#9: Surf Born #10-11: On the Day You Die. Poems

moon jellies

#9  Pacific Tome

What Soggy tome is this
rising up from the cold Pacific?

It was black ash on burnt edges
that gave it all away, a shock of pain. Or
two or three. Showed too

which lines to follow back
up toward light, toward center, to a breathing space
the holding place, tugged by hand weighty and
waterlogged, onto land and into heart


Excerpt from Pacific Tome
© 2018-4-26 Tara Linda. v.4

Inspired by a Junk Journal video by artist Orly Avineri.


It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

Excerpt from Asphodel.  William Carlos Williams

#10  On the Day you Die

The sky
is partly cloudy, split in
half by bright billowy clouds
dark ones too.  Rain? we ask each other
feeling illumination balance
stillness with

#11 On the Morning You Die

A Spring wind
blows out of the North at 17 mph, April’s
Flower Moon is high and full. Skies are still and
ink clear, will our memories travel well?
Only when the winds
pick up.

© 2018 4/29 Tara Linda. V1


#7: Excuses #8: Physalia Love. Poems

#7   Jealous Muse

Time for a million
and none for me, gives zero
to the bossa waiting patiently.

We could sip wine and light a fuse
taxes and death are no excuse.

© 2013 Tara Linda

This prompt is clear; distracted by paperwork & taxes this month, to the exclusion of music & writing. Think I’ll pick another month for poems next year, like Haiku March.



#8  Physalia Love

How can I forget? The day we met, all signs
faded in the hot Gulf sun, Peligroso!’s letters dissolved in
the venomous glow. I swam to you, as you surrounded
me, enrapt the moment we touched, my legs & arms made
numb with sensations I’d never felt before they left,
leaving just below the surface of mirth & warmth,
just you & me in this chocolate sea.

Oh how many ways you held me! If
I could count them all, sweet Siphonophore,
opals embedding in tiny tentacles, dangled light to my skin, just
below your majestic sail, that glistening iridescent mast, that
veil submerged- just once, in our sea-green water waltz.

And how you tethered one to many- eloquently, as I swam
through, you- so selflessly giving all, each colony, its own treasured
jewel, each a dance of give & take, all held afloat by one
well-healed hunger, one desire to feed, to move, to gather in tryst
over & over held, then burned in your nematocyst kiss.

© 2018 Tara Linda. V1

Prompt: a poet friend and I challenged each other to retell a terrible life experience, something we couldn’t forget; cast in a positive poetic light.  Mine was a run-in with a Portuguese Man-of-War when swimming in the Gulf of Mexico years ago. It was awful; I went into shock and had to be hospitalized. My second degree burns taught me (as a budding then marine biologist), that there are at least 3 types of tentacles on Physalia physalis, each specialized for defense and feeding, each inflicting a different type of wound to hapless prey. The best thing about that experience was that I learned to play drums in the 30 days that I could not sleep, due to the steroid treatments from the burns. Drums became my heart instrument for the next 20 years, ironically. I suppose that should be another poem for the Muses. What did not kill me, made me musical. Haha! 😉


Artists Crush: The Art and Science of Wondrous Strange Designs

Wonderous Strange- Where science meets art. For example, this one, called “Nautical Deep Sea Gamochonia the Octopus Raku Pendant.” I see a perfectly happy cephlapod, curling up for day-slumber, [(v.) as in coiling movement ;)], only to be suddenly fossilized, and now on its way to Aristotle’s lab for observation. What gorgeous anatomy!
How did she do it …?! Wait, where are we…? A natural history museum?

The piece that first drew me in~ to the curious world of Wondrous Strange curiosities on Etsy, was this-

deep sea gamochonia the octopus raku pendant

Called “Nautical Deep Sea Gamochonia the Octopus Raku Pendant.”   I see a perfectly happy cephlapod, curling up for day-slumber, [(v.) as in coiling movement ;)], only to be suddenly fossilized, and now on its way to Aristotle’s lab for observation. What gorgeous anatomy!

How did she do it?!    Wait, where are we…?    A natural history museum?

wondrous Egypian collar

wondrousStrgn Collage

…A cabinet of curiosities?


…dreaming in desert canyons… or walking through old tobacco plantations of the deep  south?

wondrous-tobacco leaf barn

Artist, photographer “D” of Wondrous Strange Designs, kindly answered a few questions I had about her clay Raku firing process and source of inspirations:

What exactly is the Raku firing process that you use for your pendants and beads?

D: Clay pieces have one firing first, called bisque with no glaze. Then another firing with the raku glaze. They are fired to 1860 degrees, and taken at that temperature and transferred to a galvanized can that is filled with paper or sawdust or what ever I can find to flame up. A top is immediately placed on the can to starve the inside of oxygen. It is then that the great colors come out. I have to wait about fifteen minuets before opening. The colors are even more vivid before I bring them out and still hot enough to burn wood. They are then plunged into cold water to stop the colors from changing. As you can imagine, a lot of pieces will explode.

