Friday, February 28, 2014

Genesis 23: In Writing

Listen! I say
Please hear me!

in this gaping silence
cessation of your voice
you curled in a closed ear
pink rimmed and lovely
as a swirled shell
rushing waters within
brittle armor without

I see you
discover your face
my dead,
my absence
my loss

Genesis: Chapter 23


We discover belonging
in the gaping loss
communication in loneliness
Listen, please!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Genesis 22: In Writing

This chapter is haunting.
We have the first call by name, followed by the first use of the word "love."

...and He said "Abraham"
and he said "here I am"
and He said: Take please your son
your only
whom you love
and go for you to the land of Moria
and offer him up as an ascension offering on one of the hills that I will tell you (Genesis 22: 1-2)

Don't know where to begin with the writing. So am just going to let it go in a somewhat formless series of musings:

How long till the discovery of love?
We have knowledge, deep and intimate
but love is born at the moment of loss
at the edge of being
where things teeter on nothingness

Eros and thanatos
I love you as I lose you
You become forever
at the moment that you are also not-mine


You call my name
and I am here
fully present 
within your gaze

can I be here without you
be father without you son
we are here
at the edges of being
where my hand reaches forth
to take what is not mine
in the terrible grasping
from which only one returns

Genesis: Chapter 22

Who calls?
Who makes you present?

And what voice holds you back?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Genesis 21: In Writing

At last I am full
to overflowing
swelled with blessing
that splashes in  laughter

but still she is here
that niggling loss
the hollowed circle
the invasive snigger

that says: not mine
that says: anyone
that says: replaceable

so I cast her out
to the desolate waste
I've wandered
to not see
as my eyes were covered

Until her eyes were opened
and his voice
replaced mine

Genesis: Chapter 21

yet the niggling doubt
that first betrayal
the transfer of connection

And the price
her voice to his voice

Genesis 20: In Writing

Be to me
you said
as we lost ourselves
on this wandering path
my father's house
my birthplace
my home

were you were a brother to me
suckler on my mother's breast
find me outside, kiss me
and no shame would come to me

instead I cover my eyes
so not to see
I am your sister for the taking
the burst home
the other man
nexus of connection
invisible to myself
lost in the echoing hallway
where no doors open

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Genesis 19: In Writing

Beyond, a  howling mob
within, sickening silence
beneath the shadow
we huddle

Take them, we heard
saw gaping maws
pounding fists
at which he thrust us

Till hands grabbed us away
to drop on an open plane
outside the roiling city

But we remain as found
no future no path
a cave within
swallowing us down, down down


a shadow within
the doorway between
and the pit of not-knowing, not-seeing

she turned to see
froze a tear-pillar
we walked where we were
tears locked behind 
the doors of our lids
frozen in our knowledge
of already knew

that we are prey
 for the taking
exposed in the sun 

Genesis: Chapter 19

Being dragged outwards
Escaping inwards
Down to the deep deep cave
of incest
closed fist
verses dream of future

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Genesis: Chapter 18

Standing in open doors
where new roads meet
and God and man begin to merge
past future
what happens now?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Genesis 16: In Writing

I gave what was
over  to each other
was emptied
like a green balloon

 felt my transparency
lightness of being
as she grew heavy
and formed a closed circle
without me

I pressed down till I felt
the force of my hands
crack down on emptiness

I screamed
and she ran
and found
the stillness to be seen

Genesis: Chapter 16

Who gets acknowledged,
who does not.

Sometimes the call for justice
is not the way to be seen.

