March Equinox 2019

August 1, 2020

Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

Adapted from some writing I did on March 20, 2019…

It’s the spring equinox where I live in the northern hemisphere of the planet. We hear small birds chipping in the shrubs, as usual. And the cardinals have announced their borders, just outside the windows of my studio at home.

This spring day opens with a bullet-grey sky and it feels like a refuge, feels like a comfort. The losses seem only an opportunity for turning life over to a place more deliberate, more desired, more conforming to what’s lovely in the mind. The sparrows and cardinals carry on, their calls unheeding human plan or posture. Their hunger and their home seeking drive them, and they seem to call you to look out here at your other face, reflected back to you through the smell of an ice-water stream rushing over rocks, finding the downhill Way.

Frederick Miller spring Eden Prairie, MN photo by Michele Montserrat

The trilling cardinal breaks through the rumble-hush of cars moving through melting snow, moving past my street. I hear more birdsong, to cure the hollow, and the mist of regret lifts, no longer tendrilled. These songs bounce lightly around the crown of my heart, and a palace of delight opens there.

Up and down and down again into the earth, the place where these leylines of bird, branch and grass begin. I will end here too, someday, when the body agrees to join with the entropy that is a fact of life, denied until the appointed time, spontaneous and unstoppable, winding life stream of love and catastrophe come to rest at last.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN photo by Michele Montserrat

The rumble-hush of a passing car; the birds are silent now outside my walls. Their territory proclaimed, cardinal and sparrow have likely moved to forage. Still, the piping of an unknown one in the canopy. And then the silence is cut through and scalded open by the screaming of a bluejay.

Suddenly – no sound. And now – chipping sparrows mob the cedar again, a burst of some hunger or intrusion pulling their chorus along. Crunching tires on an icy street, and the metallic needle-shot sound of breaks applied, as my neighbor moves her car out of our street, heading west into her day.

I have been pulling this life together for four years now. These choices give great blessings of time to write, to create art, to dream, and to know better than ever what is really in my heart. To follow the thread of creativity and give it form in color and rhythm, or to line up words that evoke the internal landscape to visible appearance. The paintings are my healing face reflected, and the words show the way to become more alive, focused, and free.

Asphodel Meadow by Michele Montserrat

Have a Day…

July 26, 2020

A poem from October 2017.

Have a somber day, a day of remembering and singing the songs you liked best. A day filled with songs like you felt when you first heard Fade Into You.

Have a sober day, a day like how you felt when you heard of the death of David Bowie.

Have a sky’s-the-limit day, walking around with your head in the cloudy blue forever.

Have a spring day, mud between your toes, leaning down to see the grass up close and being surprised and graced with the unforgettable sweetness of lily in the valley.

Have an overly-important, sonorous day where you nod your head and tip your hat to everyone like you’re a sea captain in charge of all the pilgrims.

Have a day where you work so hard and get so much done that you really deserve to order your favorite pizza and watch cartoons with your friends.

Featured image of a road in Crow-Hassan Park, St. Michael, Minnesota. Photo of a David Bowie mask. All images by Michele Montserrat.

Once Upon a Time in Detroit by Gary Glauber (LANDMARKS Series)

Excellent poem by Gary Glauber “…a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. He champions the underdog while negotiating life’s absurdities. He has three collections — Small Consolations (Aldrich Press), Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and Rocky Landscape with Vagrants (Cyberwit) — as well as two chapbooks, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press) and The Covalence of Equanimity (SurVision Books), a winner of the 2019 James Tate International Poetry Prize. Another collection, A Careful Contrition (Shanti Arts Publishing). is forthcoming soon.”

Silver Birch Press

carl ballou licensedOnce Upon a Time in Detroit
by Gary Glauber

At 24, I took invincibility in stride,
drunk and still driving a rental car at midnight
into a town I’d never been to before,

heading the sixty miles I needed to cover
in record time and never once worrying about it.
Pointing the sedan in the right direction,

I ate up that random highway’s asphalt miles
like I had been to the feted Motor City
a hundred adventurous times before.

I was driving American, feeling every inch
a patriot of horsepower privilege, a Mitch Ryder song
appropriately blaring from the car’s radio.

I was to be shown how nice this town
with the less-than-stellar rep
could actually be. The gray-haired

officials in their fancy tailored suits
showed up to ensure me major improvements
were currently in the offing.

The impeccable politicians included me
like some wealthy insider, privy to their racist,

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Geocaching

July 25, 2020

I’m thinking a lot about roots today, and got in touch with some of my kin from my father’s side. The following is a re-write of something I composed back in the fall of 2017. It seems to fit…

I came from a home of books, and bike rides, and walks down to the river. I came from sunshine on skin, and bare feet from April til August. A place of wonder and of tears, of loss and of hope.

I came from a family who settled in Bloomington Minnesota after World War II. I came from a darkened living room, where daily deaths and casualties of Vietnam scrolled on the nightly news. I came from a hot summer night in July where my father woke us to see the Apollo moon landing.

I come from these things I learned about the war, I emerged from being embedded in unspoken belief in science, and America, and fishing, and racial justice. Done deals. The way it Is, when you call yourself an American.

I came here by love for shaking the tree. I came here out of family values of the “good” in our world, and how we’ll always probably need to struggle to make the world more closely match our vision.

The vision is gained by shedding a cloak. I am going toward a place where I the fire is tended, whether I realize it or not. I am looking at a forest of friends, to uncover the twilight of loss and why that is no country to live in.

Instead of silence, breath.

Instead of silence, the world coming into me through pores of the skin.

Instead of silence, the wind in oak branches.

Instead of silence, repose and rest.

Featured image of Crow-Hassan Park Reserve. Post image is section of restored mural painted in 1931 by Cora Holden at the Drury Plaza Cleveland Hotel. All images by Michele Montserrat.

The Problem…

July 22, 2020

This seat on the couch – I am mixing up the morning to see what comes of different postures. Provoking a new strand of this thread of Willing-by-Ink on dead trees. The surface texture broken on the plain expanse of cream-colored paper – a lined, effortful intent.

And there it is again, tension in the upper back and neck. Relief happens with a shoulder hunch and neck revolution, accompanied by a slight crinkling when tendons flex. The stretch is THERE… right in the middle of my upper back.

Realizing success in perseverance, in the effort of continuing the flow of inspiration, an overcoming of the inertia of decades. No regrets, but why did I not take up this from of art before? Was I betting on the lottery of slothful indulgence to pay off in the end?

The problem, the Buddha said, is that you think you have time.

Photo by Michele Montserrat

Extinction Rebellion

I may look more deeply at this organization…

Jessie Hennen

Last weekend, I attended my first meeting of the wholly wholesome protest sect Extinction Rebellion. If you’re a government agent reading this, I’d here like to state that they are not, in any way, a terrorist organization, despite the fearsome name. This is a post about what they are instead.

I think I suspected, while dressing (what to wear to a climate activist meeting, I fretted? Answer: literally anything) that it would be me and about six other people. Instead, they kept having to bring in more chairs.

I did not take photos, but if I had, a panorama of the room would have revealed:

  • Older women in vibrant attire.
  • Earnest couples in their early thirties, all definitely here for the first time, and probably, like me, wondering whether we can justify having kids.
  • Some timid young men, heads bent over phones.
  • Many people who used they/them pronouns. (“I respond…

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