It is a harsh process to the clay, a dangerous one for the potter:) I have to keep my wits about me so as not to get burned. I once singed my eyelashes off 🙂 Better bet I started using my goggles again:). I wear a mask, high temp gloves and goggles.

What is your inspiration behind the new Chaco canyon series?  They look like old fossils, but are deeply familiar and current in their patterns and colors .
D: A horseback ride in Colorado’s Garden of the Gods and day visit to their Dinosaur Museum when I was younger forever staked a claim in my imagination.  But for design specifics, at first I was drawn to the geometric designs in aerial photographs of the Chaco Canyon complex. The textures and the light play from their dark round kivas to linear sun lit rock walls. These ancient ruins just speak to me.  While working on textures from the aerial view, the basic rock textures were easier to achieve.


The medium I work in mostly is Raku glazed clay and the deeper the texture, the more brilliant the color results.  I use natural materials for textures in the clay.

chaco WonderousSTrange Collage

Rock, bone, shell are impressed and organic shapes added for interest. I have a few fossils in my collection that I have made molds of.  Put it all together and the design just happens. I try not to think about what I am doing and let each piece claim its own space in the real world.

It really does seem like you are re-introducing wonder to the natural world’s cabinet of curiosities. 🙂 anything you want to add?

D: I love how you put that! My house is a kind of Cabinet of Curiosities…dedicated to feeding my creative spirit. A rusty bottle cap; a 10,000 year old arrowhead found on a near by farm; a sycamore seed from my back yard; walnut shell halves, that to my delight impress perfect hearts into clay: sea shells, that never cease to grab my imagination: old books: broken bones, feathers, past prime flowers…all and much more touch my creative spirit. Every object has beauty if you take time to discover how light falls on, it or how it feels from a touch of your finger tips or how its aroma makes it singular.

You do a series of angels and crosses that are very cool. I’m not a religious person, per say, but your pieces are old world and comforting.  What inspires your guardian angels? 

D: They are not meant to be religious in nature, but to remind us that each of us has a kind and giving nature.  wonderousANgelAngels give comfort to those who believe, beauty to those who take time to look, hope for those who seek. These are all things I find in family and friends…my angels. My little pieces are a tribute to those who lift my spirit.

Note: D has just finished her 12th month of chemo treatment for cancer, and has somehow managed to maintain her creativity through it all.  You would never know of her health concerns by her shop output: D has over 500 items stocked!  From the beginning, I’ve crushed on Wondrous Strange Designs as much for D’s science-meets-art designs, as for her crazy prolific output.  I am daily addicted to her shop to see what will come next from the kiln!

Visit  Wondrous Strange Designs shop on Etsy, and catch her 25% sale off through Christmas!  I will be posting new jewelry featuring her work soon.

Tenacious like a Passion Flower

Since then, this picture and the passion flower has become a quiet symbol for me, of sending out the best- in the worst possible scenario- ALL of our energy & gifts. And of our true, in-born tenacity.

Lake Merritt
Image by bgreenlee via Flickr

When I first moved to Oakland, April 2002, I worked in the heart of downtown.  I treasured my 45min walk to work in the mornings; the gorgeous cool air, Lake Merritt, flocks of coastal birds diving the skyline. This wasn’t my first urban experience, but it was definitely the rawest.

Once in town, walking up Broadway, I’d pass storefronts, the famous Paramount Theater, the row of pot club coffee shops with their cat calling bouncers (the area was later dubbed Oaksterdam), then past the coffee shops that actually served coffee, the halfway houses, the men on their way to State & Federal parole appointments.  It was all fascinating to me; how just walking by, you’d get solicited for everything- just walking to work! Crazy.  By 5pm, downtown changed completely- with a whole new cast and crew that took to the streets.   But how I loved Oakland’s edge; it was intense & exciting.

One day walking- all in my head with the tasks of the day- a swirl of color caught my eye. I looked to see the most amazing flower!  It was mystical, otherworldly;  it was like some mother ship from a fantastical galaxy. It was so hardy with its perfectly ordered, multi-colored exotic layers, that it looked plastic. I had to touch it.

It was dense and hardy indeed.  The flower and dozens of big buds hung from a thick, vine-of-a-bush whose tendrils wrapped tight through 4 feet of chain link fence.  The whole plant with it’s color wheel and perfection was the most unlikely presence in this urban grit-scape; it’s small trunk squeezed through a 1-inch crack between parking lot and sidewalk.

It became my little miracle creature.  I savored it every Spring and would clandestinely dump water at it’s base in the dryest Summers. Over the years, the fence began to lean, until one day, the whole thing lay flat on the asphalt.  But the tenacious plant hung on; it stayed that way, blooming boldly horizontal for at least another two years before someone removed it; fence, vine and all.

Since then, this picture and the passion flower (or passion vine) has become a quiet symbol for me. One of sending out the best- in the worst possible scenario- ALL of our energy & gifts.  And of our true, in-born tenacity.  I forget this sometimes.

I send this picture to anyone who is going through a hard time.  We forget that we are naturally this strong.  I love it when Nature reminds me.

See this Flickr artist , BG, for more cool Oakland pics: