Posted tagged ‘Jason Martin’

A Winter Beared

April 10, 2016


A Winter Beared

In the winter of dreaming bears, the night mare
barely dared enter
the forest,
for even the poorest ursine unconscious
would have none of her clip-clop.

What could she trot out?
When the bear dreamed of rot,
its snout twitched at riches;
when its sleep faced fear,
its fur flared, small coronas of dust
haloing its humifying aroma;
hibernation already borders
death, even if it’s the neighbor
whose grass is always greener, even this old
snow-weaned grass, bleached brown gold.

Still, the mare, though wary
of the dozing bear, nosed, post dusk,
its spun aura of steam, dust, musk,
as if she might inhale such dreams–
as if she might inhale–
as if she too
might awaken
come Spring.


12th poem for this April;  this one for Magaly Guerrero’s prompt on Real Toads to use three of one’s own titles.  I’ve used the winter of dreaming bears, night mare and post dusk.  

The picture is a painting by Jason Martin, reposted here.

ps corrected since first posting to correctly spell “humifying” which is the process of turning organic material into humus–that rich black soil, essentially. 




Porch with a View (in a Valley)

May 29, 2015



by Jason Martin (watercolor on paper)

Porch with a View (In a Valley)

The pollen slips like dance wax
on a porch that has seen many
waxed dances, more
than I remember
and I remember enough.

If I could cast sadness as a weed,
maybe I could root it out.
But it’s one of those stones
that comes to earth’s surface,
no matter how we clear it,
with every till,
every until,
every single then here now.

The trick is to dance over it.
So, I tell myself.
Or maybe the trick
is simply to stand still,
or, more simply, to still–
to let the sadness dance over,
understanding that stones in the mind
weigh about as much
as the dust of dandelions and lilacs alike–

Oh, the slippery mind–
how it wants
to hold things in
its palms; how it wants
to have palms–this perch
at the side of a mountain, these
straitened planks–

This is very much of a draft poem.  I am particularly uncertain of the last two stanzas, and have contemplated (long) ending at the end of the second stanza.  But here I am, with extra lines.  I  am posting it now to move on from it a bit.  The painting is by Jason Martin, and is also used as the cover of my poetry book. Going on Somewhere.   (Check it out!  Along with my other books, Nice, Nose Dive and 1 Mississippi.)

Have a nice weekend. 


The Winter of Dreaming Bears

January 18, 2015


The Winter of Dreaming Bears

It began with grubs,
which the bears felt, instinctively,
were the hub
of the universe.

Bears always dream at least a little
of grubs,
but this was a winter of
false starts, faked ends,
and the slips from freeze to thaw,
from thaw to bone
the drips that sharpened into ice picks, then melted
to mud-dulled pools, unmanacled
the bears from their annual
mummification, nudged them
into a snail’s swim, where their ursine minds churned,
overturning remembered stones, snouts
salivating, paws miming a scratch
for those whose burrows they could surely feel
in their fur.

While the grubs, also disturbed
by the fits and starts of
damp, stayed far
from bear furrows, funneled deep
into earth and root–though neither did these sleep,
as trees upended by wind and mud mooned
the mountainsides, discs of rootball
sheared—moving the grubs, in a mote
of wriggle, to dream too,

Only the grubs–they dreamed
of the dead; a corpse–be it rotted wood
or bird or mammal–a kind of copse to them, their homeland, godhead,
creating Brahma–

And the dead–what did they dream of?
They will not say; we can’t
surmise–only that when we walk the laced snow pierced
by persistent grasses,
under a sky heavy with new powder turning
to sleet, we like to believe that their sleep
envelopes us, that we too animate
their wintering subconsciousness,

for the dreams of bears do not only
house grubs, the hub
of their universe,
but apples whose rounds shine nearly
within their reach, skies that stretch beyond it;
the dreams of bears smelling
of stars and musk, desire and
bared earth, the dreams of bears,
like so many, following the steps
of a dark, warm, gambol.


A freshly written poem (I’ll call it a draft of sorts only because it’s quite new and I’m still editing it) for Kerry O’Connor’s wonderful prompt on With Real Toads to write a version of a chosen title.  In this case, the title I used was The ________ of Dreaming _________ (from The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moer.) (I’m afraid to confess I haven’t read the book.) 

