on the gravel driveway near my feet. A closer look reveals a slightly curled, fragile, heart-shaped brown leaf whose veined patterns anatomically mirror the arteries and veins of the human heart. I pick it up, expecting it to crumble upon contact. Strong, sturdy, daring me to destroy it, the leaf will have none of it.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”
Photos taken for a self-portrait.
An exercise in narcissism?
A reparation of same?
Or my attempt to capture
A glimpse of Self?
I dream I visit someone at a retirement hotel/assisted living building. I walk down the hall and into her room. I don’t find her. In the bathroom I find her lying in the tub partially immersed in water, dead. Her hair is brownish gray, her face angular. I can tell she’s been there awhile. I go for help.
I awake with lyrics from “I Should Care,” a jazz standard from the early fifties, echoing in my head:
“I should care
I should let it upset me.
I should care
But it just doesn’t get me.”5
Over half a year ago,
While on my way to one of those final decades
That mark the beginning
Of the end, of a life,
Just as I was about to turn the page
On the way to another year,
“SOMEONE I LOVED GAVE ME A BOX FULL OF DARKNESS.”
I knew then
That it may take years to understand:
“This too was a gift.”
I embraced that knowing,
Kicked off the countdown to those last days
And crawled my way to the surface of my life.
Overnight the sky had turned to a robin’s egg blue
And I heard
Of a blue woman longing.
I understood then what Rilke meant
When he wrote:
“God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
And make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you:
Beauty and terror.
Just keep going.
No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.”6
 Rumi, Mawlana Jalal-al-Din, The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing, translated by Coleman Barks.
 Mitchell, Joni, “Blue,” from the album Blue.
 Oliver, Mary, “The Uses of Sorrow,” from Thirst.
4] Conversation with artist Margot McLean, co-author with James Hillman of Dream Animals, during the Image and Psyche Conference in San Francisco, California, March, 2006
 “I Should Care,” words and music by Sammy Cahn, Axel Stordahl and Paul Weston.
 Rilke, Ranier Maria, “God Speaks to Each of Us,” from Book of Hours: Love
A trained therapist, with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Judith Harte has been an astrologer since 1975. She began to sculpt about six years ago. Judith has a particular fondness for Depth Psychology and Mythic Astrology as well as the incorporation of a soul-centered approach in her astrological consulting work: www.imagesofsoul.com
Let the Feast Begin
By Bonnie Scot
At the healing table
welcome every starved
aspect of the self
Open your door
Embrace the goblins
the thieves of joy
With intimate scrutiny
bring to light every sweet
dark longing of the soul
Bless curses with truth
Mold blessings with wisdom
Lay them all on the table
temper your old
with robust offerings
of earth and stars
It’s time love
Let the feast begin
by Bonnie Scot
Nightbirds are singing
with the silvered
Inviting me to
of the night
If the enchantment
of their song
should come to you
By Jean Morin
As earth devours the last red rays of dying sun
Silence wraps me in midnight
Suffocating me with the whisper of dark wings
Brushing my cheek with a shiver
descending into darkness I feel in my bones
Sinking into the sounds of earth’s magic
Tasting blood on the tip of my tongue
Where yesterday’s lie is still on my lips.
Into the deepest parts of me– I surrender.
And I emerge into the place where moonlight
Licks the water like bees wings
Lapping at the edges as they die
Dances like a somber raven in autumn
Scattering leaves that shimmer like starlight
Softens the song of Saturn in my soul
I wake in twilight
There! The charcoal sky
thins with the faintest light
The skeletal slice of crescent moon impales itself
On a jagged crystal peak to the north
Foreshadowing daylight and life
From Staci: “I created this painting after I had a dream about my mom and I falling through ice, into deep water, and how I tried to keep her and I afloat. As I couldn’t push her up out of the water, suddenly an old hag rushed over and pulled us both up to safety. We felt deep gratitude. In some ways it’s also about thawing out and using my creative abilities. There is fire, opportunities, and access deep below. The key is to keep moving, start something, anything, and not stay frozen.”