Art and Earth

because earth Without Art is Just "Eh."

42 notes &


(9 minutes. For subtitles, click on ”cc” at the screen bottom while the video is running.  Click on the video image above for full-screen.)

Ink Ocean is about the oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 when nearly 5 million barrels, or 210 million gallons, of crude oil were spilled into the sea due to an explosion of an off-shore drilling rig. It remains the largest marine spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

Over 5 months, hydro-carbon eating bacteria devoured 200,000 tons of oil and natural gas in the Gulf. After that the oil settled into the ocean floor where the bacteria could not reach it. Despite the massive cleaning efforts by the oil industry and governments, and the efforts of the bacteria, as of 2012, 40% of the spill remains in the waters and the ocean floor.

 This prose poem began as writing in an ink drawing. It took 6 - 8 months to finish, and was revised in preparation for this reading.  It is an experimental poem structurally. A poem of utterance, of cross-currents and paradoxes. It is composed of many voices, and perspective shifts.

 There are two parts. The first is on the oil spill, and the second is about love in a world bordering on oblivion, a world that’s half spirit. We are in the 6th Mass Extinction on the earth. This is the backdrop.


Ann says:  Don’t be fooled by the gallery backdrop— the background images will soon change. I particularly love Brenda’s costume:  green, the color of life in her top, which is periodically covered by a black veil.

This video is subtitled.  Click here if you want to read the poem that comprises the subtitles.

Copyright 2014 by Brenda Clews


Filed under poem poems poetry art video performance art brenda clews gulf oil spill conservation big oil oil spills pollution eco nature extinction dance lit

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The Hit Drop Cafe: Coffee Cake (The Love Lives of Saints)


It was four sleeps before the jolly fat man fooled the burglar alarms and committed home invasions via the chimney.  Then, laughing hysterically, he always fled to the North Pole, running the radar speed traps and with the police patrol cars in hot pursuit.  Always they failed, and their long list of questions about sliding down chimneys and about too much Christmas cheer remained unanswered.  It seemed as if it would take nothing short of a surface-to-air missile to bring down the crazed sleigh in the sky.

Four sleeps remained before the welfare of reindeers once more topped the list of Animal Liberation.  But who was counting?  All the children and the child-like were; and they were galvanizing into their best behaviour and switching on their early to bed mode.  The entire commercial world was also counting down, releasing their plague of TV mosquitoes to gleefully inject a highly infectious buying fervour.  A fever to send harassed shoppers into a shoving frenzy that would last until after the post-Christmas cut-price sales.

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The men from the village
Came and marked me.
I am old. I expected it. The young ones
Under me have attained
Good measure, height and spread.

The men from the village
Came with whetted and honed tools
To deliver me for resurrection.
The young ones need free air
To breathe, become canopy, to drop seeds

To grow old, as their young also will
Grow and realize good measure.

The men from the village
Will come to mark them then
Clearing the old, towering growth
The metal-to-wood sound of whetted tools
Will begin the manufacture of their resurrections

Hauling their moist carcasses
To town to mill transformations:
Homes to build and ships to launch
From scaffolds and false frames
From cradles and coffins

The X mark they paint on us is no sacred cross
But our rood of doom, the briefest sentence
Summing lives of growth, of bearing fruit and shade
Until the well-honed tools cut swift and deep
Through the rings of lives. So we shudder and fall
To the music of our backs breaking and the men from the village
Singing warnings and praise of our might and worthiness
And the wood, in honor of the fallen, is full with silence.



Copyright 2012 by Umar Hassan.  All rights reserved.

