Shekhinah

You press my head into your breast, my tongue
Pulls in a little more. Your nipples send
A shiver to the center of your core.

My lips move down, I taste your nectar, wet
And warm between your lips. I lick your clit
And when you gasp I ride your writhing hips.
You arch your back and thrust your mound against
My wet and eager face. Your cries subside as I
Slide up to share with you your taste.
We kiss beneath an ethereal mist;
Our love is why the ether can exist.

You taste your juices on my tongue and kiss
Me deeply, hard and long. You wrap your legs
Around my waist and pull me to you, strong.
I slide inside you, smooth and deep, as far
Inside as I can be. You moan and tell
Me, “Fuck me!”, in your eyes, intensity.
As I explode inside you with a squeal,
The mist above turns into something real.

We love on many levels; it reflects
Into the worlds above. The Being born
Of mist becomes an offspring of our love.

— Stace Johnson, 2006

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Similarities to Symmetrinas

I worked on the assignment for Melanie Tem’s writing group at lunch today. Once again, it turned into a short-short story, and once again, I had no idea where it was going or how I was going to make it work. I’m not sure it does work, but if nothing else, it’s a cool idea for a comic book character!

I also learned about Bruce Holland Rogers‘ fixed form of writing called a symmetrina. The more I dig into this, the more fascinating it looks. It has elements of structured poetry, self-reference, and even a hint of fugue. It looks like the perfect form for what I had envisioned as a series of poems about Perspective. Dang it, Bruce, you just gave me another project!

As I read the description of the symmetrina, I thought about poems I have written that have some of the same qualities. Follow along with me if you are interested.

In Two Shifts Passing in the Night, I used line length, font color, font size, and a shift in point of view (from third person to second person) in one continuous sentence to convey a sense of motion and illustrate the Doppler Effect. (Oh, and on the surface, it works as a simple poem about an unrealized relationship.)

Tikkune is the closest I have come to making a truly rigid form, with 22 lines of iambic pentameter (ten syllables per line.) This poem is based on the Tree of Life from Hermetic Kabbalah, and as such, the numbers 22 (letters in the Hebrew alphabet and paths on the Tree) and 10 (number of sephiroth) are significant. The first and fourth stanzas contain three lines, the second and third contain eight lines each. Each stanza illustrates one of the four worlds, moving from worldly to divine (Assiah, Yetzirah, Briah, and Atziluth.) The symmetry of the stanzas is meant to convey the image of the Tree of Life before the loss of knowledge (Daath, the “eleventh” sephira) and the fall of the center structure of the Tree. The rhyme scheme is also fairly complicated, with rhymes fifteen syllables apart, and couples at the end of the eight line sections, though I don’t remember exactly why I built it that way.

(Note: Tikkune is my personal interpretation of how a person might use concepts from Kaballah to increase his self-awareness, and should not be seen as any kind of Kabbalistic reference or endorsement. I have studied Kabbalah a bit, and I’m fascinated by the philosophical aspects of it. But I am no expert or teacher, nor do I advocate anyone getting involved with Kabbalah — or any religious or philosophical system — beyond the level of academic research without serious soul searching and consideration.)

The poem Ornithology is a tribute to Charlie Parker, both in words and form. It’s a sort of musical acrostic, with each stanza having its own “key.” The first notes of each line, if played or sung, create a simple melody resolving in the final note, the key of the stanza. Each stanza’s key, if played as a chord, resolves in a IV-V-I progression in the key of C. The lines are staggered according to the relative horizontal positions of their beginning notes on the Circle of Fourths (also known as the Cycle of Fifths.) If all this makes any sense to you, you win a medal!

(The graphic above is from the Vision Music website.)

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Tikkune

Tikkune

The crimes of body, heart and mind reflect
Upward into my soul. My spirit strains
To fly on high while tethered from below.

To make a change in spirit I must make
A change in how I live; the world of soul
Can not be whole if leaking like a sieve.
The holes in soul must be repaired before
It can begin to soar. To fill the holes
I made with thoughtless acts of years before,
I must atone for wrongs I’ve done. To free
My soul for flight I must begin with me.

And so I chant the Aleph-Beis and do
My work the best I can; I volunteer
My time to help advance my fellow man.
I question all my motives, I exa-
Mine all my fears. I keep my rage in check
So I won’t be the cause of others’ tears.
I strive to keep integrity in place
So I can give my soul a little grace.

With every act of good I do, my soul
Lifts up a little more. I know the day
Will come when it will finally learn to soar.

— Stace Johnson, 1997

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