Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Moon Lace: Desert Poetics, Night Wandering

19th Century Burano needle-lace fan leaf

Moon Lace

Quartered, now halved, she dresses me
in a gown of finely laced light,
so spidery and buoyant,
her enchantment is a snare—

I curve,
along this slight arc
of an earth animated by moonshine
in a wilderness of boundless night:
trails of stars
I follow,
until a slight rotation of the planet
pulls me back to my place among

where this mistress moon
weaves me into her thin glimmers,
twisting a glow into the curls of my hair
scattered like snaking vines along the red dirt,
my skin a luminous satin, such a smooth
surface for the embroidered frills and flounces
she laces upon my neck,
delicate gossamers looped, plaited, knotted into
a decorative and illusory noose.

I have imagined myself
as a million beautiful
yet time-bound things.
In every bondage
is the key to breaking free.
Escape is simple here in the desert
where the scale of the warp
and weft and arid conditions
render mental threads brittle,
the free flowing flower motifs and illusions
snap and break in their exposure to vastness—

just stitches in air,
defying grid patterns, lifting
their heavy adornment away from me.
And then I fly freely in the night,

wicked and released.

-Renee Podunovich, 2018
Seated Under Half Moon, photo by Renee Podunovich

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Back Home in the Vastness: Wide Wordscapes of Land

What is it to come home? 
It is how the body finds a way back into relationship with familiar landscape- its light and shadow, its smells and sounds, its continual offering of a wordscape through mindful and intentional communion of senses and place. 

I spend my first days back home looking for familiar animals and plants, noticing what has propagated this year and what lies dormant because of the changing conditions (that always change). After 15 years on this land, I am still learning her language, and I hear her with different ears than when I left six years ago for a stint in the city. My ears are eager for her dialect.

This summer saw the worst drought on record and yet- the wild plum bushes that I planted 15 years ago as bare root stock from the county extension, have managed to produce a modest crop.

My heart dances at the sight of the ripe plums framed against the palace blue sky and swirling afternoon clouds; the long afternoon light brushing our cheeks so we are illuminated like satin.

Home is where wild plums are the riff that I can contemplate and improvise on all day long. The ease of focusing on just one trope - wild plums - allows me to be in a creative reverie with the present moment, letting images and words and inspiration live inside me without interruption, knowing they are forming into something that will delight and surprise me; that I will give away like anyone blessed with such a harvest.

Deer Eating Wild Plums, photo by Renee Podunovich

Give Them Away

Wild plums fallen
on gray gravel, perfectly
ripe, red like lipstick on full
mouths (dusted lightly with powdered
     Pick up
     each one,
     this is
     a meditation, a prayer.

Gather these plums,
toss them over the fence,
into the wilderness-
a gift for fox and bear.
The uneaten fruit will shrivel
in the heat, evaporate in the sun,
maybe nothing will come
of these pits, but potential-
     hard, wrinkled and black
     is tucked inside each one.

Let the dirt have them,
give them away to unknown
forces, nature, magic, not
mine, magnificent web, matrix,
mystery, unsolved,
I can only taste ripe
flesh on my tongue, tart,
sharp, pungent juice-
     the wilderness of my body
     fed by fallen fruit.

-Renee Podunovich, 2018