creative ramblings & reverie

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Writing Spaces

That age-old pastime: writing stories in the stars.

image: Two perseids meteors and their radiant (crossing of dotted line). Two star constellations are indicated. Mila Zinkova Anton

End of the Millennium Way (after the Navajo)

In the year now dawning,
full of kindness may I walk.
With my eyes open to beauty may I walk.
With friends beside me may I walk,
and tell the constellations with our hands.

Mindful, will I make my way again.
Mindful, will I make my way
among the stones of fallen temples
laid out now meandering and lovely
ahead, through sage and red poppies,
as long contemplative paths.
Lovely quizzical paths. Paths looping
like question marks back on themselves. Or,
lovely too, a looped canoe sail petroglyph,
marking my way back, mindful, to the start.

On a road of wonder may I walk.
On a road of wonder, alive to every turning, may I walk.
With spirit dancing,
like the sun on water, joyful, may I walk.
Beside the bay of sea turtles,
barefoot and humbled by their wisdom, may I walk.

May I walk high above the sea
and in it, up to my knees.
May they acknowledge me, the sea turtles,
and swim around me easily.
May it be lucid and green there, where they are.
In the tracks of deer dancers
with pine bough antlers may I learn to dance.
May there be sunlight on the far hills, and
the light of stars at night in ancient canyons on old snow.
May Orpheus too come, and all the gods I learned
to call by name once in a distant starwashed place.

In this last year of a thousand, celebrating, may I walk.
May every step be celebration, telling
everything there is (there is so much!) to celebrate.
May I, stepping, sing. Exultate jubilate.

It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

—Christie (January 1, 1999)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writing Spaces

A favorite vantage point in Hawi, Hawai'i, one blissful September of writing all day long.

image: Christie B. Cochrell, Hawi

Friday, December 11, 2009

Writing Spaces

El Ateneo Bookstore in an old theater in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

image: David

January Journal (2002)

Released from the office long enough to pick up a check across campus, I make my way among the art students sitting crosslegged on the cold pavement outside the studios, with watercolor sheets or small square canvases, jars, brushes, and palettes mottled with pigments. They're trying—absorbed—to match the color of the winter earth: muddy loam, bark mulch, confettied leaves; rich and elemental.

In a jar, water the au lait color of the Mississippi before it rolls on finally into the Gulf—beyond the convent, the perfume and voodoo shops, the French Market, beyond Burgundy, Dauphine, Basin and Rampart, Bourbon and Royal and Chartres, the streets of saints, defense, remembrance, streets of sin and riffs, the black hands opening oysters and pouring rum, and opening more gently come morning the gospels and Revelations, there beyond Decatur and Tchoupitoulas, at the end of Iberville, north of Algiers.

Not drab at all, the winter browns they alchemize deftly in that squeeze of pigments, the oily globs of color, viscous and velvety as mud itself.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Writing Spaces

To remind us of balmier days . . . when writing didn't have to be done huddled next to a space heater. When, indeed, writing could be set about at leisure, and daydreaming as well.

image: Chairs overlooking the grain fields in Høje Taastrup, Denmark. Photographer: Dan Simon

Letter from the Desert

A letter on a torn brown bag (the bag
held beer, cloud-capped and warm
from skeining down along the canyon road)—
“The cliffs!” he says, “bruised blue with thunder-
clouds, where storms have caught and pooled.

“In the unplumbed quiet of the coming night
the dark is being pencilled in around me,
all along the sky—a gritty line of dark,
like silt, that slows my welling thoughts.

“An enormous solitude has thrown its shadow.
In it, I am held as still as dusk-fed water
in a hand. I tremble at the point of brimming
over; rushing, mad, between all fingers.
Too deep becalmed, I am become the maelstrom.”

In the very epicenter he remarks on it
and lights, just as the pencil blacks him in,
a fire of sage and tumbleweed to read by—
letters of some long-dead Greek, a poet
who has given the stillness words.