Summer Night

SUMMER NIGHT

June bugs cling to a screen door

gypsy moths circle the porch light

lightning bugs flicker on the lawn

(earthbound stars)

a child arranges her toys

for tomorrow's beach day

a boy waits in the dark

for something to happen

the sky flares

with heat lightening

summer night - photo by Barb Toyama

summer night - photo by Barb Toyama

Summer night - photo by Jennifer Kapala

Summer night - photo by Jennifer Kapala

Aurora - Photo by Willy Wilson

Aurora - Photo by Willy Wilson

Solstice

SOLSTICE

and the sun stands still

above the Tropic of Cancer

before the long days shorten

(lengthen at the other pole)

earth tilted like a heliotrope

stones at Stonehenge

capturing the stalled sun

both midsummer & midnight

sacred in the old religions

still as a photograph

for this long day only

then rushing on

toward that next

 

Solstice:

and so we begin

an album of seasons,

their inevitable shifts

subtle or spectacular, divers

by place as by season yet always

familiar, ancient, and replete.

Midnight sacred - photo by Willy Wilson

Midnight sacred - photo by Willy Wilson

both midsummer & midnight - Jennifer Kapala

both midsummer & midnight - Jennifer Kapala

before the long days shorten - photo by Barb Toyama

before the long days shorten - photo by Barb Toyama

Transit

It's been forever since we last saw each other,

And it will be forever until we do again.

You kicked me out hours ago, in the wee hours of the morning,

And yet here I am, crawling back to you, and you welcome me as a friend.

 

The warmth on my face, my familiar seat, the way your eyes light up.

It all fills me with nostalgia, short lived, I'm on the street with air to fill my cup.

We have done this many a time before, and we both know we will do it again. 

I may have to wait a while, but on you I can depend.

 

So take all the time you need, down the twisting turning road.

You always arrive no matter what, rain sleet or snow.

It's been forever since I saw you last,

And an eternity until we meet again.

But it's nice to know, that rain, sleet or god only knows,

I'll always have a friend. 

Reliable Friend - by Willy Wilson

Reliable Friend - by Willy Wilson

 So take all the time you need, down the twisting turning road -  Jennifer Kapala

 So take all the time you need, down the twisting turning road -  Jennifer Kapala

Down the twisting turning road - by Barb Toyama

Down the twisting turning road - by Barb Toyama

Flowers

People like to think things are beautiful when they're not, a lie in a pretty pink bow. Flowers are no exception, and set the standard for all the fake pretty things of the world. They choke each other, all starving for food. They compete to greedily drink in the sunlight, and they'll grow wherever they please, even in humans. Yet time and time again, people call them beautiful, and time and time again, I ask the same question, the question I ask about all supposedly pretty things. What makes them, a horrible liar, beautiful?

All the fake pretty things...

All the fake pretty things...

Starving for food  - Photo by Willy Wilson

Starving for food  - Photo by Willy Wilson

Growing wherever they please - Photo by Barb Toyama

Growing wherever they please - Photo by Barb Toyama

Forgotten Waves of Triumph

We are forgotten by the waves of triumph. Drowned and pulled down by the tides of another's glory, just because they have a more heroic story. And for what? So the leader can have a day in the light, They won it, for sitting back and letting others die and fight, But after all that they expect us to think the future's still bright? Don't make me laugh.

Have the Day - Photo by Willy Wilson

Have the Day - Photo by Willy Wilson

Tides of another's glory - photo by Barb Toyama

Tides of another's glory - photo by Barb Toyama

Forgotten - photo by Jennifer Kapala

Forgotten - photo by Jennifer Kapala

Back Through Time

"Show them to me," I say as soon as the front door closes behind me. Perhaps she smiles, though she doesn't as a rule. She has never warmed to the newfangled mania for smiling, which she considers a regrettable side-effect of snapshots and modern dentistry, so she never minds if I am serious, never asks, "Why the long face?" She is serious too, about our little ritual and about everything else. Hand-in-hand, we walk upstairs to the bedroom that will be called "Nam's room" for decades after her death. She opens the closet door, it always sticks a little, then pulls from the top shelf the large silver box embossed with fruits that she brought back from Italy. We sit on her bed and she begins to empty the box methodically, still by still, telling the stories that go with each image, each face. If she tells me about her trip abroad, I don't remember it. I am not interested in traveling across an ocean. I am interested in traveling back through time. To the exotic land of the past. To the land of the dead. Even pictures of her as a child no older than I am in her high-necked dress and high-button shoes are of some long-lost person, not the stern old woman sitting beside me, skin thin and ivoried as vellum.

