Friday Poem:To The Poet II

More than forty years ago, my husband joined a Record Club (LPs!). The deal was to buy six quite cheaply, and promise faithfully to buy more at the normal price. He ordered the five he liked, and Songs of Leonard Cohen to make up the six. I don’t know what the others were now, but I knew a poet when I heard one and bought all his albums over the years. I used to stack them in chronological order (can’t do that any more) and listen to Uncle Leonard while I painted. And now he’s gone, it seems, on that inevitable journey…still

Leonard where are you?
Where in the widening world –
Across what sea, what ocean,
On what continent?
In what house, what room, what space?
Beside what window;
Looking at what view –
What street, what hill, what trees,
What flowers?
Where is your mind, your art,
Your style?
Leonard where are you now?dscf4440-large

I wrote the poem in 1981, it seems so long ago (Nancy…)

Friday Poem: Brotherhood

The politics of this country is a sore point with me, more so than usual, as it is, I’m sure, for every disgruntled idealist, so I’m sharing a sort-of political poem this week. (I just typed “plotical” for “political’, which may well be a Freudian slip…) Please note that I use the term”anarchists” in the ancient sense that humans are able to behave decently (with peace, love and empathy) without needing rules imposed on them to do so. The more modern bomb-lobbing type misused the word to put themselves outside of the law and also the common decency originally implied…rainbow heart (Large)

Transcendental misfit poets
Wild softhearted anarchists
Strike a blow and strike a chord
With a paradox absurd.
what’s the point and what’s the matter?
Smug complacency must shatter.DSCF4507 (Large)

I suspect that creativity and art are the way to go in countering dominator culture. “Fighting” it is just joining in, so that doesn’t work.

“Ah, the dreamers  ride against the men of action, Oh see the men of action falling back…”

Leonard Cohen

may 2011 038 (Large)

The images I’ve used are from mixed-media artists books I’ve made.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Cover Art/Creativity

I am merging my WPC and Creativity posts this week due to the serendipity of the challenge and because it’s a busy week. The theme of Cover Art is right up my street! The name of my blog comes from the Sukie’s Original Covers I am showing you today. I had to hunt for them, and now that I have, I really should do more work on the idea – I have the technology now that was lacking in 2000 when I made these.covers 1

Inspired by the photography in the inlay book of the Pixies “Doolittle”, and having a few empty CD cases available, I set out to make inlay books of my own, with some of my photos as cover art. Back then I had an SLR film camera and an excellent macro lens. Krystina liked to develop my photos, because they were always different (no smiling party people – just flowers, beads, bugs…etc).

The photos were cropped with a pair of scissors (or a craft knife), and the spare bit was adhered to the back of the inlay book, the cover of which I made from beautiful paper.covers 4

The booklets have not been finished (yet), but I had chosen poems for each one and written most of them on loose leaves cut to size. Some are typed and printed off, some hand-written. Now I have more sophisticated software, a scanner and a guillotine, so I will be able to do them ‘properly’.covers 5

There are more photos on the backs of the cases, and also under the tray where the CD would go. covers 6

The inlay booklets removed from the smudgy old cases. The image on the Transformations cover is of rose petals – Fragrant Cloud – immersed in white vinegar to make it gloriously coloured and fragrant, for culinary use.

The white lily grows in my garden, but the coloured one would have been bought. I would buy bouquets (usually cut-price!) and take pictures of the flowers both fresh and fallen.covers 7

These (unfinished) artworks were branded Sukie’s Original Covers, “Sukie” coming from “Sue K” – although my mother remembers a relative calling me Sukie as a child. Over time, it became “Sukie’s Original, and my brand for all the things I make, and the name of my blog.

I never made a decision about putting an actual CD in these covers, but now I think I’d make a mix that I felt fitted in with the theme of each book of poems. Mark Lanegan would probably be on there, and Sonic Youth, Leonard Cohen, J Mascis, Pixies, Gyuto Monks, Antony and the Johnsons…I could spend years refining my choices…I like all kinds of music…

Creativity: Escape I

Escape 6

An altered book like this is a good place to try new things, use up odds and ends, and bring out your collection of rubber stamps…Years ago, my father-in-law gave the kids a stack of big yellow stickers, which they never found a use for. Now I find them handy for covering a whole page of unwanted text in one go. A white pen didn’t show up on the yellow, so I wrote over it in blue. An inspiring  Kikki-K sticker gets modified by the text in the art work stuck below it.

