August 2020 Voicing Art Poetry Reading + Poems

inspired by the theme of ‘SHIFTING SANDS’ + the ‘earth art’ of yusuke asai


with appreciation to Guatama Buddha, Jim Spaulding, and my Grandmother McClain

High above and far from frantic freeways
With dead air days and nervous neon nights
Granite guards stand watch
While piney preachers sign
With gnarly silent gestures

What message am I meant to see to hear
What truth to tuck away
Inside my pack my heart
That I should hike still farther
That I should climb still higher
Is the word carried on the wind
By jay-scream or fly buzz
Or tucked inside a Tootsie Roll
Or marmot scat
Left everywhere for everyone
I do not know

But then at dusk
When shadows spread
And darkly dim my vision
I walk to the edge of Hidden Lake
And kneel and look
And suddenly
I see the truth of it all
C’est moi… it is me
I am in this place
This place is in me

I am mountain peak and deep valley
I am timid deer and bold chipmunk
I am willful wind and yielding yellow daisy
I am scudding cloud
Both black and white
I am flash of angry lightning and raging rain
Then sunshine smile
I am all of this and so much more
In this wild and beautiful place

No roaring jet above or
Careless camper down below
Can take away this truth
No camera click
Can freeze this piece of time
I am always in this place
This place is always in me

August 29, 999 in the South Sierra

EARTHY-NESS | Heather Swick

[inspired by ‘gimme something/to eat’ and ‘for the next breath 3, 2016’ by yusuke asai]

Cool, crisp, condensed.
Gritty, grainy, granular.
Wet, watery, waves.
Heated. Heavenly. Harmless.
Sharing the land,
distinctively and together.
All within one life.

IN THE GLASS | Roni Orenda

Okinawa flashes in my rearview mirror
Her reflection stains the windshield
I see you in a new light
Next to me, squinting against the glare

Tales of the woman shimmer in the glass
I believe for a minute…I recognize her
Then, you eloquently disappear into audio
And I to disbelief

Know thy-self; know the world
You size me up by your nicotine fit
Skin taught-trembling underneath
Gaze for touch, ink-to-ink, blood-to-blood. 

The warrior does not gauge her strength 
Against her opponents 
Maneuver; perhaps
Excelleration carries us 

Somewhere between growing up 
Believing in God and culling the dross
The Man-U-Script
Flashcards his character.

"YOUR DEPRESSION" | Darcie Tredwell

I tried to tell her that I feel depression.

“My depression…”I explained.

She said, “I don’t like that word my.”

Did she want me to pronounce it, “The depression?”

I think: You don’t like that I have depression.
You don’t, when I say “My depression”, like that either.

This depression”, I declare!

I wonder how could you prefer no noun? Does my explain life less than this.

While accounting the same meaning to a listener, I wonder, can another person own the feelings I feel?

I have practice owning my emotions.

Now, I’m feeling Your depression instead and I don’t like it?


A finch’s beak reveals its need for seeds.
   It mates and rears its young late in the season.
The world revolves around
     “what’s done is done”.
A summer’s choice affects who gets to eat.
   To keep the trees at bay?
       To mow or fallow hay?
The reaper here who claims a hold on reason
    must mind the needs of those
        whose nest is yet to come.

IN WHICH YOU ARE TO REALIZE | JC - The Poartry Project

[inspired by the theme of ‘shifting sands’ and by ‘specimen, clairvoyant’, 2010 and ‘eating here’, 2015 by yusuke asai]

In place of fireworks this year,
I send you fireflies.
Their silent beauty.
The golden flash and wink of my cellular
emissaries in the meadows.
Living celestial charts
weaving in the seas of night grasses.
Have you noticed the turned-up volume of
birds’ morning melody
in the absence of manmade flight?
How the haunting nocturnal beauty of barred owls’
call-and-response with their young
emerges in the space left by late-night
adolescent engine-gunning put to sleep?
How the screech of a fox sounds when
the blanket of quiet lies over the valleys
and the smell of skunk is so much stronger
along the sharpened edges of crisp, clean air?
Have you found this beauty yet?
Have you paused?
Have you reflected?
Are you realizing?
I have laid out my beauty
in all its glory.
I will keep sending my fireflies
far past their season,
keep laying out my celestial maps,
lit of a golden glow whose suffusion
cannot be bottled,
I will keep the barred owls’
beckoning conversation going
long past the younglings leaving the nest,
into the indigo of winter nights
stretching out on snow
when wisdom might meet your ears,
where you can hear my invitation
and enter into my fields kept quiet
and there find a cause for true celebration
written in the living cursive calligraphy
of a thousand celestial cells.

