Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

16
Oct
12

Sketch Yourself in Words, the next chapter

Sketch Yourself in Words:  14 October 2012, Sunday afternoon

I once saw myself as this kick-ass cowgirl—of the very urban persuasion–who could multitask circles around just about anyone, while maintaining a focus that would take your breath away.  I saw myself as strong.  As capable.  As whole and funny and passionate and energetic.  I thought of myself as sharp, smart, full of integrity and ingenuity.  Creativity and problem solving were my hallmarks—I was USEFUL!  I love to work—even then I loved to work. I also thought I was pretty and sexy, whether in a bikini or a karate uniform…… I saw myself as a young, devoted married woman, a professional, effective working woman, a young and very loving mother, someone who could get the job done and who was bringing it every day better than the one before. Then I woke up.  Har, har….Just kidding.  I really did think those things about myself most of the time.  I had a fair amount of attitude, but to be fair to me, life had demanded it of me all the way through.

When I became a painter ten years ago at the age of 44, I knew I was made for this work, that even my arrogance and attitude were the attributes which, along with my intense tenacity, would help me to make my best creative work.

And when I was diagnosed with cancer five years later in 2007, accompanied over the next four years by chronic health issues and terrible  moon face and weight gain….I painted more, I loved my work and myself even more.  As I let go of my career in education and embraced my new full time artist status,,,,I saw myself as happy even when I also knew I was hurt and sad and confused.  Cancer had kicked me inside and out, physically and mentally, and in my most important relationships, but it had also pushed me through a door I might not have been able to walk through on my own.

I am so so so lucky to have the best family and friends in the universe.  I have a great life,,,,amazing husband and daughters….unbelievable support from my community.   I never take the people I love for granted.

But at the end of the day, the woman I count on to be my best support and friend, who holds my secrets and fears, whose approval I require above all– is me.  I’m the one who has been with me all the way these 54 years, and I am the one who will walk myself to the other side of who-knows-what.

Right now I’m starting to see myself in some new ways:  forgetful and distractable beyond the fog I’d come to know through chemo, radiation, whole brain radiation, radiosurgery and more radiosurgery.  I’ve started to hear my husband and children say things like “Mama, you really did know about that, you just forgot”  more often than ever before. I’ve gotten lost and damaged trying to find a path I use every day….I need help in ways I didn’t think I’d ever accept. I run into things.  I have numb pain from toe to waist on one side.  My head hurts.  I’m so cold.  Then I’m hot.  I’m not allowed to roast the chiles alone anymore.  I use a coffee pot that turns itself off so I don’t burn down the house.  I make brutal decisions about time and energy.  I ask my friends to walk with me, or to sit for me in exchange for my poor company. To give me healing or massage. Mostly I ask them to either paint with me,  or leave me to paint. Often I refuse most food I don’t make. I’m spending my grant money on a sink for the studio and a bed easel so the days I can’t walk down the stairs or just can’t get out of bed, I can still work.  A woman to drive me to drawing groups.  Paint and tubes,,,adding up how much I think I can actually use over the next few months.?  Now they don’t call me a survivor, or cancer clean, or any of those things.  THey tell me I’ll always be STage 4:   Stage 4 metastatic cancer with metastesis to the brain, CNS, around most organs….The only place I don’t seem to have breast cancer is in my breasts–but that may have changed, too. Tenacity is my other name. I ask for help, and I ask for understanding.  I am compassionate to old and infirm people in an even more profound way as I bumble through the woods…

But the main thing that scares me is that my energy level is dropping.  I’m tired.  I’m tired inside and if I think about it more than a second it brings tears to my eyes.   I’m desperate inside and I cry out in my head to all the dead women painters I love so much: Lee, Alice, Joan, Georgia, Frida, and to some men painters, too, Eduard, Pierre, David, Wayne, Elmer…..oh, please, everybody help me have the strength to make great work until the last minute.  Help me work, study, think, hold my brush…set up my easel—which way do the knobs go? Righty tighty, lefty lucy. I still have this fiery desire to make my work.  Even drawing boxes to learn linear perspective feels like achieving a goal, gessoing and sanding boards feels like living the dream.  And when I put brush in paint to board I know myself again, still, more deeply…that lets me know I am still here…

And to Life, I add, please help me to choose deep time with my husband and daughters, with my family and my soul friends.  Help me make the most of what is left of my energy.  Give me my husband’s love and help me not think of what it will be to go somewhere without him driving me, without him loving me.

