Great Adventure in My Language, Illustrated, Defined by Color


It was his finger that started it…
pointed at the center of the shatter, into shards, like ice, like swords and daggers, his one eye set on the darkness before him, ready to press on into the night.


Best steps forward crunch into the dead leaves of virgin woods, leave behind the dusty gravel places peopled with strangers and go for the ever stranger abandoned, forgotten homes peopled by spirits, guarded by owl and trees.

But never go without sweetness, savor the emergency chocolates, the cinnamon browns, ice the fire in the heart with honey and sugar, sing like the padosan eager to serenade his lover but even without the voice for it, let the very noise of your feet wake up crows and sparrows, let the squirrels sing of your comings and goings, in the land where you are the only thing unique.

No road ends, the edge only leads to another means of daring…

Spell no fall, cling to your surface, face the sky and climb like flying.
You can reach further without trying hard, it is already dreamt, so it can be done, hold this in your hand, grip with your whole body, and if such slip shall slide away the soul, may the waves receive the creature kindly, and float, do not sink, catch yourself on a wave, carry on by surf nymph home to start again.

No matter where the stop, the road is always there, and if it isn’t, you can make one where ever you want to go…
Not all roads are black, not all roads gray, not all brown, they come up to greet you in shades of purple, blues, lavender, cream, even moss-green-yellow with hints of Queen Anne’s lace all along the sides like sleeves.

Black-tops hold heat far longer it seems than any substance, like cooling lava stinging through the shoes, steaming up into the sinuses, the stench of rubber from tires threatening to bring on migraines. How then can anyone stand to be in a car?

I don’t believe that adventures only belong to heroes anymore.
It all has changed, parts gone missing, with that one touch, last look, a shattering, breaking through, break down, melt down, poured into shape, into a dark thing that needs sharpening.

Are you listening to these echoes, echoes tracing my passing from out of the cave, echoes in the language of poetry and color — only true way I am comfortable to speak — flashes of light, echoes, words, letters in shapes I’m losing sight of, appearing as sigils as my consciousness drifts in the middle of my describing — losing myself — in the dream of adventure, that old obsession.

Let the colors talk. I’ve lost the ability to write and speak. For a few simple moments more.


There is something else I can say:
I can describe the Great Adventure as a taste and the colors of that taste I can put into a bowl and smell, feel them, let them slip in between my fingers and even hand them to you to carry because the very idea has a substance to it, it all exists, can be represented as tangible, in familiar things laying around the house.  I could get them right now, but is it not more interesting to imagine, just spell them out in these colors and poems and let guess what they are?

That’s was the adventurer’s breakfast.
Below is the atmosphere — the very breath that surrounds him, the mountains, the rivers, the ground — she’s a woman, you see, far beyond him in experience and know-how, as old as she is young, she smells like sage and rosemary, coyotes follow her everywhere, in fact they announce her coming, but you’ll never hear her approach, and she leaves before you guess her gone.

She is like fog, a mist, beads of rain, dew-soaked blanket, the sensation of stones under bare feet, the rush of cold entering your lungs as you take that first yawn…

Can you divorce yourself from the legends?
The epic that is sometimes Great Adventure is too much to live up to, impossible to strive for, mere mortals need Gods to intervene. Sometimes the fairy tale inspires, sometimes it is the creator of fools, luring geeks to a mediocre fate. Please, don’t put on the plastic knight’s cape.

Answer the urge to rise above the ordinary, follow the points upward — a horse standing on hind legs, hooves in the air — a sword slashes sky — a strong finger shatters the glass and breaks the eye — every direction is the direction and it does not matter where the end, only that the song begins again, again, again!



I still dream of heroes, of men and women gifted by the Gods, but a darkness within is sore and tired, asking for proof, tortured in disbelief and angry at all the dreams never come true, yet still asking, still wanting, hoping someone will turn it all around, make me believe in good men again, or that I can be super, too.
This is what every fan wants, every dreamer seeks, every girl I was wished for, every woman like me — illustrator of heroes, ever-seeking-ever-compelled by the pageantry of superpower glory and magic, all the magic glittering and bold — what I forever chase after, look into eyes and even if I don’t see, I’ll create it, it’s what I do, I’m a dreamer who also makes dreams.
Try to deny it, cannot fake it, it’s an addiction.
These are the colors we paint our make believe heroes with, the colors that make their adventures glow with as if they live in strip club underworlds, where everything stands out at attention, artificial yet accepted as part of the show, believed in order to make the characters seem noir, look real. The Great Adventure here is high-voltage acid surreal beyond fairy and into the alien where everything natural has eroded, where everything normal now is the dream, and my sentences, words, colors are coming out so delusional enough to make you think I need a hospital.

