The Cloud, by Maureen Ann Connolly

 

The Cloud

 

An ad exec in L.A. dabs
Chanel No. 5 on her left wrist.
A dozen sixth graders in Detroit
splash on their dads’ aftershave.
A thousand housemaids in Miami
toss fabric softener sheets into dryers.
Wafting through open windows
and laundry vents, perfumed wisps
rise to The Cloud, repository of all scents,
fragrances and aromas concocted
in laboratories and factories
then bottled and tubed as lotion,
shampoo, toothpaste, and floor polish.

This invisible roiling mass
holding mankind’s versions of
lavender, musk, mint,
jasmine, and mayrose,
looms high over Atlanta
when one massage therapist
lights a patchouli candle.

The Cloud can take no more.

Counterfeit vanilla, lemon,
lilac, and cedar rain down
on earth and sea.
Nature, finally outdone,
surrenders. Pines and balsam firs
drop their needles. Cherries and apples
shrivel. Freesias and geraniums close.
Honeybees fly in circles,
endlessly, endlessly.

 

MaureenAnnConnollyMaureen Ann Connolly’s poetry has appeared in MARGIE, Off the Coast, Words and Images, Spillway, at workliterarymagazine.com and poeticamagazine.com, as well as in the anthology Lavanderia: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash, and Word. She has won a Maine Literary Award for Individual Poem and was a Judson Scholar at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Three of her poems were among the 100 selected by readers for the Poetry Ark Anthology (2011). She is also a playwright. She lives in Maine.

Advertisements

Incanto Incognito, A Poem by Monique Avakian

dorothyhive2

Incanto Incognito

                    … though this map has been danced out for you before,

this may be the first time you realize where you’re going …

 

People~machines crushed by the invisible hand

take flight like warmed bees

 

propelled by the ethereal sound of live, improvised music

their winged shield holds, forms a third body

of protection

 

pain, invited into the light

burns into the nothingness of understanding

 

called forth by the sound of the Spheres,

each crumpled life, in turn, unfolds into the sweet heat

of loving kindness

 

each un-shuttered heart

at once

 the Soul in search

and

the delicate anther

willing….

 

____________________________________________

Soul Work: The Story Behind the Poem

 

I went to hear a jazz trio on November 23, 2013. Near the end of the concert, round about

9:47pm, something magical happened. As the inventive musicians played in unusual ways

upon steel guitar, saxophone and upright bass, I suddenly felt that all the people in the room

were literally connected through the vibrations of sound.

 

I felt peaceful, safe and warm: like a bee at rest in a hive. I literally felt surrounded by soft

humming wings, and I felt a light wing drape over my shoulder. I felt protected. This insight

occurred in a flash, but the resonance of depth involved in this realization required more

reflection.

 

This was a sound-based experience. This was a communal experience. It was nourishing. It

was invisible and non-quantifiable. In essence, this was a spiritual matter. And, as with all

spiritual matters, the mystery led to many questions.

 

A scientist might describe what happened to me as an auditory hallucination. An energy

healer may speak of my having found a “unified field.” Since I am a poet and bees are a

traditional symbol for the soul, I chose to work with poetry to help me make sense of this

dramatic and important moment in my life. This is how my poem, Incanto Incognito, came to

life.

 

I started with research: bees use sound and dance to communicate. In some instances, bees

also generate sound during pollination practices inside the flower as they shake pollen loose

using rapid wing movement. Bees also use sound (piping) prior to swarming. (FYI: swarming

is usually non-aggressive and motivated by the need to split and relocate, due to the health

and growth of the group).

 

Like jazz musicians, artists and poets, bees use complex symbolic language in order to create,

live and thrive.

 

That’s why this particular moment at this particular jazz show felt so vital to me.

As the musicians explored improvisatory sound-play, I was transported by their giving spirit

into another realm of consciousness. I felt a tangible, though invisible, connection with

everyone in the room. This was sudden and stunning. Through the vibrancy of sound, I

moved into a peaceful state where I felt calm, safe and warm – literally protected by the

humming wings of those around me.

 

For a brief and powerful moment, I was literally a worker bee at rest in a hive.

This makes sense for me because Cornelia Street Café is a place where I go a lot to hear jazz

and poetry: a tangible place I visit to connect with others of like mind. I recharge and then

leave again to go out into a busy world of work and struggle. My relationship with Cornelia

Street Cafe is similar to that of worker bee with beehive.

That particular evening, Susan Alcorn, Ellery Eskelin, and Michael Formanek led listeners

into a place of strength and beauty and empowerment. I carry their spirit with me to this day.

So touched, we touch others—it’s a matter of soul. The CD of the music I heard is available

here.

 

Monique Avakian Photo

 

Bio: When Monique Avakian was 10, she really thought that if she just focused in hard

enough she would be able fly like a witch through the night. Magical objects such as

a broken watch with a cracked face or a tiny fistful of fake diamonds were key to

such endeavors. It never seemed to occur to her that the basement was perhaps not

the ideal locale for such experiments. Monique regularly travels through time and

space via poetry, her vehicle of choice now for nearly five decades. Monique also

runs poetry workshops, writes jazz articles and is the founding curator of a

multi-media online literary zine. She can be reached at monava9@gmail.com.

 

Swarm Season

One of the very best parts about being a beekeeper is swarm season. You may have seen in photos or out in your neighborhood, a swarm of bees hanging from a branch around this time of year. Swarming is a natural means of reproduction where a strong honeybee colony sends its established queen and about half of the bees out to find a new home. It is a natural means of propagation that replaces colonies lost over the previous winter, and stabilizes honeybee populations in an area.

While the swarm intimidates many, in actuality a swarm is almost always an example of bees at their most docile. Swarmed bees have no brood or honey to protect, and are in a state of waiting, while their scouts are out looking for a new permanent home to move to. They will usually hang there from between two hours to two days, while the new home is decided upon through a democratic process.

As a scout arrives back to the swarm, she will dance the location of a possible new home she has found, and the other scouts will fly to check it out. When enough scouts come back and dance the same location in agreement, the swarm will take their cue and move en masse to the new locale.

As a beekeeper, I get many calls from homeowners or businesses that want to ensure the bees don’t get destroyed, but also don’t want them hanging around their property for hours or days. That is when I will go out and catch the swarm by standing beneath or alongside it, and shaking it into a box. So long as I get the queen into the box, all of the bees will quickly move to her and I can close the box and take the swarm away, and then populate one of my hives or a fellow beekeeper’s hive.

Swarming is one of the most beautiful and wondrous things bees do. If you see a swarm, admire it; you might not see another