Friday, March 31, 2017

GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Two Forms Of Life" by Dennis Patrick Slattery

Awe is the salve that will heal your eyes. Rumi

A man with a gray face woke

With a keen thirst wanting after desire.

Stillness is so far on the other side of

The dream he floated in last night.

An old man with a white face

Fell one morning into a

Critical morass.

Now his terrain offers few options.

No matter—within the slide show

Of a shallow life

He complains it is someone’s fault

But his words fall around him.  

©2017 Two Forms Of Life
Dennis Patrick Slattery

All Rights Reserved


Thursday, March 30, 2017

GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Deep Enough" by Dennis Patrick Slattery


These words-their aspect was obscure--I read/ inscribed above a gateway, and I said:“Master, their meaning is difficult for me.”   Inferno III. 

Is my reading deep enough?

Can I attend to the pilgrim’s

sinister descent where stench

assaults the eyes and the shades

crisp in scabbed skin

rend the ears into scratched awakenings?

What form might Virgil,

virgin of the underworld assume

his dark shape and clothed

poetic pose wrapping arms

around his naïve charge

pushes him along

through loiter-free zones

echoing moans of remorse.

The naked truth groans in a chorus

of demented laments.

No birds fly through sticky air.

Mistakes in life cling with miniature

fury to everlasting nows

pock marks in eternity.

A river to their left courses

hot bubbles of blood;

shades breach to the surface

chunks of meat in a stew that

knows its own end:




©2017 Deep Enough Dennis Patrick Slattery
 All Rights Reserved


Thursday, March 16, 2017

GUEST BLOG... POETRY! "Completion" by Dennis Patrick Slattery

    Depth started to throb -Jori Graham

The painting sits upright

                  against the file cabinet

          almost completed; it can’t

find the place of finish, a space

                   where things are allowed to end.

          No studio for it to be done

signed and touched no more

with thoughts of brush.

It needs a tiny woman

                  walking away from the viewer

          with her tiny black dog no larger

than a leaf/just a stain of black

                   will bring it to life.

          But no proper space avails

to allow it a final shape

a completion.

The smaller trees in back

                   then larger and still larger

          masses of green, mottled trunks in front

stand alone beside one another;

                   they smell the loneliness.

         Cezanne can’t find his own footing

his easel or canvas stand.

                  The asphalt path ribbed

          with shadows of trees we cannot see

 because the woman and her dog

                   have long passed

         yet remain unpainted.

They want to be there, content to stroll

           as they do in the photograph I paint from.

          Some license, surely, but not them

they are not incidental to the life of trees.

I want to see them—after they are painted in

        two figures to ease the gap of loss in depth.

          When the painting is framed and hung

on the living room wall, I want to see

                   them enjoying the trees

          I painted for their delight as they stroll

by and through the lushness of green.

I will wave to their tiny shapes

                   meandering on the path, their

          backs to me getting smaller

her dog sniffing a red wildflower

unaware I am behind them

                  happily waving at their beauty.

         They continue to diminish

                  as do I to them  

in my blue shirt, like hers

 now almost the same size.

©2017 Completion Dennis Patrick Slattery
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Christmas Gifts" by Dennis Patrick Slattery


“I have all these boxes to mail,” he says.

His voice is pleasant and chatty in the long line to mail his packages. He jokes with the woman standing behind him holding four small boxes. She is short, wearing a worn hoodie and struggling to balance her Christmas packages.

“Yes, after these I’ll go home and bring in six more this afternoon to mail.”

“Oh,” he says to something she asks him; I cannot hear what it is.

“One day is pretty much the same as all the others. I just live a few miles from here, in Canyon Lake. We found a good deal on the house we liked so we bought it.” All in that order.

I am next in line. I step up to mail my two parcels. I think of the conversation that has now dissolved in front of me.

I want to send a book to the man whose days are all the same. But really, could words in a book of poems, say, be of service to him? Would he even bother to read it?

I wonder if his days have turned into concepts while he was not paying attention; or all the wrinkles of each one ironed out so there is no marking one day from another. The days, now bled of life, are no longer able to shine as



Laced with wonder.

In the wake of presence I am awakened to something not there before: to pay close attention to the creases and rumples in each day, to note where a button is missing, a collar frayed--all with their own personal delights shining through the ordinary. No, that IS the ordinary—a quickening sense of the quirky quotidian.

Mailing gifts to others, I am gifted by this man, an oracle of the ordinary.

©2017 Christmas Gifts Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved 

Monday, March 13, 2017

GUEST BLOG... POETRY!! "What Still Teaches Me" by Dennis Patrick Slattery

       Don't wash a wound with blood. -Rumi

Rumi:  What hurts you blesses you.

Me:  Awe is the leaf of a tree

fallen on your vision.

Awe is the way

through the enchanted familiar.

The full moon at 4 a,m,

teaches me silence

teaches me song

The sun at midday

riots through the window

to show me when I am wrong.

Stay with the moonlight.

It is sunlight without sound.

©2017 What Still Teaches Me Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 12, 2017

GUEST BLOG... POETRY! "Only Breath" by Dennis Patrick Slattery

Sickle Moon background photo by NASA, image in public domain, an overlay
is applied to achieve the glow on the poetic lines from the poem, Only Breath


There is a way between voice and presence

where information flows.

In disciplined silence it opens;

With wandering talk it closes.

Breath without words to fill it

invites riches from others’ ears.

Gaze without vision or image.

Filling it up is clear seeing.

Taste without food stocks appetite

for the night journey.

Touch without skin warms the sickled moon

aglow in the speckled night sky.

Life without light gains a darkness

that fills in the traumas tomorrow

will bring.

So for today—let go

the outbreath and all that clings

to its vibrant flow.

©2017 Only Breath  Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 11, 2017

GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Walking Out Of Water" by Dennis Patrick Slattery


What sticks to memory, often, are those odd little fragments that have no beginning and no end. - Tim O'Brien

Shed the skin of war Cacciato believed

up in the high country out of

Viet Nam

“If war won’t leave me,

then I’ll. . . .

Shed the bayonet, ammo pouch

dreams that terrified—the whole

backpack of misery up, up

the slippery clay trail, skin

peeled off by a dull knife.

The jaundiced world of woe

tilting the crucifixion resting

on a lower lip,

the stunted prayers of a

pocket-sized New Testament.

Cacciato hurling toward high ground

lightening his load when he

paused to oversee torments of

jungle shivers, futures napalmed

into despair and death shattered

by one malignant bullet.

Up and over the crazed haze

over dazed days when new souls 

once grazed in pastures of plenty.

©2017 Walking Out Of Water Dennis Patrick Slattery copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 10, 2017

GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Sutures" by Dennis Patrick Slattery

 Here is the skin of days in the one hand of god. -Jori Graham

when in the catacombs
do you find the shards
where cracks reign
beating along on bare feet
through the ancient patterns?
those you know:
where people open
where myth changes shape
when she finds everything closed.

even the ground shows cracks
made by swelling waves.
out into the open
just consider the gap between us.
ground swells of loneliness
that resist mending

forgive—one painful stitch at a time.
keep the finger out. use it as
your needle leaving a trail of cat gut
 a thin long transparent line of hurts.

©2017 Sutures Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 9, 2017

GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Story Lines" by Dennis Patrick Slattery

    How far is true enough? ~Jori Graham

Appear everywhere.
          Where does the violent plot
of your life cut itself in two?
          Or in scraps to spread
its bewildered parts
          throughout each room
shuddering on its own foundation?
          Plot lines run hidden underground
yet surface in the cracked ceiling plaster
          and along the walls of your bedroom
alarming sleep.
          Lines perturb like itches
or fresh stitches uniting skin
          healing its tattered texture.
It’s not a child of mine

©2017 Story Lines Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Branching Out" by Dennis Patrick Slattery


Early Saturday morning trimming back
small trees from the wooden fence
out front along the property line.
No breeze, thick Texas August air
as I settle into the swagger of sweat.