Adventure, I love you, but you make me afraid.
You steal away people, you can steal away me.
Like the time you took me underneath the water.
Did you think I would ever forget that?
I’ve never forgotten. Never will.
That was the day we parted.
The day I turned my back on you.
Before then I thought you my lover.
I never knew the fear of that pull.
Adventure, you still won’t let go of me.
Even after I survived the drowning and grew up.
I still hear you calling but I won’t answer you.
Not when you shout for me to come out to the deep end.
No, I’m not falling for that anymore.
No matter how many of my friends convince me it’s safe.
There are too many dark and unknown undersealings below.
What next will pull me under when I’m lost and unknowing?
And, hey, what about that time I thought I finally got over it and then started to swim out into the deeper places? What was up with that humongous sturgeon the same size as my own body?! That thing bumping into me like a living rock, eyes more curious about me than I was afraid, swimming away from me, then coming back at me, next time smoothing up to me, all friendly-like, but enough then for me to notice it was bigger than me, and too late I find I cannot swim faster than I can run and too slow and clumsy I try to reach shore, everyone laughing at me, the sturgeon even teasing me going underneath me, along side me, my choppy swimming making myself all the more interesting to explore…
Okay, I get it now. I became adventure to the sturgeon that day, right? Sometimes it works out like that.
I cannot stop talking about what I fear.
Just like I cannot stop talking about adventures.
They are the best stories.

Not all of the best adventures happen outdoors.


From his chair he can define his universe, create it, destroy it, build it all up again, play the God, make the heroes, be the heroes, find the quests, set new challenges, erase and save, pause, come back, do all the things in real life I sure as Hell can’t, become enthralled just as much as old ladies with little dolls do, yes. That is how I see the action figures that go along with games and their gamers — the merchandise that accompanies almighty Great Indoor Adventure — collect the whole set, win your prizes, all like being a kid, or staying a kid grown up and with money. This is adventure as indulgence, as escape, as time-out and zone-out.

His eyes remain on target, fingers and thumbs in a blur, oblivious to everything outside, and one wonders where wonder really is inside that box, or if I’m missing something I should discover… I watch him play, observe the ways every gamer takes each hit and loss and carry on, how they interact with each other as a different cultural unit with a language all their own, a realm I don’t understand.
Each world has its rules, its adventurers, its places to explore, continents to map, people to meet, everyday new discoveries, perhaps he or she or you will never understand my way of knowing, tasting, seeing, feeling and appreciating great adventure, but it is my way I carve out my own path and it does not make me crazy. Yet the drive of it makes me feel that way.
I see what others do, where others go, the distant fires burn straight back into my heart and it hurts to be home when all I want to be is with those in action. I dream the dream.
I keep the home fires burning…
well, candle fires burning, but fires nonetheless, and they smell like spiced vanilla, honeyed and iced, making me want tea right now, red lavender tea with a spot of mint and a drop of soy milk.

Great Adventure, he can wait, he’s out there with his finger making a smash where ever he comes and went, he’s in the news, out there in space, flying like a bird, making a mess, rescuing people from hurricane Issac and evacuating animals, too. Oh, he’s all over the place, at the start of the trouble and will be there at the end of it as well. He’s up to all the things — riding past me on the road, waving hello and good-bye in one stretch — up to all the things I can’t do while I’m walking on the sidewalk mumbling to myself, thinking about how I’m going to illustrate what he is in my language, my own form of poetry, and define him in colors, because that’s what I do, and it’s all that I can, and somehow it fits my dreams.

