Psyche

psyche

“Psyche” by Clare L. Martin, mixed media, 2016

 

 

 

 

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Embryonic Self

embryonic-self-mixed-media
“Embryonic Self*,” mixed media, by Clare L. Martin

 

 

A tree held in its branches
a womb that carried me.
My strong heart
beat brilliant red
through fluid translucence.
A thick cord
connected me to roots
of the tree
into the blood
of the earth.

Who knew I would experience
such sorrow, such joy
once born into the world?

 

 

 

*Dedicated to Bessie Senette.

Clare L. Martin ©2016

 

 

Manifesto of the Beloved Self

romanwomenwriting
I free myself from the religiosity that ruled my psyche during my upbringing and policed my adulthood. I free myself from the repression of my sexuality which has harmed my ability to be intimate with the humans I choose to have relationships with, sexually or not. I free myself from self-denial of my beauty and worth inside and out. I free myself from my lingering judgments of other’s choices about their own identities and bodies. I free myself from lies I told to myself about my own identity and body.

I choose to spiritually and intellectually evolve on a daily basis. I choose to learn something new every day. I choose to give more than I receive. I choose to listen more than I talk. I choose to value silence. I choose to honor the energies within and without me that serve as guides for healthy spirituality. I choose to love my neighbor as myself. I choose to love the broken beloveds. I choose to walk the healing path. I choose to seek clarity. I choose to be a visionary. I choose to not fear death, but not run to it. I choose to believe in God.

I will live a radical life. Where there is hatred, I will sow love. I will never believe all is lost. If it is necessary to part from another human I will try my best to do so in peace. I will do so privately and without spreading negativity through other people. I will think before I speak. I will not allow other people’s anger to become absorbed into my body or psyche. I will form healthy boundaries in all relationships for the protection of all. I will respect the space and time of others. My radical agenda will be formed in spirit and acted out in flesh, spirit, and soul.

I will pray continually in all acts, in each breath. I believe a prayer is as much an act of the body as it is of the mind and heart. I will pray with my body through physical activities that nurture and heal me. I will eat nutritional foods and eat mindfully. I will drink purified water. I will share food with loved ones and when my resources allow I will feed those less fortunate than myself.

I will open my mind to new definitions of love. I will not close the door to love in any form. I will enrich my relationships by giving trust more easily. I will share ideas more freely. I will give support readily. I will also take care of myself and not undervalue my work. I will not waste time.

 

This is the manifesto of the beloved self.

Obsessed with memories…

descent

 

autumn afternoon
glass room led
zeppelin that room
led zeppelin his kiss
love making my jeans
no braces hazel eyes
so many years
youth love years
melting away sunlight
glass love music
guitars love glass
kisses love glass
melting years love
melting music melting
glass sun glass
sex melting music
sun melting glass
sex music sex
glass never ending
love my lust
never died
my breath still
gasping now
coming now
coming
that memory

now

passion
my love
lust
my sacred body
woman
body
hot tears
my love-lust
my heart

ache
bondage
my eternal bondage
promises
etched in dust
a vow, a lock
rusted chains
grit, cut flesh
gritty metal
shards of my lust

his touch erased me
god help me
his touch erased me
his touch erased me

I was never protected
I was never stood up for
god help me

what is left to cherish?

his touch erased me
I was never protected
I was never stood up for

god help me

 

©2016 Clare L. Martin

 

Poem after Angel Bath series by Dennis Paul Williams

Angel Bath

after a mixed media art piece in the Angel Bath series by Dennis Paul Williams

 

The fetal heart stops
in a globe of light
bones work
their way through flesh
flesh-in-water
her cheek depressed
a doctor’s thumbprint
bruises aorta
gray washes into amber
soft, blooded veins—
her mother bears
the crown of thorns.

Desiccation we know
is truth
because the artist
layers each dream
upon the other
the artist dreams
these dreams for us
to show us
what happens
when waters rise
when rains fall.

When mothers suffer
up to their necks
reach for the ceiling
pray for lightning bolt holes
through the roof: a delivery
of a different kind
the ever-ghost children
quickly go to ground—

Beloved, loved,
still-hearted and all.

 

©2016 Clare L. Martin

Snake

Chinese snake painting

SNAKE

I am the world’s living river. See my tongue? Flat earth. Skin salt-smooth. Rubberized. I gleam at night. Moon ripples on water. I skim dirt. I skim ankles. Wrap cypress trees, marsh grass. Swallow the fledgling fallen from the nest. Rot, core, bone, spike, venom, blood. –My curse –My body-whip –My bone-coil. Reverberate vertebrae. Flooded, flooding. Scar tissue of man. Scarred eye. Slither, yes. Poison his firstborn. Poison his brood. Turn the earth against him until he is dead in the depths of it all.

©2016 Clare L. Martin

The prompt:

Choose an animal. Think of its form, its musculature, its skeleton, its hide, its eyes. Think of its habitat and its habits. Think of its place in mythology and literature. How can you incorporate this animal into a working piece of prose or poetry so that it becomes a metaphor?

