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ECHO HILL STUDIOS
ARTIST: ANN KAHL
V I I I
Grotesque masks that mar a thousand nights.
And cause the eyes to stare at darkened ceilings.
Seeming to have come from deep within.
Are these the faces of our very souls?
Goya must have deeply felt the anguish,
Portraying war in startling graphic form.
Anger would appear to be the foe.
Of man so stiffened in his wild frustration.
The son of man expresses too much hate,
To fill our history books with accuracy.
To ask us blinded slaves to love
Would seem to be a hopeless task.
Though simple if we could but see.
We only need to tear away the mask.
We'll lay it down on this small table here.
So that we may examine it more closely.
Through eyes become much brighter
With the gentle childhood which had seemed long lost.
Oh God, this mask of fury has a lining that requires no justifying.
It cringes pitifully as any cruelly beaten creature.
There is no anger here,
But only etchings of an ill-defined expression.
And all the masks on all men everywhere,
Are only all the faces of the masks of all the men of the preceding generations.
Twisted with their own inherited fear.
Poor little child, the parent frowns on you in his own anguish.
And your dreams are filed with myriad grotesque faces,
Which you can counter only with a disobedience,
Which religion involuted dis-allows you.
One Can't Tell the Way Things Are By Negative Feelings
I feel as though something is wrong.
I don't know what it may be.
When I feel that something is wrong
I think, "Maybe it's wrong with me."
I quickly decide why it's not,
Then wonder anew about him.
I manage to thicken the plot,
Making prospects for peace rather dim.
If something's not wrong with him,
Then of course it would have to be me.
Then the pure voice of reason breaks in.
"It's the feeling that's wrong, don't you see?"
Carl singing "Taxi Driver no but I saw the movie--Cabman say tickee please--Skip strumming the bass--plinkety-plunk and the bar is filled with people laughing, talking. pretending everything is okay while the atom smashes its head on the mellow mood sound-guitar playing red and blue and green and yellow and Andy's heart and soul and the juke-box is quiet.
Some Poems for Roshi
Sun. My body soaking in the warmth__a sponge for yellow heat, around me breezes play, making of the heat another thing, a brief memory. Wind blowing gently in between the hot spaces--my coolness and hotness are complete.
A bamboo flute, the sound coming from within, and here on the patio the nightingale tries to answer--a half-hearted try. Ai Fu Ta is always shy on the patio. The mockingbird has shown her a song or two.
A friend came by today---he called and said, "May I come by?" We drank tea and listened to the bamboo flute..
I look at your face, and think "that is the form he chose" and see your ears, pixies each, playing on the cliffs of soft strength. Sorrow willing to be gathered all in one weeps through the same eyes that glow with gentleness--your nose makes me smile--it looks as though it's been busted so many times. A mouth as beautiful as a woman's--a jaw which says, 'I'll be this way if it kills me"--it will, you know. And you say."Isn't that what I'm here for?" and I answer, "Oh, of course. I remember now."
To A Fly
Hey! That's my leg there!
But no one big enough to interest you.
If I come upon something special
I will send it to you..
It may come in the form of a small note.
Somehow I never seem to get the custard into the cream puff
Without leaving some over.
And maybe that's the way it will come.
Even though so many
Recommend U.P.S. these days.
While I sleep
While I sleep the sorrow comes/
I feel my tears in sheets,flowing over my face,
Distracting it from wracking with the rest of my form/
On the bed my body lies, dry and still./
When it wakes I'll know a memory,
And a world with a little less sorrow.
My spirit soars.
The recording is old.
The sound isn't clear.
The past slips in,
And makes it new again.
Crying Does Help
Crying does help,
When no one comes along to help the crying.
Molly paws at me, face all grin.
Dinner? Water? Oh. You want to play!
I gladly leave my lawn chair.
I know what Molly has in store for me.
After the romp she collapses in the grass.
I pick up my pen again.
I Am Unformed
I am unformed
I am incomplete
I am deeply flawed
I am aware
I am aware of all this
And of my sadness;
The quiet gloom
That rides like a shadow
Across all of my life.
A word must be written
To make a beginning.
Even a small word like "a"
Can get you going.
Today was a day of aunts and uncles.
And cousins visiting after years had passed.
Some of the cousins hadn't been born
When that branch of the family was last together.
There was a funeral last year.,
And some of them were there.
It wasn't really a getting together then:
Formal and almost mute--a no 'one knows quite what to do' sort of time.
Today was a confirmation.
It's a fine healthy family.
I wonder if anyone ever went
From living where there were flies
To living where there weren't flies
And missed them.
I did this acrylic in a moment of anguish about thirty-five years ago. A few months ago, I wrote this poem. Both are heartfelt.