From the Pacific Northwest – Part XL

A Poem for Today

“Poet as Immortal Bird”
By Ron Padgett

A second ago my heart thump went
and I thought, “This would be a bad time
to have a heart attack and die, in the
middle of a poem,” then took comfort
in the idea that no one I have ever heard
of has ever died in the middle of writing
a poem, just as birds never die in mid-flight.
I think.

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Musings in Autumn: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

“May our daily choices be a reflection of our deepest values, and may we use our voices to speak for those who need us most, those who have no voice, those who have no choice.”

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Canadian Art – Robert Genn

In the words of one writer, “Robert Genn is one of Canada’s most accomplished painters, having gained international recognition for his genre subjects on Canada’s West Coast. He has painted in most parts of Canada and in the United States, Central America, Europe and Asia.
Born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1936, he attended Victoria College, The University of British Columbia and The Art Centre School in Los Angeles, California. Genn carries on the tradition of the Canadian Landscape with fresh, painterly techniques and strong design.”

Below – “Silver Mine, Yellowknife”; “Counterpoint”; “Late Light”; “Northern Forest, Algoma”; “Point”; “Toni Onley at Stuart Island.”

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Musings in Autumn: Jess C. Scott

“Killing animals to make a fashion statement = a sickening + cold-blooded vanity.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“Meeting with My Father in the Orchard”
By Homero Aridjis

Past noon. Past the cinema
with the tall sorrowful walls
on the point of coming down, I enter the orchard.
Show over, all of them have gone:
day laborers, dogs and doors.
My father is standing in front of a fig tree.
My mother has died. The children, grown old.
He’s alone, small threads of air
weave in and out of his tattered clothes.
For fear of getting too close and startling him
with my living presence, I want to go straight by,
the strange one now with white hair whom he asks,
“Who’s that there?”
“Father, it’s me, your son.”
“Does your mother know you’re back. Will you stay and eat?”
“Father, for years now your wife has lain at rest
by your side in the town graveyard.”
Then, as if he has divined everything,
he calls me by my childhood name
and gives me a fig.
So we met up, the living and the dead.
Then, each went on his way.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Kris Hargis

Below – “Hill Road Bouquet”

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Musings in Autumn: Maureen Johnson

“I’d love to be a tabletop in Paris, where food is art and life combined in one, where people gather and talk for hours. I want lovers to meet over me. I’d want to be covered in drops of candle wax and breadcrumbs and rings from the bottom of wineglasses. I would never be lonely, and I would always serve a good purpose.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Birds Again”
By Jim Harrison

A secret came a week ago though I already
knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.
The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds
are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.
I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite-
weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation
and now they’re roosting within me, recalling
how I had watched them at night
in fall and spring passing across earth moons,
little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing
on their way north or south. Now in my dreams
I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,
the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying
me rather than me carrying them. Next winter
I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado
and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching
on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye
and I’ll return my dreams to earth.

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Art for November – Part II of II: Wade Baker

Below – “Grandfather Thunderbird (Articulated Mask)”

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Musings in Autumn: Michael Thomas Ford

“I think he just loved being with the bears because they didn’t make him feel bad. I get it too. When he was with the bears, they didn’t care that he was kind of weird, or that he’d gotten into trouble for drinking too much and using drugs (which apparently he did a lot of). They didn’t ask him a bunch of stupid questions about how he felt, or why he did what he did. They just let him be who he was.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Shaking the Grass”
By Janice N. Harrington

Evening, and all my ghosts come back to me
like red banty hens to catalpa limbs
and chicken-wired hutches, clucking, clucking,
and falling, at last, into their head-under-wing sleep.

I think about the field of grass I lay in once,
between Omaha and Lincoln. It was summer, I think.
The air smelled green, and wands of windy green, a-sway,
a-sway, swayed over me. I lay on green sod
like a prairie snake letting the sun warm me.

What does a girl think about alone
in a field of grass, beneath a sky as bright
as an Easter dress, beneath a green wind?

Maybe I have not shaken the grass.
All is vanity.

Maybe I never rose from that green field.
All is vanity.

Maybe I did no more than swallow deep, deep breaths
and spill them out into story: all is vanity.

Maybe I listened to the wind sighing and shivered,
spinning, awhirl amidst the bluestem
and green lashes: O my beloved! O my beloved!

I lay in a field of grass once, and then went on.
Even the hollow my body made is gone.

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American Art – Laura Ross-Paul: Part I

In the words of one writer, “Laura Ross-Paul attended Oregon State University, Corvallis, received a B.F.A. in Painting from Fort Wright College, Spokane, Washington, a B.S. in Arts and an M.F.A. in Painting from Portland State University, Oregon. She has had solo exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum, the Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Oregon State University and Colorado College and has been included in numerous group shows including the 1991 and 1997 Oregon Biennials. She is included in many public and private collections throughout the nation. More recently she was included in Bonnie Bronson Fellows: 20 Years at Lewis & Clark College, 2011.”

Below – “Triple Self-Portrait at Trident Falls”; “Falls and Pools”; “Headwaters”; “Fall River Initiation #1”; “Blue Eye”; “Needles.”

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Musings in Autumn: John Maynard Keynes

“But if America recalls for a moment what Europe has meant to her and still means to her, what Europe, the mother of art and of knowledge, in spite of everything, still is and still will be, will she not reject these counsels of indifference and isolation, and interest herself in what may prove decisive issues for the progress and civilization of all mankind?”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Of Late, I Have Been Thinking About Despair”
By TJ Jarrett

its ruthless syntax, and the ease with which it interjects
itself into our days. I thought how best to explain this—

this dark winter, but that wasn’t it, or beds unshared
but that isn’t exactly it either, until I remembered

Saturday afternoons spent with my father in the garage
and those broken cars one after another. At the time,

that’s what we could afford. Broken things. Saturdays,
there was always a game on the radio and I’d stand

beside him or lie under the engine, oil cascading from
the oilpan. Daddy would curse wildly, sometimes

about the car, sometimes about the game. Sometimes
Mama called for one or the other of us from upstairs and

I’d trudge up to see what she wanted with a sigh.
We sighed so much then. Funny. If you asked us

if we were happy, we’d say: “Families. They are happy.”
There’s a solace in broke-down cars: you can find what

is broken. You can make it whole again. I’d pop the hood,
peer into the sooty inside and Daddy would pass me parts

for my small hands to tender to each need. Daddy
scrambled into the front seat, turned a key and a roar

came out that would be cause for rejoicing. But time came,
(this is the inevitable part) when he would draw the white

handkerchief to his head in surrender. I would always ask
if we could’ve tried harder. “Baby girl,” he’d say. “She’s gone.”

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Musings in Autumn: Congressman X

“We’ve become a superficial nation obsessed with fluff. Americans may be hard-pressed to name their two senators or find Afghanistan on a map, but they know everything about the loopy Kardashians and Brad and what’s-her-name. I worry about our country’s future when critical issues take a backseat to the inane utterings of illiterate athletes and celebrity twits.”

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American Art – Laura Ross-Paul: Part II

Artist Statement: “Lit windows shining behind brushes and tree limbs at night give a beautiful geometric contrast to the fractal patterns of nature. The close proximity of a variety of trees has led me to see them as individual conifer and deciduous citizens, each with its own personality, just as we humans have our own.”

Below – “Rain Tree”; “Double Tree 1”;l “Double Tree 2”; “Lines 1”; “Pines 2”; “Seven Rings 1.”

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