DROUGHT INSIDE OUT

3.1.2016

What is underground eventually surfaces.
Dryness in the body denotes unresolved anger.

contributors:
Terri Laine
six photos - CRUEL SEASON SERIES
Daniel Corrie
one poem / three parts - WORDS OF TIME, BOOK OF FIRE
Megan Hollingsworth
two poems - CRONE and REMNANTS

“When you take something as far as it can go, it transforms.”
            Brendan Kelly, The Opportunity of Climate Change
                            The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis


Daniel Corrie

WORDS OF TIME, BOOK OF FIRE
one poem / three parts

Fire lives the death of earth, as air
lives the death of fire…
− Heraclitus


i. Riddle of Sun

Fat roots that fucked deep
will shrivel.

From drought’s
dry earth, tall weight will fall.

A pine’s risen branching’s
once-green, once-supple
needles will parch

delicately brown
and crumbling.

Living wings will find sky’s flyways
as the dying will erase flyways
that any human eye might target

to recognize in passing
as a tanager’s red wings
will blaze, flickering from

another instinct-guided return
to April’s branch.

Like sea ice thawing, television glass
floats its dark surface

until a pushed button flashes it
into glimpses
of vistas of white

ice ridges crumbling
into slushy sea.

Through polar wastes, forests
rose then died and froze,

as they will rise again
in warming sunlight.

Glaciers bled their freshets
streaming down from summits,

as they will bleed away again
in warming sunlight.

Ocean spilled over plains,
as waves will spill

again in warming sunlight.

The blood-red feathers remember
through their color, following veins

of the river of red, primordial

river of impulse.

Eyes will cut to follow then lose
red’s departing
through green,

through the blushing
and the flushing through

diurnal survival, each and each,

one by one wakening,
each caught in itself.

Stars continue opening,
great night always widening
to carry all stars

like leaf embers floating
through the younger night

of a forest, where sparks

will spread wider
into wildfire opening

into becoming itself.

The wakening wakens itself
toward more

than impulse, strangeness
opening through savannas
of strangeness,

spreading to seed
night’s continents with luminous
blooms of cities

and day’s tall stems of stacks
belching their blooms
of gray haze.

The gritty drift opens

as older smoke rose hazing
from carnage’s campaigns,

demarcations of borders
lost in the flaming

of maps shriveling into embers,
each column climbing, billowing
mirrored in eyes

to blear after eyes
have shifted away,

smoke shredding
into the sky

of clouds’ metamorphoses

and the sun.


ii. Riddle of Meaning

Time opens its night

littered with
its phase of stars.

The book drifts open

forever hinging
toward forever’s

last chapter of embers.  

The book that is
the wakening dream

opens as though offering
its pages’ blank oblivions.

The pages accept
their ledgered lettering.

The book of time slams open.

Its sudden, blown pages
turn and burn, glimpsed

mantra after mantra inscribed

shimmering through

its pages’ charring,

sutras smoldering into smoke.

The pages turn themselves,

coal-red wings opening

bound by their book’s spine

from flying,

until the splay of two

blackening pages and their columns

of incandescent words

hover shivering.

From letters’ litter, one line

brands itself to be read, reread,

neurons’ electric freshet
blazing its path. Dream-steps waken

into finding their way, following
the line of meaning’s swift,
luminous runnel.

The synaptic, coursing descent

radiant as lava

is the edge that guides

the footholds’ steep ascent.

The words speak themselves

as burning branches speak

their consumption, crackling

into recitation,

heard in illumination

into starless night’s
cavernous void
through a skull,

through depths of ocher-painted walls

of the eon-womb
of a cavern’s
cool, sunless echo.

The enduring transformation
falls and rises

perpetually provisional,

suddenly caught

through sparked kindling
into a human age
of swarming thoughts’ feverish
flaming of naming.

A great going was guiding
itself, climbing somewhere

swept with glimpses
of a vista’s distances
flickering through cloud cover’s rifts.

A great impulse was scaling,
clinging to a cliff face.
Mind was ascending

a mountain it began to feel
itself becoming,

maps of rivers
cascading, sparkling
into rivers—

impulse opposite
from one day’s sun’s
ultimate pulse

mind would come to see
out through the distance,

foretelling into the billioning
of a few sun-tethered worlds’
orbits wheeling
into the erupting

fire-future’s sun-tsunami’s
suddenness of consuming

any remaining archives

of measured and studied astronomies.

Lucence will consume all stones

imprinted with what were once
wind-stirred fronds

and pinecones scattered
on ancient sun-dappled ground.

Lucence will consume

all remnant stones shaped
from the shifting guises that flickered

to shards of hungering, searching
ape-shapes and man-shapes

sunken, locked under deepening
earth’s layers and weather’s
vagaries of ages
of ice, lightning and baking drought.

The turning page withers, collapsing.

There is the crumbling page’s phrase
of the senescent sun

belching out its fiercest
wildfire engulfing
its long-encircling worlds,

engulfing the long reign
of bacteria swarming
and churning

then joining and becoming
the burning.

There in the page, a mantra
is another spring migration
of a tanager
glinting to a branch.

There, winter forgets itself
through ice cliffs collapsing.

There, a sutra
is summer sun’s
shimmer over a river

of traffic inching over miles

of a highway’s baking asphalt.


iii. Riddle of Sparks

Empty cavern of a skull

had held a night of bison running
across cavern walls,

all held deep
in unheld night.

