Saturday, April 30, 2011
Blue swan art by me, click on image to view larger.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Of course, this is me YOUNGER than I am now (not really me at all). Done in Roma's with markers and pens and a little colored pencil. The top one is the newer version--I'm never sure when I am done with a piece and I decided the lighting wasn't right on it. The bottom one, for inquiring minds, is the original.
below is a pocket item for Roma's pocket, it is a super-quick mini sketch of BB, my husband Keith. I did it last night on a very small "art pad." (Sm Assignment notebook-size.)
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Here is what I accomplished in Texas. We had a kind of busy schedule, so i didn't get as much done as I hoped, but I did get some done.
The first one, the old peddler woman, is an illo for one of my children's book, Jacob and the Great Fish. The second one is the first half of a collaboration for Ammon to complete.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Texas. I finished it this morning, I got sucked in and read it
faster than I intended to. I thought I'd be reading it on the plane
home. I did not bring the next book with me. I really enjoyed the
story, although there were times when it dragged. Keith is well into
*Snow melt is much nicer psychologically than aesthetically. Sara Stebbins*
visit. Breezy though, and dry enough so even at that temperature, it
didn't feel unbearably hot. When it was over a hundred, I got chilled
with the air-conditioning and went and sat outside in the sun a little
to warm up. Actually felt good! It was sunny.
Monday, April 11, 2011
In Murky Waters
Already her pink toes disappear into the small shadowed pond
That serves as a gateway to the underworld. The sun sets
Due west, relentless, as she plunges deep into clouded
Waters, swims strong, and surfaces
In another world. It’s not what you’d expect, dark
Damp rock, stalactites and stalagmites, clusters of bats,
Dangling spiders. Here, dark things coexist with an improbable
Profusion of sunshine: dunes, jungles, mountains, waterfalls,
Fecund green swamps. Anything found in the above-world exists
Below. That first time, Persephone saw only darkness,
The fire-lit throne room, the endless files of dead
Passing through, the grey river Styx and the huge grey swamps
Through which it flows. Hades had to teach her. She opened
Her eyes to find other eyelids underneath. Hades, who spoke at length
About the “veils,” peeled away onion layers of Persephone’s eyes
Until a pale yellow-green light began to suffuse the endless
Night. Layer upon layer he scraped away, until Persephone herself
Began clawing the masks of blindness from her eyes,
Like Dante, tearing off his masks. After months
Of thinning, the sun appeared within rock and beyond rock.
“Ah, sweet sun,” She said to Demeter, one spring evening, pointing
Down through stone into her husband’s chambers. Demeter imagined
Her daughter weak from lack of sustenance, from drinking
Only grenadine for half the year. At first, Persephone swore she would rewrite
Her own myth: escape from Hades and return to the flowering earth.
Now, rewriting again, she sees herself as uniquely privileged, golden
Fish in murky waters, the powerful, winged and shining
Queen of the underworld.
 Published in New Millennium; $500 1st place prize
Saturday, April 09, 2011
"Handmade Blade, Child's Balloon"
Hunting the Snipe of Sleep
As water seeps through my nightgown, and mud,
pungent and black, clings to my fingers, I scrabble slowly
toward dawn. I crawl through dark swamps. Winged
as a curlew, long-beaked as a woodcock,
sleep dives whistling through the shattered night.
Burdocks and beggars ticks
burrow into my hair, biting me
with tiny pointed teeth.
I carry a snare for the snipe
of sleep, but when it swoops by and I reach
to snag it, my fingers pass, ethereal, through
ghostly feathers, intangible as the clouds
of fog that drift past, damp, taunting
and utterly ungraspable. Dreams tumble by,
hauntingly near but always beyond reach.
They refuse to descend into my parched eyes.
Gibbering voices of dream phantoms
talk in tongues, in unlearned or unknown languages
while aurora-colored curtains flutter
around my face in tatters. Warm snow
drifts from the sky, but never touches my face.
Night tears itself in strips, shreds itself into confettis
of longing. Never will the snipe of sleep
be domesticated, it can neither be captured
nor kept. Beyond feral, beyond savage,
it ranges, elusive, toothy, taloned and mean.
Insomnia sucks, leechlike, shrinking
the cinder of my heart.
Friday, April 08, 2011
This is an UNfinished painting. Brand new. I cannot finish a real painting in less than a day, especially when I'm sick in bed a good part of the day!
Geraldine’s Word Collection
The new English teacher gives Geraldine a pass and tells her, “look for words.”
Geraldine finds the word “memory” on the library door and copies it
into her word book. “Memory,” the librarian reminds her, pointing
to her own head, “is what you remember inside, what happened before.
