Thursday, January 11, 2018

Witness Forty

Bright Blue of Young Stars, Watercolor, 1979 or 1980 (Pittsburgh, PA) 

I witness, outside myself

 You laughing
the room lighting up
the moment I first saw you
across the room
Sporting in Boston
lifting a glass
your hair African wild
I witnessed a beauty
desire, in April

In a summer outdoor cafe
sitting w/my poet friend
you walked by laughing with your friends
I witnessed myself, out of my body
walking too, knowing I wanted
to walk with you the rest of my life

On Christmas night
I witnessed a miracle
you, walking into playland bar
under a garland of white starry lights
surprised, recalling your name
a walking gift, under the ribbons
of light on the boston common
you came home with me

40 years ago it was
now, home in our Vermont
I am witness to a happy life
always surprised that it is mine
bearing witness to the love
 that is You. 
Happy Anniversary, my Chuck 2018

Lotus of Compassion, a  gift window for Chuck, 2018

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Eternal Pursuit of Happiness


After the first breath
The desire, the need for food
To be held, embraced
Hugged back into the warmth of the body

The whole of life, craving
Seeking that from which we were withdrawn
And that which is new
To crawl, walk, talk
Fed, to feed, on our own

Never, no, never are we free
Of craving, of desire
Food, yes, the necessity,  food, the delight
The special, the taste sublime

The physical, always we crave
Someone to nurture, to hold, to cuddle us
No matter what age
So often so misunderstood, misaligned
Targeting the wrong desire
The most essential, the most needed
Blinded by the irrational
Fighting for a rational mind
So easily hiding it, biding another

So many, so far from the womb
So far from the touch of gentleness
That destruction becomes the lust
The seed to destroy, not grow, not fertilize
The need, the beating of the heart
Better to stop it, than not find the mother

Norishment calls again and again
the mother father in all,
 male female one
loves, nurtures
All we imbibe, physical, mental, moral
Seeks only to wake to life
To find the holy womb
Of our eternal child
Until it quiets in natural sleep
In natural quiet
In natural birth
In natural death

Reflections on thoughts that were clearer at 3 am last night

Desires, watercolor @1975, So. Russell St., Beacon Hill

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

JTR III Today You Would Be 75

JTRIII, Taken at Bay State Road, Boston, Fall 1970
Today you would be 75

Oh, Jack
You changed my life
Turned it upside down
& right-side up
So glad I took that job
At Allen Bookoff Studios
On 25th Street, Baltimore

Passionate lovers
Wild lovers
Clumsy lovers
Brilliant and Brittle
Such bad lovers
Inept, uncertain
So unknowing of how
Of what
Outcast, bred out of our love
Our need to love each other
Yet love we did

The poetry
The Art
You awoke the me in me
Bursting with a quest for
Movies became cinema
Books, discovery tours
Music, centuries old
Brand new
Fluid and explosive
 Dancing with rhythms
I knew not before
No longer just
 teenage mating calls

Personally, sexually
Still forming social selves
We still had, like cooking
Housekeeping, to learn
How, and who, to love
So mired in religion to know
The book of love unwritten
Stumbling, while escaping, running
Down the forbidden path

Destroying lives
In soap opera drama
Throwing out the order of things
Babies thrown aside
Women, mothers scored
And scorning, admired, loved, scorning
As un  that which is our nature

Joy Street in Boston
Home of the Appalachian Club
House of bishops
In the Shadow of the State House
And the Whorehouse
Where black suited government workers
spent lunch & breaks
Across from the Red Shed of Kennedy studios
Our last attempt to live together
The battles raged
The chair, the beautiful art nouveau chair
So lovingly restored
So powerfully broken over my back
The police called,
Calming us down, not intervening
In domestic affairs until tragedy happened
Their kindness keeping us from bodily harm
The injury replaced with sorrow
That we could not
Control the flood