Something releases in me when
I saw the branches from around the
slats of wood; they fall startled
to my feet. The air is moist with
cutting back, opening the slats of
the long fence to the open air,
free of the pressure of wood.

Some renewal fidgets in me.
The pile of severed branches grows
around my walking boots. It is joy
I have not felt in a life too cluttered
with projects that choke the wood
of my own boundaries.
Joy sighs among the trees.

My wife drives up and parks in the garage.
She walks out to see my slim trees breathing
fresh air unfettered.
I, light now, feel her warmth in
the sun-streaked air
and the trees, so uncluttered now
begin to grow new branches around us
and another story finds a small space
to take root with no fenced limits

to frame its surrender.

©2017 Branching Out Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


  ~For Basho

I know that fame will be within reach
when someone begins to call me
by the name of an exotic tree
or a boll weevil recently unearthed
or perhaps an emotion long thought
extinct but erupting now, around
the world, surprising us all.

But what I wish to call you,
beginning this weekend,
is the sound of something
tearing slowly in half there,
where the forest is darkest
where the wind cannot penetrate.

©2017 Fame, Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved


1. photographic reproduction of Basho from a woodcut from 'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon,'  by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1885-1892.

2. For more on Basho’s life visit 

Monday, March 6, 2017


Silk must not be compared/with striped canvas. ~Rumi

In the middle of a candle
a black wick. Into it a flame
In the steady cool blackness
light catches and flames.
Light your candle where
you see blackness.
Then your flame will
flicker and bob
flicker and waver in

©2017 Light The Blackness
Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 5, 2017



Out of the forest
          Of a cramped necessity
I become only what I am:
          Being roiling toward Becoming

          A paradox of purposes
Propels me fore and aft.
          Life is continuous rhythm
Between home and wandering.

No one is not a wonder
          To behold
However one denies it.

Freedom bewilders
          Only when we begin.
I hold the love of you
          In sacred trust
And love myself in tandem.

          Only those are free
Who wander in delight
          Of the ordinary and
Originary without end.

Ask then: what shall I assent to?
          What shall I ascend to?
When you can cease fighting yourself
          You are already turned
In the right direction.

          Home: where the heart resides
And the hearth warms us
          From within.

“Yes” and “No” are polar ice caps
          We trudge between for a lifetime.
The goal of course is
          Within the frozen part of our heart.

          Do not cease the experiment
In the few years we are given.
          To be homeward bound is
Freely chosen, freely gifted.

          Go now, move to the next station.

©2017 Wandering Dennis Patrick Slattery
     copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved


The background image for today's poetry meme is  from a Google Art Project faithful reproduction of Albert Pinkham Ryder's  oil on canvas title "Homeward Bound" circa 1893-94.  Both the painting and the faithful reproduction are in public domain.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

GUEST BLOG ...POETRY! Even Hell Has Its Anecdotes by Dennis Patrick Slattery


Even Hell has its anecdotes
infernal verse in Dante’s
corkscrew descent.
In confusion he
hears the howling laments.
Muddied, excremental
now trapped in place
the shades of sorrow
suffer the entire race.

Charged by the chaos
of self-absorbed love
of souls too small to see another
the pilgrim emerges at the base
of the mountain to climb to the
Sacred Mother.

“Master, what are they saying?
I hear only garbled words.”
Virgil glances back
At the pilgrim’s fraught nerves.
“These souls,” he claims,
“thought God was not within
but only a replica of her or him.”
Gracious in fields of spites and fits
the pilgrim’s mentor coaxes
The poet on.
“Remember when you return to life
use words that retrieve their lexicon.