Love is all there is:  loving the work and loving the ones who share my life.

I now give away things each week, wrap up projects….organize the chaos so my family won’t have to.  I write the letters my daughter asks me for her wedding and when she has a baby.  I remind my daughters and my loving husband that I am on their side—always.  I arrange to make a trip home to Denver to connect with my family and friends.  How many kisses do you want I always ask my youngest nephews and they almost always say 100.  I ask for a million.  A trillion.  I always want more.

I see myself now as a weeping woman who is walking toward the door now, not with arrogance or tenacity or attitude but stooped with humility and deep tiredness, begging for a little more love, a little more work done, a little more time……

Viola Moriarty, 14 October 2012

 

20
Jan
12

Hektoen International, December 2011 issue

Viola Moriarty
Bennington, Vermont, United States

Poet’s statement: Originally part of a multi-media exhibit at the Bennington Cancer Center, this poem was a reflection upon the effects of steroids during chemotherapy, where “Dex” refers to dexamethasone.

After chemotherapy

After chemo #2, 2007
Viola Moriarty
Oil on canvas
18” x 24”

Dancing with Dex
She takes the woman’s part, stepping back on her right
I try to lead, pushing her back into night
What color is cancer?
Asks this sexy salsa dancer,
Her long, lovely hands on my hefty hips
Suggestions and questions on her bright white lips,
Turquoise and teal, I think
And maybe periwinkle and pink
The dream was so real,
I can still feel
That I have the port, the sox, and the gowns
Tape over my eyes, doctors in multiple towns.
Who was there? she asked with a squeal,
Oh, yes, I repeated—it was so incredibly real—
You were there—and you were there—and you and you and you
Who, me? she demurred. Do you honestly believe that it could have been true?
She steps to the side, wanting to know
Sliding forward and backward ever so slow,
Am I a good witch or a bad witch
Or just a stubborn and silly, mucked up middle-aged bitch?
What happened in there, when the fog finally cleared?
Didn’t heaven want you? she persevered.
Are you kidding?
Cha cha cha ching.
I’m stuttering
And faltering
Without a sound mind and no sense of my body,
No, Heaven did not want me
Nor did hell
I wanted to yell
Not even that black hole filled with failure and fun,
Carousing and constantly, capriciously coming undone
Not even the fury and the flames would take
Such a distorted identity—half asleep/half awake

So, its back to black and white
Without too much fuss, certainly no fight
Thank G-d, Thank “I am that I am”
For all the drugs whose names end with “pam”
And for those that begin with an s and a z
I truly and humbly thank the Drug Company
The salsa surrenders to sappier rhythms
That belong to stupid labels that end in isms
Ba ba ba ba—expressionism, successionism—ba, ba ba ba
Bada bada bada bada—escapism, impressionism—zah zah zah zah,
Was that how cancer looked? she pointed and begged.
Like a saggy old breast that’s been recently egged?
I laughed loudly and pulled up my shirt
So she could see where it did and didn’t hurt
What’s the hole for? she wanted to know.
It’s my new hideout, where my feelings can go.
I thought it was a dream, she harshly restated
Something you imagined, subconscious, and hated.
It was—it was so many nights of turquoise and periwinkle, fuchsia and teal dreams
Where the fabric of uniforms regularly ripped out around the snaps and on seams
Where I got up at night, or so I thought
Turned on the light, never argued, never fought
Rocked in the rocker
Listened to Joe Cocker
He loves my new do, and so does my Jon
“Baby, oh, yes, you can leave your hat on, you can leave your hat on.”
I ripped up the colors on the couch and computer as prayers to dead saints
Glue sticked and cried, cutting linoleum and spilling watered down paints.
I won’t go back I scream, I won’t do it again—you can’t make me,
Now I’m numb and I’m dumb, I’m stress and panic free
There, there, my sweetness, she hums and she sways—Everything’s okay.
I’ll start another dance, and you start another day.
She twirls sultrily toward me, and whispers, shhhhhhhh, girlfriend,
we’re almost finished—finally,
Softly,
Quietly
Coming to the end.


