Venera Fazio (1943-2017)

Today I miss my friend, Venera. If you didn’t know her, you didn’t know the Spring. She was the Spring. If you never met Venera, you never met the best side of yourself, because that’s what she brought out of you. Today I miss my friend, Venera. If you didn’t know her, you couldn’t know charm for its own sake. If you never met Venera, half the light of love is missing from the moon. And having known her, half the light of love is missing from the moon.

Paint by Province

(Essex County)

By mixing the sunset
With green farms
And black walnut,
A white horse grazes in a field.

(Cape Breton)

By mingling lake water
With white birch
And yellow leaves,
The sail of the sun floats into view.

(PEI)

By combining lupins
With red soil and green fields
The island sleeps
In the waves of its dreams.

(Chocolate River, New Brunswick)

By amassing sediment
The sun pans for gold
Like an old prospector
Knee-deep in the river.

(Rural Ontario)

By bonding the smell of snow
With wood smoke,
November sets its essence
In your mind.

(Lake Louise, Alberta)

By joining elevation
To compression and water
Mountains wash their faces
In their own turquoise mirrors.

(Gaspe, Quebec)

By linking the St. Lawrence
To an endless watershed
Of blue iris in bloom
Beauty floods the seaway.

Marsh Boardwalk

Hovering above, between, amidst,
Like a boat attached to its own moving pier,
Space swamps you along the boardwalk.
The wind walks at the pace of the reeds.
Light falls on bulrushes and water lilies
Glowing in waters of inevitable wonder.
Every time you return, nature returns tenfold,
Enlarging you, lengthening your shadow,
Seeding your own expansion back to nature.
The marsh never changes, the marsh changes,
The upkeep of the boardwalk is enormous.
No worrying about time on this footpath.
It has all been preserved by the marsh.
It has all been dispersed by the reeds.

Photo by Brigitte Ala

Marsh Boardwalk

Behind the Scenes

Novus ordo seclorum

Behind the scenes. Behind the perceptible.
Behind perhaps reality.
How sadly the conspiracy unravels.
After the whirlwind and the fall,
How inadequate the truth that’s revealed.
Is the veil of Isis ever lifted?
Don’t statues wear a mask of stone?
Aren’t photographs sealed by time?
Isn’t that movie obscuring the light?
Because the scene lacks depth
The drama must be in the back.
The “Behind the Scenes” Corporation.
The Eye of Providence, anonymous.
The ruse is clearly visible.
The surface is the storefront.
The mask is its own mask.
A façade is a lasting impression.
The disguised wear disguises.
The undisclosed is uninspired.
The covert appears cabalistic.
Behind the scenes. Behind the perceptible.
Behind perhaps reality.
How repugnant the details of revelation,
Our own failings in the creation.

The Shadow Plant

The rain kept me up all night last night,
Probing me with vaccinations
And syringes of endless worry.
Bad enough this pandemic lockdown,
April’s suffered from a virus,
With chills, fever and persistent cough,
Overcast from start to finish.
At least there’s a chance for freedom
In our own small portions of the sun.
I’m holding out for summer
And the healing of its shadow plant.

Easter Prayer

Maybe this stillness won’t precede a storm
But open like a door to a wider blue.
Maybe these winds will flatten the curve
And rain sanitize the land.
For all my friends, this hopeful prayer,
From the heart of one to the heart of all and back again.

Coronavirus Conurbations

The cities of the world are dying,
History rots their foundations from the start,
Animals rush into the city for carrion.
Where humans have died, they take up shelter.
The age of the cities is over.

Men and women live there sick,
Even in rooms, afraid of any human gesture,
More afraid everyday from the news.
Nature is everywhere all around them
But they can never find it.

An old woman with mask at a window
Watches the sunset every night
And thinks somewhere the light is waking
But I will not survive the infected city.

And those who try to leave
Find themselves trapped, detained,
Their temperatures measured, saliva taken,
Part now of the sick masses,
Institutionalized in one of the cells of the city,
Bombarded by a matrix
From which escape is impossible,
Wait for medicines, compliant now, like supplicants.

Cardinal Coloring Book

Though it prefers the tallest branch from which to sing and be seen, and where it is truly cardinal red, these birds can paint the air anywhere. They’re O’Keeffe red, Gorky red, Chagall red… their beaks are dipped in paint. The magic feathers of the cardinal change tone from tree to tree, depending on foliage and light. In flight, they’re flashing red. In shadow, they’re shadow red or cosmos red. Among red leaves or berries, they dye themselves with the light around them. Even their song is red, and so bright you can easily follow the sound to the source. Now that you know you can paint with a bird, open your canvas and fly.