Some fragments will be dug

and lifted into sunlight,

carefully brushed

of earth and numbered,

as other rubble will remain

degrading incarnations, like memories

degrading, unrecoverable, through

the layers lost in the layers.

Parchment chars.

Smoke rises washing
into eddies, as waters eddy.

Rivers know nothing

of lives ending on banks

declared to be borders.

Map’s paper yellows
into brittleness
knowing nothing
of ink’s delineations.

A river’s rush fights
its war against rocks,

until carving its strength
as a hill’s arid scar.

Drought abrades green
scoured into sand.

Rivers offer their waters

to the conquering sun.

Orange-robed monks
sit on earth in their auras’

gestures given

in gasoline and flames.

The page ripples
through flames’ sinews.

The vision wavers into becoming itself.

Sparked pistons slam.

Asphalt’s scroll spills
toward desert’s red sun.

A human skull levitates
in flames. It floats,

inked in sun-reddened
flesh of bicep,
leather-chapped thighs

hugging gas tank’s
paint-sprayed slash
of meteoric flames.

Circle mirrors circle.

Vortex twins vortex.

The two tires blur
locked in chasis.

The two wheels whirl

caught as in curse
of pursuit.

Caught in one course,

one wheel races never
to catch the other,

as one wheel will never
evade the other.

They pass roaring

toward somewhere.

Unearthed, ore’s fierce

incandescence pooled

cupped in cauldrons
to be poured and forged.

Steel wheels clattered
down steel tracks,

steel car following steel car

heaped, trailing windrush’s
wake of black dust.

Cars’ length snaked under

clouds of night’s black sky.

Unremembered forests

darkened into ore,

finally torn from mountains’
soil renamed overburden,

to be reborn in fire.

Pines sun-hungered
to open into themselves—

shapes of messengers.

Finally, a time ripened

into a choosing of time—

time of the possible
times that might be chosen.

Sun-bright beauty hungered
to become itself.

Into the seeing and the seen,

it was a time for keeping
sunfall’s world—

to keep it—to be it—

until voices within voices
finally ripple through flocks

departing through sky—

voices of messengers.

Hand will let go of hand.

Form will depart from form.

The great book’s pages

will shrink away to sparks
showering through darkness,

darkening into darkness.

It will burn away.

It will be
the teeming phase of stars

entering the end of stars

cooling and crumbling.

Beyond time’s youth
of the great, bright spirals,

residue will float, unraveled.

Darkness into darkness,

atoms will flock away

into separating.

Atoms will drift farther

from other atoms,

detritus parting

in unfelt cold

of the ultimate night—

of the conquering night—


WORDS OF TIME, BOOK OF FIRE originally appeared 6.15.2015 at Terrain.org
please visit Terrain.org to read Daniel’s notes.


Megan Hollingsworth

CRONE

And you wore it like a crown
your age, unmeasured by time
storied in books you assigned
all of them, true fiction.
Your heritage, a pale dark
manicured rage earned
while on watch
and listening.

The snake who bit you would survive,
as would you, to teach from that meeting. And I
want you to know
the snake and you
are not wasted on me.

As prophecy unfolds
in a course determined by the lens
and the sheer pain of rivers running a crude black and gold
like tips on trees, estranged
underlines in bold the waste of sustenance on lives hardly lived,
I am accounted for.

Give me your anger, all that propels you
to exist for no other reason than to spite suffering’s cost,
And I give you my peace, all that I know of surviving this war
a thousand lifetimes is to scribble
some words about roots

REMNANTS

Death you are here come and gone
leaving remnants of a soul wanting
The hollow one dares not rise in your shadow
so sick is grief of a thousand lives
with nothing but disease to unfurl.
Death you are there
always at the gate of birth
where sadness stalks those afraid of weathered skin
born to die, never to cross
a threshold to the fullness of sky
Shoots of living stumps,
the hungry ghosts of ancestor blighted,
remind grief of what is possible in the dark
where roots ground a world
possessed by sunlight


CRONE (2016) is written for my beloved teacher, Lucille Bertuccio 1.31.1936 - 2.27.2016


REMNANTS (2014) is inspired by a young woman’s relationship with the living legacy of an American chestnut


Terri Laine’s notes on The Cruel Season Series:
I spend several hours a week at Lake Casitas as part of a rowing team. For years, I have photographed the sport of rowing and our beautiful venue. A tree began to emerge from the lake in 2013 and provided a dramatic backdrop for my rowing photos. It wasn't until summer 2014 that I realized I had a series of photos showing the severity of the drought at Lake Casitas. We estimate that this tree is about 25-30 feet high, which offers a good idea of how much water is lost. The piping is left over from the ranch days. The dam was built in the early 1950’s and the lake started to fill in 1957. A ranch lies at the bottom of Lake Casitas along with a school and a lot of supporting farm equipment. There is a very famous horse buried at the base of the dam named Crusader, a son of Man o' War who won several big races. I’d hoped that El Nino this year would give me the opportunity to record a reversal but so far it has been a no-show. Lake Casitas continues its decline. It's pretty disturbing and frightening and is starting to feel like this isn’t just a quirk of weather, but our new norm. Some of the photos show an "island" in the background. That island was completely underwater in 2012 and is now a massive piece of land that we can walk to. The motor and sailboats were moved from another harbor that has completely dried up.



relevant links

LAKE CASITAS – CALIFORNIA DROUGHT

BODY-MIND – GLOBAL CLIMATE

BLACK AND GOLD RIVERS

recent Extinction Witness posts

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