Only memory will guide you then
between the now of blood
and the fate of the shades’
woeful den.”

©2017 Even Hell Has Its Anecdotes, Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved


Gustave Dore, "Cocytus", 1857, Image in public domain. The use of the image in the meme illustration in no way implies  artist endorsement.

Friday, March 3, 2017

MARCH GUEST BLOG... HAIKU POETRY... "Loosening" by Dennis Patrick Slattery


My ground slides beneath
Nothing to grip anymore
Freedom finds moonlight

©2017 Loosening, Dennis Patrick Slattery
copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 2, 2017

ARROWS GUEST BLOG...POETRY! "Wayfarer" by Dennis Patrick Slattery

The Wayfarer

“the idiom in you, the why—“ Jorie Graham

Sing your song in the idiom
          that distills you—
                   bang your drum in the idiom
that thrills you.

If you find a story that catches
          at the shards of your
                   worn plot
chew it up and in.
          Let its spangles carry you
                   until yesterday freezes over.

Sense the cycle of your quivering myth
                   dilating the mouth
          that utters and the ears
that shudder but still listen.

Your voice slyly hidden
                   your vowels arising unbidden
          describe the best parts of you.

©2017 Wayfarer, Dennis Patrick Slattery
    copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


I cannot thank Stephanie Pope enough for making space for a series of blogs that she has introduced. It affords me the opportunity to play with the difference and similarities between a photo of a scene in nature and a subsequent creation of that scene in an acrylic painting that I am currently completing.  They are, in Aristotle’s term, two different forms of techne. Here is the background to frame the blog’s content.

          I traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to visit family and friends. My younger brother Bill and I have some favorite walking and hiking trails east of Cleveland in Chardon, Ohio. One in particular, part of the Metropolitan Park system, is Strawberry Lane, which includes both horse trails as well as firmer asphalt walkways that stretch for many miles into beautiful wooded terrains.  Depending on our energy level and the climate, we choose one or the other. On this particular morning, we chose to walk several miles along an asphalt path that meanders through the woods, alongside lakes and rivers and into some rolling hills.

          We are never in a hurry, so we pause often on our hike. On one of these walks, I am arrested by the way the morning sun slants through the trees along our path; we stop to let the image work on and over us. It is a very quiet morning with few fellow hikers and little traffic on this weekday, so we enjoy the silence and solitude as well. After a few minutes, I pull out my smartphone and capture the scene in an instant. I take several shots of the same scene which changes slightly with the sun’s movement and the trees’ shadows. Later I will ask myself: what am I after in taking these photos? It is pleasurable now to have the scene in my phone to enjoy many times. I may, for instance, when I return home, print it out and place it behind a frame to hang in my study. Or I may, after a time, simply delete it to make room for other photos.

     Strawberry Lane, Chardon, Ohio

           My question at this point is: is the above a representation of nature? Is it the scene frozen in an instant? Did taking the photo involve a creative act or process?

It is true that something about this scene arrested me: the lighting, the dark shadows of the trunks reaching skyward, the woman walking her small dog, and the  dappled or mottled asphalt path. Did I bring something into being through my framed image I clicked into permanence on my phone?A moment later the light was different and the photo I had just taken was gone. I do not know if I created anything here, but simply recorded in one instant in time a scene offered to me.

          So I have to wonder if this image qualifies as a mimetic image of nature, namely, some creation or even recreation of nature growing out of, as Aristotle believes, a natural human instinct? Or is it more simply and mundanely a mechanical or technological reproduction and I should not claim anything creative about its genesis as a photo?

          Mimesis, as Aristotle defines it, characterizes the axis between the artist and his/her creation growing out of a natural human instinct to make something. Is the act of taking the photo an artistic one? It may be truer to think that the photo is more a correspondence between an aspect of reality, now reconstructed in a medium as close as possible in equivalnence to the viewed/experienced scene. Nature designed the scene and I recorded a segment of the total landscape.

