Calligraphy of Intimacy: World Poetry Day 2014 – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

Mixed media digital art construction by Jaanika Talts.
Untitled Photographed Painting by Jaanika Talts shared by the artist on Facebook.(All rights reserved by the artist)

One need not, after all, call oneself an artist in order to embrace either the beauty that roses give to the world or the genius that one’s love does. (Aberjhani)

I. ENCOUNTER WITH BEAUTY

When viewing a recent untitled painting by Dublin artist Jaanika Talts a strange thought came to me. It was this: Between the elegant reach of an artist’s color-stained fingers toward her canvas and the haunted explosion of a soldier’s bullet inside his brother’s chest, somewhere a terrified soul is seeking shelter inside the warmth of a stranger’s voice, or an infant is squealing at the incomprehensible delight of discovering it is alive.

As I said, it was a strange thought.

Talts’ painting depicts a cluster of multi-colored roses in different stages of blossoming, nestled against the flesh of dark green leaves and framed by deep brooding shades of emerald, bronze, gold, ruby, and amethyst. There is no description of the medium but it appears to be mixed acrylic and might include photography as well as an actual rose or two.

The painting caught my attention only partly because it was accompanied by this quote: “Beauty will snatch us by the heart and love us until we are raw with understanding.” The words come from the poem “Calligraphy of Intimacy,” first published in 1996 in a small press magazine called Out of the Blue and later in the book I Made My Boy Out of Poetry. But the image drew my gaze mostly because it was something new from Ms. Talts and then because of what struck me as a sustained tension between persistent beauty and grace asserting itself while under fire. 

II. THE POEM

The poem “Calligraphy of Intimacy” is about how relationships anchored in mutual need and affection sometimes turn unexpectedly into battlefields. The relationship might be between two people or two nations, two dreams or two cultures. At their core, they are defined by a gravitational pull toward the best within each other but superficial externals repeatedly block or sever their connection.  That could, in many ways, describe the international community’s centuries-year-old waltz with peace and non-peace, and it consequently makes this poem a good one to share for World Poetry Day (March 21) and National Poetry Month (April) 2014:

Please click the link to enjoy the entire post and poem by Aberjhani:
Calligraphy of Intimacy: World Poetry Day 2014 – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.

A River of Winged Dreams Valentine’s Day Letter

Now come the whispers bearing bouquets of moonbeams and sunlight tremblings.” —Aberjhani (from The River of Winged Dreams)

 Below is a list of a few links that have been shared with me and which fans of The River of Winged Dreams might appreciate as well. I found the Han Chinese translations of “Angel of Earth Days and Seasons” and “Angel of Peace” particularly interesting because other than a couple of poems in Spanish, these are the only ones I’ve seen anyone attempt to translate (note to foreign rights publishers: if you’re interested please email me). Equally worthy of attention are the poignantly, inspiringly, and humanly profound meditations by Shay MacKay in her blog post “Rising from the Ashes.”

List of Stops on an Internet Tour of The River of Winged Dreams

1. Han Chinese translation of Angel of Earth Days and Seasons
2. Han Chinese translation of Angel of Peace
3. Review of The River of Winged Dreams by Richard Van Holst
4. Rising from the Ashes blog by Shay MacKay
5.Quotation with image post by Clare Patrick
6. Bridge of Silver Wings Theme  by Sharon Bailey and Bridge of Silver Wings Theme 2 by Debby Bentch Pages on Pinterest
7. Quoted in Huffington Post
8. Quoted in International Press Institute Annual Report (p. 16)

For behind-the-scene happenings on The River of Winged Dreams and Aberjhani please click the link:

A River of Winged Dreams                           Valentine’s Day Letter – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.

Poem for a President: Midnight Flight of the Poetry Angels

Barack Obama officially sworn in as president of the U.S. for the second time by Chief Justice John Roberts. (White House photo by Lawrence Jackson)

“Hope drowned in shadows
emerges fiercely splendid––
boldly angelic.”
Aberjhani, from The River of Winged Dreams

One of the political jabs with which critics of Barack Obama used to attack him during his first run for the U.S. presidency was that his proposed platform was more rhetorical poetry than political substance. That charge has been largely reversed at this 2013 beginning of his hard-won second term.

The cry now––mostly from those frequently described as extremist conservatives, Tea Partiers, and the “New Plutocrats”–– is that the poet in President Obama has allowed power to exert its corruptive influence. It has, they charge, caused him to imagine that he is “a king” in a country where monarchy is not the law of the land. The supposed evidence is his successful passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and proposals submitted to Congress just last week to help end the loss of American lives due to gun violence.

As it turned out, the very quality for which Mr. Obama was ridiculed––his profound eloquence in print as well as in person–– has become one of his greatest strengths. It has also by extension become one of America’s greatest strengths. Again, as it turned out, his “poetry” was filled with a great deal of substance capable of steering the United States through its greatest economic devastation since the Great Depression, restoring the country’s status as a leader in world affairs, excelling when necessary in the role of commander in chief, and exhibiting extraordinary compassion for those battered by disaster. Poetry, it seems, had helped provide him with uncommon communication skills and an empathetic manner that has allowed him to simultaneously lead, steer, and guide.

