Category Archives: Digital Art

I Dove In | Hybrid Flash

Who wants to dive in? The monstrous conversations firing missiles and bombs across continental divides require your opinion now. Drop everything. Don’t think. Write your opinion!


Michael Dickel


Dove-In-Cubism

I Dove In – 1
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

Of course, that ad attracted my attention.

I wanted to leave my thinking cap in the brain-washer and drain my commonsense down the tubes; but the tubes turned into transistors and some chipped silicone took over the flip way I looked in the house of mirrors—interactivity leading to the monkey house on steroids, where advertisers don’t care about credibility, so long as you get with the click and join the cliques to which, of course, I would not want to belong, if they would have someone like me.

So, I figured the eight ways to solicit the attention of the ad-meister who wanted to hire a blogger—oh web-logger clear-cutting the civility forest into another barren desert chorus, eroding the floor until walking becomes treacherous and only traitors run away, seeking search-engine optimization.

Yes, I would love to be your dog…loving you is easier than rolling off a log…how much do you pay per posted blog?

I dove in.

I longed to fly missiles with alternative-facts and drop bombs across cyber-real fake-towns, across continental decisions divided—creating rifts with precision and dancing opinions on the heads of pins and needles, stitching together movie-scenery reality with microwave-ovens turned into spy-cams.

I Dove In – 2
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

It’s these special effects that affect our specialists, analysts of their own opinions and promoters of their sponsors’ narcissistic promotions.

I got the job that required me to not have evidence.

Cheesy gee-whizzes and long lists of coprolite anomalies, combined with contretemps dissent and troll binges of corporate-lite bridges, to rally the choir and preach to the troops—singing ditties, theme songs, and jingles jangling the long roots of the fake news.

Writing opinions I felt so free to despair, disparage, and dis-repair, all in fortississimo dissonance. I dropped everything—and everything dropped me—while I wasted away and waited for my just-desserts.

But I’m not any richer at a fiver per pitch, so the pitcher on the mound, on the way to a no-hitter, decided to leave town with a pitcher of beer.

Unpaid, tired, fired again, all my friends lost and me feeling lame…

I slid out of my gutter, stooped over I walked to the end of my talk with a stutter. The social meteors mediated my vacuity, and I consulted with campaigns, if they paid a large gratuity.

I Dove In – 3
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

It didn’t matter the theme, it didn’t matter the cause, I marshaled their resources and sent them off to Oz. The pawns moved the game, but the fans gave them fame, shouting and yelling without any words, “follow the gold-brick road.”

I came to the opinion that time chimed for warlords, loot fell to soldiers, and the boot landed on the bugler’s throat. But the consultant collected fees, no matter who died.

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The Raging Storm | Poem

storm-sea-fb-web

Sea Spray, Old Akko (Acre), Israel
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

Storm sea


Michael Dickel

The storm-startled sea splashed space-ward,
rose above the stone walls and metal rails,
appeared to touch the low-hung dark clouds,
before the white-foam spray collapsed into
shiny reflections of those gray behemoths—
sky-whales fallen to the flat earth below.

Even as a bit of sun and blue breaks the mood
at an acute angle, we seek the intimacy of couples,
private moments in poetry, the inward gaze that
turns its back to the thunder, wind, rain, hail and,
mostly, to the terror invoked by the raw power
so easily capable of destroying us and all we know.

Akko Waves

Old Akko (Acre), Israel
Photograph ©2016 Michael Dickel

We took our children to the Old Port of Tel Aviv
to watch the predicted high waves roll in. He
took his backpack into a store, and when ready,
pulled out an Uzi, walked into the street shooting—
in the same city, not so far, not too close. We turned
our backs and walked away as the border police went

door-to-door, knocking at each apartment entrance.
The news reports that they broke in if no one answered.
He gave them the excuse, and they opened those
intimate places absent their owners, absent reason
or folly, as though a power of nature eroding rock,
splashing against our resistance. I want this poem to send,

to turn,

to turn us into the spray, the wave, the sea.

Namal Waves

At the Namal (Old Port), Tel Aviv, Israel
Photograph ©2015 Michael Dickel

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Chai equals eighteen

Double life


Michael Dickel

I mention an image that for some days now has been mounting in the sky of the revolution…Chantal’s image is circulating in the streets. An image that resembles her and does not resemble her. She towers above the battles.

—The Envoy in Jean Genet’s The Balcony

Your lost lover becomes a martyr—
a new revolutionary cause—
as the judge, an abandoned father,
conceives the child’s anarchistic calls.
Balconies crack, begin to falter
while the white rose petals start to fall,
and the soft dust now rises up to
cloud our bishop’s visionary realms.
So you saunter down to the twelfth bar.

It’s not very far for you to go—
down the road to the mausoleum,
where knowledge no longer wants to flow,
and wisdom the police chiefs promised
evaporates in blue cloudiness.
My forlorn lovers take one last look,
executioners seal sacred books,
and we dream that time will return us
again to where Chantal’s dance began.

We slip on ice in larch swamps covered
by fog, which obscures the histories
unfolding Irma’s worn tapestries—
lies of the victors, lies of the lost.
We change the general’s blank dance card,
then drop three photographers’ needles
into a heavily falling snow.
Your martyr turns into a lover—
an evolutionary lost-cause.

