Category Archives: The Arts

Multicultural Art and Poetry

Icarus Phoenix – by Kelly Hanwright

For a dwelling so small, it was gargantuan.

That house came crashing down, crushing
my chest. Forced to gnaw and swallow
paint, I tasted chalk and lead.

My stomach burned but
I couldn’t throw up; insides already coated,
calendar pages filling until food wouldn’t fit.

Despite the odds, when the time came,
I flew. Like Icarus. Somehow, I rose,
but my wings did not melt.

I reached up blackened hands and grasped a Sun.

Image: Superposition of Fall of Icarus (René Milot) with a burnt house (mrd-stock)

Soldier’s Last Letter – by Wesley Sims

Nearly unreadable now, paper wrinkled
as her hands, veins of ink blurred by tears.
But she had the words imprinted in her
mind to recall when memories surged.

She need not know that a fellow soldier
likely persuaded him, loaned him paper
to write an apology of sorts—I wish
I’d not enlisted,

yet she perceived his special gift,
a declaration of affection, the only way
he could voice it, I miss you all,
tell the children hello.

He mentioned shrapnel in his shoulder,
minor wound he claimed. She clutched
the letter to her heart, transmitted warmth
of her body, like a bird hovering her eggs,

as though, like a Holy Eucharist,
its ink might turn to blood, transform
the paper to pulsing tissue,
grow lungs and start to breathe,

become a living presence nurtured,
resting safe against her breast.

 

Image: A Letter from Pvt. Charles H. Austin, Civil War soldier

Music and Neuro Communication: Part 2 – by Deborah Levine

Neuro Communication with James Brown

The musical neuro communication with Ravi Shankar ended with his deep bow. The burst of applause was startling after the stillness, as was the quick dash of movement to the bathrooms. I turned to Cousin Sam, thanked him, and started to put on my coat. Sam didn’t move, ”We should stay for the next act.” I whined at that, “I’m tired and it’s a long schlep back to campus on the bus.” “Trust me. We should stay,” he said softly, but firmly. And so, mildly kvetching (complaining in Yiddish), I was still seated when the curtain re-opened.

Continue reading Music and Neuro Communication: Part 2 – by Deborah Levine

Music and Neuro Communication: Part 1 – by Deborah Levine

Neuro Communication with Ravi Shankar

My cousin Sam and I escaped our Harvard dorms and were about to experience neuro communication as we headed out to a Ravi Shankar concert in a small neighborhood theater in Boston. I was just seventeen, you know what I mean, and it was frostbite territory standing at the bus stop in Cambridge, Mass. Freezing almost took my mind off of being homesick for my family back in New York. Overcome with loneliness, I needed an attitude adjustment and Sam insisted on some music therapy. He thought that classical sitar music from India would distract and soothe  – reboot my brain.  I wondered why we were the only Harvard students who ‘d come to hear this relatively unknown musician from India. But it was the sixties and Shankar hadn’t yet been labeled by The Beatles’ George Harrison as “the godfather of world music”.

Continue reading Music and Neuro Communication: Part 1 – by Deborah Levine

Assembling our Time Capsule for Aliens – by Martin Kimeldorf

What would it mean to unlock the mysteries of both the visible and invisible dark night skies? In Matthew Bothwell’s article Monsters in the Dark, the Cambridge astronomer eloquently and patiently explains the invisible monster galaxies uncovered by the Hubble Space Craft’s long-exposure images. Relying on infrared light exposures, the new imagery penetrates the cosmic dust barriers to reveal in his words: a “vibrant cosmic powerhouses in the distant Universe” engaged in active star-making.

Bothwell admits that we don’t know why these massive galaxies even exist. The spiritual-cosmological questions that follow could sound like these: “What forces bring them into existence?” “Why do they die?” and most profoundly, “Why, or what purpose do they serve?” This busy star-nursery also fosters questions about our own existence back here on Earth and to what degree are we alone in the universe.

Continue reading Assembling our Time Capsule for Aliens – by Martin Kimeldorf

Healing the Trails of Tears – by Andréana Lefton

JOURNEY OF TEARS

That whole morning and night before were one long prayer for assistance. I woke at four, and sat in the living room of my friends’ river-side house, speaking aloud to the darkness, undamming the river, flooding inside.

Then I got ready, and drove to Red Clay State Park.

For years, my feet have taken me to Red Clay State Park, near Cleveland, Tennessee. This land was once the last seat of Cherokee government, and also the place where, in 1838, the Cherokee people learned that the Treaty had again been broken, their remaining land would be taken, and they would be forcibly “removed” to Oklahoma and parts unknown. Thousands and thousands of people died.

Continue reading Healing the Trails of Tears – by Andréana Lefton

Holy Color - Poem by Heather A. Davis

Your echoes linger on the edges in the Smoky Mountain fog
In petal red, or blue? The poet’s everywhere-tint
Infiltrates insidiously, glancing, gliding under my skin.

Move on, you whisper, No more time for love.
Love grown out of Tennessee barn oak
Floated on Scottish dry docks,
Love grown out of three-thousand miles of red, white, and blue.

Now we walk past the Cherokee land until we spy
The seagulls’ wings; sail east, then up the River Clyde
To Dunoon, where sailors and war brides married
Where mother met father, and I met you.

But these mountains have been deceiving me for years.
Hurry now! the mantra grows, Move on…move on
Past your foothills ghost, past the shipbuilders’ loch,
On past a struggle’s end.

Red, only in the mountains’ falling leaves
Blue, only in my eyes
And the holy color dying.

The Pond in Winter – Poem by Ann Thornfield-Long

The Pond in Winter

            After Henry David Thoreau

 

The winter of ’19, it rained nearly every day,

water gushed from sky, no windshield wiper

equal to it. A slough swelled in the low spot

of the yard, lapped the steps, like a wolf

 

at the door. It was the wolf supermoon that

reflected off the surface one rare, naked night—

quicksilver eerie and lovely as icy solitude,

consoling, clear. A sorrow-voiced owl cried

 

in the pre-dawn, foreshadowing death,

as owls can. Loss spilled over the wall

of my soul and into the crevices where I hid

my treasures, floated them out of their deep

 

secret places onto the banks from underearth

where bluets and bloodroots drank to the dregs

as I would after I saw the land open its mouth

and swallow my love whole, leaving me to choke

 

on the hemlock of grief. I’ll carry the disfigurement

of this flood, a high-water scar the rest of my days.

Not everything, nor everyone survives. Winter

cannot last forever.

SiberiaCyberHaiku – Poem by George Simons

SiberiaCyberHaiku

Silently passing through Fargo…
the indiscriminate Fargo of my mind,
I am cruising up the Lena.
I leave the city limits of my head
for what is…now…here…
flowing once before the windows of my eyes.

Morning, she appears,
changeling today, soft and cloudy
where the river flows.

As the clouds thicken
I become confused and ask,
“Will sunlight return?”

Endless flow of green,
sandy shore, then white birch trees,
life without landmarks.

Then houses, a church,
its onion dome an anchor,
faith in solitude.

I peek at a map,
explore the territory,
mind at home again.

Tell me what I am,
where I am, I have forgot
Tell me how, how, how…