          At one point Aristotle suggests that some mimetic works have a cognitive significance that goes beyond particulars to embody universals, which I believe we can also refer to as archetypes defined by C.G. Jung as a corelative. But I also wonder of the photo: is there a poiesis, or a making of something present in it? Did I make something of Nature through the technology of Culture? Given how one responds to these questions, a third abrupts itself: Is the photo a duplication of nature or a correspondence of it? Sorry about all the questions: I seem to have more of them than assertions.

          So let’s see what happens when we turn to the painting that is in its final stages in this photograph of it.
                   Painting-In_Process : Strawberry Lane acrylic on canvas,
          Dennis Patrick Slattery

                I want to show it in this form, in process, yet nearing completion. I want to note at the outset that I had no desire to create an accurate copy of the photo, but to revision the subject matter in a burst of painterly license. The painting has been in process for months. It required painting a backdrop of the sky, then, beginning at the back of the canvas (16x20), layering in the trees in three dimensions to give the illusion of depth. Now this procedure is closer, I believe, to an aesthetic act of making, what Aristotle would call both a poiesis and a mimesis. It is a mimetic act. I wonder as well if it is not a mythic act or making as well, for my own personal myth is active in this process—choosing what to include, how to change parts of the original, what to finish at each sitting, and the like. More truly, I see it as an analogy of the photo which is a copy, or replica of a scene in nature, in an instant of nature’s presence.

          Aristotle suggests more than once that central to mimesis is “an imitation of Nature” on some level, The painting, he would affirm, is not an expression of me, the artist. Something more is at stake here in the mimetic interplay of photo and painting. I am not painting my interior but something more, an idea of reality not foreign to the trees and grass of nature and the participation of culture, but more an analogy of them with its own order and arrangement; present is both inflection and particularity.

          Yes, I continue to refer to the photo constantly as I create the painting, but I am after its characteristics, the light falling on the path in a particular way, for instance. The painting corresponds to and assimilates what the camera captured of nature in the photo. But it has its own form independent of the photo.

          Can I say the same of the photo? Does it too have an underlying form given that it is a product of technology and my own aesthetic delight? Both the photo and the painting do not depend on me to exist; they both are independent of me. I mediated them into being. In that respect they are both mythic if one understands myth as a formed expression of mediating two realities—both inner and outer realities that comprise me and which I participate in without pause. Both continue to give me, and I hope others, a certain aesthetic pleasure not divorced from the painting’s achievement.

          When I saw the scene in nature, I wanted to capture it directly, not to own it but to have it as a reproduction of my experience on the hiking trail with my brother. When I chose the photo as my subject matter for the painting, I knew I wanted to create an analogy of it with a series of mixes of acrylic paint and not a little help from my fine artist teacher, Linda Calvert Jacobson.  We all have an instinct, Aristotle observes, from childhood on, to engage in mimesis. Rooted in human nature, mimesis is implicit in distinctively human patterns of action, so both the photo and painting carry a mythic element.

          In addition, they both arose out of some desire, some impulse to recreate both mimetic acts: photographing the scene or painting it. I find a certain, but different, aesthetic pleasure in viewing both creations; each may reflect or mirror or correspond to some universal quality that we sense present. Painting, music, craft, writing, all yield mimetic art as Aristotle observes. I wonder how Aristotle would judge photographs.

          He certainly found both understanding and wonder to comprise deep instinctive properties of being human: understanding because it fulfills our nature; wonder because it involves a desire to learn. I find that there is something to learn and to wonder about when comparing these two art forms, two corridors to making something new.

©2017 Dennis Patrick Slattery All Rights Reserved


           Dennis Patrick Slattery Ph.D. is core faculty, Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California.  He has been teaching literature and mythology for over 40 years.  He is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of 24 books, including six volumes of poetry; he has published over 200 articles and reviews on literature, psychology, mythology, as well as popular essays on surprises in the world.

            Visit his website at