Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Donna Fleischer : an altar of sorts

the teakwood desk where i sometimes write has a hinged panel at the back that expands the overall depth when it’s flipped open. otherwise, when closed, it sits upright at the back of the desk, like a piano, providing a smaller more intimate writing space and revealing variously shaped cubby holes which i like to think of as amused portals safekeeping the overheard whispers and ideas when talking with myself all these years.

i began to put certain items on top, one by one. emblems of some deepest pleasure, turned over and over by imagination: a sculpted tortoise the size of my palm; a baltic seashell; tiny pine cones; goldfinch feathers; a buddha of crocodile wood from bali; postcards sent and unsent; pins; bottle caps; photographs; dust ... each thing, over time, becoming a stepping stone, a pebble

the snail, beginning its ascent, in a haiga by poet Marilyn Johnston. her words beside it, “Climb Mt. Fuji, slowly ... .” just a fleeting slip of sumi–e ink and bamboo brush on paper,

that blooms into a reverie of Alan Watts walking into a shop in kyoto for a certain perfumed bar of blackest ink; of his reply recorded in a book somewhere when asked what is taoism­—“the tao. it’s simply inconceivable.”

there’s "Turtle Island", a book of poems by Gary Snyder, poet of the dao, the way, of the wild, in which he records his finding that “The path is whatever crosses.”

the wild. in other words, the opposite of our static black and white notion of a nature either domesticated into convenience and comfort from fear or otherwise attacked as hostile to our kind, as if it were an angry father–god to placate. no. instead, the wild. an open system with integrity and its own rules. as in poet vincent tripi’s words “all change is wild”; in sculptor Bettina Viereck’s hand-rolled steel “sanctuary”; in Andy Goldsworthy’s earth works, Werner Herzog’s films, my haiku offering

                        fish  clouds  birds

                        in a stream

                        how it goes on

through the self leaving the self behind. “being fearless is dying to the self.” that’s poet carpenter Charlie Mehrhoff’s voice. i think of the tradition of Japanese Zen poets who write their death poems, oftentimes in mid life. here is mine

                        moving my head

                        the grasses

                        spring back

Donna Fleischer’s free verse, haiku, and haibun are in anthologies and journals worldwide, including: a glimpse of, A Vast Sky, Bones, Contemporary Haibun Volumes 4 and 15, , MayDay magazine, otata, Otoliths, Spiral Orb, The Marsh Hawk Press Review, and Verse Osmosis. < Periodic Earth > (Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press, Pueblo, CO, 2016), is her fourth chapbook. Other chapbooks are with Longhouse Publishers and bottle rockets press. She makes her living on a traprock mountain ridge in Connecticut.

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