IMG_7361The novel Clio’s Mobile Home is a facet of my creative work. Several characters in my novel write poems; I am serious about writing poetry. I also work on short shorts, and short stories. They are all modes of thinking about identity, transcendence and beauty in contemporary life. Art keeps us aloft, but it is more than decoration. Its force can be astounding. The artist becomes an instrument, and art lives to tell the tale.

Posted on by jillbpearlman | 50 Comments

Confused Spring Prayer

May I recognize my hilly landscape
and not expect to live in the plain.
Know that I am the hills and ravines,
the sun-drenched fields and deep shadows, 

gulleys, mustard fields, yellows,
veils of light that drape like silk slips,
brooding camisoles, mist from cigarettes,
palm hats, brilliant ideas, crestfallen spirits,

wilting, questioning, knowing not
to claim, wanting to want that armful
of pungent stems and flowers to toss,
not to hold.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Yo Mama!

I had been thinking about the representations of mothers, the usual suspects, until I bumped into Yo Mama, a collage by Wangechi Mutu, the indefatigable Kenyan-born artist.  Boom!  Here was the fiercest and coolest mother on the planet.  I paused, wishing that all of us could go through our trials with our stiletttos on tight and enemies severed under our feet.  

In the artist’s imagination, the mother rises again – she is based on a murdered woman, Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, mother of Fela Kuti, the brilliant Nigerian musician.  She flies, her wide eyes insistent, dislocated, pasted from fashion shot with her beauty, fury and damage as one.  Skin as a spangled leotard, she dominates one panel, sets things right with the snake head sprouting flower blood under her shoe dagger, the rest of the panel drenched in possibility of purer, solid pink future.  Fela’s music survives the attempt of Nigerian soldiers to crush his complex; his mother, a fatal victim of that invasion, survives as a formidable goddess of nightlife or Eden, mythic, eternal mother.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Exactly As Spring Is, Only More So

The April dusk bursts with metaphors.  Night had sowed magical rain, the day comes forth in pea green, yellow green, everything green. Pavement of scattered chartreuse pollen with tire marks.  The daffodils mesmerize me: tiny geese with pointed head and tucked wings fly arrowlike across the smooth sea.  Spellbinding.  They are both rapid and still, hovering in the folds of time. They oscillate, back and forth, in and out.  Not long ago their flowers were plush, wet and sticky.  Now its daytime hosiery has been washed out and is hanging on the line.

The nonexistent in the existent steps forward so delicately.  The familiar and worldly array of things holds worlds in its grip.  A just-dead flower as fleet bird, then cast-off sheath.  Luxuriant, terrible, ridiculous, eternal. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Exactly As Spring Is, Only More So

The Art of Squirrel as Poem

Meret Oppenheim

Where the birds nest
Greening treetops
A busy squirrel

You think it’s found its branch
It leaps to another

Propositions made
Then negated

The ordinary sense
We are used to making
Finds danger

It scampers down
Tail blushing in the sun

So much fun

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Art of Squirrel as Poem

In Our Cups of Seder Freedom

Four glasses in, heaps of food and words, 
the feast of mouth-people overflows.

The Reed Sea breathes. The message 
in the bottle passed forward each year —

Ask, talk!  Tell, tell! —

God’s backward order 
that Exodus was a pretext
for us to tell the story – 

makes its own sense.

Words, world making.  The whole 
shifts in parts, the bottom glitters,
we teeter in freedom 
white flowers in a night garden.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on In Our Cups of Seder Freedom

Seasons: Everything All at Once

Seasons, the steady four,
are now layered, entangled.

To the bridge’s left, ships hover
in glacial water, a blue-lipped hue.
Love or bankruptcy, horizon’s lower eye
watches time’s suspension

a red-tailed hawk floats
above the bay’s reverse face,
tiny flowers burst
in yellow and orange flesh of lilies.

Monterey cypress lean into 
everything all at once, 
elegant drunkards.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Seasons: Everything All at Once

Flux, March

The pristine snow,
abandoned, sinks —

a sooty skin.

Broken objects
rise up. An arm, 
stairs, cardboard
boxes shocked
by fetid air,

my head 

pushes from the
mud, the primordial

churn, seething, 
thick with salty

Shit or fish 
sauce?  Call
it March.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Guest

For three weeks, I was a guest: to different showers
And toilet flushes in the West, to coffee houses, to apps,
to rosemary as box shrub.  A guest to my suitcase.  
To hot tubs and skin in the garden of my tiny cottage. 
Guest to stretches of blacktop like a zip, Lily Valley Church and Rainbow Donuts.

Guest to the mirror: my daughter hosted me. 
Hit me in the gut.  Made me think of another paradigm: host/parasite.
I made a typo and wrote paradise. 

Then I friended Monterey cypress. They lean and question, 
buffeted by circumstance. I saw the bright grass after a morning rain, 
speckled as skin of a fabulous lizard.  Small guests, nothing but.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Guest

Hey, Stranger Stranger

I could have been quaint
and asked a stranger about those drooping
white blossoms, pointed leaves and slender stems,
flowers upside down, dripping like milk.

Instead I tasked my phone and asked
a stranger stranger, who gave me fifteen
fast photos of the flower before my eyes.
Snowdrops.  They look particularly splendid 

when planted in drifts. Siri is right,
though she doesn’t grin, dirt under 
her nails, pink tinted glasses on her head
ready to tell you anything.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scrappy February

Blue sky with blacktop in the early morning.  
A flock of birds takes a surprise curve over my glass,
a car-toting mattress heads to unload 
on the strip – the dump, salt heap and peaks
of scrap metal.  An old fire truck slinks
past its final resting place.  What if we crank open
the window, not afraid of death taking
notice, take in February as it is –
unshaven, mottled skin, held by 
roots and armpits, calm and rough built 
before the season of erotic grooming?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Scrappy February