Image: Let’s Go Digital

Filed under umar umar hassan poem poems poetry lit aging forests trees pagan druid logging death memorial resurrection

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Vespertine (Poem by Dan Collins)


She is an unfolding,
layered corolla,
sheer at the failing of day.
I think of her as a shadow
annoyed by the swagger
of the sun; yet
she is playful under cover
of dark; held only
by thin reigns of light
and roots of unnatural
restraint. By evening, etiolate,
she is open,
and eager for the light
through the blindfold
her lover has tied so loosely.
She is a supple suggestion
on the coy lips of dusk.
Pressed, she echoes
the hollow of palm
with the hollow of her spine.
She is coaxed and curled.
And if I call her a flower
of the night, then I mean
that she has waited for dark,
rapt in the arciform
promise of moon.


Copyright 2013 by Dan Collins (aka Atticus)

Image: Marci McDonald

Filed under poem poems poetry lit dan collins atticus night erotica femininity flowers moon pagan druid wicca men couples sex Moonlight

6 notes &

A Fish’s Tale (Poem by Audrey Howitt)


a skewered bit of fish

spoke to me

of its long adventure

in silent reverie

watching the light

careen through bubbles

long left

by plankton’s organizational crimes

as it filtered down

(in otherness)

it danced upon

the upward draft

of these air bubbles

feeling their circumference

bursting upon gill and scale

a rhythmic tambourine

tumbling broadside

and as it ventured its tale

of sun’s dance

i felt my heart

squeeze a bit

a nuanced caress

life against life

as its story now became mine.


Ann says: This shows a very Buddhist concern for the karma of food and eating.  Buddhist meal prayers may begin with:” There is much suffering in this food…”


Poem Copyright 2013 by Audrey Howitt.

Images: 1. Mary Jo McConnell  2. Head of Woman With Fish by Jose Miguel Perez Hernandez

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For My 37th Birthday (Poem by D. W. Moody)


Tires drone evening song

on a road beside miles

of western silhouettes.

A thousand valleys—

a thousand peaks.

Storm-torn rows of back-lit firs

ink-black before evening sun—




I am flying—

flying from the shadow of the mountain

toward a place

where sunlight

finds my bones.

Toward a place

where starlight climbs stairways

of yellow leaves

in spiral fashion

to creep about the canopy.

Toward a place

where vultures couple

in cathedral trees

thrashing their wings

against life, death and climax.

I breathe as deep

as the smoke-filled valley—

as deep as the rivers

over crystals and bedrock

and the wash of trees

sweeping by—

an animated canvas—


a fabric blur of color and light.

This road—

this road leading

to what I may be.

To daydream seaside—

to lighthouse and hobbit trail—

to amber sand and turquoise sky—

to guillemots and cormorants—

to unwritten future.

I park in gray gravel—

climb over the rail—

attach my eyes

to ten-thousand metaphors.

Wind tosses dry thistle—

brushes fern shadows—

asks insects to click—

sways forest giants.

And for a moment

I pause—





Ann says: This is one of the few poems I’ve seen where short lines work well, presumably because the narrator is recounting the images flying before his eyes on a cross-country road trip.

Copyright 2009 by D.W. Moody

Images: 1.  2.

Filed under d.w. moody poem poems poetry lit illustration vacation landcsape 30-something road trip travel pacific northwest midwest mindfulness meditation

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Ode to a Happy Man (Poem by Corinna Parr)


is peaceful strength;
I see you settled,
ankle perched on knee,
head bowed
with the weight
of male thoughts;
alien mind,
I cherish you for
that little smile
cast in my direction,
hardly a twitch
of those subtly
curved lips
but I see,
I see.
Oh, if I could
press you
into myself and
drink the masculinity
of you, become one
with it and
truly know what it is
to be a happy man,
I would.
For me, it is only ever
the imperfect joining,
the spill of fluids
and your ragged breath
caught in the cup of my


Ann says: Among her many talents, Corinna Parr is a writer of literary erotica par excellance.  You can find her work here.

Copyright 2013 by Corinna Parr.

Image: Antonio Canova's sculpturePsyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, circa 1800. Photo by Roberto Leya.