An old father begins his judgement
with many anachronistic flaws.
And Carmen’s petals flake slowly off
like snow melting in a beggar’s tale
of the freed slave’s magic midnight sun
where my desire has never failed.
And the rose petals? The bruised petals
from the flowers you took the envoy
cover the gravel under your feet.

At first, people were fighting against illustrious and illusory tyrants, then for freedom. Tomorrow they’ll be ready to die for Chantal alone.

—The Envoy in Jean Genet’s The Balcony


Note: In each of the two days I have been working on the poem above, the ones just before I am posting it, exactly 18 people visited this blog. The poem has four stanzas of 9 lines each, for 36 lines (double 18), not counting the epigrams from Genet. Each line has 9 syllables. The total number of syllables is 324, plus the 36 lines, equals 360—the number of degrees in a circle. Chai, Hebrew for life, equals 18 according to gematria. So, 36 lines, double 18, is double life. Or, perhaps, a double life. Genet may offer a key element to this equation.


double-life

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Jerusalem’s Garden — Hybrid

Jerusalem Imagined and Recalled


Michael Dickel

א — Aqsa / Dome of the Rock / Temple Mount | Digital art from photo | ©2017 Michael Dickel

א
Digital art from photo
©2017 Michael Dickel

Jerusalem perpetually escapes the present. It slips into strong recollection—memory with all its failings constructing histories and narratives in dusty layers under and around every stone chipped by human hand. Human-hand made narratives, full of political failings, slip Jerusalem into side pockets.

And Jerusalem also slips, paradoxically, into a weak, almost-timeless desire—imagination with all its lust polishing each dreamed-of rosy-limestone stair and wall to perceptual perfection. The desired Jerusalem, the imagined Jerusalem, the recalled Jerusalem, recollect Jerusalem into a cacophony of dissonant and contested cries.

Rabbis long ago understood the multiplicity of Jerusalem and wrote of Jerusalem below and Jerusalem above—meaning physical and spiritual. They have been taken to mean below as this world, the present, and to mean above as the spiritual realm, the world-that-is-coming—which could refer to heaven or could refer to the future: mundane, redemptive, or apocalyptic.

I take the words to mean Jerusalem imagined (above) and recalled (below), desire imagining Jerusalem and faulty images memorializing Jerusalem piece by piece, piecing themselves together to build this city that dissolves the present with its creation.

This garden I now write from also slips from the present to reside in a dual-space of a strong past and weak future, of an almost-absent present, of memory and desire, of recall and imagination. Like Jerusalem, it exists only in the mind—like the real toad’s imaginary garden, a thought-experiment generating genres too slippery to grasp.

And since the toad’s garden exists only as a mental construction, let it slide now into Jerusalem, along a stone path from one cobbled road in the Old City to another, an opening on the west of the alley suddenly revealing the garden, a glimpse of possibility unanchored by actuality.

I have imagined it there, for the moment, so that I might recall it here in this text, something abstractedly vague as the toad croaks then splashes into its reflexivity, a mirror-pool of psychology and absence, a mere pool of sociological and political ambivalence.

White jasmine flowers trumpet from their dark shrubbery, arching over the entrance from the alley, nearly hiding the portal as it covers the East wall of the garden. Oleander stretches up the wall that encloses the North side of the garden. Bougainvillea stretches up the South wall. On the West, trellises of grape vines. Nearer the ground, short hedges of neatly trimmed lavender and rosemary border the square garden. These all strive for a square of clear blue above, the imagined Jerusalem.

Now, in autumn, only the shrubbery and herbal hedges bloom. If it were spring, narcissus would be blooming. In winter, cyclamen and anemones. In summer, planted annuals—petunias, marigolds, sweet alyssum. The tended grass remains green all year.

In the center of the garden grow two trees. A lemon tree wants to spread its reputation as the Tree of Life, but January fruits give it away. Next to it grows a tired olive tree, knotted-trunk peace-symbol. Its green fruit reflect glimmers of light.

At a distance from the trees sit four benches, each with its back toward one wall.

This garden does not exist, even while my mind sits in it, watching, waiting. I think I possess this garden, but then the toad’s trigonometric pool appears, just in time to disabuse me of foolishness. I don’t occupy this garden. It occupies my mind.

I am not alone here.

On the bench to my left sits an old woman. She has a basket of grape leaves next to her today. Some days she brings fresh dates, golden, unripe. Others, her basket holds za’atar, a spice mixture sprinkled with sesame seeds. She murmurs praise for her produce.

On the bench to my right, an ancient-looking man sits reading a book, most days. I cannot tell if he holds the same book every day or a different book. He doesn’t know, either. He reads it, pauses, mutters, cocks his head as though listening, and then continues to read.

Across from me a woman occupies the remaining bench. Her two children play in the grass in front of her. She watches them and smiles, but her eyes seem not to see the garden as they search some other place, subtly creating silence around her.

I think about what to write here. My children play behind my bench.

