Archives for posts with tag: surreal

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33 UMBRELLAS
by Jennifer K. Sweeney

In your sleep
the year advanced.
Perhaps in a Japanese rainstorm

33 umbrellas opened at precisely
the same moment—
a ballooning

then a click—
and you were allowed further.
Go with your blue apples

falling from the night-trees.
Go with your muddled
light.

Carve impossible faces
in the pumpkin.
Scoop a net of seeds—

one for the trouble you’ve caused,
the rest for the trouble
you wish you caused.

The skeletons wear marigolds
for eyes.
They let you pass,

lantern-hearted, happy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006), available at Amazon.com, and How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at Amazon.com. Visit the author at jenniferksweeney.com.

IMAGE: “Umbrellas” by xetobyte, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. View xetobyte’s art at deviantart.com.

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BIRDS APPEARING IN A DREAM
By Michael Collier

One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,

another a tail of color-coded wires.

One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,

another a flicker with a wounded head.
 
All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,

bright, circulating in burning air,

and all returned when the air cleared.

One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,
 
deep in the ground, miles from water.

Everything is real and everything isn’t.

Some had names and some didn’t.

Named and nameless shapes of birds,
 
at night my hand can touch your feathers

and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,

you who have made bright things from shadows, 

you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.

collier

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Collier is an American poet, teacher, creative writing program administrator and editor. He has published five books of original poetry, a translation of Euripedes‘ Medea, a book of prose pieces about poetry, and has edited three anthologies of poetry. From 2001 to 2004 he was the Poet Laureate of Maryland. As of 2011, he is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a professor of creative writing at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the poetry editorial consultant for Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). (Read more at Wikipedia.org.)

Painting: ”L’Homme au Chapeau Melon” (1964) by René Magritte

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IMAGINARY NUMBER
by Vijay Seshadri 

The mountain that remains when the universe is destroyed
is not big and is not small.
Big and small are
 
comparative categories, and to what
could the mountain that remains when the universe is destroyed
be compared?
 
Consciousness observes and is appeased.
The soul scrambles across the screes.
The soul,
 
like the square root of minus 1,
is an impossibility that has its uses.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vijay Seshadri is the author of Wild Kingdom (1996), The Long Meadow (2004) — both published by Graywolf Press — and The Disappearances (HarperCollins India, 2007).

Painting by Anton Zanesco

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SEA-CHANGE
by Jennifer K. Sweeney 

after the waiting years     leaden years
keening oceanside for an answer
from the original dark
you emerge distinct
one life perpetually not-there
not-to-come
then    suddenly at work with long division
sac of cells we
watched in the flux
via negativa
you eddy forth     little blue fish
little big heart
to be here with me now
means we made a study of
insistence     means
I will not forget the profound
absence from which
you began
***
Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections: Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006), available at Amazon.com, and How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at Amazon.com. Visit the author at jenniferksweeney.com. This remarkable poet offers private instruction and poetry critiques. Learn more here.

Painting: “Blue Fish” by Ed Smith. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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33 UMBRELLAS
by Jennifer K. Sweeney

In your sleep
the year advanced.
Perhaps in a Japanese rainstorm
 
33 umbrellas opened at precisely
the same moment—
a ballooning
 
then a click—
and you were allowed further.
Go with your blue apples
 
falling from the night-trees.
Go with your muddled
light.
 
Carve impossible faces
in the pumpkin.
Scoop a net of seeds—
 
one for the trouble you’ve caused,
the rest for the trouble
you wish you caused.
 
The skeletons wear marigolds
for eyes.
They let you pass,
 
lantern-hearted, happy.
***
Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections: Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006), available at Amazon.com, and How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at Amazon.com. Visit the author at jenniferksweeney.com. This remarkable poet offers private instruction and poetry critiques. Learn more here.

Painting by xetobyte, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. View xetobyte’s art at deviantart.com.

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BIRDS APPEARING IN A DREAM
By Michael Collier

One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,

another a tail of color-coded wires.

