Monthly Archives: November 2013



   Now I’ll tell you the story the Ojibwa shaman
        told me when she was dreaming her vision quest

Art by Cristina Miranda

Art by Cristina Miranda de Almeida

I slept with a brown bear in a cave of flowers
under blueberries and a will-o-the-wisp ball
and there were stones to ground and smooth
her shudders and my hunger and my soul shaking

I made love to the bear in a warm cave and through
our embraces I felt the pangs of roots
the taboo words charging into seething sap
all the immortal mysteries of my tribe

I rose in the morning mist with the bear
her child now I was layered in green leaves
and dark petals born of secrets and sighs
I’d fallen with my lover into the primeval other

carrying my ancient mother on a new skin
on a heart made of branches and berries
partly human over spelt-bread and cedar tea
I nuzzle at night into her musky lettered fur

                                “Invisible Streams” B.W. Powe (Upcoming Publication)



Photograph by Cristina Miranda de Almeida

Photograph by Cristina Miranda de Almeida

I saw her struggle on the street
in the traffic and the sleet
she said fields are burning
the searchlights are yearning

for what’s greater than hope or duty
she called for stars flesh love and beauty
but I was rushing on my way—
to what and why I couldn’t say

“Invisible Streams” B.W. Powe (Upcoming Publication)

13 Ways of Looking at a Chair by BW Powe

13 Ways of Looking at a Chair by BW Powe

 Take this chair:                                            

Art by Cristina Miranda de Almeida

Art by Cristina Miranda de Almeida  

Yes, it’s a chair

1. Look quickly: astrophysics/ quantum mechanics;  electrons and protons whirling. Illusory firmness.  No solidity.

2. Made of cosmic dust. Same as stars and moons. Chaos dynamics

3. Plato, ultimate chair, this is a pale copy. Mimesis of absolute chair. (Shadows on the cave wall.)

4. A commodity. Marxist reading of materiality. Late industrial capitalism. Exploitation, alienation, inequality. The result is a chair of poor quality. The chairs in the prime minister’s office (or a CEO’s office) will be much more comfortable than this one.

5. Sign of the chair. The word ¨chair¨ is representation of a language system that influences consciousness. Arbitrary term. Linguistic needs imposed on meaningless universe.

6. Freudian. Does it have sexual overtones? Penis plus womb. Everything is sexualized. What can you imagine doing on a chair?

7. Mystic´s reading. This seemingly lone object is thronged by angels; invisible energies surround it…  God breathes into the cosmos and holds everything up with breath… First Nations’ elder would say the great creator co-creates the chair…

8. Historical chair. Who has sat there? Part of our culture and time. Put a plaque on it and it becomes memorabilia and tradition.

9. Figurehead… from a place, it symbolizes the place… from a university, maybe… we sit ready for wisdom… Configures power relations: the student sits, the teacher stands.

10. Healthwise. Probably not good for posture. Plastic also unlikely to be good for us. Still many have to sit to relax and receive.

11. A random chair. Forgettable. It will pass. It will break. Nihilist vision. Not important and neither are we.

12. According to Zeno’s Paradox, the chair doesn’t really exist. We never get to it… infinite particles of space prevent us from getting there.  The chair is unreachable, unknowable. Sounds like lines from a Tom Stoppard play. Splinter its particles and you have a Picasso cubist painting, the chair seen from many angles at once.

The chair… is it still there?

13. Common sense. It’s just a chair.  Kick it. My foot hurts. Ergo it exists. (Mystics and the philosopher Bishop Berkeley would emphatically deny the common sense test. Our senses can be deceived. )

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Chair

From object to idea to symbol to process-event.

This is a variation on Wallace Stevens’s poem Thirteen Way of Looking at a Blackbird.

William Blake said, in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell… “A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees”

Visionary comprehension begins with the premise that all of the above are possibilities, if not true.

Seeing many possibilities at once means awareness will not be arrested in single vision.

Allatonceness leads to multidimensional awareness (opening time). 




Yo no quiero más que una mano,
una mano herida, si es posible.

 …a Spanish princess, who, when she grew oldand wizened,
allowed the court painter,
the official artist of the realm, to capture on canvas
only her hands, which had remained tender, unblistered,
unblemished – the reminder and sign of her
original personality…

When will I see your hands? she asked her mother.
Not now, not yet.
I’ve worn these gloves
since the fire that widowed me

singed them, almost consumed them.
I don’t know if you could stand
the sight,
the terrible scarring from the flames.

Her daughter still entreated her,
Let me see your secret hands.
No one she knew
had ever seen them.

Always her mother replied,
Not now, not yet.
But when, her daugther asked,
when will I be ready?

When you are inflamed by love,
then I’ll show you,
but not until you love truly.

The girl grew, until
she met a man,
after many boys,
who sparked wonders in her.

They made each other new
every day, discovering
the taste and touch
beyond society.

I’m ready to see
your hands.
I’m ready
because of love.

Her mother, pale, wrinkled,
tired, thin,
sighed to see the ache
in her daughter’s face.

Prepare yourself,
she said.
near me.

Slowly her mother removed
one glove, then
the other, and revealed
white immaculate hands.

The two shuddered
at their otherworldly beauty,
the still youthful hands
that could mold generations.

So you see,
she said, turning them
as if they were a fugitive

why I can never,
and must never,
show them
to anyone else.

Few could bear
such grace.
Few could bear the tragedy
of such a vision.

“The Unsaid Passing” BW Powe (Guernica) 2005