Reflective, Responsive, Ekphrastic
A place for my original poetry. Enjoy!
Power’s Out ( written in response to the PSPS events during the California Wildfires of 2017-2018)
detectors at ready
hum and whine
decibels a thick masticate
Let the battery die
light a candle
When did you last hear:
a bat return home before dawn
or a cat climb a fence
or the bird at first light?
Wait a moment
this is nice
soft and rare
The power off!
(Ekphrastic poem from November 2022 In response to
“Bodies” by Maria Jose Fierros Aguilar)
In case you hadn’t heard it in a while:
It is not recommended to eat a bag of chips when you’re too tired to make a recovery smoothie after a workout.
BREATHE: BODY: BUT!
It is common to skip a workout for any reason and put yourself on the back burner.
BREATHE: MIND: REFLECTION!
You’re perfect in the skin you’re in.
You know that body you inhabit.
BREATHE: BODY: SIZE!
Small and fit Zumba and Spin enthusiasts won’t say it.
But I will, and you are.
BREATHE: MIND: FEEDBACK!
wrapped in loving parentheticals—
She has such a pretty face.
He is so smart.
I could just gobble up those chubby little thighs.
BREATHE: MIND: MESSAGES!
Younger. Stronger. Prettier. Healthier. Happier.
Hungry to be more-or -less
because you feel too much this or not enough that.
BREATHE: WHAT THE HECK!
Industry standards for sizing…
Do they even exist?
At least it’s got stretch.
Pull it up! Pull it down! Tuck it in, over and under.
Historically, art has painted and sculpted fertility, longevity, and prosperity as
bodacious, voluptuous girth.
And, it’s still in fashion to emulate the attributes of heads of state and public figures.
BREATHE: MIND: REFLECTION!
I see all of you and it is so much more than any judgement, feedback, or criticism.
BREATHE: BREATH and BODIES:
A steady stream of oxygen in –carbon out,
Out through the artist’s stylus,
friction against surface.
Soft, evocative, simple, profound.
Lives lived, visible, tender, unapologetic.
Perfect in form and expression
(Ekphrastic poem from January 2023 in response to a photograph by Dennis Ariza titled “Alone”)
A wonderous thing is a butterfly
resting prone on shattered stone
Determinate symbol of transformation.
A slow furry crawl is how it began;
rarely noticed, larvae blend into a scene
weaves its own blanket, cocoons in alone,
in its chrysalis bed for one to three weeks.
From Common to Monarch, Fritillary to Brimstone.
Solitary creature, so brave and aloof.
In dazzling features, discreet subterfuge.
winged beauty its power to delight the most stern,
Diffusing our stress, set our frowns apt to turn.
“Big Horned Sheep on Patterned Stone”
(Ekphrastic poem from January 2023 in response to a photograph ” Big Horned Sheep on a Patterned Stone by J. Stephen Hartley)
A poem in response by Cherol Ockrassa
Across a substantial aggregate plane
a sheep lingers, separate from herd.
He walks far and wide, traverses stone and grit.
Compare- – Our life’s easy, conversely un-spurred
This beast on his travel with end out of sight.
Would if he numbered the grooves under his hoofs.
I think a fortunate thing to not have that right.
For lost in one’s thoughts is a troubled plight.
Nature does generate much to concern
but disquietude of our pride filled yearn,
reserved all that hope for thoughtful reflection
when on personage landed boundless procrastination
Post this bemuse. At glance, it’s quite unique.
Still, by time I’ve hit send or before your next blink,
the social impress gives way to a dress,
Could it be grey, or maybe light pink?
Consider your impact. Please, be our proponent.
Every artist strives to capture a moment.
Ideation creation is noble indeed.
Please, purchase our art; that’s what we need.
This beautiful portrait, presented just so
is witness that you should stop and say: “Oh!”
Don’t post it, or like it, don’t chat it, or tock it.
Remember the artist with lint in their pocket?
The compose they froze of the sheep in their shutter
Is evidence ‘twas’nt encountered by anyone other.
Colors precise; without slipshod or dash,
determined by chance, patience, sans flash
ISO at 320, and choice depth of field
Tripod-wrest-tight-stands-firm, forsakes yield.
Open shut in an instant, shows talent pristine
To capture said sheep like we’ve never seen.