Leadership and Followership

His achievements of course have not been solo events. Teams of very devoted individuals and the American people themselves have made the different manifestations of political visions possible in an extremely volatile––some might say antagonistic––climate. The poem below, Midnight Flight of the Poetry Angels, was written during the presidential campaign of 2008 as much to honor those whose followership have since made Mr. Obama’s presidency possible as it was to honor the man himself. It is presented here, in acknowledgment of the 57th inauguration, as it was when shared three months before he first won the office, with an introductory quote from Dreams from My Father:

For the full story with poem by Aberjhani please click this link:

Poem for a President: Midnight Flight of the Poetry Angels – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Guerrilla Decontextualization and King of Pop Michael Jackson – by Aberjhani

Image frame from the video-poem

                       Image frame from the video-poem Notes for an Elegy in the Key of Michael.


“It’s very important to keep the historical context in mind as you contemplate the nature of love and service required in the 21st century.” –Cornel West, from Hope on a Tightrope

 

To what extent might the phenomenal entertainer and humanitarian Michael Joseph Jackson have been the target of an extended guerrilla decontextualization campaign throughout the second half of his life?

Hardcore devotees to Jackson’s music and altruistic humanitarian vision would say there can be no question that he was targeted in such a manner. Hardcore doubters might say maybe he was the one doing the guerrilla decontextualizing through the evolving manipulations of his public profile as a performance artist. They point to his chameleon-like shift from a distinctly afrocentric appearance in one decade to androgynously multi-ethnic in the next, and in his final years to an almost ethereal projection––a figure solidly in the world but somehow already afloat beyond it.

The answer to the question of who was guerrilla decontextualizing whom might be answered with a simple comparison. Examine the size of the newspaper headline fonts, the amount of space allotted in magazines, and the time made available on radio and television stations to coverage of Jackson when allegations of sexual abuse were leveled against him during the 1990s and later in 2005.  Then compare those same elements––headlines, etc.–– to those utilized when it came to reports that debunked, disproved, or presented confessions of outright perjury where those same allegations were concerned. The first dominated the media to a nearly overwhelming extent while the latter remains almost non-existent.

Or try this: perform an experiment by looking at some of the more sensational media footage on Jackson with the volume turned down to mute. A particularly interesting specimen for this experiment would be the infamous “OMG-he’s-dangling-the-baby-from-the-balcony” incident. The word “dangle,” as defined in various editions of Webster’s Dictionary, means “to hold loosely and swaying.” Turn the volume down when watching the news clip of Jackson with his youngest on a balcony and you do not see a man holding his child in a loose manner.  While the choice to hold the infant on the balcony before the gawking crowd below probably was not the best parenting decision he ever made, it is clear that he had a very firm grip on his son. The idea that he did not comes from a mind other than one’s own. It also came from the media trend, well established at the time, of prepping reading and viewing and listening audiences to expect weirdness from Michael Jackson. In short, people saw and heard what they were told to see and hear.    

For the full article by Aberjhani please click the link:

Guerrilla Decontextualization and King of Pop Michael Jackson – Welcome to Creative Thinkers International.

Developing 2012 Perspectives on Michael Jackson – by Aberjhani

Image still from video for “Notes for an Elegy in the Key of Michael.”  The quote reads: “The black star zooms gold. Wings of white flame torch his throat. His voice has arrived.”

It turns out I was right to stop saying I’ve concluded my writings on Michael Jackson. After completing and publishing Looking at the World Through Michael Jackson’s Left Eye in celebration of his birthday last year, it again felt like my keyboard was all typed out, but then that unexpected impulse took over once more a few weeks ago.

Getting up one morning, I meditated, poured a cup of java, and got to work on a project that has nothing at all to do with MJ. Then my pen seemed to zoom off like a bird declining the comforts of its cage and I started scribbling notes for a short essay or editorial. Jotting a few notes didn’t take up too much time and it wasn’t like I was chatting up friends on Twitter or CTI or Facebook. So I forgave myself for the distraction and got back to jobbing. But then… 

To read the full post by Aberjhani please click this link:

Developing 2012 Perspectives on Michael Jackson – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.

Juneteenth 2012 Editorial with Poem: Every Hour Henceforth

Image

Cover of forthcoming eBook Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black.

The story behind the annual Juneteenth celebration is now fairly well known. The event commemorates June 19, 1865, the day slaves in Galveston, Texas, and other parts of the state learned for the first time they had actually been freed via the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.

There is not much with which to compare such an event to in the year 2012. But try this: imagine how a group of prisoners might feel if they learned their innocence had been proven years ago and orders for their release signed but left forgotten in someone’s desk drawer.

At this point in time, just three years before the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the holiday has come to represent a great deal more than recognition of delayed freedom. A statement from the Juneteenth Worldwide Celebration website founded by Clifford Robinson put it as follows:

“Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day.  It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience.  It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities – as nothing is more comforting than the hand of a friend.”

To read the full article and poem by Aberjhani please click this link:
Juneteenth 2012 Essay with Poem: Every Hour Henceforth