A cool rush of flagrant defiance
Unlocks a chain of misdemeanors
That fall from my tongue in a fevered cadence
My soliloquy goes uncharted
In this forest of layered beasts
Whose fragrant alliance has put me up to the mischief
I have fallen at the feet
Of one cleansing breath
That has choked the life from subjugation to rules that loathe exceptions
And I have taken flight on improbable wings
This painting has remained a powerful and ever-fresh source of inspiration since I bought a print of it nine years ago. That is the magic of Mary DeLave Art.
When I look at any piece of Mary’s work, the words “mystery” and “primal” leap to mind. It conjures up from within me something ancient and instinctive; something fundamental and pervasive. What is it about these paintings that is so deeply and endlessly compelling?
Is it the vibrancy of her colours, paired in such a way as to ignite themselves and each other? Maybe it’s the celebration of music, a most powerful force unseen but universally understood. Perhaps it’s the frequent presence of animals in Mary’s work, or the many wide, unwavering eyes shared by all her species that convey an intimate interconnectedness of life.
Maybe it’s the way – if you look at a DeLave painting long enough – a face you hadn’t noticed at first will often emerge, sometimes seeming part of the more obvious faces…are we separate or are we one? And perhaps there is a faint suggestion of spirits in what looks like invisible profiles kissing cheeks.
I could go on and on. Gazing at Mary DeLave’s artwork feels like an infinite process of discovery of self, of the nature of life and of something beyond. Do yourself a favour and head over to Mary’s site and feast your eyes on some gifts that just won’t stop giving!
Will you dance if I play?
Will you sing if the music knows you?
Kiss my cheek and loose yourself to the wind?
All that is promised, my friend
Is the golden rooted hum in the lumber of my guitar
And the spirit of trees weeping Spanish Moss
Echoing their deep bass on the oaky breeze
Tickling our palate for lust for life
Only this raises the palms of the dead skyward for more
Will you dance if I play?
Will you stomp the earth into resonating vibration
So that the whole world may sing
All dressed in a dream
With spiraling notions relieving the seams
This is what we came here for
Something ancient and primal
With our skin stretched across the depths
Like a drum
Will you dance if I play?
Will you spin into arms and out again?
Will you rise with a melodious eye
And spy on the whole of existence?
Its steel strung heart of persistence
Voicing the chant of sublime being
Will you dance the transcendent carnality
Into harmonious crescendo
And raise the light into ovation?
With increasing frequency, I see around me a new and different kind of human. Most often they are young people, though not always. They have a wisdom and emotional intelligence, I would say beyond their years, but truthfully it is beyond what has ever been typical in humans at any age. They speak a language of acceptance and inclusion that is unprecedented and embody a depth of compassion that is eye-opening. They are acutely aware of what happens in the world and they act in hope. This too sets them apart – they see, they take action. And I have very often seen them respond to resistance and misunderstanding with openness, patience and kindness while remaining steadfast to principles of common good.
This is more than the optimism of youth. Their wisdom and depth of understanding at astoundingly early ages is at odds with long-accepted psychological theories of human developmental stages. I have come to affectionately refer to them as the new evolution of human, and I believe, as they step forward, more and more of us remember who we are and the power we hold in our innate love.
So FEAR, wherever you act in the world – whether through violent animosity, complacency, psychological paralysis, spiritual imprisonment or exile – you have been put on notice. We are led by a new evolution of human and we are taking back the human race!
I am often grappling with the uneasy coexistence of absolute oneness and the seeming separation imposed by being in a physical body and of an individual mind – the condition of being an earthling, as it were. Here, the antidote to existential loneliness is an acceptance of a connection that is not knowable through my physical senses – a real surrender to my own beliefs. Physical touch is so much easier, yet this other kind of connection is so much bigger. But how do we live that kind of connection in our day-to-day physical world? We have to reach out our hands, answers my intuition. She gives no further instructions.
The Art Of Touching You
Telescope to the sky
A tingling darkness rises within
Shaping me tenderly
Resonating with things too far or too close for the eye to see
Things to be known instinctively
I sit alone with the universe
Embodying its great infinity
Contemplating the boundlessness
And the borders we impose
Intersecting at nowhere
And it is here that I laugh again
Because you are so close
That I can feel and know and love you
You are in my very own particles
And yet you are uniquely apart, as am I
But the art of touching you
This is the quest for which I turn to the telescope
The finer details eluding me
Out there we intersect, you and I,
At every point imagined and unimaginable
Here, I lie back and open my soul
To the immensity of that truth
My cosmology defining nothing while explaining everything at once
In this vast darkness swirling immeasurable light, I surrender and repose my longing
And reach out my hand and accept that you are here
Heart Open is the first in the “Out Loud” series of my spoken word poetry. Any time you see the above white and orange “Out Loud” logo, click play and have a listen.
Heart Open is about living a courageous devotion to love, vulnerability and freedom and recognizing these as inherent experiences that we all share.
The opening lines, “her heart is open / and mine is watching,” were born as I watched Alicia Keys perform on television. She sang and played, heart on her sleeve, and I felt how my heart had become guarded after a few solid years of consecutive illness, brain injury and personal loss.
I perceived in Alicia Keys’ expression and performance, the fullness of love for life she is capable of enjoying because she is willing to be vulnerable in her art, and I remembered! I remembered how to achieve that experience for myself.
It is a universal experience. A universal capacity to love. To choose love. To be love. To remember that love is life, and life is the point. I am grateful that we can learn, and relearn, from each other. Awaken, and reawaken, because we see ourselves in each other and we know in our being the power of love that unites us.
Her heart is open
And mine is watching
Her heart is open
And mine keeps stopping to see
‘cuz if it’s her
Then it’s me
And the deluge is gonna come
And the day I run?
Woman, that ain’t gonna happen
If I’m livin’, I’m laughin’
I’m soakin’ up the sun
I’m dancin’ in the rain
And I’m sane
And if you’re gonna hit me with rage
I will stand with the almighty
The all-knowing power
‘cuz if it’s in my heart
It’s in your heart too
Sweet, sweet synchronicity
If it’s her
Then it’s me
Then it’s you
And yet does she awaken in me
For things I have not thought possible
And draws me out
To where open sits my heart
Surveying all that is unfamiliar
In these surrounds
And listening for the current that comes
To drown out a rhythm
Or create an entirely new time signature
This is her territory
Where a wanderer might just
Jump the tracks
And roll out a steel girded
Foundation for generations to come
Where one act of ferocious love for life
Inspires eyes wide open
In the genetic code
And she invites me into the cornea
Of that copious determination
That what can be
Is already done
And there is no other one alternative
To the path
Or the richness of its rewards
It was a war-torn yesterday
Sometimes I still wake up
And forget to pray
Pray for the living
The souls who made it through
Pray for the dying of the fears,
The sacrifice that blew through us
Pray for the waters that rinsed us clean
Pray for the loss of damn near everything
So we can breath this fresh air
Sometimes I wake sad
Because I remember
Prayers are not requests
They are thank yous
And I still carry the scars of desperation that is wanting by nature
But in truth, in sweet everlasting truth,
I am desperate for nothing
I want for nothing, and never was I in need,
Because this love was in me all along
And these scars?
They are only reminders
That I am responsible
And when the day comes,
It has me holding hands with my sisters and my brothers
And I can feel the circuitry
I can taste the music on my tongue
And we stand in this circle
And we pray for this fire that lights our faces
And ignites our smiles
And gives us the gift of each other
We pray for the morning
We pray that our hearts have won
We pray that we are not singular,
And “I” is not a burden
We must bear anymore