VIOLA MORIARTY is a visual artist who resides and works in Bennington, Vermont, and is currently under treatment (including full brain radiation) for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer spread to the brain, central nervous system, and lymphatic systems. She was first diagnosed with the primary Stage II breast cancer in 2007. She spent many years in Colorado as an English as a Second Language and in North Adams, Massachusetts, after relocating from Denver to New England with her family. She left education for full-time painting, experimenting with all types of media, and has exhibited in Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, and New York. Visit her website at https://vimorpainter.wordpress.com/.

While I was throwing up multiple times daily after radiation, and mostly lying on the couch a lot, my friend Marilyn took this poem I had written after chemo and radiation treatment in 2007-8 (where I found the decadron or dexamethasone (steroid) to be very challenging), and she submitted it for me to the on line magazine Hektoen International and they printed it in their December issue.  

Marilyn  is an amazing , published author of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, …….You’ll be able to look for her blog soon….I’ll keep you posted.  She’s also an amazing friend, and I’m grateful to have her  support for me and for my work.  

07
Mar
11

self-sketches in words, paint and ink over four years


Sketch yourself in Words, March 2011

Last week I made the first self-portrait I have made since chemo #2 in 2007: A linocut reduction print series from which I will hope to get a few prints framed as a group in one frame. This several pieces making up one self-portrait image, this media of cutting up the linoleum block to find each layer of the image, and this experimentation with a whole new process all reflect the current state of me.

My mind is coming back. Possibly, this has something to do with my recent shift to painting with my left hand (because of the neuropathy). Painting left-handed does not feel awkward to me—just the opposite: It feels like coming home. I feel more like myself , more in-sync with myself, than I ever did in my whole life working right handed.
This has been a powerful discovery, and one I have yet to fully process or understand.

Almost every day over the past three months I become aware of something I am doing better in terms of my mind. I can subtract again. I can use the calculator, knowing what is the significance of the numbers in front of me. I can hold the thread of a novel. I can hold a process. The Grand Canyon sized gap between my thoughts and my verbal expression seems to have shrunk to the size of a highway when I’m stressed, and to a sidewalk when I feel tranquil.

But none of this improvement seems to enable me to get the Green Mountain Express bus scheduled on Friday for Monday, no matter how many post-its are strategically placed around the house or how many people remind me. My walking days seem to be over—pavement and cement equal pain since severe osteoarthritis took control of my knee related mobility. I am waiting for braces so I can be on my feet for periods of time. I do not know if this is somehow related to chemotherapy, but it is something that has happened in this last year, along with three serious bouts of pneumonia in my lungs and a number of asthma attacks at night. These things seemed to stall and even rescind the physical improvement I was making after chemotherapy and radiation, and after stopping Tamoxifen. I don’t know why they happened, but they caused in me a depression that was the worst of my life so far. Limited mobility, fragility, chronic lack of energy, inability to breathe comfortably and “not feeling well” resulted in even more weight gain, causing even more sense of being demolished by causing even more sense of being demolished by an unseen force….by something over which I had no control…by something which could not even hear my voice. Eventually, even I couldn’t hear myself crying anymore. I only knew I didn’t want to go out and see anyone. I felt I was a failure at the simplest things in life: walking, traveling, being with a friend. Pain at night eroded my sense of capacity during the day. I felt afraid to do things. I felt that no one could understand what was happening to me because I didn’t understand what was happening to me. People I loved—and whom I know loved me—would say that I should ask for help, that I should “take it easy”. But at the same time, they wanted me to travel and be like I used to be. They wanted answers as to why I wasn’t doing better. They wanted to know why my doctors didn’t fix me. They wanted to know why I was gaining so much weight, and why I “just wasn’t myself”. I wanted to know these things, too. And I felt apologetic, even ashamed that I didn’t have the answers or the solutions. My doctors seemed confused, but not very concerned. My immediate family seemed worn out. My extended family and friends seemed like strangers to me. Increasingly I felt more and more separated from myself again, first from the fog that continued in my brain, and second by the surprising and unpredictable limitations in my body.

