Featuring cherita!

February 26, 2015

Poetry Friday--Senses

This is the last week of Laura Shovan's Sound Poem project, which is taking place at Author Amok.

For yesterday's challenge we were sent to 2 pages of train sounds and had to pick one that inspired us. I didn't need to go beyond the first sound, a subway train. It brought back a flood of memories in which every one of my senses was reawakened. The strongest memory is of walking between moving cars and the louder than loud sounds of steel wheels on steel rails, but I don't mention the between cars business in the poem. It's probably against the law to pass between moving cars!
On the IRT

We didn't travel to
Manhattan often, but
the trips involving
a subway station have
stuck with me for
a half-century. It was
the late 50s or early 60s--
the subway an express
ride for my
suburban five senses.

The station with its

Sounds of
screeching wheels,
the rattle of tinny cars,
high heels clacking.

Smells of
axle grease, and piss--
every stairwell or
tunnel reeking of it.

Feel of
dirt--"Don't lean
against anything!"
body grease on stanchions
nose prints on windows.

Taste of
one peppermint Chiclet
from a cardboard packet.
You got two for a penny
from a tiny vending
machine affixed
to a steel column.

Sights of
New York had to offer,
which included
mostly people.
All ages, all races,
all religions (especially
the leafleting ones),
and all classes
from bums to business men.

Also spotted was
the occasional cat
in a handbag, and
glistening globs
of spittle on
the platform--
despite spitting being
unlawful, and subject
to fines and/or imprisonment.

To this day, I can't
recall a single one
of our destinations.

I'm not the only one who remembers the old subways of New York. Here are two links to follow if you're interested in taking a trip down the memory subway tunnel: 1. Gothamist; 2. The Atlantic: CityLab.

Here's a close-up of the no-spitting sign seen in the above photo. I could never understand the reasoning behind the sign (aside from the fact that it was gross) until I learned that it was a carry-over from the time when tuberculosis ran rampant in New York and not spitting could save lives.

Interborough Rapid Transit Subway (Original Line), New York, New York County, NY. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Since March is right around the corner, Heidi Mordhurst is throwing another poetry challenge at us. Read about it at My Juicy Universe where Heidi is also hosting the Round-Up.

February 24, 2015

Haiku Sticky #294

I actually saw a snowdrift with graffiti on it! Amazing what a few weeks of snow will bring out in people!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

February 22, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The illustration is from 1557, courtesy Wellcome Library, London.

February 19, 2015

Poetry Friday--Sound Poems

Most of my poems written for Laura Shovan's Sound Poem project are not easily illustrated. Small poems generally work best, and I was a bit wordy with some of my submissions. That is not to say that I didn't visualize all of my poems. I wrote one that required funky formatting:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

This next one isn't as complex as the one above, I did fiddle a little with format.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Here's a poem, a tanka, that I've illustrated. It hasn't been posted on Laura's blog, yet, because the sound is tomorrow's assignment.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The background is an old postcard of Shanghai, courtesy NYPL Digital Collections. The musician is Lan Fang Mai, also courtesy NYPL, and the tree sparrow photo is by Laitche, courtesy Wikimedia.

Here is the sound clip.

I just assumed it was recorded in a market, and the birds are sparrows. When I looked online to find out what kinds of sparrows there are in China, I was horrified to read about the Four Pests Campaign. I won't summarize it--it is simply too painful for me to think about--but you can read about it here.

It's time to head over to see Linda at Teacher Dance where she's hosting this week's Round-Up.

February 17, 2015

Haiku Sticky #293

So much longing needs a larger poem--a tanka for today!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

February 15, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

Sometimes it's just fun to have a snow day and not worry about the driveway or the commute or the prediction of more to come...

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo of 1922 blizzard courtesy Library of Congress.

February 13, 2015

Poetry Friday--Remembering

Last Sunday, we had to put down our little cat Smudgie. She was 19 years old, and had, until the past week, still looked like a kitten. But 19 is a long life for a cat, so I won't spend a lot of time mourning. I'd rather remember, and will do so with some haiga I've put together over the years.