Escape 7


The name of an art exhibition in Bendigo reminded me of a loved song-lyric of Leonard Cohen’s. It didn’t all fit on the label sticker, so wandered out across the edge of the page, ending on the next one. The text of the stuck-on paper is obscured with the frames of postage stamps, then painted over with water-colour. The key stamp I added in the birdcage is is one carved into a cheap eraser, an excellent way to make custom stamps. You can use a craft-knife, but Japanese wood carving tools are better – and quite cheap and easy to buy in art supply stores.Escape 8

The left-hand page plays with the idea of flying in dreams – something I like to do whenever I realise I’m dreaming. I remember being disappointed as a child that I couldn’t do it when awake! I thought I rememberd how, but it just didn’t work. Sad.

The picture of “Pink Sita” is torn out of an art magazine, and is the work of internationally recognised local artist, Geoff Todd.

Escape 9


I like the colours in the felt vessels on the postcard – advertising for another art exhibition. The other page has been painted and embellished with stamps and a rub-on guitar, and some paint doodles. There’s plenty of room left to write in a quote about creativity when I come across one I want to add. So the book is still an on-going project.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 21

This week I bring you my Pacific North West pine tree page. You can certainly see a theme to this one! The tree drawn on red paper is a Christmas card from my youngest , dating from primary school. He still likes to make tiny hand-drawn cards on  special occasions!



The Magic Tree still smells faintly of spice. The drawing on the left (not the original) was one of those quick scribbly off-the-cuff efforts that worked out really well. The photo it’s based on was taken in Australia – somewhere around Melbourne, I believe. Kurt wore one of those trees as a pendant  at a concert in Seattle. You see how it all ties together!



Next , another half-page, taken from a notebook in which I had drawn the little man with the big wooden heart – visual pun. I added the Joseph Campbell poem, which I love, and which relates back to the woods on the PNW pine tree page. A cabin-in-the-woods is my favourite fantasy, but it has to have hot and cold running water and WiFi…



On the reverse, yet another horoscope with the words “You are shedding an old skin” highlighted, followed by a quote from Clarissa Pinkola  Estes wonderful book “Women Who Run With The Wolves”.

A woman has – ” a need to have her talents, her gifts,and her limitations respectfully acknowledged and accepted…Hold out for the right medicine. You will recognize it because it makes your life stronger rather than weaker.”

My medicine is creativity – a life in art, as Leonard Cohen put it, and with a regular dose of Nirvana (and lots of other great music).


Friday Poem: Song Chain

you could do anythingYears ago, in Montreal,
A lonesome Leonard Cohen
Walked up and down in a room,
Singing Hank  Williams.

After twenty or thirty years,
Alone in an apartment in Olympia,
Kurt Cobain, aged twenty,
Sang Leonard Cohen songs
All night.

Another twenty or thirty years have passed,
And somewhere in the world
Someone sits in a bedroom
Alone with a guitar,
Singing the songs
of Kurt Cobain.

And in another generation,
Perhaps, somewhere another someone
Will sit, or walk, alone in a room
And sing that someone’s songs.

Pear St house

The top picture is a tiny (7 by 10 cm) pen & water colour I did last week, and am really happy with. I won’t show you the failures! The bottom pic is of the house in Olympia in which Kurt Cobain lived, and at some point, sang Leonard Cohen songs to himself.
Looking through the photos from our trip, I felt so homesick(?), I just want to go back NOW…!

Weekly Photo Challenge : Home

I’m running late with this post, thanks to having to go to work followed by thunder storms that make using the computer inadvisable. Hopefully I can finish before today’s storms arrive!

The theme is ‘Home’, what that might mean to different people.My Old Home

I didn’t take this photo!

This is the home my young parents took me to when I was born, and we lived in it for more than four years, moving into the ‘proper’ house Dad built with his father just before my second brother was born.