Filed under poem poems poetry corinna parr erotica men masculinity women love couples bonding sex the thinker

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My Fractalious Blue Universe (Math Poem by Umar)



keep straight, never

find infinity in a box

Euclid was out of line

the universe is a fractal

the weight of the path

is the dust on his shoes

the weight of the past

is the dust on his shoes

his people kept straight

boxed in, saw gods in voids


dusty pasts lost along the path

bent by time’s recursive scaling

of pentatonic chants

(Just play the black keys, honey)

cobbled together as universes

best hummed as fractalious blues


cobbled together lines of aphorisms

organized and blown through pipes

Gregorian pleas looking forward

lip synching yesterday’s scrawled notes

extolling what is dust, what is lost

to the undetectable camber

while blind-walking into walls

on the pretense of holy straightness

the double weights of path and past

is the dust on your shoes

Euclid was out of line

as those who came following


Euclid was straight

out of line

now we can find infinity in a box

as the universe is a fractal:

(maybe it has eleven faces-

cosmic Vedic complexities?)

a self-similar recursive stochastically scaled,

dimensionally complex thingy. 


Ann says:  Euclid was the father of geometry, but he never anticipated the mathematics of fractals, which are one of the most important ways of describing the shape of our world.  

1. “Dust on your shoes” is a reference to cantor dust, the first fractal discovered.  

2. The reference to piano music is a reference to “music strings" which compares the strings in String Theory to strings on a musical instrument.

3. “Eleven-faced” Vedic complexity refers to the section of String Theory predicting that the universe must be composed of at least 11 dimensions.

Umar knows his physics!

Poem Copyright 2011 by Umar

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Filed under umar umar hassan poem poems poetry math geometry fractals blues cosmology euclid physics quantum physics

5 notes &

View From a Leeward Shore (Poem by Barbary Chaapel)


He has a clean, windswept look,

Wave curling back on the next wave,

Diamond facets, moon-stroked, glittering.

Lord of the Wind balloons his cheeks:

Heaving a fury of weather, he excites his waves,

Powerful tonnage inundating each other.

Unseen, a dark line of cloud looms—

Flotsam and jetsam swim with a purpose

Ever toward a distance.

The Lord of the Wind is mindless,

Fathoms deep of mindless pleasure,

overtaking himself wave after wave.

Unseen on the horizon, a little yacht, hove-to.



Ann says: “hove to” indicates a boat with sails lowered due to rough weather.

Barbary Chaapel is one of the most gifted and accessible contemporary poets. This poem is from her new poetry collection Bog Woman: A Mythic Journey, which I highly recommend. To order, please email:

Copyright 2013 by Barbary Chaapel

Images: 1. Clipper in Stormy Sea by B.F. Gribble 2.

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5 notes &

The Xmas Drop Cafe: Cheers (Of Lions and Nubile Young Saints)


With Christmas looming, the fifteen newly resident saints stayed mostly within the Guesthouse for Saints.  They were on compassionate leave!  All of them were having a long overdue break from whipping the pagans into line with the promise – in a loving sort of way – of eternal hell and damnation.  That had been a tremendous workload, and the happily sinning heathens were not exactly grateful for being assured of places in the burning pits.  Equally draining had been the bestowing of a hundred blessings here, a thousand over there and another ten thousand everywhere just for luck.  On top of that, the whining public expected them to work miracles as well.  It had been like slaving in a blessed circus, performing impossible juggling acts while tip-toeing along a high wire without a safety net – with unspeakable martyrdom to petrify the imagination if they fell from the wire.

They were all mindful that many a Christian had been fed to the lions and that many a lion had been thrown to self-righteous Christians.  And the saints were neither!  They were saints in desperate need of R & R.  They had been balancing astride widespread and unsteady stools, above both the hungry lions and blood-thirsty Christians.  And they were all suffering from compassion fatigue.  The one-way street of giving had been draining.  There had been endless hordes of ingrates with begging bowls raised to receive blessings and to demand bigger and better miracles.  And while their cups had runneth over, there wasn’t even a trickle being given back by the ungrateful wretches.  Who would give to the sainted ones, now that it was their long overdue turn to receive?  Who?  Who?

