Tag Archives: Poetry

Zalafayra

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An area on car above tire spelled out in bright yellow "#Zalafayra." Car is decorated with green moss and many tiny little things.

I wasn’t able to find out much about the art car Zalafayra.

Nolagirl and I saw the car at spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity in the spring of 2018. Either there was no sign with the car or I didn’t take a photo of it, so I came into this post not knowing the name of the artist. I had to play detective to get some info to share with my readers.

Front view of an art car covered with moss and coins and antlers and all sorts of little things.
Plastic carrots, money, moss, and antlers, plus other odds and ends.

When a Google search of “Zalafayra” turned up nothing, I turned to Instagram. A search of “#zalafayra” brought me to a video belonging to Scot Campbell (@scotcampbellwindowpainter). In the video, a man identifies himself as Rick McKinney of Marin County, CA and says Zalafayra is his car.

A small statue of a male saint decorates an art car. Bits of broken mirrored glass and painted on orange and yellow flames surround him.
A holy man (Jesus? a saint?) is surrounded by shards of mirrored glass, orange and yellow flames, live moss, and bullet casings. This must be a religious experience.

In the video, Rick McKinney says he likes to “let people make up their own mind about what” the car is “all about.” He points out that he used “live moss, antlers, a bunch of religious figures” on the car. He said he was working with the theme of faith when he embellished the car, and the items on it represent things people put their faith in.

Some people put their faith in money. Some people put their faith in themselves; that’s the mirror…Some people in nature…time, Jesus, Buddha, you name it.

A small statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is surrounded by matchbox cars, moss, and other odds and ends.
There’s a lot going on around the Virgin Mary, and I love it. Matchbox cars, a
menorah, Minnie Mouse, a couple of crosses, a tiny dinosaur. How is it all related? It was all related in the artist’s head, and that’s good enough for me.

With additional detective work, I found out a bit more about Rick McKinney on The Lighthouse Peddler website. The man’s not just a visual artist, but a poet as well! (You can read his poetry on his blog Jigglebox.com.)

A tiny 3D replica of The Last Supper is nestled in among the moss.
A tiny Last Supper nestled in among the moss.

In an October 2017 list of “Rick Trivia” by Blake More on the aforementioned website of The Lighthouse Peddler, we learn that Rick McKinney


“[h]as been featured on television a dozen times with his art car Duke.”

(You can see pictures of Duke on the Art Car Agency website and learn more about it on Art Cars in Cyberspace.)

I don’t know why Zalafayra was on display and not Duke. I don’t know why there’s not more information about Zalafayra out in the world. In any case, I feel really grateful to have seen this car, and I hope with this blog post, I’m doing my part to spread the word about it.

Art car is decorated with Matchbook cars, bullet casings, small plastic toys and a yellow New Mexico license plate that read "Art Car."
It’s an art car. Definitely an art car.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read about the J Gurl art car and California Fantasy Van that were also at the spark! Festival.

I took all the photos in this post.

Birthday Wishes

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air, balloons, birthdayMy friend Laura-Marie is a kind and talented woman. She is s peace activist and a writer (of letters and zines and poems). She is dedicated to community, inclusion, and love. I’m blessed to have her in my life.

She visited me recently, and the topic of her birthday came up. I started thinking about what sort of gift I could give her. Last year I made a collage for her, and she already has a hat I made as well as bracelets and necklaces I created.

She and her friend Ellen Redbird have a tradition of sending each other poems for Christmas. I thought I could get on the poetry bandwagon and send Laura-Marie a poem for her birthday. With her permission, I’m sharing that poem today. I’m pleased with its playful quality, and working out the rhymes was fun for me.

Without further ado, here’s the birthday poem I wrote for my friend.

To Laura-Marie

on the Occasion of Your Birthday

Happy birthday to thee,

Laura-Marie.

Today is a day

to be joyful and gay.

I’m glad you were born

early one morn.

The work that you do

is loving and true.

Your zines help us all

stay on the ball.

 

My world is much better

when you write me a letter.