Yesterday, earlier today.” Geraldine sits down at a library table and looks
inside her memory. She finds Ricky there, and Aldy. She looks at Ricky
and writes down the word “handsome” and the word “love.” The librarian
helps her spell the words. When she remembers Ricky’s kisses, they
writes the word “warm.” She remembers him naked, but she doesn’t tell
the librarian. Instead, they write the word “lonely.” Loneliness
happened earlier today. Closeness happened yesterday, or some time
earlier. Aldy happened, the most beautiful baby in the world. Love
isn’t a big enough word. They took Aldy away, put Geraldine in a new school,
where she couldn’t see Ricky. A stupid school. A school where Geraldine stuffs
envelopes and puts tiny measures of spices in little bags and bottles.
And gets paid. Fold it this way, not that way. Fill the measure to the top,
but not overflowing. All the girls in one room, all the boys in another.
No Ricky, no Aldy anywhere. Work days and education days. More work
days than school days. Long days, no sunshine. Big pink lights that hum.
No cafetorium, no school dances. She writes down the word “hug.”
She thinks about the word breast, Ricky kissing her, Aldy nursing.
But she says the word, “family” and thinks of her parents, her sister.
“Memory,” Geraldine repeats. The librarian reminds her about the dictionary,
and they look up memory. On the way to memory, they encounter
the word “melancholy.” The librarian helps her write down the words:
“sad, depressed, gloomy.” The librarian writes the words and Geraldine
copies them carefully. In art class, her teacher repeats the words
and Geraldine picks a color for each word, paints a picture in sepia,
indigo, burnt sienna with bits of red, yellow and blue. The art teacher sees
a small flock of tropical birds in a dusky jungle. Geraldine sees dark days
and small bright dreams, visitations of memory, Ricky and Aldy.
Mary Stebbins Taitt,
groan (persephone speaks to hades)
you plunge between my legs
and I look up
where spiders stretch their webs
and twirl their moths
and fifty bats hang by their nails
and granite shines
along foreboding cracks
as wisps of fire
reflect. you gasp and groan
and come and I
release a sigh, relieved
that you are done
so I, with less
impediment, can watch
each bat inhale
and spiders gobble flies.
but as you crush my breasts
in sleep, your weight
distresses me, as does
the slime that leaks, now cold,
between my thighs.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
February Tree Dreams
Under the ground, a dark and perpetual night, almost as void
of life as deep space, presses cold teeth against the dreaming trees,
but the trees sink further into their roots and listen all the way up
the long fibers of their empty veins to owls rustling in their nests,
to small movements inside the eggs, to the first cracking
that heralds these winter babies, these messengers of spring.
Lost in their roots, sunk in depths of the frozen earth, trees dream
of sweet sunshine, of snow melting, of the slow unfurling of leaves
and flowers, of fledgling owls stretching their wings and launching
into the great pale blue of treacherous air. The trees remember
summer nights, owls lifting silently from their branches, occluding
the moon and stars, or hooting to one another from high above
the branches where the little diurnal birds rest in their nests.
The trees dream the smell of summer wind and the wet caresses
of rain. As they weave into their dreams the smells
of their own flowers, the tastes of their own nectar,
the touch of the bees’ pollen-laden feet and gentle tongues,
the taste of frozen earth loses its pungent bitterness.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
What if, instead of dying flowers, perfume
smelled like mountaintops, like granite
and fir-filtered wind? Breezes lift our feet
from the rock and fragrance-scented air
buoys us up over golden rows of mountains.
You laugh like a child taking his first step
out onto the taut surface of water
and instead of sinking, we skate
on that tensile surface that quivers
like my heart when you reach
the long pin feathers of your wings
and wrap them all light and tickle
and remember around me.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
I am publishing this on Wednesday night, because I've been sick all week and feel worst in the morning, so this is for Thursday.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Well, I am sick. Even sicker than yesterday. but here are my E entries for the challenge:
I live inside the eye. Vacuous, lost
in a steaming, sulfurous wasteland, we stare, the eye
and I. Drifts of exhaustion fog a window otherwise so clear
that it appears unglazed. Hot, red and dry,
the eye and I watch the frayed edges of dreams
unwind and pool in holographic puddles. Twitching,
little scenes surround us, paint
drips of smeared color and spastic motion
into our peripheral vision. We want to dive
into lost reveries, to be swallowed by their promise of sleep,
but they shimmer and fade when we reach for them. Our lids
scorch open. I try not to see the teeth growing
inside the maw of eye. The iris shreds into spears;
its hissing-‘possum jaws show numerous canines. I refuse
to notice the eye’s hunger. Already in its belly, my scales
slip off and fall in multicolored rain. Hydrochloric acid dissolves
them, liberates their swirling hues. The tapeworm insomnia
swims free in the amniotic fluid, in the home of dreams,
in the small death of sleep.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
This is a new poem, still in progress. You can see, perhaps, how it related to being sick.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I am working on a new children's book about a dragonfly. This is the first page of that book. The others are unfinished.