August Kiss Farewell

She’s almost gone, August
           almost gone, never quite left
           I know she will be back
           I just have to wait
           because sometimes she
           peeks out of other seasons, times
          so bright, August, she feels she will
          out last all of September right through October
          breaking into November, coaxing out of December
          especially these days when the heat is stubborn
          clings too long to the body, August the lady-child
          pushing you outside, pulling you come play
Yet the frost is threatening her
every morning the closer we reach the 31st
a coat of responsibility falls over the aging green
harvest days chill with dew drops dangle slow to fall
the deeper, darker nights confirm 
the white moths and fairies chase after the fire
in a frenzy, disappearing, burning, no matter warmth of day
August has grown, is growing, cold
            She is drawing her curtain
            the crickets and hornets hum less often
            the thistles bow, the willows bend far too low
            stiff wind slap to the face announce the end of the show
            the time when all begins display a touch of dry yellow
August puts down her garland crown for one of honey-gold
            the spiders, her favorites, weave gossamer death-trap tapestries
            listen!  can you hear their jaws, those spinnerets?!
            everywhere in their millions click-roar the jaws
            eight-leg symphonies, chorus of industry
            every year spiders produce the gown of the Summer’s End Queen
           quiet now, be still, and bow as she leaves…
           all through the forest, in the fields, along the road
           graceful-slow she exits with her long silk train
            dying flowers, leaves, insects stick to her rustlng, buzzing
But, August, she does not really ever go away
           with a wink like a star twinkle
           she sighs out invisible kisses
           you can smell them on the breeze —
                                         ripe crisp juicy apples ready for your bite.

for  Drew Jacob

Postcard #42: A Smile Peeks Out

You know what?
The most beautiful thing happened to me today,
I saw your face in my reflection looking back at me
out of the corner of my eyes, a shine like no other —

a smile I can’t help but recognize, wrinkles at the corners of my lips
from where the line of my mouth is forever crooked,
in the way a front porch of an old home is bent
under the weight of many past guests over years of parties
and even the way I hold myself together is the way
you taught me how to hold a sword, how I hold my books,
how friends hold hands, how I lift my chin when I speak
even how I hold my back straight, and when I do battle as I dance —
The most beautiful things peek out of me all the time,
at times when I least recognize them, automatic, like machine
like nature, like clock work working chiming ticking the time
in the ways I climb and walk, the little ways in the way
a whisper of you is in how I giggle and talk
shadows of you tickle throughout my thoughts
I cannot erase any bit of you, even if you paid me to
make a map of my mind and lots of you are so easy to find
The most ugly thing I ever attempted was to cover all this up,
I tried to hide you, clear you out of my sight,
punish myself for every like of you, and
banish you to ghost, leaving no souvenirs behind
traces of you were too numerous, I could not succeed
you have been tattooed inside me, like brilliant graffiti
in exotic colors, too vivid to lie hidden, and like flowers —
the more dirt I put them in, the more they bloom, bloom, BLOOM again!
So, you know what now?
I am the most beautiful woman today — all because I knew you
and you never really left me alone, because there you are
in my face all along…
this face is older, wiser, the eyes darker, ‘specially underneath
and tear-traced are the cheeks, and yet I dare shine
through all this dullness and age, I feel I am a prize
I am the smile I cannot keep to myself
not always because of you
but because of how I love and
the way I love you must also be
the way I have to love me.

Postcard #41: What I Saw at Dawn

One of the benefits of going through a fit of insomnia…

Stay up through the night and meet the dawn, find a cool place to watch the sky wake and let the living things around you show you their secret faces.

I have dozens of poems, neatly handwritten, un-revised, they came out automatically as if ticker-taped out of my mind, all stored at my bedside.  I do not know why, and yet I do, my emotions have been wild this month, I have to be in deep meditation up to four times each day, and out of these meditation sessions come the songs…

It is like my fingertips are singing. I cannot speak. I just let the pen and ink flow — my magic wand of the moment.