Your hugs are the best;

they give comfort and rest.

Your friendship I cherish.

It never will perish.

Have a great year,

you of long, curly hair.

Much love to you,

to you and your crew.

 

Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/party-rubber-colorful-balloon-42067/.

 

(Guest Post) Three Poems by Laura-Marie

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Today I am once again happy to offer poems written by my friend Laura-Marie.

no

Will vinegar kill the fern
I’m trying to kill this winter?

Awake but still in bed.
Sitting on the ottoman.

Welcome the stranger,
welcome the stranger’s phone call.

Our beliefs about our hair.
She thinks music is noise,
and she doesn’t want to hear it.

some did wrong

Some did wrong,

a hushed crime,

secret and cruel.

 

A single man

spoke the unspeakable.

Others joined in—

 

the infiltrating agents

had their evidence.

It was over.

Dream dystopia again.

 

Naked people gathered

around the piano

sang, waiting for

death the inevitable.

 

baby dream

All of the babies are girls.

I bent down to kiss one.

She slipped her tongue into my mouth.

It turned into a thorned vine

and forced itself through my body.

Thorned vines like sleeping beauty

but inside.

Laura-Marie is a zinester and peace activist living in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She likes cold brew tea, writing letters, and visiting friends.

Haiku

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According to https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/haiku-poetic-form,

A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression.

Haiku began in thirteenth-century Japan as the opening phrase of renga, an oral poem, generally 100 stanzas long, which was also composed syllabically. The much shorter haiku broke away from renga in the sixteenth-century..

I’ve written a haiku or two in my time, most recently in June of this year. Here’s my latest:

The wind is chilly

today and the sun hidden.

Must find my jacket.

My Campground

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I wrote another poem. I went from zero to two in a couple of weeks, which isn’t a bad speed as far as poems go.

I was writing a letter to my friend and told her I didn’t have words to describe my campground. Then, as is my way, I fired off some words to describe my campground. I contemplated the words and decided they were quite poetic. So I added some words to the original words, then played with the order and finally turned it all into a poem.

I think of it as a poem that resembles an impressionist painting.

My Campground

Trees tower green.

Ladybugs alight.

Campfire smoke tickles nose.

Surrounded by songs of invisible birds.

Occasional mosquito buzzes and bites.

No noise of cars.

Sinking sun illuminates vibrant, verdant meadow.

Gentlest breeze whispers through leaves.

Sky high above crowns, blue one step from grey.

Temperature slowly dips.

Squirrel scampers on the outskirts.

Nature’s peace.

IMG_3002

I took this photo of the vibrant, verdant meadow.

Birdsong

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At one time I wrote quite a bit of poetry, but I hadn’t written a poem in years.

Writing poetry takes a lot of time for me. To write good poems, I need quiet, empty hours stretching in front of me. I haven’t had quiet, empty time in a while, so my poetry writing has mostly dried up.

The last time I wrote a poem was October 2012, when I was stuck with Mr. Carolina in Redding, CA. (You can read that story and the poem here: (http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/13/broke-down-in-redding-california/.)

But the other morning I woke up at 5am to the sound of birds chirping. As I listened to the birds, words started coming to me, so I turned on the light and grabbed my notebook.

Here is the poem I wrote:

Birdsong

Birds sing

before the dawn.

My first waking consciousness

is their communication.

What might they say

to one another?

Get out of here!

This is my turf!

And Hey honey!

Let’s make some babies…

The ladies answer

Chase me if you want me

or Your genes aren’t good enough for my offspring.

Later when the children hatch,

there will be choruses of

Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!

Birdsong sounds lovely to the human ear

but to birds

it’s relationship conversation.

Declaration of Independence

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I was cleaning my vanhome recently and I found a fat envelope I thought contained old letters a friend had written to me. When I looked closely, I realized the handwriting on the paper was mine. On some of the pages I’d copied texts I’d written to friends soon after leaving my not-very-nice boyfriend. On another page was a poem I’d composed less than one month after leaving that guy. I want to share the poem today.