and here are two D-poems for national Poetry Month, by me:
Birch trees lean over the lake. Shimmering, doubled,
white bark reflects pale streaks in dark water,
like postcards sent home from vacation,
like art splashed on canvas en pleine air
affixed with postage stamps, glued to your heart,
like love letters where the unbearable beauty
of this wild world is sealed with a kiss
and summer romance stretches deep into autumn
and beyond. The ebullient heart swings from bent birches
and drops into icy mountain water, shrieking
with shock and joy. Mirrored mountains rise
out of rocky shores to embrace waterfalls,
long ridges, your hikes to granite summits
lost in trackless wilderness. Fear
swirls though the gut like wind-tossed birch leaves.
The heart opens as if released from white trunks
to fall through yellow leaves into deep pools of wonder.
and a prose poem:
Panting from a summer heat wave, the woman sticks her head out the car window. She swallows wind in enormous gulps. Sky howls past her face and through her hair. She grins and sniffs the air, smells smoke. Somewhere in the city, a house blazes. Grey curtains hang in gauzy layers above the street and other scents assail her: burning brakes, electrical malfunctions, sewage, rotting garbage, woodchucks and rabbits. Hotdogs popping on a grill, fried chicken from a fast food franchise. Gasoline, exhaust fumes. At first, the woman names the smells. But soon, she flares her nostrils and simply inhales the kaleidoscope of odors. The inside of her head sings with smells. She barks at passing dogs, yaps at cats and squirrels. Drools. Hears the wind whistling through her teeth. When she shoves her shoulders and whole upper torso out the window, her husband says, “Down girl!” She spins and growls at him, baring her incisors, before she backs partway back into the car again and turns once more to taste the tang of barbecuing ribs and sweat-rich, skunk-scented joggers.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Monday, April 04, 2011
This Cheshire Cat is a painting in progress. (Not yet finished!) Click image to view larger.
Also, here is a new prose poem, for National Poetry month, "Cascades of Elder Blossoms:"
Cascades of Elder Blossoms
The man carried a white cardboard box such as one into which a baker might place a small cake. He set it on the table and opened it. Three girls sat up and stretched. They had been folded around each other like triplets in the womb. They were packed in elder blossoms, which cascaded away as the girls stood up and bent to step out of the box. The box must have been larger on the inside than the outside, because the girls, outside the box, were normal sized, slender and somewhat naiad-like. Except for the flowers, they were naked, but not embarrassed. They smiled, cheerful, ready for what came next, which they seemed to expect would be good.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Hmm, there seems to be theme developing here, if you can develop a theme in two posts. This is an illo for my children's book, Benny's Favorite Color and features Benny with a peacock at the Zoo.
Remember sleep, that trickster, laughing,
bright with moonshine? She draped curtains
of widow gossamer so thick over your face
that you inhaled her tiny hourglass of toxins.
She flung you into flights of unquiet silence.
Remember sleep? You walked through walls.
Sometimes, her light shone green, her detail etched,
complex and compelling. You saw hemp ropes with every fiber
shadowed against the checkered metal and concrete
bridge floor. Ropes piled like snakes on a bridge
that ended, like all your bridges, suspended above the middle
of a churning river. Sometimes, you flew. You flew.
Bridges dangled over open space, snakes of rope coiled
on their decks. You tumbled into snake pits, snakes slithered
in the henhouse, wrapped around the hen-hot eggs, wound
around your arms, your neck. You wanted to escape
or you wanted to rescue them from cold, heat, people attacking
or animals with fangs bared. You wanted to save them, you wanted
to fly with them though the aqueous air of their underwater caverns.
But all your bridges broke, hurtling you into space. You fell.
Over those bridges, toward open water, men swarthy
with rage, brandishing cutlasses and terror,
chased you. You turned and ran through complex mazes
of alleys and abandoned buildings. You were always trying
to accomplish something you couldn't quite remember,
something urgent and important. Understanding eluded you,
like sleep eludes you now. You fell.
Over and over, you fell off cliffs, tumbled, twisted,
a shrieking rag doll, waking before you smashed
on the jagged rocks. You'd read that if you died in a dream,
you died forever. No wonder the trickster abandoned you!
In the waking world, they'd find your body
curled in the womb of a dark invisible Persephone.
You believed in death until you died, again and again,
and woke, and woke again, and woke again
through onion layers of dreams, not sure which,
if any, was the waking life you’d come from,
the life you thought you remembered.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
The formating is wrong, it's supposed to be in six-line stanzas. My A post is here.
Friday, April 01, 2011
A is for Art. I do art every day. Right now, I am working on several children's books. This is a partly completed painting on my iPad on Artrage for one of my books.
in the stillness