The Precious Ritual of Grieving into the Night

I do not like it when the dawn comes
it’s the end of dreams         awake am I or sleeping   it’s the end
it’s the end of things       the death of the dark    it’s past hiding
now I have to create myself the artificial night
blanket up myself a cave        but no one escapes the morning
I believe that adventure has become illusion
it’s the end of dreams       once it has begun and become a thing
it’s the end of driving once driven      and the struggling to reach
has been reached and there is no where yet to run      from
and where is discovery     when things unknown are found?
no risk, no journey, no bard’s song of glory, no, not for me
at home in the shadow of the morning
weeping for the hero’s coming
I do not know who my hero is
it’s the end of dreams     when they do not praise you back
it’s the end of things   once you lose the religion   idolization
belief in all you think they are and you are not    and they left
me behind    as heroes do   women they never love
only crush like roses on the road
wear them once and only for show
I cannot hold on to hope anymore now
it’s the end of dreams    that leads me to stillness numbing calm
it’s the end of things   abandoning keening loving as I drift across
a vast series of rivers    I leave behind as evidence I once believed
and loved and held dear somehow beyond all doubts   a man
could finally prove to be worth his ideals
and worthy of my faith
and yet it seems destiny
for all men
to prove
somehow bad and wanting
I do not want to weep over them
I want to put an end to these dreams   because they cause me hurt
I want to put an end to these things    because they make me die
each moment and with each and every cry
it kills me
This is not the way living is the way to live
or is it the way life shows me I’m alive… through this yearning?
And what do I yearn?   Beyond all this loss, a constant grief
so natural I do not remember a day without tears
and yet I yearn to go without
and walk like lovers do
yet be alone
happy-normal like you
and just once watch the world with clear eyes    no leaping heart
enjoy a simple morning without straying from the light
and stop myself from diving into precious shadow
to continue the ritual of grieving into the night.

Blood Under the Ice


It is an almost dying
this mourning I do
a storm-rage pushing
come here and go away
It is an unfair living
this voluntary curse
a floating banshee keening
wanting be here and seeking away
diamond-like in its hardness how it grows inside
dark coal in the meat of my heart breathing out dust
My ghost produced a spark
in me once               there
                   where once       you stood with me
      held me            like the way         I learned to hold     a sword
                                                                            a God hollowed a world out
from deep inside     my blanket belly       rolled and rolled
     not once covered           the way you walked                 away…
It is almost killing
the watching of the way
everyone on the road before
shoving and moving and exiting, crying
It is an unfair dying
this involuntary blessing
born a baby light as air
seeking heaven away but stuck here
petal-like softness in its wanting attention
                                 and, oh, how it leaks the filth outside
                                 little pale worm in the mother’s flesh a-wash in tears
I am almost dying
reading you in words
you used to write so long to me
the lines grow longer to someone else now
spelling out the nine years of my absence as
the long over-due appointment I have with my coffin
I should have fell into it long ago the day you dropped me
in the lake, in the trees, dry tears, dry heaves, black lace in the leaves
I would’ve made a better corpse then
yet I am still caught in the dying
almost living, hanging,
for my
I will become
when you come next
back into the widow’s garden
where the gossamer never fades
here the music listens to you and dance
is in the eye-lashes, sex in the halls and whispers
you would love to have me there and keep the secret tame
This ghost produces clouds
try and walk              on one        here’s one    and there     two
                   I’ll promise       nothing         no   not      a      thing
                                         will                come              come between us
                                                all only              but air
                                                         the wind that
                                               breathes along my sword
                                   the razor tip                   crossing out
                                                       the very mark
                                                           you once
It is almost dead
this shadow cast
over the streaming red
come here now and hush
It is only fair now
I say my falling prayer
for the blood under the ice
the streaks of rage spent
shining now like rubies under a sheet of turquoise
the snow white jasper, a warm, not cold, melting
dripping all along the tree branch…
                                               and in the deepest part of my forest
                                                your ghost finally appears, forgives
                                                no more time for slivers, shivers, cries
The prayer is said, the bell is rung, no sweetness on the lip
come the spring the blood pumps, the legs move, we begin to run
will you visit me?    will I visit you?    a mocking bird dare sings
feathers spasm with a gasp for breath and the request repeated
I look down at my empty hands, once again echoing from finger-tip
my frost-bitten bitter-assed sore-throated lament:
It is an almost dying, I am
It is an almost killing, you do
It is almost dead, this we are
                                     when it is decided separate we go beyond instead
                                     …and I head into death’s direction, facing dusk
                                     I walk into the sting of the last setting sun and
                                     that’s when I seek it, an end to the light at the end
                                     walking into the tunnel, never to come back
                                     because you never have.