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Her Coffin Was Made From Water (Short Sci-Fi by Richard Thuss)


Her coffin was made from water, crystal clear, wet to the touch, firm and rigid when placed in the ground. Pall bearers, hands colder than a polar winter, made handles of ice when they grabbed it, and all six of them, walking on legs with no feet, carried her slowly the fourteen miles to her grave. I watched from a distance that was measured in years and saw the end of my daughter not yet born.

I chose to live my life this way in this incarnation. I chose to live in a world where I could move purposefully in all four dimensions instead of just three. And a world where the laws of physics were not fixed but instead flowed like a meandering stream.

It seemed a good change from my four hundred lifetimes on Earth, a chance to perfect another aspect of my soul, the part of me that always seemed to be hindered in its evolution by the constraints of a world where the rigid forward arrow of time holds the key to what we can become and fixes what we have been.

Here, in this world, it is different. I can move forward or backward in time as well as the other three dimensions. The deeds that I do in any given moment travel along like a pattern of waves in both directions, changing the past if I want, and creating a future that I want to travel to. Only when it is over will the story of this life be finally written.

I came to this moment in time, the time of my daughter’s burial, right after my wife told me this morning that we were going to have our first child. Here, I am an old man, but I’m still alive. And I have discovered that my daughter is not.

I must now go back in time and find the moment where I can change that. I must make this future become one with me in that water coffin and not her.

I have yet to meet her, but she is my daughter, and, indeed, I already love her, for I have learned, in this, my four hundred and first lifetime, that there are no constants in the universe except love.


Ann says: This story is as clear and beautiful as the coffin in the title.

Copyright 2011 by Richard Thuss.  His novels may be purchased here.

Image: Katarina Plotnikova

Filed under story short story prose long-reads lit surreal sci fi scifi richard thuss science fiction time travel fathers daughters love reincarnation

81 notes &

Selah by Michelle Kennedy


When my fingers trace

your most delicate arch

run gingerly and freely

over every curve and valley

This is where I find peace..”

He whispered each word

as if it were his last

as if his bones

were being left

white and vulnerable

in the heat of the desert

as if his heart was

left to languish in the midday

exposed in a sharpened sky

I felt each letter etched

into my spine as I inched

closer to his craving

I wanted to smell his hunger

taste his aching thirst

move him to the edge

where the sun kisses the earth

“You know where to find me

here in the soft spaces of the air

there in the quiet place in your mind

wherever you are, I am there”



Ann says:  ”Selah” is a Hebrew concept that translates roughly as “Stop and listen.”

Copyright 2012 by Michelle Kennedy.

Photo: Stock Image, Arches National Park

Filed under poem poems poetry lit michelle kennedy love couples selah judaism landscape desert southwest desert hebrew

10 notes &

Standing Wave (Erotica by James Ciriaco)


My hair trickles across her belly and she whimpers. She is embarrassed to show how her flesh swells towards me, and trusts that I will bend the bars. Fingertips dimple her thighs and start a tremor beneath pale skin. The undulation of my tongue flows into her hips, to the creak of springs. Her voice rises; her body heaves from the heels and arcs over me.

As one wave recedes,
it gathers into the height
of the wave that crests.


Copyright 2012 by James Ciriaco.

Image: Hokusai

Filed under poem poems poetry james ciriaco erotica lit japanese art sex orgasm love lust couples haibun men women

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Losing Your Religion, Finding Your Spirituality: Part III: Other Teachers


Unitarian minister Peter Tufts Richardson, in his book Four Spiritualities, contends that it is important to pay attention to the works of religious, spiritual, and philosophical teachers in traditions that are different from our native one (See Part I and Part II). 

But how can we identify which teachers might be helpful to us?  Richardson believes that our inherent personality type (see links at the bottom of the article) helps to determine which teachings are attractive, meaningful, and useful to us. 

