May 2016

poem30 May 2016 08:43 am
By Coyau / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Coyau / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Dusk is the hour
when memory pulls strongest,
when twin green tendrils
of hope and despair
snarl my gut
and tug hard.

The day’s dying light
tastes of home,
my lost, soft, twilight world
soaked in all the shades of life
I seek fruitlessly amongst
the beans on my meagre plate.

As you would say,
we came here green and
ignorant of your ways,
lured by a rich siren call of bells,
the brightness of your land
burning in my eyes

like a forest of emeralds,
shiny promises that lied
though we did not know that then:
two innocents trapped by your false splendour
as much as the wolf pit
you found us in.

We clung to our green truth
for as long as we could,
starved until raw beans were offered
then kale, cabbage, the bread of life.
We continued to eat,
to consume your world,

thinking to immerse
your ways within us,
to become one with their enticing shine,
but they washed away our colour
and spat us out
leaving me one alone.

My brother-self withered,
gave up the struggle,
his soul returning
where his body could not.
I took a native mate, trying
to grow myself whole again.

I allowed him to immerse
himself in me, hoping
to become one with your ways.
The town’s hard stone streets
taught me I
will always now walk alone.

They say I lead
a normal life.
Normal for whom?
I have lost my colour,
my world,
my self.

I am faded as pale as you
except at dusk, the hour
when memory pulls hardest,
and fresh green tendrils of despair
grow and snarl
around my gut.

The Suffolk folk tale of the green children of Woolpit apparently dates from the twelfth century. The reapers were out working in the fields around the village, when out of one of the wolf pits emerged two vivid green children, a boy and a girl, their clothes unfamiliar and speaking in an unknown language. At first they wouldn’t eat, but eventually did, beginning with beans and vegetables. After a period of assimilation, including being baptized into the Christian Church, the boy died, but the girl lived on, learnt to speak English, married a local man and moved to King’s Lynn where she purportedly led a normal life.

poem23 May 2016 08:00 am


The mummy’s mask speaks
texts from the dead,
an unknown gospel in each cheekbone
a lost play for a forehead
referenced in antiquity, but
its lines only guessed at until now.
The layers peel back;
time peels away.

A laborers’s death,
no money for fancy masks so
the family makes do,
old paper lying around, worthless pages
too worn to scrape clean.
The mourners fold and seal them
layer by layer into a mask.

Unlayered now by new techniques
deeper texts emerge:
a bill of sale, a priest’s grocery list.
A fragment of a fairy tale
at the very edge of the mask,
the ancient paper doubles back on itself,
crafting a tale of doubles and doppelgangers.
In the center, covering the eyes,
a lost night of Scheherazade—
the djinn tricked into…
not a lamp, not a book,
but a mask that travels through time,
reveals its words,
but never quite breaks free.

artist profile and editorial16 May 2016 08:18 am


I first saw Eric Bornstein’s masks at a festival more than 20 years ago. He was performing folk tales with a small group of actors playing all of the roles using the masks to portray monsters, gods, heroes, and all of the other mythic gods. The performance was in the kid’s portion of the festival, but I was spell-bound and didn’t want to leave. I chatted with him briefly as he was packing up and discovered he took students. I was primarily a doll maker then, but there is a lot of overlap in techniques and styles between the two so I was excited at the thought of studying with him. But with kids and work and other projects, I wasn’t able to study with him until 2014.

Last fall, I decided to commission one of his masks. I’ve never commissioned a piece of artwork before. He has done a number of beautiful deity masks, including some greek gods that are amazing. He is going to make a goddess inspired by Athena, working words and images collaged into the helmet.

artist profile09 May 2016 08:28 am


The mask, as a literary convention, always signifies a false face, a mask of civility, hiding the unsavory or vicious true nature. This device assumes a misleading distraction from sinister intentions, or a shield of normalcy over an unstable or doubtful nature. The idea is that if the true self were to be discovered that our evil plans or weaknesses would be discovered, and we would be torn apart bu others, also hiding their actual natures. I find this term very limiting, and not very empowering. Of course, these states do exist, but I’d like new vocabulary to be developed.

What I am occupied with is the True-faced mask, the mask of our deep, archetypal selves, or whimsical, playful selves. I believe that underneath, if we were truly fully self-expressed, that we would be loving, generous, and full of positive creativity and abundance.

The limiting surface appearance is this skin we already have, reacting with the limitations of others’ perceptions and misconceptions. We are easily judged and defined by our gender, age, nationality, race, status, even species., but we are so much more. Within us we carry identification with many expressions of our identity, which influence our sense of self and desires for fulfillment. As Joss Whedon said, “Don’t be your self; be all your selves.”

I am committed to seeing through the flesh, sensing the true spirit of those I meet and engage with while engaged in our short dance on this earth. I am thrilled when another spirit brings out, inspires, and encourages the best selves within me to manifest. I seek to share in this engagement.

The opposite of this is to see only danger and distrust in those who look or behave differently. This persecution of the Other expresses directly our estrangement with the Other within. When we come face to face with the Other within, with love and acceptance, we incorporate all possibilities and become more free to choose positive expression, together.


the arts01 May 2016 04:36 pm

I’ve commissioned a mask from master mask maker Eric Bornstein,, and throughout the month of May I’ll be showing the progress on it.