~Just a touch of winter chill for the second day of August, because I am already anticipating fall. Already there is a chance for snow in my heart. Today I am feeling angry. I did not get the chance to “pal around” online like I hoped with someone tonight. So, off the top of my head, I wrote this poem about two dueling swordsmen who are two former friends — like in a classic story — forced to face each other, a fight to the death, but instead of pleasing their masters, they kill each other instead. The last one alive is not nearly as dead as the other. He has used his own heart as scabbard for his sword and walks into the western sunset. His companion is beginning his death rattle. Both are angry that all came to this. Metaphorically, nothing really to do with any of my friends, just over my love for swords and sorcery fantasy.

And simply wishing I could have talked with my friend tonight about adventure and heroism like I so long to all the time, rarely getting that chance to. Heart-broken, but only for the moment, I end this blog post to go back to my studio to draw, weep, draw some more, get to bed early… It won’t always be like this, I hope.~

The August Heart’s-Ache-Art Starts Now

Starting tonight, I vowed I would write a poem a day and would draw a sketch a day. First I will start with the passion that provokes me to do this in the name of my God. I look at this green all around me and it fills me with such love, my heart aches with so much hurt, I am so in love and feel so blessed here. Look here and see where I am and know a little something of why I am here and why I long to share it with you.

I write from out of visions, just like I do sometimes with my drawings and paintings. I swear to you this one was given to me last night and would not stop “replaying” in my mind until I wrote it down. Only then could I sleep…

Before the Summer is done
                            In full Sunlight
                                  Under the Pale Heat of the Moon
                                                     I want us to make love
                                         during the days and all the nights
                                                                           As the Fall has begun
                                                      In the Full Bosom of Dead Leaves
                                              Under the Slumbersome and Naked Trees
                                                                            I want us to sink into a Most
                                                                                          Legendary Cuddle
                                                                                                       using only Our
                                                                                                                 bodies as
                                                                                                  against the cold
                               When Winter Spreads Her Deep and Frozen Shadow
                                                                  In the Growing, Building Snow
                                                                        Over the Slippery Ice
                                                                         We Shall Slide…
                                                             …You will take me
                                                        Into Your arms to
                               We will rub cheeks into fire
                    Sparkle and burn like stars
           like everyone’s heart’s desire
     Then, As Spring Unfolds
We Will Uncurl with the Green
        Bloom dew-wet, petal-sweat-out
                                           and into the source of seeds again!

I promised a sketch a day, and so I shall deliver, but I am also hard at work producing a playing card deck for a language preservation project, so just in case I miss a few days to post art and poetry on my blog this first August week, I have more than a few to show you…

Vamps are a favorite subject. They tend to bleed out of mind like drops of sweat whenever I’m busy doing anything pedestrian.

I’m always drawing and painting self portraits. I do this to better understand myself and to keep a record of my shifting moods. This series of self-observations are like different pieces of my personality, some I hide, some always put on for show. There is something new on my cheek now, an age spot in the shape of a running horse. It’s not hugely disfiguring, more like a weird freckle. It was much darker back in January. I thought it was a cancer because it was so dark. When I got it removed, it would not completely disappear, the laser still left a mark in the shape of the spot. I now consider it a “tattoo” given to me by the Gods. *laughs*

I don’t know who this is, so don’t ask me. I often draw from the imagination, or I draw from the life, or from magazines, or something I see on television. I think I got this impression of a guy from a number of sources — from the news, from missing a friend, from seeking a male ideal, to thinking about a character I might want to write about. Who knows? Perhaps if I finish this drawing, flesh him out a bit more, I might find out who he is? You never know.

This is the start of August. The time of year I plan all kinds of art projects. I almost don’t consider it part of the summer anymore. In a few weeks the students will be back. Heat wave will surrender to chill. My favorite in between warm and cold time is coming! Lugh has armed me with such great gifts in this life that to praise him, and to earn honor for myself, is to put them to great use. This is what I intend to do this month, and every month. Time for no more complaining, it’s time for work!

I hope I have a nice audience out there.  Let me know if you’re there.  *waves*