Just before my mind came back, my girls came home unexpectedly–first, Phoebe and then Anna. Seeing them move freely and wanting to keep up with them, wanting to do the things I once did, I began to go to yoga class. I bought a recumbent exercise bike. I started to move again. At first I couldn’t even hold up my own body weight. I couldn’t get up and down off the floor without great effort. It’s still hard for me. But the yoga and the bike help. And when I’m all alone I try to dance: I experiment with dancing while sitting, dancing without my knees, dancing with my face and arms and upper body and with my mind. It is still hard to breath a lot. It is hard to do a lot of the positions in yoga and to make it through the class. It is hard to ask for rides and to accept the things I cannot do. But I do everything I can—it’s hard, but I do it. And I’m improving.

After my girls returned and after my mind came home, I saw something else for the first time clearly and it broke my heart: I saw how the effects of cancer and mobility on me had deeply affected my husband and my daughters. This was the worst thing of all. But because I had my mind again, it was also—unlike my knees and my lungs and my breasts and cells—something I could change. I began to actively work on making sure they understood that I knew how hard it was for THEM. I started to curb my own complaints about not being able to do things and bump up the volume on my appreciation of what is working. Mostly I make it clear that I am the one who will figure out my own problems and if I need help I will ask for it. I also made it clear that my problems are not an acceptable reason/excuse for them to not live their own lives fully and completely. I know that my situation will leave a lasting impact, but I hope it is ultimately a memory of being real in the face of reality, and one of how much I love and appreciate them. I try to give my husband back some of the support and compassion he gave me when I was changing into something he no longer recognized. When I smile at them, I try to smile not only from inside me now, but also from that 20-something lovely woman they knew as his young wife, and as their mother when they were little girls…because she’s still in here, too.

What is working? I can still thread a needle: My eyesight seems better than ever. I’m 52 and I don’t wear any type of glasses. I am a full-time working artist. Though I don’t make any money, I do make art that is increasingly effective and substantial….honest and real…Art that lives. I love deeply and I am loved. I keep a reasonably good house and an outstanding home. I cook well again—and it’s been months since I set my last fire. I pay bills and work out the budget and plan ahead. I particularly plan my trips up and down the stairs. Most nights I can sleep.

I still haven’t figured out travel, and haven’t been home to Denver more than briefly in three years. I still haven’t figured out how to get the GME on Mondays. I don’t know when my hands will work and when they won’t. I don’t know when I’ll be too tired. I find it hard to plan ahead, and when I do, I cancel a lot.. I feel vulnerable.

In two weeks I will go for my four-year mammogram. Though I no longer take antidepressants or anxiety meds —for almost exactly one year now—I will take a lorazepam for that appointment. One doctor checks my blood, one checks my lungs, one my breasts and another my bones. My therapist looks out for my psychological status. I am less sure how to measure all those things, and I think it’s possible they may be less sure as well during this time compared to the time of clear emergency.