Sometimes you can only be seen
when you are seeing

Genesis: Chapter 15

Look up
and something will
Swoop down

Genesis 15: In Writing

It was cold out there
the gates of the world had closed
leaving the heavenly darkness
the deeps that simmer beneath the earth
I felt them swoop upon me
sharp taloned
tearing the pieces
I chased them away
and wondered:
Is there ever a way back in?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Genesis 14: In Writing

We carried so much
the earth sank beneath us
Giving under the weight

Now I raise my hand
chains fall
light as shoe strings
all the good we drag
behind floating upward

Genesis: Chapter 14

Reaching up
to the upper sky
yet hand open
ready to receive
what God gives

When and how can you receive a gift?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Genesis 13-14: In Writing

Out of a timeless walk
to the future
comes the circular creation
of the past

Out of an endless path
to the far off place
comes a return
to this place

So the journey creates
its own ending
the quest its own goal
the dazzling blessing seeps
to the here and now

Genesis: Chapter 13

Endless space
yet groaning under the weight
Unable to contain two people

Genesis 13: In Writing

Suddenly the earth opens
unraveling in all directions
yet still in sinks
under the weight of accumulation
the burden of anger
collapse to the pit
from whence
separation comes

Any place without you is heaven
a return to the garden
where I again am

Monday, February 17, 2014

Genesis 12: In Writing

We enter the world of the walking man
the endless path that stretches outward
to the bright spot of revelation
blaze bleaching all
to bare white outlines
burned by light

Dazzling dream of swelling blessing
world stretches out to its corners
Unfurling with time

He saw
and in that incandescence
I knew he no longer saw me

Around their gazes licked
lI was the instant of revelation
the moment of desire
and he strode, and took, and left

Genesis: Chapter 12

Enter the world of the future
striding framelessly to what is not
who is seen
and who sees?

A disclaimer....

I'm coming face to face with the most difficult part of committing to a blog. It's not the need to have it posted each day (at least not at this point, when I still have a huge backlog of images...)
No, it's the making it public. It's one thing to make a drawing a day, regardless of if your ill, or your hand hurts, or you're not in the mood, or the muse won't come, when they will only be seen by you. It's easier to say then--it's a way of studying, a response to the text, it will not always be a good drawing.
It's another thing to send these half formed tadpoles to swim the deep internet waters.
I find I have to steel myself to press "post" when a part of me would much rather take a pencil and start over again.
So this is my way of girding my loins. A chapter a day, no redoing. Accept what it is and move on.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Genesis: Chapter 11

Come together
and pull apart
the center cannot hold

Who congregates?
Who leaves?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Genesis 10: In Writing

And we separated
and separated again
scattered by the drying waters
separated by trickles
in island universes
moving ever further away 

Genesis: Chapter 10

Streams and streams
of island universes
popping up from
the drying flood

Friday, February 14, 2014

Genesis 9: In Writing

A beating sanguine flood
looming beneath us
rippling, flowing
easily burst
to be swallowed by Earth
who holds
what you cannot swallow

Genesis: Chapter 9

 United by a flood
of sanguine blood
linking man

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Genesis 8: In Writing

Over and back
till time dissolves
in the rhythmic rush
of wind and water

more and less
up and down
lulling beat
with the shadow
circling overhead
a recurrent night

Till she broke through
a flurry of beating wings
a sound
brooding on the murmuring deeps

Genesis: Chapter 8

Over and back
till the water
goes slack

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Genesis 7: In Writing

we rushed into eachothers embrace
like lovers
breaking through the membrane
a rising gush
a pounding thrust
crushing together the heights and deeps
in a rush of many waters

Genesis: Chapter 7

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Genesis: Chapter 6

Taking fruit
Taking woman
The sin is in the grasping

Take for yourself
by command
not by choice

Genesis 6: In Writing

From seeing desire
from desire drive
and the hand reaches out
to grasp
that which it chooses
that which is not

Except by the force of taking
that squeezes the spirit
out of its hollow
to escape to the deeps

Once I was the taker
reaching forth to pick
Now i am the picked
grasped and consumed
in the world of my making

Monday, February 10, 2014

Genesis: Chapter 5

Genesis 5: In Writing

The years stretch before and between us
and the cursed earth retreats beneath us
we were taken from
but can't return
trapped in fists of sadness
only he escapes
a sudden sprint
back to primal nothingness

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Genesis 4: In Writing

Silence when he fell
a broken word
more terrible
than Your deafening silence
in the face of my gift

