Monday, March 12, 2007


This Friday night I will have the honor of a "Word-Art" gallery opening. It is a collaboration with one of my favorite and most esteemed artists, Carla Kurt. I visited her blog and read her comments to others for months before I found the courage to leave her a comment about how much I enjoyed her paintings and insights.

The show will run for a month, my poem hung beside Carla's painting. This is a bona-fide "debut" of sorts for me-the-writer, and I am both joyful and giddy to have this pleasure and opportunity.

The Irregular Circle of Life

You’d have to say the beginning
starts when you
first notice light,
squinting your eyes
strained in the first minutes to make
sense of voices
set in those bobbing circles
that want you to know,
and try to reach you from within.

From the beginning your turns are
every which way,depending
on how hard you hit the walls
and how softly you bounce off them.
The same bobbing circles protect
or abandon you during those bounces.
It makes a difference
because the hardest bounces don’t heal well
and the soft ones push you forward.

They spiral and build upon eachother
until maybe when you are twelve
you smoke a cigarette or
sneak that candy bar in your backpack
and that’s another beginning
because you have begun
little deceptions you can call your own.

In those moments you know
but can’t describe the sweetness and light
you will revisit for all of your life.
In those moments
you decide
the shape of the circle--
the vessel really—
that will carry you home

Some of your turns
are as wide as every possible outcome
and others so narrow
you squeeze by,
your breath compacted so tightly,
that when it cannot expand
you know you just have to move
or you will be in that space forever.

The day your boundaries blur
and you find yourself drifting--
on that day another beginning
carries you to the spot where
destiny meets opportunity.
And there you are,
wondering again
who wants you to know,
and why it matters.

When you grow up,
by some standard anyway,
your circle may be closed shut
so your community and beliefs
are safe and firm.
Or by then you have had
the misfortune, if it is that,
where little point a and little point b
fail to reach each other.

When that happens
you are born again,
again noticing light,
and squinting your eyes,
straining in the first minutes to make
sense of voices
that want you to know,
that want to reach you from within.

And at that moment,
if you are lucky enough,
the irregular circle that lacks a beginning
and lacks an end
and fails to protect,
this circle that is broken —
this irregular circle--
becomes a portal for
every step you will now take,
for every mystery and
every vision
that every person
who ever loved you
will tell you
if they could
is the truest straightest way
to guide your way home.


  1. Oh Karen! I am just so honored and delighted that you wanted to do this! I am really looking forward to the opening and seeing the painting and words next to each other on the gallery wall.... and of course, looking foward to seeing you and jb:> Thanks you for being part of - and inspiration for - one of the most enjoyable and meaningful artistic projects I've done.

  2. WOW! Once again the phrase that pays is: In those moments you know but can't describe the sweetness and light you will revisit for all of your life. In those moments you decide the shape of the circle-- the vessel really-- that will carry you home. Home, Home Home. This is the most beautiful writing I might have ever read, like the most beautiful of songs! I'm so thrilled for you and Carla! It's such a complimentary union. I will not be surprised but thrilled the day you walk into my life. And Ces too of course.

  3. uber cool! i'm so happy for you, kj!!!

    i love, love your poem. your insights about love/life are admirable. i'm so happy that you visit my blog, email m.e. and leave m.e. comments.

  4. Wow ... wow. I love it and fresh from the retreat I can hear you read it, which I love, too. Such resonance in all of the lines ... These ones are awesome:

    "It makes a difference
    because the hardest bounces don’t heal well
    and the soft ones push you forward."

    "Some of your turns
    are as wide as every possible outcome
    and others so narrow
    you squeeze by"

    It's so true that there are those times in our lives when we start over and those bobbing circles hold us together and guide us through.

    Beautiful, my friend!

  5. p.s. (another hershey kiss) I wish I could be at the show to see your poem hang with this gorgeous painting!!

  6. OH! I want to be there! Congratulations and a round of applause for both you and Carla.

  7. Astonishing insight.
    Having hit a few walls and more squinting than I care to remember I am encouraged by the serenity of your words.
    Congratulations on this symbiotic collaboration.

  8. Beautiful art and congrats on your debut! Beautiful poem and I'm thrilled for you :)

    Your Thursday 13 ROCKED!


  9. Oh wow! Congratulations to you and Carla!!

    I love your poem.

  10. i love this kj! i really liked the third stanza...

  11. carla, same goes for me!

    val, "will not be surprised but thrilled": exactly! and thanks for such a HUGE compliment. it made my whole week.

    maria, uber cool! thanks. i'm happy to visit you.

    melissa, (secret smile)

    andrea, i so wish you could be here! how does meeting val in calif. sound?

    he, thank you most sincerely

    tammy, thanks as always. i'm so glad you like the photos...xo

    menchie, thanks. i wondered if the poem was way way too long, but it is what it is...

    ruby, the 3rd stanza is my favorite too, along with the last one.

    ces..? xo

  12. I like that pairing of painting and poetry. Every ending, every broken spot, every mistake - each a new beginning. I love that.

  13. Congratulations, Karen. Happy for you.

  14. csl, i love how you see and how you say what you see...

    gautami, thank you. it is exciting.

  15. Hello from Shang-ri-la where I am distracted with all this fun and therefore cannot concentrate on the true meaning of this post but I just wanted to say hello and congratulations to you and Carla. Thanks to Val who thrills me with her generous and much appreciated reference.

  16. Wonderful : such a collaboration means : synergism !! Will you be there in person at the opening ? (I have no idea of distances) Enjoy ! and congrats !
    I like the works of Carla very much.

  17. ces!

    hildegarde, yes, carla and i will be at the opening. what a treat! it is because of her that i have this wonderful opportunity. i hope i can take a picture or two....

  18. Wow!
    Just Beautiful! The artwork is exceptional & the words profound.
    Great collaboration...I wish you much luck.