(Ekphrastic poem from January 2023 in response to a photograph ” Big Camera by J. Stephen Hartley)
Through a photographer’s lens
And beyond our grasp.
Is an ocean vastly resplendent
Blink and pull through
Mother nature is shaping
Horizons in transforming view
Deadly cliffs meet the shore
In sharp proclamation
Gentle tidepool, a vessel for safety
Nary, regard dusk
Watchful eye ever ready
2 bits will get you time pass surely
Attraction for young
Throwback to old automation
Landmark its front
At the curb a façade
Known worldwide for generations
Golden its gate
At the site of the wake
A feature familiar to many
Still this shutter alone
Sits high on Sutro throne
Aft of Cliff Houses now numbered a handful
But where are the pools
And where are the people
The busses, the throngs from afar?
They’ve not made this trip
They don’t know Land’s End
Or about the Camera Obsucra
With daylight and Mirrors
The kind without smoke
Projections of all its surroundings
Been here since the 30’s
One for your history text
Its technology’s aged more than 220
(a reflective poem from March 2023 for my husband on the loss of a loved one)
You are a planet my love.
You have a whole world within you.
Every Sensient creature is part of your landscape.
the river, coursing through your arteries your family- – by nature and by nurture.
Losing a sibling is a rip in a saeculum bond. It’s more than a moment, more than a month, more than a solstice. A sibling has been with you for an existence.
It will forever change the landscape of your surface, carving vast valleys that stretch to polar edges of time and space, ripping the fabric of the continuum, diverting the arteries carrying the blood you shared.
Family is like bread,
The tending and kneading of which is tied to ancestors, and descendants, making indelible marks on the landscape of your existence.
Evidence of evolution, a very human arterial network.
Brothers and sisters are rivers, partners in refreshing a dry crust.
Together we have grown grain that required we carve away at the mountains, dredge valleys where grand rivers flowed, diverting water to a parched seed.
We worked in tandem taming and tending terraform, amassed stalks, threshed seed from husk.
Transforming grain to bread demands a tenderness, to quench and swell the velvet soft grains with water. Yeast, a living organism filling the capillaries and beckoning quiet grains to give way, to expand, to feast, to involve, and evolve.
You are bread my love, the masa that nourishes those you bring around
You have a bounty within you.
Every Sensient creature is part of your recipe.
the rising dough- your family- – by nature and by nurture.
Imagine. I had!
(a reverse ekphrastic poem from April 2023, awaiting a responding artwork)
I had not- – this little life of mine
Like flowing river tributaries, it has met with adventures I never dreamed.
I had not- – to find me here;
where we churned comfort into the earth and made a home.
I had not- – The amplified moments
glad for surplus- – and scarce, one we learned to value- for having the other.
I had- – to be grasping for time;
longing to make this minute, and that moment into eternity.
I had, and uncovered a treasure;
our youth under the surface, complete with rich history.
And now- -and here,
your hand rests in mine.
Imagine? I had- –
I Tried to Hold The Ocean in my Hand
(a reflective poem from April 2023, on the 2nd anniversary of the loss of a brother and the 26th anniversary of the loss of another brother)
I tried to hold the ocean in my hand,
but the water ran out between my fingers.
The taste of the sour grass is quickly a memory,
carboard skids- – I remember– skinned knees.
I grabbed at the ocean as I swam.
roof tar set my brain a tingle.
We up-turned pebbles looking for treasure.
A blanket of fog smeared starter on the sunset,
there’s the horn, always calling us home.
The ocean can’t stop flowing.
Crashing waves, polishing glass shards,
empty dollars- – collectors fodder.
Mermaid’s purse for burst of laughter,
when I squirted you with its seawater.
I would find a way to hold that ocean,
and I would suck all the sour from the grasses.
I’d sit for days in the salty dust of a sand dune,
take off the training wheels,
throw the little green soldiers over the hills.
I would trap it in a crab pot.
I’d climb the highest tree and await your rescue.
I’d hop on the bumper of the streetcar,
swing from it precariously,
and learn to ride a skateboard.
That ocean that ran through my fingers,
that was you, you’re endless just like it.
Popcorn bricks and Big E’s,
memories, like fogbanks, they linger.
Eucalyptus and juniper trees.
I’ll forgive life for it’s misdeed,
because nothing’s ever as we planned.
That will be the day when I succeed,
and I can hold the ocean in my hand.