One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,

another a flicker with a wounded head.
 
All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,

bright, circulating in burning air,

and all returned when the air cleared.

One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,
 
deep in the ground, miles from water.

Everything is real and everything isn’t.

Some had names and some didn’t.

Named and nameless shapes of birds,
 
at night my hand can touch your feathers

and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,

you who have made bright things from shadows, 

you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Collier is an American poet, teacher, creative writing program administrator and editor. He has published five books of original poetry, a translation of Euripedes‘ Medea, a book of prose pieces about poetry, and has edited three anthologies of poetry. From 2001 to 2004 he was the Poet Laureate of Maryland. As of 2011, he is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a professor of creative writing at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the poetry editorial consultant for Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). (Read more at Wikipedia.org.)

Illustration: “The Promise” (1966) by René Magritte 

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Book of DreamsJack Kerouac‘s dream diary originally published by City Lights Books in 1961 and reissued in 2001, is  Kerouac at his most Kerouacian (or is it Kero-Wacky-an?) — which is a good thing. Whatever he writes, Kerouac’s deep, utter charm and sincerity shine through.

In the book’s preface, Kerouac writes:“The reader should know that this is just a collection of dreams that I scribbled after I woke up from my sleep — They were all written spontaneously, nonstop, just like dreams happen, sometimes written before I was even wide awake — The characters that I’ve written about in my novels reappear in these dreams in weird new dream situations…and they continue the same story which is the one story that I always write about. The heroes of On the RoadThe Subterraneans, etc., reappear here doing further strange things for no other particular reason than that the mind goes on, the brain ripples, the moon sinks, and everybody hides their heads under pillows with sleepingcaps. Good. And good because the fact that everybody in the world dreams every night ties all mankind together shall we say in one unspoken Union and also proves that the world is really transcendental…”

Book of Dreams also includes a “Table of Characters” where Kerouac lists how the dream players correspond with characters in his novels. For example, Cody Pomeray in JK’s dreams is Dean Moriarity in On the Road.

Find the book here at Amazon.com.

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BIRDS APPEARING IN A DREAM
By Michael Collier

One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,

another a tail of color-coded wires.

One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,

another a flicker with a wounded head.
 
All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,

bright, circulating in burning air,

and all returned when the air cleared.

One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,
 
deep in the ground, miles from water.

Everything is real and everything isn’t.

Some had names and some didn’t.

Named and nameless shapes of birds,
 
at night my hand can touch your feathers

and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,

you who have made bright things from shadows, 

you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Collier is an American poet, teacher, creative writing program administrator and editor. He has published five books of original poetry, a translation of Euripedes‘ Medea, a book of prose pieces about poetry, and has edited three anthologies of poetry. From 2001 to 2004 he was the Poet Laureate of Maryland. As of 2011, he is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a professor of creative writing at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the poetry editorial consultant for Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). (Read more at Wikipedia.org.)

Illustration: “The Promise” (1966) by René Magritte 

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Winds from Hurricane Sandy washed this boat onto the tracks at the Metro-North’s Ossining Station in Ossining, New York. (MTA New York photo via AP)

Many post-Hurrican Sandy sights are surreal — just in time for Halloween. I can imagine the above scene of the boat on the train tracks in a Stephen King book! Maybe one is in the works.

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The above photo called to mind the great Surrealist — Belgian painter René Magritte (1898-1967).

Growing up in Chicago, I frequently visited the Art Institute, home of one of Magritte’s most discussed works “Time Transfixed” (included at right) — and was always fascinated by this painting (who wouldn’t be?).

According to Magritte: “I decided to paint the image of a locomotive . . . In order for its mystery to be evoked, [and] another immediately familiar image without mystery—the image of a dining room fireplace—was joined.”

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“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

ALBERT EINSTEIN

Illustration: “Sky and Water I” (1938), Woodcut by M.C. Escher

Note: I woke up thinking about this Escher illustration today and just had to find a way to include it. I often see Escher images when I have a migraine coming on — and hope that’s not the case today!