It had a kitchen-come-living room and one bedroom, plus a laundry with a shower in one corner, and a small veranda  That tiny building you can see in the background holds the pan toilet. I can remember helping to tear newspaper into squares, to be hung on a nail close-handy to the broad wooden seat. When the ‘pan’ was sufficiently full, Dad took it into our bush block for burial.

Ah, the good old days!

We could have all three, she said.

I imagined this wonderful home in a tree, and I took a photo of the painting.

My favourite fantasy home is a cabin-in-the-woods, among pine trees and down by the coast, in view of the sea.

Such places exist, between Aberdeen and Ocean Shores in Washington State. I saw them from the bus, but I have no photos to prove it. Next time!Aberdeen Mansion

So here’s Aberdeen Mansion instead, built by a man who made his fortune by cutting down trees and sawing them up for houses and boxes.

Maybe someone has bought it by now. It wasn’t me.home/studio

Here’s a bit of home – my studio, or one shelf and the things on it. This is a place where I feel at home and enjoy myself!

cup of earrings

Making a few pairs of earrings feels like coming home.

Tix 1Live music also feels like coming homeTix 2

A good movie can feel like home, too. And any song of Leonard Cohen’s is a homecoming…book page

I made an altered book, and filled it with quotes and notes-to-self about creativity. It could just as well have said ‘home‘ as ‘workspace’.

Home is where the heART is!

And it has an inside toilet that flushes… just sayin’…


Empathy, Empathy! Empathy is what makes us human – humans being –  being in relationship to others, and if we are not in relationship to others, what are we? Empathy allows us inside each others heads and hearts. Babies die without empathy, and with not enough, they grow up to be psychopaths – incapable of feeling, of feeling how anyone else is feeling.

Many of the people in charge these days are psychopaths, which is a cause for worry. If everybody knew this, would they care? The empathic ride against the men of action, oh, see the men of action falling back! I wish. ( Apologies to Leonard Cohen).

Depression, a suicide note, Empathy, it’s all linked. Depression, no empathy, suicide- that’s where you end up. Caring, responsive – not controlling. That’s suicide prevention, but it needs to start at birth; by 27, it’s too late. Maybe at 15 a rescue might be staged, but “Cheer up”s and Smiley faces will never work. Think of the money society would save if parents were taught to love and respect their children ( instead of trying to teach children to love and respect their parents). What if the Commandment was not made by a patriarch, and instead of Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother, it was honour thy children, love them and respect and attend to their needs as much as possible, and then a little more. If you do, they will not only honour, love and respect you, but themselves and everyone else they meet as well! If you don’t, there will be no punishment, but of course, there will be consequences, because your children will not turn out so well. If you ignore their needs, manipulate them or try to control them, they may suffer various mental illnesses and personality disorders, and will prove to be unrewarding and unhelpful as they grow older. Or they may become victims of totalitarian regimes, cults or other organisations which require the mindless obedience and blind faith which you have instilled in them. If they are lucky, however, they will realise what you have done to them, wake up and shake off your toxic conditioning, and if you are lucky, they may even forgive you. But they should not forget, because, if they did, they might poison their own children in the same way.

This is a little verbose, perhaps, but I think it’s a fair summary of what I’ve read of Alice Miller (‘Thou Shalt Not Be Aware’; ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ et al), Oliver James ( ‘They F*** You Up’), Robin Grille (‘ Parenting For A Peaceful World’). There is a pattern that emerges from all my reading, and this is some of it; like the Mandelbrot set, however big it is, whichever bit you look at, still the same pattern is there. I wish I could’ve read these books before I had my children, instead of learning as I went along. Growing up in a family that believed in Original Sin ( babies are born bad, and have to learn to be ‘good’, which is a load of tosh), I had quite a lot to unlearn, and I’m still working on it.

Let Love be my Reason

My framework

My result

Not little love

That seeks to own another

But love that sheds itself

Freely and indiscriminately

Like petals of blossom

From a spring flowered tree

That shower themselves

Into the wind

And onto the grass

Drifting far away

Not caring where, or why

Let me love

As carelessly and hopeless as that.