This one, was written for her last summer, but she is not the cat in the photograph:

Original photo by Arnold Genthe, courtesy Library of Congress.

This is Smudgie (on the left) with Skippy (now 6 years old):

A holiday haiga. And perfect for this week!

Winter--our least favorite time of year. Especially this year. Poor skinny little Smudgie sat so close to the radiator I was afraid she would burst into flame!

Smudgie was known to take a lick of the sugar on a Peep:

Celebrating our favorite time of year--spring, and our favorite fragrant flower--hyacinth.

I have many more cat haiga, but they're mostly photos of Skippy, who never shuts her eyes when having her picture taken! Smudgie will be missed. Life goes on.

And so does Poetry Friday. You can see all the other poetry posts gathered by Cathy at Merely Day by Day.

All haiga © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

February 10, 2015

Haiku Sticky #292

Enough with the snow already!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

February 8, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

This one is for today's Sound Poem Project assignment. The sound clip is of waves, which put me in mind of the feeling of disorientation one feels when standing on the beach and a wave recedes. Laura Shovan is the originator of the project and you can find out more about it here.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The original photo is by Carol M. Highsmith, courtesy Library of Congress; it has been cropped and edited by me.

February 6, 2015

Poetry Friday--Sound Poem Project

If you haven't yet read about Laura Shovan's "Sound Poem Project," stop reading this and head over to Author Amok to learn what it's all about.

I didn't think sound would stimulate me to write as much as the colors of last year's "Pantone Poem Project" did, but I was clearly wrong! I've written poems for all this week's posted sounds and I'm ready to get started on more!

The first sound that we were asked to write about is that of a waterwheel. I live near Lowell, MA and I've walked its streets absorbing the mill history. Access to water-power was the reason Lowell was developed into a mill city. I've also written a series of poems about child labor. This sound poem, or, one long run-on sentence, depending on your point of view, is a result of these connections:

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Cartoon by Winsor McCay [ca. 1913], courtesy Library of Congress. Teacup courtesy The Graphics Fairy.

I went to the Library of Congress National Child Labor Committee Collection, put in "waterwheel" as a search term and the cartoon popped up. From there it was easy to think how to illustrate the poem!

You may notice that the poem above differs slightly from the one I sent to Laura to post. I've been thinking that I may use the poem in my Sketchbook Project, but if so, I knew I needed to rewrite it slightly so that it is told in present tense. It will fit in better with the other poems.

The poem below is for the second day's sound, angel chimes, in Swedish, Änglaspel. The tinkling of bells and the heat from the candles, put me in mind of a major ice storm we had in December 2008. Once the sun came out, the ice started to fall off and everything literally glowed. The photo is from one of the pictures I took after the storm.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

It's ironic that a winter storm, the second in a week, kept me out of work on Monday and allowed me to illustrate both of today's poems.

Last year, in the Pantone Poem Project, I submitted enough poems to be the winner of a Pantone Colors journal! At the risk of sounding inordinately self-assured, I wanted to let you know that I have taken my name out of the running for this year's project prize. Everyone get writing and send those poems to Laura--you might win a spoken word CD from Gargoyle literary magazine!

I'm heading over to visit Elizabeth Steinglass for the Poetry Friday Round-Up where there's bound to be a blizzard of poetry!

February 3, 2015

Haiku Sticky #291

Does anyone under the age of 50 still remember mothballs (camphor)? I do. Some older friends do, too.

We actually use them at the bottom of the Library's outdoor bookdrop to discourage mice from coming in, but it wasn't easy to find mothballs for sale! (In the past we have had mice get in and do some intense book chewing during the overnight hours!)

This has been a week for wet wool, fleece, synthetics, or anything you wear in the snow!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

February 1, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

After Tuesday's storm I shoveled a path from the front door to the driveway. I would estimate we had at least two feet of snow, with drifts way higher. Fortunately the snow was light and fluffy. I've had worse times shoveling 2 inches of wet, heavy stuff.

Strangely, I didn't see any of the many sparrows or chickadees that generally hang around. I did see a robin (poor thing should have migrated), a mockingbird, a mourning dove, and a woodpecker (I think it may have been a red-bellied woodpecker).

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.