His face was turned
to my earth
his blood flowing rivulets
she swallowed
he was hers
more fully than I have been
she took him as he has been taken
I watched him merge to her embrace

You said you heard his screaming
all I heard was the silence of repudiation
first You
now her
and I wander alone
First born
Last chosen

Genesis: Chapter 4

After the first death
there can be no other

A further fall
turned away faces
and bloody hands

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Genesis 3: In Writing

You said I was taken
a bone from your bone
you said I was given
a flesh to your flesh

I heard a voice
speak to me
and found my voice
to answer

chime and counterchime
a rustling in the trees
neither taken
nor given
changed at each turn
world made and remade

I see my hand reach
the glow of its skin
move my fingers
feel them take form

close them and now I take
hand it out
now I am the one that gives

Felt it squirt between my teeth
felt it trail down my throat
till its warmth settled in my belly
a glowing ember
my own small sun

you ate it in a quick gobble
and ran, hiding, to the trees
I held it within
my own small garden
that moved where I went

you spat it out
and now are hungry, hungry
always starving for food
I am filled
with it inside me
till the slow agony when I must
push out
the full form of ingested knowlege

Genesis" Chapter 3

Who is the taker,
who the giver?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Genesis 2: In Writing

It begins with absence
the emptiness contained more
an inside
from which outsides can split
endless flowing rivers
wandering ever further

Till you again find the absence
the still, silenced murmur
dissipated in the mist
that enters your lungs
wets your hair

you breath it
in your flesh
see it in other flesh

Two absences
two groping hands
brought together
further apart
always against
never united

Genesis: Chapter 2

and the spaces between
Inside and out

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Genesis, Chapter 1: A prose poem

It was not darkness
until light appeared
it was
blanket of being
that cannot be seen
because there is
nothing else

And light appeared
pushing him to the edges
against the edges of her brightness
he found himself
called darkness

the thin dividing line
gave both being
his absence a something

always there
duality in oneness
always encroaching against each other
always terribly divided

what comes before
the unity has no name

Genesis, Chapter 1

Darkness and light that keep want to mix, however separated

Dual humanity
Dual image of God

Divisions and mixing...
And the acceptance of them

The Process

This project has become a three-pronged process:
I begin by reading the chapter closely, listening to rhythms, repeated words, watching for imagery. I scribble notes throughout, waiting for an image to form in my mind.
I then draw the image, trying to encapsulate the feel-idea of the chapter
The process of drawing itself engenders new thoughts, and I jot down any words that come to mind, merging them with the image

If I feel these new ideas spill beyond the bounds of the drawing, I develop them on a new page into a prose-poem

"Our Story Begins"

“Our Story Begins” declares the small notebook I picked up in the 798 art district in Beijing. “The world needs music, also the painting, even more the feeling of beginning” it adds in inimitable Chinese English.

True, I think.
A traffic accident during that same trip to the Far East left me unable to paint for several months. It’s been a protracted, sporadic convalescence, which often leaves me feeling that things are coming to an end, or are in flux, refusing to hold together.
Go back to the basics, my friend Jaqueline Nicholls advised. If you can’t paint, then draw. A drawing a day. Make it regular.
She should know. I have been following her Draw Yomi project for years.. Though I had already completed a Daf Yomi cycle, the drawing made me see things see anew, gave a unique, at times quirky perspective that linked elements of the daily Talmud page in a wholly new way.
I thought--the time has come to apply this mode of learning to my own primary passion: the Tanakh.

I thought it would be simple enough. Study one chapter of Tanakh each day, and bring it together with a drawing. Ahh, the naivety of inexperience.I started the project  in tandem with the new cycle of Torah readings following Simhat Torah. Pretty quickly, my chapter was out of sync. And with no objective deadline to answer to, a perek a day can slip away.

So here I am, several months later. Older, wiser, and less na├»ve—but also healthier and ready for a “feeling of beginning” which I hope the semi-public forum of a blog will provide.  

What follows are my daily exploration of the Tanakh--a drawing and prose poem a day