The watercolor above is by Jason Martin.  (Unfortunately, my reproduction of it is a little askew, but it’s a very cool painting.)  

PS I have edited since first posting. 


Not Watched – From “Nice.”

March 1, 2014


Many of you know that I have been working on the manuscript for a novel.  The book is called Nice.  Here’s an excerpt (taken from the very middle of the book) that I am posting for the prompt by Mary of dVerse Poets Pub on invisibility. The story takes place in the summer of 1968.  Photo above is of a light sculpture by Jason Martin.  (Sorry for length!)


Every hour on the hour they had a fifteen minute rest period.  It was a time when all the screaming, splashing, marco poloing, stopped and grown-ups, with their strange dry strokes, puffy backs and silken bathing caps, swam slow laps.  You had to be over sixteen to stay in the water.

Like the other kids, Les sat along the edge of the pool, waiting for the whistle.  A boy with red hair, older than her but clearly below sixteen, slipped silently from the ledge across, and ducked beneath the water, his body an expanded wriggle beneath the blue.

She felt the whole poolside watching him, holding its collective breath till he pulled himself up onto the pool’s opposite side, head sleek as an otter, water shimmering down his back.  Everyone, in relief and pleasure, readjusted their bottoms, hid their smirks.  It was as if they had all fooled the guard.

Then Les felt herself alone again, herself the watched one.

She hadn’t talked to Arne all day, but she knew he had been keeping an eye on her,  even as he pretended not to.

What had she told him?  Why had she said anything?

It was because of the grass.  She’d heard him and Jasper talking about it when she’d been hiding in the bushes beside the patio.  She hadn’t meant to hear, she just had, and then when she went down there, she knew they had done it, the way they looked.  It was so crazy, Arne smoking grass, Arne, the math nerd.

She’d wondered whether maybe it meant that he was different from what she’d always thought; that maybe he was normal, human, someone she could actually talk to.

But it was stupid to think that.  Because he wasn’t any different.  He was the same old Arne.  And now she had said something to him, something stupid.

Bruce Beebee was at the pool too, Bruce from school.  Bruce, who didn’t even belong to that swimming pool, Bruce with a streak of white stuff down his nose, a deep tan everywhere else, sitting on a picnic table at the snack bar with his brother.  He was not directly looking at her either; yet she felt his looks all the same, and in his looks, she felt this change in herself, a change that showed as much as his thick white streak, only the streak looked almost cool, and she couldn’t think of herself as cool, not even this changed self.

She answered his not looking at her by not looking at him, crossing her arms over her chest, keeping her eyes down towards the water.

Arne hulked by Bruce’s brother.  She had forgotten that they knew each other, and Jasper too, and they were all standing or leaning on the picnic table talking, Jasper eating a frozen Snickers bar, Bruce listening to them, holding his tennis racket between his legs, two palms pressed against the racket part.

She wondered whether Arne was telling them something, telling them what she had said.

He wouldn’t–she knew he wouldn’t–and yet, with the echo of his telling in her mind, she couldn’t stand not looking at them any more, not being looked at in return, and she got up from the side of the pool and walked slowly towards the girls’ locker room, feeling in the boys’ not-looks the pucker of her bathing suit inside her buttocks, and she hurried her walk a little, though she still aimed for nonchalance, not wanting to reach down and tug the suit loose, not with them not watching.

The locker room was immediately cool.  It smelled of wet paint and wet toilet paper and dank chlorinated concrete, all tinged with Coppertone.  She sat down on a short blue bench by a wall of wooden cubby holes.  The surface of the bench was knobby with repeated paint jobs.  She ran her finger over a speckled place that someone had already started to peel.

How could she go back to school in the fall? She hadn’t even thought about that part.  Her mom might not notice anything, but kids would.

Now two older girls burst in, falling over each other through the bright doorway, the flesh of their stomachs rolling over their bikinis.

‘Did you see that?’ they laughed, ‘what he did?’ ‘I almost died.’

They laughed themselves to the mirror, which for a moment, they seemed to embrace. They were closer there, their warm baby oil seeping over her.  Then the dark-haired girl dug into an open cubby and, finding a tube of lipstick behind some rolled-up cut-offs, coated her lips in ghostly lavender.