SAFETY FIRST | Laine Driscoll

[inspired by ‘gimme something/to eat’ and ‘spores of lives’ by yusuke asai]

Safety first.
Then freedom

If safety currently unavailable, try:

  1. Eye gazes (plushie, drawn, human, animal or other)
  2. Wind on body (beach, city, arctic, A/C, via brisk walk or other)
  3. Rump shake (i.e. shake your booty. Note: if not in mood, try disco.)
  4. Sunlight bath
  5. Forest trail breath
  6. Friend check-ins
  7. Flower sniffs
  8. Self-hugging
  9. Soul-cuddling
  10. Spirit-saluting
  11. Art appreciation

Safety is first. There is life all around (meaning ALL around… every spore is a living being. Some are fox, some are deer, some are bird. They make life. They are parts of lives. Other lives work with them. Those lives work with others. Say hi. You are safe.)

Safety is first. But after safety – freedom…


Your tapestries are moving:
Your stories are inspiring 
Your paintbrush guided by the movements of your collaborators. 
Bringing to life new worlds within worlds within new worlds and onward. 
Celebrating the Earth and its many living, breathing, and beating expressions. 
In salutation to your contributions.
Thank you. 


A message can come in any shape, size and way.
Through stories that open sore hearts,
through deep silences and wild cacophonies,
through a gentle touch and the squeeze of a hand,
through gazing at the sky and peering down into the ground.
Through faces glowing,
through paintings flowing,
through songbirds, 
and moving winds.
Some whisper like soft pillows, 
others trumpet like horns,
others bounce like balls which are hard to catch.
Through a verse,
a sentence,
a word.
Some burst through,
others seep in drip by drip.
They always find their way.
Each unfolding a universally-unique treasure,
woven together.
Here for an ephemeral moment
and then the next message arrives,
carried forth on Mercury’s golden wings.

SPONTANEOUS POEM | Darcie Tredwell

“Colorful sand to the hand is rich soil for the soul.”


Winter’s wish
is all around,
seeking voice
when heat abounds.
I number the days
on finger and toe.
when snow it is
that is ready to sow.
And meadows fold into the deep,
ready for their hibernating sleep.
And finches gold do fly southward bound
in search of warmth and sun’s rays found.
And I can bring sweaters out
with threads woven of strands stout
in which I can joyfully burrow
presaging winter’s vitalizing morrow.

86 | Roni Orenda

What wrong direction
Do they lead to seek your meaning?
Of those not able to comprehend
Your worth? 
What is priority to them
They lead you to-
What language of all tongues
Is understood? 


Still you expected them to speak of you
Through your own? 
Is it a wonder you spend time mute-
Must there be a papertrail
To emblemise your heart?

A Grave
Within whose walls
Or depth can not bury me-
Nor shall I take my rest. 


   in toehold stance
      form an optimistic selvage
          against the estuary’s long history of liquidity –
                 safe haven for a Marsh Wren

Ebbing tide
   and schools of fingerlings
      washing sunlight over sand
          turn every rill and rip and runnel
                 into a motherlode of un-panned gold

Least Terns
   guarding the possibility of progeny
      cry out against unwanted trespass

At Mean Low Tide
   surf-smoothed rocks tattle their long
      tumultuous affair with the sea

The ocean
   even in its endless tidal tasks
      tenders sympathy for the stone

ON FRIENDSHIP | JC - The Poartry Project

[inspired by ann]

In my early years,
this stone rolled and rolled,
and there are only a few pebbles left
from that time.

How beautiful when they roll full circle
and meet again in new ways!

I remember when we first met
on a bitterly cold late afternoon
with the forever-familiar smell of winter 
riding-ring dirt filling my nostrils 
and hearkening to first rides at five years old
and the unique freezer of New England 
indoor arena seeping into my bones.

You were like a bird –
my favorite, the Wren –
with sharp, flashing eyes,
an equally-sharp beautiful nose I envied,
and infinite wren-brown hair pinned up
on your petite head,
with a quickness of voice
and a penetrating curiosity.

And you took us in hand –
my father and I –
leading us to your warm nest
from the old place we’d landed on the cove
in a forced trek back East from a surreal year
in California,
waiting for my Pacific Northwest horse
to step off the industrial-looking truck-trailer
to become a New Englander
and discover if his thin skin and brittle mind
could weather the seasons of storm and steam
and an infinite array of flying, biting things.

And time passed…
From 14 in 1980 with a whole life ahead,
full of bumps and beauty
to 54 in 2020,
and a memorial service
and poetry.

And I realize you are the only one left,
the only one outside family
who knew me then
in all the awkwardness
and loneliness
and differentness
and patience of learning and coming to love,
thanks to your birdsong and nurturing care,
a new craft that had a rocky start 
with all its germanic exactness
when all I wanted to do was fly and leap
and gallop.

How beautiful to realize the preciousness
of this one remaining pebble,
a chip from the life of a stone
that rolled and rolled
and finally found home voicing art 
and building a nest for the gathering of
the love of words and beauty to bloom.

Our Debut Voicing Art Book

Voicing Art: Poetry of Space | Place | Time
is now available!

Poetry inspired by works of art, the art of nature and the exploration of beauty, perception and insight through the cartography of the unseen.


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