I continue to do this assignment, this sketching of myself in words that started in 2007, because it is the only time I feel I am looking at me altogether.

Sketch yourself in words, #2 30 March 2009

Liminality. Transition. Standing in the doorway. Re-Entry. New Normal? Re-plenish? Re-work, replace, reframe, redo—–but there really is no “re” –there is only doing something for the first time.

I find myself at a loss as to how to sketch myself in words. Two years ago I could do it easily even under the effects of chemotherapy and radical changes in my life. It’s as if the doorway is easier to stand in than to move through. Maybe that’s why we go there during hurricanes or tornadoes or other natural disasters. It’s re-enforced (why not just enforced?) So I make lists: the “whine” list, the gratitude list, the “wish list” , the to-do list, the question and confusion list. I make diagrams which attempt to elucidate the state of the body-nation at this time, but only serve to boggle the already unsteady mind.

Pain. Pain is the word that comes up the most in the New Normal diagram. This makes no sense to me. Everything hurts everywhere. Things are buzzing and numbing and just plain hurting. Even breathing too much hurts. Maybe that’s why it’s started to stop at night sometimes. I’ll get a machine for that, but what about a machine for my heart and my joints and my head—will those be next?

Desire—-desire and it’s fulfillment are familiar memories to me. I still have the desire, but somehow not the energy—how is this possible? What is happening? Wanting has been my magnetic north for so long, it tells me what to do with myself, but lately when I follow her I find I can’t keep up. I give up. I fall. I break something. I just get tired. I feel so heavy that my bones cry out underneath my flesh—they beg for relief from this unusual strain and weight….What”s going on? The bones and the pelvis and the neck and the hands and the knees and hips and the lungs and heart and even the blood and brain are all shouting at the same time and I can barely distinguish their cries anymore. I don’t know where to put my attention and then I can’t remember anyway.

Sketch Yourself in Words, 2007

My name is Viola Rose Moriarty. It’s not the name I was born with—except the Viola part, that’s my grandmother’s name that died long before I came into this world. The rest of my name I chose myself after a brief, failed young marriage in college. I didn’t want my husband’s name, but I had no name to go back to since my father had been absent from my life since I was six years old and my mother had remarried with a new name. I didn’t know who to be so I chose my favorite literary character, Dean Moriarty from Kerouac’s On the Road. And in a small Denver courtroom, for the reasonable price of thirty-two dollars I started to become the person I am now.
I am bilingual, an artist, a retired educator, a parent, a lover, a friend, a palm reader, a lifelong learner and a wife. I have loved my adult life, seizing the majority of days with pure abandon, humor, moxie and chutzpah.
When I was diagnosed with cancer I began to work it into the mix: the surgeries, the appointments, the emotions—all with help from my therapist, family, friends and most of all, from my husband.
People usually see the upbeat and adventurous and creative side of me. It’s only Jon who knows the skid marks and scars underneath, the billion ways I’m afraid. That I’m an enigma.
So, I did pretty well through the first wave of cancer, drafting my comic book The Adventures of My Left Breast and making paper dolls with new hospital gown designs. I took photos of everything and I saw myself doing pretty well in those pictures.
Then I went to chemotherapy. First day: Treatment okay. I sketched through it. Second day: Jittery but okay. Days three, four and five I have descended into a staticky evil fog filled hell that I can never adequately describe. Like trying to pay attention through a vibrational band of intense, angry static. Everything hurts. Reading and listening are so hard—so, so hard. I’ve never felt anything like this and I don’t feel strong enough to cope with it. It’s day six now and I’m a little better, but still unable to go to drawing tonight. I’m still unable to focus enough to get my art supplies set up and begin a painting.
I’ve got to grab onto something that will break through here—a different way to work these days. Come on, help me out Max Ernst, David Park, Alice Neel, Mr. Rauchenburg—–anybody? I pray to the dead and to the live painters to help me….help me work.
I have raised my girls and they are spectacular—they’ll be home to help me with my haircutting soon. I want them to see me able to do this; I want to be a good role model. I want them to see me work when working feels impossible.
I don’t want my daughters to ever suspect the terror of being separated from one’s own self.
I don’t want my husband to see me defeated in this way, bumbling about like a babosa instead of the sexy, arrogant, often insane woman he loves (and slightly fears).
But this is where cancer—no, not cancer, but the treatment of cancer—-has me by the breasts and by the balls, so to speak. It’s taken over the airways and it’s screaming at fever pitch. Static and black chaos are filling the room around me, slurping into and over the rims of my eyeballs and nose and around my fingernails.
There’s no escape……and I have never, ever learned how to surrender.

