My dear friend Donald recently asked, under rather unusual circumstances I won't go into just now, "How beautiful is beautiful, Kat?" He was speaking to my art, what he thought my life was all about .. And I realized during the course of our conversation that afternoon, more than ever before, that I wanted to be real in my body and to serve others by what I call "OMGodding" all over the place ~ enthusing, whether through painting, writing, great conversations, healings or .. however things play out, in connecting to the light and its gorgeous rays. Reveling in Life through, in my case, art. A sense of de-crystallization, elegant dissolution following this exquisite hunger for the light, has pervaded the past few years for me—when I am aware, it is as though the Fabric of Everything comes endlessly through every moment, my soul pouring through my heart (Donald again) with passion and intoxication in every heartbeat. Traveling out and out to build on the light that's been, by bringing in ever more joy and expansiveness. Holding a space for this light is what I am humbly devoting myself and my hours to.
I know it's a big request, but I would love to hear from all of you about your beautiful journeys these days .. What are you up to? How big and juicy and fun are you playing? How are your dreams shaping up, and are they what you really wanted? What are you discovering, or allowing yourself to see that is changing you and Life forever? Are you the you you imagined being when you were tiny? Or is that not even relevant anymore?
My fabulous photographer friend KC, I found later, had sent me this image while Donald and I were talking. The linen canvas was from my time in Malta. Serendipity seems a fitting title.
Sending you all so much love and light and joy always,
Prayer of Mr. Cogito—Traveler
I thank You for creating the world beautiful and very diverse
also for permitting me in Your inexhaustible goodness to be in places that were not the places of my everyday torment
—that at night in Tarquinia I lay down in a square near a well and the swinging bronze from a tower announced Your wrath or forgiveness
while a small donkey on the island of Corfu sang to me from his incredible bellows lungs the melancholy of the landscape
and in the ugly city of Manchester I discovered people who were sensible and good
nature repeated its wise tautologies: the forest was a forest the sea was the sea rock was rock
stars moved in circles and it was as it should be—Jovis omnia plena
—forgive me that I thought only of myself when the lives of others turned circled around me cruelly irreversible like the great astrological clock of Saint Peter’s in Beauvais
that I was lazy absent-minded too careful in labyrinths and grottos
forgive me also that I didn’t fight like Lord Byron for the happiness of captive peoples that I watched only risings of the moon and museums
—thank You that the works created for Your glory let me share a particle of their secret and I imagined in my great presumptuousness that Duccio Van Eyck Bellini painted also for me
and also the Acropolis which to the end I never understood patiently laying bare before me its mutilated body
—I ask You to reward the ancient white-haired man who brought me fruit from his garden without being asked on the burnt island where the son of Laertes was born
as well as Miss Helen of the misty island of Mull in the Hebrides who received me in a Greek manner and asked me to leave a lit lamp by the window at night facing holy Iona so the land’s lights could greet each other
also all those who showed me the road and said kato kyrie kato
and take under Your protection Mama from Spoleto Spiridion of Paxos the good student from Berlin who saved me in a difficult moment then unexpectedly met me in Arizona and drove me to the Grand Canyon which is like a hundred thousand cathedrals with their heads turned downward
—permit me O Lord not to think about my watery-eyed gray foolish persecutors when the sun sinks into the Ionian Sea truly indescribable
permit that I understand other people other tongues other sufferings
and above all else let me be humble which means he who desires the spring
thank You Lord for creating the world beautiful and diverse
and if it is Your seduction I am seduced forever and with no forgiveness
Sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I wish art—all of it—would go away for 500 years. Let things settle and land where they will, let's see what we see in the clearing. But this feeling of course passes, and I awake with fresh eyes, eager to play anew, eager to win and love and lose in the mix with canvas or paper.
One morning last fall, I was writing from bed, finishing a poem for a magazine, when I heard knocking at my door. I have a view of my front door from my bedroom window, but there was no one there. Strange. The knocking continued. Then I saw him. He stepped away from where the drapes blocked my view, and I could see a magnificent, large raven perched on my bedroom window sill. He was looking straight at me and pecking the glass. A soft purple-blue-black, he walked back and forth and then settled in for preening. (Not shiny like crows, nothing at all like crows.) He was going nowhere. I emailed my editor in New York: "Raven—full-stop!" or something to that effect. No sooner had I sent the email than another raven landed on my porch railing. The two of them kept me company while I finished my work. My editor, who knew of my grandfather's ill health at the time, wrote asking what significance I attached to these birds, this visitation. I couldn't think beyond dedicating this poem to my Grandpa, who will always be my first waltz.
Bat City Review had asked nine poets to write to nine paintings by one painter. I loved and felt honored by this assignment and include the poem here with grateful acknowledgement to the magazine.
What if we let it all dissolve
The old stories and dark thoughts
Let them come tumbling down in the forest fire
Honey honey—says Coyote—nevermind the purple wizard behind
The smokescreen pyre
Develop heart; follow me into the Fire and only then will we
Have Stories to tell our grandkids of
A very wild summer in California. Grow some heart.
Let the woman with the lamppost black hair lead us out of this forest
With her pure sweet example
Follow the red ropes of Love like vagaries she has woven in her left hand
Soft like childhood truth, softly electric like essence
The sea of surrender: being real in our ultra-real, beautiful bodies: I wanted nothing more
Coyote says, Look at me stand and shiver and never
Once complain. Look at me alive,
In the rustling grass.
Be honest, human race.
Open your heart to the Fire of Love.
Like these sister-like hedges fanning plumes of orange love.
Forget the Song of Leaving.
Stay, and make it lovely.
Take it away, girls.
The trio of backup singers, naked and encouraged, goes:
I’m gonna use it up
I’m gonna kiss them all
Gonna burn bright—
I won’t dim my light, I won’t dim down.
Gonna kiss all the men with lustre now.
All the men with lustre, now.
Kiss everybody, Coyote nods.
Bless them, kiss them fast.
Trio: We always had a real sense of
Destiny and now we are bringing
Down the house with Love.
Mary and Jane and Sarah,
Where are those fireflies
We saw under the netting?
Hold my hand—be my friend—that’s all.
He starts to leave, hesitates.
Let me turn and look at you one more time. Ah, you’re beautiful—
We could have cleared the rest as we always can, with a whoosh of the hands, but chose instead to put it in a poem so as to linger a while longer, striking tones and remembering.
The only poetry is nothing from any high holy book but what we do between this moment and the next, in the dissolving magical extension of the winged moments of our bodies alive, our ultra-real, beautiful, boundless—
Go on kid, he growls, get outta here. You’re gonna
Make me cry.
Hold my hand—be my friend—this is all
And I shall walk within my house with a perfect heart.
Bat City Review 2013
In the green water; clear and warm,
The touch of springs
For so much melody.
—Wallace Stevens, "Peter Quince at the Clavier"