The following descriptions of four personality-based spiritual paths and their mentors are condensed from Peter Tufts Richardson’s book Four Spiritualities, with some of my own research intermingled.  If you have figured out your personality type, please let me know if, and how, any of these differing paths resonate with your own spiritual journey!


Sensing Feelers (SF): The Journey of Devotion (Mentors: St. Francis, Mohammed, St. Mark (apostle))

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was born into a wealthy Italian family.  As a young man, he was injured in war. On the way home, exhausted and in pain, he spied a leper and was overwhelmed by compassion.  St. Francis writes that he ”saw the face of the suffering Christ” on the leper.  He dismounted, embraced the man, and gave him all of his money. 

Later, St. Francis had a vision of his life’s work.  He writes that a crucifix came alive, saying ”Go, Francis, and repair my falling house.” Francis took the words literally, and spent years repairing ruined churches.  Later, he saw his revelation as a directive to repair the “spiritual house” of Christianity. 

St. Francis founded an order of monks (The Franciscans), and in his later years he composed Canticle of Brother Sun, an ode to mother earth and her inhabitants.  He is often pictured holding birds, a reference to a tale of him rescuing two doves on their way to slaughter.

The life of St. Francis reveals a Sensing Feeler’s passion for his God, a dedication to serving others in direct and tangible ways, and a gift for finding inspiration in the lives and works of ancestors.

The SF Spiritual Path:  Sensing Feelers value personal experience and action through direct service to others. They often feel that God is present here and now, in our bodies and in our lives.  Sensing Feelers are inspired by pilgrimages, heroes, and stories.

In their practical approach to spirituality and their appreciation of religious myth, Sensing Feelers bring continuity, integrity, and pragmatism to religious traditions, giving them staying power through generations.


Sensing Thinkers (ST): The Journey of Works (Mentors: Confucius, Moses, St. Thomas (apostle)).  (Also my best guest for HH the 14th Dalai Lama).

Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.) never achieved his goal of becoming a governmental administrator.  As a teacher and scholar, however, he made a lasting impact on philosophy and government.

Confucius reworked the oldest documents of Chinese culture (now known as the Confucian Odes) into a coherent system for the conduct of life that is remarkably practical and democratic.  Confucius believed that the well-being and consent of the common people constitute the legitimacy of a government, and societal reform works from the bottom up.  His teachings guided Chinese society for nearly 2500 years.

In the words of Confucian translator Arthur Waley:

"In the West, we tend to instill ethical principals into young children until they are internalized: This is right, that is wrong.  In traditional China…a young child is taught a number of considerations, none of which is absolute.  You have to reason out what is appropriate, operable, and right in any specific situation."

Confucian principals help us decide what action is practical, skillful, and humane in any given situation, not what is “right” or “wrong.”

The life of Confucius gives clear evidence of a Sensing Thinker’s love for law and order and attention to careful thought, planning, and stewardship.

The ST Spiritual Path:  Sensing Thinkers are realistic, practical, and sometimes righteous.  They strive to keep to religious organizations running smoothly based on a foundation of law and order.  They feel responsible for personal, social, and natural resources.  

Sensing Thinkers believe that a clear-cut personal identity is essential for a fulfilling spiritual life.  They see work as life’s aim and fulfillment, spiritually as well as practically. 


Intuitive Feelers (NF): The Journey of Harmony (Mentors: Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Jesus, Lao-Tzu, St. Luke (apostle), Thich Nhat Hahn, Buddhist Master).

Mother Theresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) ministered to the world’s poor, sick and dying for over 40 years.  In 1997 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  When asked what the average person can do to promote world peace, she simply said “Go home and love your family.”

As a young woman, Theresa felt a strong call to help the poor while living among them. ”To fail would have been to break the faith” she writes of her spiritual imperative.