Four people have come to this space for generations. Each lays a claim on it. The four forget about the toad and its reflecting pool. They forget about the gardener, the people who live behind the walls that enclose the garden, or whatever may thrive beyond. They remember living here for thousands of years. They imagine living there now.

The four people reflect a me and you that do not cohere. We fall asleep here, and never leave. The dream unfolds.

There is no garden. There is a garden.

There is a Jerusalem. There is no Jerusalem.

I live in Jerusalem.

jerusalem3web

Jerusalem Imagined and Recalled
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

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Winter Poem

Apocalyptic Winter I Digital art from photos ©2016 Michael Dickel

Apocalyptic Winter I
Digital art from photos
©2016 Michael Dickel

Apocalyptic Winter

i
Murk clenches around the world—
solstice, yes; cruor, surely; necrosis,
possibly; apoptosis, likely. Trees pull

back, plants close for business,
even cockroaches go dormant,
or almost sleep through the long night.

Those few flowers on a windowsill
only admonish me in the name of the
painted flood that stained last summer.

ii
Dried herbs crumble, anamneses of the sun.
I stop, though, and talk to the feral cat
whose felicitations hiss out from iron bars

on top of a stone wall that divides civic
sidewalk from exclusive parking. I would
purr, unlike this ginger gamine cat,

if I had cause enough to lucubrate.
The thalassic truth of this spot sidesteps
my yearning to swim in the desert.

Apocalyptic Winter II Digital art from photos ©2016 Michael Dickel

Apocalyptic Winter II
Digital art from photos
©2016 Michael Dickel

iii
Absinthian coffee wakes something
harsh, chlorophylloid, but not for long, and my
bleak, burnt bones creep forth on a nameless road.

The moon climbs, someone wants me to offer
straightaway. A ray penetrates the darkness
and lifts the crux to spheres surmounting

dictionaries and thesauri that spill
obfuscations, tangle moods and modes
into articulated modifications of noumena.

iv
The cat didn’t lie, so neither will the eye.
Clouds hid the moon. An uncanny aura
spilled down from a lunar eclipse. The trees

gamboled, lifting their roots and dropping them,
a geographic gamble. Stories stumbled down
cliffs. Nothing changed in the seething

and nothing persisted unchanged, which
I don’t really apprehend. The tongue does not
construe such spectacles or words unconstrained.

Apocalyptic Winter III Digital art from photos ©2016 Michael Dickel

Apocalyptic Winter III
Digital art from photos
©2016 Michael Dickel

 


If you put the mouse cursor over the links and wait a moment, text will appear over (and appear to define) the linked words. Follow these links to another Solstice Poem and another Winter poem.

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En Gedi (Poem)

En Gedi — Wadi David Photograph ©2015

En Gedi — Wadi David
Photograph ©2015

En Gedi

Even lizards hide from this scorched heat.
Tristram’s grackles pant in the shade of skeletal acacia.
Fan-tail ravens float on rising currents like vultures.

David hid from Saul in the strongholds of En Gedi;
along the wadi now named for him, waterfalls
drop warm water onto maidenhair ferns into tepid pools.

Any stippled shade provides shelter from the scathing sun
when hiding from midday heat or close pursuit:
Tristram and Iseult, David, seek shade, ferns, sparkling droplets.

We escape, fugitives from kings
into what little shade we find, wade
into green puddles of desert water,

for brief respite, solace,
a bright glimmer sliding down
an eroding rock face.

En Gedi Digital Art / Poem ©2014-2016 Michael Dickel

En Gedi
Digital Art / Poem
©2012-2016 Michael Dickel


I read En Gedi at the Interfaith Eco Poetry Slam in Jerusalem on 30 June, 2016, sponsored by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Here is a video of me reading it.


This poem originally appeared in Michael Dickel’s book, Midwest / Mid-East.
It also appears in The BeZine: Faith in Things Seen and Unseen here.


 

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But alive | poem

But alive

You want to sleep—but across the tundra,
or perhaps desert hard scrabble. The time
change lags behind and no one wants to
fund you, not even you. So why not rock
the float, find some interest to squeeze
into your pocket and be on your way—

unyielding to the circumspect payment,
unwilling to produce commodification,
just glyphs, morphemes, words—

until you arrive without a passport
or decoder ring and you wonder
what happened to fit in, let alone
sixty-one candles burning down
the house, the barn dancing its
way to your grave, and you still

practicing for the day the music
cried? The candles barely light
the dark moodiness that covers you.

Surround surrender and give it
a respectable coat of paint in some
fashionable color that we all like
and about which we wish someone
would recognize its unique place
in our iconoclastic creative genius.

Happy birthday. Happy. Birth. Day.
I wish you, my son, an uncommonly
pleasant brit mila, ceremonial

contract, lease on life-blood,
infinite bondage to principles
long forgotten but upheld by
certain economic theories.
Why would we depart from
these familiar formalities

without considering at least
one more possible outcome
and rejecting them all except

freedom, which has no income
and leaves you broken upon
all pensioned shores. But alive.

But alive, poem by Michael Dickel, self-portrait age 61, digital art from photographs

Self-portrait age 61 ©2016 Michael Dickel Digital art from photographs

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