Writing At Rêve Coffee Roasters

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Henri Matisse (1869-1954) Nu au bord de la mer (1909)

 

 

 

 “The unpainted world accepts the shore”

a line from Wallace Stevens’ “So-And-So Reclining on Her Couch” (1947)

 

She pulls the string from her neck. The bodice falls to her waist. Her breast: pink, white lines. Brown shine on her shoulders. The man casts a large net baited with sliced fish to catch more fish. The salt air on her tongue. The crisp mineral water. Chilled lime. Cold pulp on her tongue. She closes her eyes and sucks the fruit. She lies on the black pebbles. There are naked children playing in the surf, singing in French. She half-understands them, but not for a lack of knowledge of their language. Waves carry lilting words to islands she imagines across the Mediterranean. Her hands are warm. Her belly is warm. She rises to the water and delights in shivers.

©2016 Clare L. Martin

 

 

Yesterday, I met with my friend Sandy for a writing date at Rêve Coffee Roasters. We prompted each other and wrote in short bursts. It was a lovely time. This is a piece that came from that writing session. I hope to gather more frequently with Sandy and others for informal writing dates. It’s fun to write with friends!

Clare

The Mystic Spoke of Water

And I dream this night of rivers. Deep, mud-flooded rivers, carrying me on my satin bed. Rivers separate me from the land to flow through the center of it all. This river is dark. Fast currents. I cannot navigate nightfall. I cannot fight the river’s will. The river in me flows with the river without me.  Water calls to water. We meet our own element. Somewhere it will drain and I will be left dry, soft-boned, with salt-cracked organs. I am a pillar of salt, only and barely spittle. My progeny, my land, my history: gone We tongue the mud from the riverbed. Make new.

Conception

The first draft of this poem was conceived at a writing lunch attended by Bessie Senette and I at Sandra Sarr’s home in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana on Wednesday, June 15th, after I pondered the goddess Epona in an exercise Sandra offered to us.

 

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Epona, second or third century AD, from Contern, Luxembourg (Musée national d’art et d’histoire, Luxembourg City)

 

 

 

Conception

~

He unbraids her hair
dips a finger in fragrant oil
circles her temple
the cup of his palm
holds her shoulder
~
the candle flickers
no more rain
no more thunder
the glass is still
when once it shook
~
a bullfrog bellows
electricity knocked out
they warm each other
in a house that breathes
she stretches and turns
~
on her belly now
he sings to her
a made up song of hums
scattered words
here and there
~
her name:
a whisper to her perfumed hair
all that they ever were
is forgotten
~
the flutter of wings
the percussion of a bell
strikes as the lights flicker on
he cries out—
~
power to power
a blessing of kisses
she blows out the candle
incandescent light
erases their unified shadow

 

 

 

©2016 Clare L. Martin

 

 

“You need to write another damn book!”

I am thrilled to announce that Yellow Flag Press will publish Seek the Holy Dark as the 2017 selection of The Louisiana Series of Cajun and Creole Poetry. Great thanks to J. Bruce Fuller for this honor. Yellow Flag Press is a Louisiana-born publishing house that is growing its national presence. I have had a long relationship with it, and I can’t think of any other affiliation that would make me as happy.

 

A little backstory:

 

For a long period of time since my mother’s death in May of 2014, I felt aimless. I was writing, but I did not have a meaningful writing project in front of me to keep me focused on the bigger picture of my Writing Life. I had material for a new manuscript, tentatively titled “Broken Jesus,” that I began to assemble after Eating the Heart First was published. Over the course of a couple of years, I abandoned hope for it and just kept writing new.

 

Several months ago, while having coffee with The Bayou Mystic, Bessie Senette, I expressed my feelings of a lack of purpose beyond my personal responsibilities and our writing group’s objectives. She knew that I had relinquished my roles in many of the projects I had been involved with before my mother’s death. She also knew that was very hard for me, because of my giving and ambitious nature. The deep dissatisfaction I had been living with was causing depression beyond normal grief.

 

Bessie listened as I shared my feelings. After a silence, Bessie stood, pointed her finger between my eyes, and said, “You need to write another damn book!” As soon as she said it, I was taken aback. I went home with a charge of energy to do exactly what she said to do. I got to work with real determination.

 

In December 2015, in a casual conversation, I brought up the work I was doing to J. Bruce Fuller at a writing event we were attending in Arnaudville, LA. He offered to read the manuscript. When I sent it, I had a sense that if I had to face a “no” I would reluctantly consider other options. Honestly, from that moment in Arnaudville when the opportunity opened, I desired for Seek the Holy Dark to be a YFP book.  I have always had great faith in J Bruce’s integrity and the good health of his press.

 

[Surprisingly, in less than three days of receiving the publishing news, the cover art was selected and rights acquired. That is another story that involves my dear Bessie!!]

 

I am thrilled, ready, excited, and focused to bring this new work to the world. I again express thanks to J Bruce Fuller and Yellow Flag Press for this amazing opportunity.

 

And great thanks to Bessie for seeing my need and calling forth my energy to fulfill it.

 

More soon…