Theresa founded an order of nuns, the Missionaries of Charity, in 1940.  At first her order was so poor that the sisters had to beg for food and supplies.  But Mother Theresa, with her Intuitor’s grasp of the big picture, was a good administrator.  At the time of her death in 1997, she had founded 610 missions in 123 countries to care for the poor, sick, and dying.  Her order includes over 4,000 sisters and 100,000 lay volunteers.

Mother Theresa honored the religious beliefs of others.  In her homes for the dying, ministrations are offered in several religious traditions: Muslims are read the Quran, Hindus receive water from the Ganges, and Catholics are given the last rites. 

Mother Theresa continued her spiritual journey throughout her life, aided by her “spiritual advisor,” a priest to whom she was close.  Her diaries, published after her death, reveal that for much of her life she struggled with strong doubts about the existence of God.

Mother Theresa’s story reveals an Intuitive Feeler’s quest for self-hood, focus on process as part of a religious path, tolerance of differing spiritual traditions, and love of harmony.

The NF Spiritual Path: Intuitive Feelers are social idealists.  Their spiritual journey includes a quest for self-hood and a mystical pursuit of harmony.  They project an attitude of expectancy and an openness to their unconscious selves, including their dreams, as a way towards spiritual healing. 

Intuitive Feelers focus on process in relationships, whether to family, friends or society.  They often enjoy exploring different spiritual traditions, and may combine several in their belief system. They avoid conflict, and are peacemakers and “carriers of the banner of tolerance” among traditions.  They are our social visionaries.


Intuitive Thinkers (NT):  The Journey of Unity (Mentors: Thomas Merton, The Buddha, Thomas Aquinas, Carl Jung)

Thomas Merton (1915-1968), an important 20th century religious writer, hated church as a child.  During college, however, he became interested in Catholicism.  After graduating, became a Cistercian monk, maintaining a vow of silence for two years. 

In 1948 Merton published his spiritual classic The Seven Storey Mountain, an account of his quest for God.  Though eloquent and passionate, this book reveals Merton as narrow-minded (or at least unworldly) and judgmental, dismissing pagan traditions as “evil old religions.”  

In the decades that followed, however, Merton matured, and his world view widened.  He became a political activist and peacemaker.  His interest in other religions, particularly Eastern ones, grew. Merton dialoged with the worlds’ leading Buddhists— the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hahn, and D.T. Suzuki.  He died in an electrocution accident in 1968, at the age of 51.

Merton’s life story reveals an Intuitive Thinker’s love of scholarship, search for universal truth and justice, and desire for the spiritual enlightenment of all.  In the words of the Buddhist scholar Shantideva:

May I be a guard for those who are protectorless

A guide for those who journey on the road

For those who wish to go across the water

May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge…

When all these actions I have performed

And their virtue I have thus amassed

May the pain of every living being

Be thereby scattered and destroyed.”

The NT Spiritual Path: Intuitive Thinkers seek organizing principals throughout life and nature.  They want universal justice and truths that are global, honest, and clear.  Their milestone of spiritual progress is deep and lucid thinking. 

A goal of Intuitive Thinkers is social justice, achieved through education.  Intuitive Thinkers may be spiritual writers and often attempt interfaith peacemaking.  They may practice intellectual mysticism, often in quiet places or in silence. 

To determine your personality type, take one of these online tests. You will receive an answer with four letters, but for the purposes of this article we are interested in only the two middle letters:

Humanometrics (Take “Jung Typology Test”)

 Similar Minds.  ( Click on “16-Type Jung Personality Tests”, then take “Jung Tests IESNFTJP”.)

 Abbreviated version  (Click on “What is my Myers-Briggs personality type?”)



Images: 1. St. Francis of Assisi, courtesy of 2. Confucius, artist unknown 3. Painting of Mother Theresa, courtesy of 4.Thomas Merton by Joseph Malham.

Filed under peter tufts richardson philosophy psychology spirituality jung myers briggs ann marcaida mother theresa st.francis of assisi confucious thomas merton religion