Juuuuuunnnnneeeee

June—a favorite month to be outdoors—to breathe the nascent summer scents, to listen to birdsong and bellowing frogs and wear the warm cloth of the summer sun on bare skin. Evenings too, are especially sensual and sweet with fireflies (or lightning bugs), soft breezes, rustling leaves and rain or stars pulsing a sticky sky. It’s a perfect time to sit and write, read poetry and indulge longings of the creative sort. With that in mind, I let go a free flow of hand through brush and words come what may.

This June, I also watched and was engrossed in National Geographic’s program Genius: Picasso and was very inspired by his relentless pursuit of his artistry and his sad pursuit of women/muses often to the detriment of their lives. There is much debate these days about whether or not one can/should separate the art from the artist. Picasso was narcissistic, egotistical and highly competitive, traits I most often find offensive. However, watching the brilliant performance of the actors on a small screen, his story in hindsight and empathizing with Picasso’s process and pain as an artist, I was engrossed and inspired by his vision despite these flaws. Also with his circle of creative compatriots—Matisse, Gertrude Stein, Braque and others. I will read Francoise Gilot’s book Life With Picasso to get her take on their life together as his lover and contemporary artist. From the blurb: “Francoise Gilot paints a compelling portrait of her turbulent life with the temperamental genius that was Picasso.” Oh, and he was a poet too.

So this warm but comfortable night, I share these thoughts, words and paintings:

O me!
O Life!
A few pencil strokes between the o
in Picasso
and Grillo

~

fireflies
tumbleweed a rusling breeze
nomads of the night sky

~

the unturned stone’s lost syllables

~

in the holy of the artist rides the shotgun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Newark Riots ~ 50 Years Later

This week marks the 50th anniversary of a very sad time – the Newark riots. I remember them well. There was a curfew, and when I looked out our apartment window – National Guardsmen rode by in a jeep with rifles leaning against their chests. I was nowhere near the terror-stricken interior but inhaled the tension. This was my home city, and I was 14 years old. I wrote these tanka poems in hindsight and they were published by Modern English Tanka Press in 2009, 40 years after the fact. Newark still suffers:
 ~
forty years
after the riots
three students slain
“no apparent cause”
again, this blistering heat
~
born to love
born to hunt
we do what we do…
all the songs all the poems
nothing changes this
~
coming in on
a soft summer breeze
tickling my necking
and dropping down low —
this sadness for what
 ~
warm nights
I undress by an open
window   wondering
what is freely given
               freely taken
 ~
© Andrea Grillo

Bourbon, Brine and Birthday Cake

late to celebrate
the moon is my oyster tonight

~

wolf moon
each oyster casts off
its cool light

~

wolf moon
on our lips
bourbon and brine

~

oysters in the old mansion marble stories in their shells

~

a sip of the wolf moon cycles in oyster brine a howling sea

~

the wolf moon
the mansion’s marble
the oyster’s brine
a poet’s charcoal etching
rain tonight

img_0218

 

Ode To Summer ~ revisited

Some oldie but goody haiku and tanka for summer heat. Most have appeared previously on one or another of my blog posts.

Waiting
for what ?

firefly
after
firefly

~

fireflies
float
night
into
my
bedroom
mirror

~

a cicada’s
raucous call for a mate
makes me wonder…
should I wear
my low cut
dress tonight

~

night
of shooting stars
a naked beach
and foaming waves
oh to be so seductive

Published: Take Five
Best Contemporary Tanka 2008

~

blue again
no summer sky
blue… that blue
deep into the wail
of a saxophone blue

 

Published: Modern English Tanka
Summer 2007

The Seduction of Romance