when i am near u

when i am near you
the numbers on streets and clocks
are right

the sound of rain
upon the sidewalk
is a complete refrain
to a childhood melody

at night
the stars burn like candles, when
and tip
their hats

when i hold you in my mind
the expanse of heavens
dreamed in
forlorn ancient texts
reveal themselves
like a vast, turning sky


like desert canyon walls,
are a fountain
waiting for rain.

Phoenix Rising

Sometimes art gives you pause – a silent reflection on the emotional experience that yields no words. Other times it is a simple feeling of disgust or brilliance or social dialogue or something “just right.”

Today, I painted a picture, or whatever you might call a purely digital fantastical creation. I call it Phoenix Rising. And instead of being simply pleasing to the eye, I feel like it is also a story to be told. Critics and purists of art will shun me for explaining my painting. But that’s okay with me. Today, I felt like painting and then telling a story. You see I was on the phone with a friend who had gone through a very intense trial of mind, life and depression. And I know that his episode was not too long in the past. So I felt like drawing a phoenix, that mystical bird that rose from the ashes only to burn into ashes and rise again. Having been through depression in periods of my own life, I can definitely relate to the dimness that can creep into the everyday beautiful things. And so I wanted to create a phoenix, so as to say that even when we have hit rock bottom that we are in the right spot to launch back up to the surface. Or something like that.

I haven’t included too much detail in the painting, and maybe I”ll add some stars in the future around the periphery. But the main object of focus is the phoenix. In the distance of a cold blue desert, but well visible she is indiscernible in size, and that is part of the point: sometimes the things that pull us through in life are not quantifiable. Sometimes they just are. They just happen. And the great hope of the myth of the phoenix is that birth happens, even in death. That we are creatures of cycle and that no matter what stage we are at, we are part of a bigger process. And that to die as ashes is to be born as flames.

The phoenix is flying in an ambiguous direction, as most of us are in life. “Not all who wander are lost,” said J.R.R. Tolkien. I like to think that’s what life is; an open book with many chapters unwritten. If I drew her right, she’s dazzling and beautiful and radiant. I’ve set the perspective of this painting to be broad and wide on purpose: Even in the large, open land, there is a spark to life that happens.

Anyway, click on the picture and you’ll see the real thing. I’d like to hear what experience this painting means to you.