Viola Moriarty, April 2007, After Chemo #1,
(From an assignment in the Moving through Breast Cancer class with Anastasia Nute)

14
Jan
11

The Birdhouse

The Birdhouse

Anna is leaving me again,
over and over.

Just like I left her so many times,
by choice and not by choice.

Teaching me to tolerate longer and longer absences:
Stretches of not hearing her voice
doing homework with a friend on the phone,

Or the sound of popcorn crunching along to a favorite movie.

I took her to her first movie when she was eighteen months old.
She ate my entire tub of artificially butter-flavored popcorn.
I felt
grateful
that she didn’t choke
and awed by the intensity of her concentration.

She says, “I love you” each time she laves.
And I am trying to photograph her face, her smile,
every time in my mind, afraid of having
so much less to take for granted.

I walk outside see the birdhouse
made in eighth grade shop class.
A father’s day gift for her dad–
she looks so much like him.

I stare at the birdhouse as a light rain
begins to kiss the back of my neck.
I am not cold, and I do not feel the wetness of it.

I realize that she is forcing me to grow up again,
to accept losing what I want to hang onto.
I hate that.

That birdhouse sits on the stump–
It’s maple stain color darkened by the moisture,

and my tears add salt to the raindrops.

Viola Moriarty
2000

14
Jan
11

Dancing with Dex

Dancing with Dex

She takes the woman’s part, stepping back on her right
I try to lead, pushing her back into night
What color is cancer
Asks this sexy salsa dancer,
Her long, lovely hands on my hefty hips
Suggestions and questions on her bright white lips,
Turquoise and teal, I think
And maybe periwinkle and pink
The dream was so real,
I can still feel
That I have the port, the sox and the gowns
Tape over my eyes, doctors in multiple towns.
Who was there? She asked with a squeal,
Oh, yes, I repeated- it was so incredibly real-
You were there -and you were there- and you and you and you
Who, me? She demurred. Do you honestly believe that it could have been true?
She steps to the side, wanting to know
Sliding forward and backward ever so slow,
Am I a good witch or a bad witch
Or just a subborn and silly, mucked up middle aged bitch?
What happened in there, when the fog finally cleared?
Didn’t heaven want you, she perservered?
Are you kidding?
Cha cha cha ching.
I’m stuttering
And faltering
Without a sound mind and no sense of my body?,
No, Heaven did not want me
Nor did hell
I wanted to yell
Not even that black hole filled with failure and fun,
Carousing and constantly, caprichously coming undone
Not even the fury and the flames would take
Such a distorted identity- half asleep/ half awake
So, its back to black and white
Without too much fuss, certainly no fight
Thank G-d -Thank “I am that I am”
For all the drugs whose names end with “pam”
And for those that begin with an s and a z
I truly and humbly thank the Drug Company
The salsa surrenders to sappier rythms
That belong to stupid labels that end in isms
Ba, ba ba ba-expressionism, successionism, ba, ba ba ba
Bada bada bada bada-excapism, impressionism -za zah zah zah,
Was that how cancer looked? She pointed and begged.
Like a saggy old breast that’s been recently egged?
I laughed loudly and pulled up my shirt
So she could see where it did and didn’t hurt
What’s the hole for, she wanted to know.
It’s my new hideout, where my feelings can go
I thought it was a dream, she harshly restated
Something you imagined, subconscious, and hated
It was -It was so many nights of turquoise and periwinkle, fuschia and teal dreams
Where the fabric of uniforms regularly rips out around the snaps and on the seams
Where I got up at night, or so I thought
Turned on the light, never argued, never fought
Rocked in the rocker
Listened to Joe Cocker
He loves my new do, and so does my Jon
“Baby, oh, yes, you can leave your hat on, you can leave your hat on.
I ripped up the colors on the couch and computer as prayers to dead saints
Glue sticked and cried , cutting linoleum and spilling watered down paints
I won’t go back I scream, I won’t do it again-you can’t make me
Now I’m numb and I’m dumb, I’m stress and panic free
There, there, my sweetness, she hums and she sways -Everything’s okay
I’ll start another dance, and you start another day
She twirls sultrily toward me, and whispers, shhhhhhhh, girlfriend,
we’re almost finished- finally,
softly,
quietly
coming to the end.
~Viola Moriarty, 2008