Declaration of Independence

I want to

sport hot pink bandanas,

sleep when the sun set,

and awaken at dawn.

 

I want to

laugh at my own jokes,

dance among raindrops,

then sit in silence and calm.

 

I want to

read paperback novels,

eat yogurt and apples,

wear pants and be strong.

 

Broke Down in Redding, California

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In October of 2012, I was traveling in Northern California with my new friend Mr. Carolina. We’d met in Colorado on Furthur lot. I traveled with him, three (sometimes four) other adults, and two dogs all the way from Red Rocks to Santa Barbara in Old Betsy, my 1994 Chevy G20 van. Two of the adults and their two dogs found a new ride in Santa Barbara, but Mr Carolina and I drove to Los Angeles to deliver L. and R. to the airport so they could catch their flight to Guatamala City.

After our brief stop in LA, Mr. Carolina and I kept heading north, eventually making it all the way to Mt. Shasta, California.

In Laytonville, we met a young French Canadian man and invited him to our cheese party. (By “cheese party,” I mean that Mr. Carolina and I were sitting in the van eating cheese.) The French Canadian man was heading north to Redding to catch a bus and offered to help pay for gas if he rode with us.

My van broke down in Redding, after we dropped the French Canadian guy at the bus station. By “broke down,” I mean we let her run out of gas. It was really my fault. The directions to Wal-Mart I got on my phone were wrong, or I misread them. In any case, we headed off in the wrong direction and ended up on some side street with no gas.

We pushed the van off the road, into the gravel between the road and the fence of the closest house.

We had not money. I flew a sign for a while and collected $24. (Blessings to the kind strangers who handed me a $20 bill.)

My gas can only held one gallon, so we walked to the closest gas station and back twice.We put in the two gallons of gas, and the van still didn’t start. We thought we had fucked up the fuel pump.

At that point, I gave up for the day. I just didn’t have the energy to figure out anything else. We walked back to the Jack in the Box near the gas station to use some of our meager funds to buy dinner. We met a really nice guy named Bernard there. He was in his 50s, maybe his early 60s and had been out to The Hog Farm back in the day and had seen The Grateful Dead a handful of times. We bought him a couple of tacos out of the little money we had gathered up, and we ate together. After dinner, he smoked his roaches with Mr. Carolina. He is one of my very few nice memories of Redding.

After dinner, we went back to the van and  slept right there on the side of the street, me in my bed and Mr. Carolina on the floor.

Here’s a poem I wrote about the first night of the experience:

This Night

We sat in my broke down van
pushed to the gravel
next to a random street
on the West side
of Redding, California
and said good-bye to the sun.

Without my glasses,
distant headlights became
vivid bright snowflakes
with blurred edges.

Raindrops pinged randomly
on our metal roof
while the scent
of nag champa
soothed me.

You smoked fresh Cali weed
in the dark
and a train whistle blew
far away and lonesome—
the exact sound
of this night.

My car insurance covers roadside assistance. I don’t even have to pay up front and get reimbursed, it’s just totally covered, so the next day I had the van towed to a nearby mechanic.  It turned out that once Old Betsy was out of gas, it took seven gallons to get her started again. My sweet friend KJ  called the mechanic shop with his credit card and paid for the gas and the jump start we needed after killing the battery with so many false starts.

By the time the van was running again, it was late in the day. Mr. Carolina and I each had one McDouble for dinner, and we saved the rest of our money to put into the gas tank when we headed toward Mt. Shasta the next day. We ended up spending that night in the parking lot of the Redding Wal-Mart. There was such a weird vibe at that Wal-Mart. People at the entrance were pulling some card trick hustle, and a guy in the parking lot came over and tried to make very fast small talk with us while we were playing cards in the van. (In all the Wal-Mart parking lots I’ve slept in, no one else has ever approached my van and tried to get friendly.)

Redding was my #1 Let’s Get the Fuck Out of Here town. The energy there was very harsh, angry, negative, dark. I said to Mr. Carolina, It’s starting to seem like everyone in this town is on meth. He said to me, That’s because everyone in this town is on meth.