The other girl, whose hair was lighter, messed with a brown paper bag folded around a half lemon.  Leaning against the mirror, she pulled one side of hair back above her ears and squeezed juice over it, combing as she squeezed and picking at the pulp and seeds that clung to the wet strands.

“Jesus, this stuff is shit; does it look horrible?” she said.

“No more than usual,” the dark-haired girl said.

The other scowled.

“Just kidding,” the dark-haired one laughed.  “Come on, it just looks a little wet; that’s all.”

They re-tied each other’s bikini tops.  As one tied, the other looked at herself in the mirror, trying out a selection of smiles.  Beneath the smiles, the floating triangles of cloth re-centered themselves.

Les looked down at the bench, conscious of her own breasts.  Nothing like these girls, but different from what they had been, no longer a simple ribcage of breath.

Could she tell them?  It would be like telling her friends, only they weren’t her friends, so it would be better.  She would never have to talk to them again.

“This really weird thing happened to me–” she could say.

She tried to imagine them leaning into her like they leaned into the mirror.

‘Some people might think it was cool,’ she could say.

Leaning into her, listening to her, not even noticing after a bit that she was actually one of the younger kids.

She would like that.

Renewal Under a Rock

March 31, 2013


The renewal of hope after despair seems to me to be always worth celebrating, regardless of one’s particular religious beliefs. I personally have had a rather dismal Easter–going through boxes–and trying to catch up on back work– but I keep trying to remind myself of what the day means and what spring in general offers. May we all find some renewal.

The above photo is a light sculpture made by Jason Martin.

Light Sculpture (Jason Martin)

February 4, 2013


The above is a photograph of a light sculpture (that is, a sculpture made with light as the medium, rather than clay or marble or bronze), made by Jason Martin, my husband.  All rights reserved.

Porch – (Thinking Back To Summer Stones/Winter Tabletops)

April 17, 2012

"Porch" (painting by Jason Martin, from GOING ON SOMEWHERE)


The porch pulled them to its side,
invited nestling upon shaded planks,
recalled cool soft times, clover in fields,
the day she cut his hair, and then they picked
out smooth flat stones,
and lined them along its surface, thick with
years of knobby deck paint.  Against it,
the stones shone like perfect moons to plant upon
winter table tops, reminders
that nights sown by fireflies
were going on somewhere, some time.


This is an older poem posted for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night and the Promising Poets Rally.   The painting is by Jason Martin (and, sorry, the color is a bit garish here.)   It is on the cover of my book of poetry, Going on Somewhere,  available on Amazon and elsewhere.  Check out the book where you can see the painting in much truer color!

PS – if anyone’s counting, I’m going to have to write a new poem today in honor of Nat’l Poetry Month, but wasn’t so pleased with yesterday’s creation, so didn’t want to WASTE an open link nigh on it!  Have to see what arises tonight! K.

Art–With No Elephants–With Rainbows (Have Train Ride Will iPad 2)

December 9, 2011


I had a train ride this evening, and my iPad 2, and without a poem to illustrate, well, had to come up with something different. The above is based on some photographs taken by my husband Jason Martin of his light sculptures. (His things are kind of cool, mine clunky but high-tech–ha!)

Queen Victoria Is “Going On Somewhere”

February 7, 2011

Victorian mums like "Going On Somewhere." (Even royal ones.)

Victorian dads too. (Even 'common' ones.)

Check it out!  “Going On Somewhere” by Karin Gustafson, Diana Barco and Jason Martin on Amazon now!  (If not, then.)

Pearl Investigates Poetry (“Going On Somewhere”)

January 16, 2011

Check it out!  “Going on Somewhere” by Karin Gustafson and Diana Barco.  (Cover painting by Jason Martin)  On Amazon!  Here’s the link.

PS–I am linking this to Funny Bunny Fridays at the Purple Treehouse on December 2, 2011.  I’m sorry it’s a shameless plug for my book of poetry, but Pearl really does seem to like it, and it’s now early enough to still shop for Christmas (but too early to post sleighbells)!

Also check out 1 Mississippi, a children’s counting book, and Nose Dive, comic teen mystery, also by Karin Gustafson (aka Manicddaily) and available on Amazon.    Thanks so much!   (Nose Dive will soon be on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents, so, if you have access, no excuse not to get it.   And it’s genuinely funny.)