This poem emerged as I deconstructed the journals– kept during cancer diagnosis and treatment in 2007-8–ripped out the photos, layered paints and pastels—wiping out the non-essentials, focusing on the faces of the caretakers and the color of the experience. The edges hold messages of love—also torn from the cards and emails pasted into the journals. Walking back through these artifacts, through the human contact and care, became another therapeutic step, as was making each piece in the exhibit.

*note: Dex refers to Dexamethasone, This poem was a reflection upon effects of steroids during chemotherapy.

Copyright ViolaMoriarty 2008

14
Jan
11

Ming

Ming

That girl in the water–
She is all alone.
She’s the one who won’t waste the afternoon sunshine,
Or the shore,
Or the water.
She knows the danger in wasting things like that:
One day she had her life,
And the next day it was never the same again.
She knows now
To get in the water and swim,
Even if the other kids say it’s too cool.
If they stay out–
Waiting for another, better day–
She’s in,
Enjoying her new bathing suit right out loud,
And judging them all harshly for their extravagance.
Once she was a girl swimming in front of her own house
Whenever she wanted,
Whenever she felt like it.
And now she’s here:
A Chinese girl
Sitting down
In this unchallenging lake,
Remembering a place
She will never see again.

Viola Moriarty
revised 2011

14
Jan
11

Israel II

Israel II

We could see everything there–every crazy thing,
until there was nothing left to look at
except the exquisite desert itself:
pure blue sky
indigo night
purple rock and red sand.
No clutter, no obstructions.

Land wrapped around its people so tightly
it has become their skin.
They cannot leave,
even if they go.

G-d ambles back and forth across
the manganese blue Kineret
all day long–enjoying the
Golan Gardens that Marla made herself.

Land wrapped around people so tightly
it has become their skin.
They cannot leave,
even if they go.

Out of that land of red wrapped cow chocolates,

Jerusalem light,
City of gold and pink and mauve and white.

The sounds of the zils,
and the beggars,
and the solitary violin playing in the square of the old city.

The tremors in tear-washed faces caused by
centuries of prayer vibrating in that Wall.

As we lay our cheeks against Jerusalem stone
and stuff our little scraps of prayer into its crevices,
hoping ours will not fall helplessly onto the ground
with those other wet and dirty supplications
shredding into nothing.

Land now wrapped around us so tightly
it has become our skin.
we cannot leave
even when
we go.

Viola Moriarty
2003




viola moriarty

(American, b. 1958)
Modern Expressionist Painter
2012-13 Recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

Upcoming Exhibitions

Current and ongoing: New Works, Allegro Ristorante in Bennington on Main Street.

Elm Street Market, Bennington

Spiral Press Cafe, Manchester, Vermont (2013) details TBA

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