Ivoried as vellum - Photo by W. Wilson

Ivoried as vellum - Photo by W. Wilson

The stories that go with each face - Photo by Barb Toyama

The stories that go with each face - Photo by Barb Toyama

A look back through time - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

A look back through time - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

In Eternal Stillness

Sometimes in life time stops

your indrawn breath the moment

you see the Nike as you turn your

head to look at something else

along that long hall or rising up

out of the harbor wings lifted

in eternal stillness the

voice you surmise

shouting through

her cupped hand

you barely notice

their absence

 

Like moonlight on this tidal pool

mirroring, doubling, reversing

long-fingered anemones combing

furred sea moss starfish clutching

stars expand contract like

breath drawn in moonlight

drawn by moon still and moving

hidden and showy chips of

light through which to see

the world reversed another

revealed encapsulate

under the skin of

the photo a flick

of sea-green hair

thumbprint of

light blur

of stilled

motion

Showy chips of light through which to see the world reversed - Photo by Barb Toyama

Showy chips of light through which to see the world reversed - Photo by Barb Toyama

Mirroring, doubling, reversing - Photo by Willy Wilson

Mirroring, doubling, reversing - Photo by Willy Wilson

Eternal Stillness - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Eternal Stillness - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Toward The Camera

The stillness of a photograph always implies motion. Painting is necessarily a record of  moments, a summary of the sitter's imposed stillness. It contains as much of yesterday as of today and will pick up tomorrow where it left off as if nothing had intervened. But a photograph is a single and singular moment snatched out of a continuum. You can snap a series of moments to recreate motion, like Muybridge's galloping horse (motion simulated through stop-motion reveals what the human eye cannot see, the horse momentarily in flight). Or, quickly, even before it is seen
                                            the moment's
                                                      heliotropic
                                         pivot
                                                 toward the camera's
                                                                             snap
                                 back      forward
                                                    beside itself
                                                           radiant with possibilities

 

Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Radiant With Possibility - photo by Willy Wilson

Radiant With Possibility - photo by Willy Wilson

in constant motion - photo by Barb Toyama

in constant motion - photo by Barb Toyama

The End of Summer

Doubled or blurred

the leaves I cannot see

without glasses, each twirling

greenly on its own stem, so

singular, turning alone,

together, to sun, to wind,

the chill of autumn,

green leached away

to sweetness, to honey

or amber till even that

withers, draws inward, 

begins again.

Last light of summer - Jennifer Kapala

Last light of summer - Jennifer Kapala

Photo by Barb Toyama

Photo by Barb Toyama

To Sweetness, Honey, or Amber - Photo by Willy Wilson

To Sweetness, Honey, or Amber - Photo by Willy Wilson

Night and Day

Treading on your own shadow,

that dark other self,

lover of sunlight,

childhood companion,

early to bed early to rise,

the one you forget,

larger or smaller than life,

still stately

beneath the bright prismatic moment

yielding its gaudy spangle

to this daytime night

like a furtive smile

That Dark Other Self -  Willy Wilson

That Dark Other Self -  Willy Wilson

Childhood Companion - Jennifer Kapala

Childhood Companion - Jennifer Kapala

larger or smaller than life - Barb Toyama

larger or smaller than life - Barb Toyama

The Invention of Photography, or Light as Muse


The ancient Greeks thought light came from the eye itself, put there as fire--along with earth, air, and water--by Aphrodite. The eye, in other words, was like the flashlight on the back of your iPhone or the flash on your camera--only for some reason, it didn't work at night. Later, the Roman poet Lucretius would say that light was made up of atoms racing through space in the direction determined by whatever gave them a shove, like minuscule billiard balls--an idea that took a while to catch on. Later still, in the Middle Ages, what you believed about light and darkness, as reflections of what you believed about good and evil, could get you burned at the stake (long story having to do with Manichaeism). Even today it might get you a cold shoulder (as opposed to a hot auto-de-fey), at least from postmodernists, who eschew such binary oppositions. The history of light isn't all dark, though. Centuries before Lucretius, on the other side of the world, the Chinese discovered that light focused through a pinhole into a dark room created an inverted image of what was on the other side of the pinhole (which is roughly how the eye works). Project that image onto a light-sensitive medium and you get a photograph, but it would take a couple of millennia to figure out
                                                   wave entwined particle
                                            equals light    darkens silver chloride
                                                                            stills
                                                       its bounce of
                                  particle curve of
                                                         wave      entwines eye      brain
                                         & image, image &
                                                                   image-making

Photo by Barb Toyama

Photo by Barb Toyama

Towards The Light - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Towards The Light - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Photo by Willy Wilson

Photo by Willy Wilson