Setting sail apart
To Washington for you
For me Pittsburgh, Newburyport
And North, ever North

Always, brothers in love
The thick and the thin
Nourished and whetted
We were too much
And not enough
For each other                                                     

John Tyler Ricketts III 1942-2011

st. jean 1973

50  years Ago
So glad I took that job

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Harassment on High

Funny Man

sit-com society,
On a Jerry Springer stage
Society scorns sanctified sex roles
Honed for years, for eons
Since the finger first pointed to Eve
In the common legend
Now points at men
Who played the game
Set for them, even in jest

Now fingers point
One step from picking up the stone
First to toss at the culprit
Madwomen armed in a hotel room
frazzled femininity a high-heeled cause

While the Chief Finger
Know of tiny hands
Tweet venom to male and female alike
Lynching up with his little round mount
And prissy voice, the judgment of the king

Changing capitals of tiny kingdoms
To appease his commanding worshiping godmen
Fitfully bringing apocalypse they so adore
Wishing holy hell on the sinful poor
Holy Richeousness Pensive with bright—eyed hate
Saint Donald, the Revelator
Dancing on the pole
Nailing the cross of Jerusalem

                                                                                                                                Christmastide 2017
Media Fanning the Flames of Miscontent
(aka Forked Tongue Fox)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Mother Eats her Son

"My darling monkeyboy, Momma loves you so much I could just eat you all up."
12" x 15" x 2", Enameled, foiled cardstock  June 2016

Lyrics from a traditional Traditional Sephardic song after the Lamentations of Jerimiah, translated by Hamete Benengeli

Una Madre Comio Asado (a Mother Roasted Her Child):

And a mother roasted
and ate her cherished son

“Look at my eyes, mother.
I learned the law with them

Look at my forehead, mother
I wore the phylacteries there

Look at my mouth, mother:
I learned the law with it.”

Lyrics from a traditional Traditional Sephardic song after the Lamentations of Jerimiah, translated by Hamete Benengeli

From an interview with the composer, Osvaldo Golijov :
“That’s another incredible thing.  I said,  “What is this?”  How can one come up with a lyric like this?  “A mother roasted her cherished son, and then the son says:  ‘Look at my eyes, mother, I learned the Torah with them.  Look at my mouth I learned the law with it.”
”It alludes to the Lamentations of Jeremiah, which basically says:   Look at the city that stood so proud, and now mothers are eating their children.  That’s what happens when war ravages a region.  To me the marriage of these words and the beautiful melody are tremendous.” 

Here are links to two versions of this song, the first, w/Dawn Upshaw singing Golijov's adaption, the second of Sephardic origin by The Renaissance Singers.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Kitchen of Words

A Poem

is a recipe
a list
 of ingredients
some savory
some sweet
a spicy twist of ideas
to pause the heart
ignite the mind
breathe air, rise and fall

baked, fried
raw or wrapped
stir quickly
 slow cooked
to enhance, enrich
the wholeness
the reasons
of Life

3 August 2017  jmf-w

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Invention of Time

A Poem written, lost, and found again, seemed to belong to these works which I'd done during the spring & summer of 2015:

A Feather on the Breath

Time, discovered, devised
To understand the circle of day and night
The hours
The motions
The minutes
We created
watching the movements
of seasons
of stars, of planets
time to reap, time to sow
To fit our life, our time

Creating gods in our image
And his time in ours

Is not hours, is not minutes, days, weeks years
It steps far beyond our meager span
God we found immeasurable
But still he is ours

Time we name it
Expands far beyond
Far beyond where our mortal selves
Can fit

To have that
For a minute or 144 hours
24 of rest
The mind lingers in wonder
or runs in fear
Is to have eternity
In the palm of the hand
In the breath of a moment
In the
An eye

April 2016 - July 2017

Work 2:  Seeking the Red Dwarf

Sketch:  Blue Tape blocking for two paintings above Spring 2015