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Laura J Braverman – Urdhva Dhanurasana

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Urdhva Dhanurasana, poems by Laura J Braverman

Laura J. Braverman studied fine art and apparel design at Rhode Island School of Design, and worked internationally in apparel for many years. In addition to painting, she now focuses on writing, having completed a writer’s certificate in creative nonfiction with Stanford University; taken numerous courses in poetry and essay at the New School Continuing Education Program; and, participated in workshops with poet James Arthur, and with nonfiction writer Sven Birkerts at Bennington College graduate writing seminars. Her work has appeared in the prose anthology Mountain Stories, and the poetry journals Live Encounters, The BeZINE, and Mediterranean Poetry, and will soon appear in California Quarterlyand Levure Litteraire.

Her areas of concentration in writing include poetry, prose poetry, essay and lyric essay; and, in painting, color field abstraction and geometric abstraction, styles which emphasize the expressive possibilities of non-figurative form, composition and color. Nature plays an important role in both Laura’s writing and painting, and she has collaborated on various projects with the Nature Conservation Center at the American University of Beirut. Her paintings were recently shown in Beirut in a solo exhibition entitled, Source. She lives between Lebanon and Austria.

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Body is the bow—
spine, the stave.

Spine grows long
extends and arcs:

bowstring tightens,
prepares for flight.

The arrow shaft
is Om—infinite hum

of a fixed source—
quiet mind, the arrowhead.

And the target?

Towards what end
does the arrow glide?

Now

there is no leaving
and no staying.
No searching
nor finding. No
treasure lost. No
moving towards.
   Only this.

We are not late
we are not early
but gathering up
what was surrendered—

souls bent over
the harvest
in a field.

Hide and Seek

You listened
as a tree does—bending
towards my thoughts.
You listened, yes.
But so you also spoke:
with silences
I tried to comprehend.
Silence left me empty-handed,
left me
to my solitary imaginings.
Sometimes you dove down—
down—as roots do—
to some defended place,
far beyond our reach.
Your faith, too,
you sheltered
from the quadrangle of us—
a discrete practice.
Quietly, you left the house
in your dark suit—
your well-worn book of sacred
stories tucked under one arm,
a folded cap within its pages.
And quietly, you broke
with your faith’s custom
to shrug
your body off
through fire.
Ten years on
the trees give me hints of you
and where you’ve gone.
You trained me in their language.
Have the years altered
your leaving?
Perhaps now I find
a little more than I seek.

3:00, Balham Park

He’s French, boyish and untidy.
His name means gold
or golden. But he isn’t to me.
I’m stuck on other things
like the in-between
life of my illness
and the divorce
that’s left me limbless.

I meet him—
not inappropriately—
at the Méliès Café.
It’s down the road
from Sophy’s class.
He asks me:
do I want to do cerf-volant?
Fly kites.

So we find a bleak excuse
for a park.
He walks ahead—
untangles
two long cords,
prepares the earthbound kite
for me.

The wind these days
is sense-abrading,
   pushing to be let in.
If I hear it hurry by once more
I think my skin will hurry
far from me.
But it comes again—full—
against my will
and I’m still here in Balham.

The kite takes flight.
I’m holding on
two cords with loops for grips—
holding on and whispering:
  one stands for body
  one stands for spirit
It’s not a kite that flies up there
  but me.

Initiation

Join the circle dance in fields flower-deep
right arm crossed over left
hands held—
one step forward
one step back.

Let your fingers seek the differences
between things.
Heel of hand
and bowl of palm willing to give—
willing to receive.

Crawl over black earth,
dig up wet and brown—
build the walls
around all that’s ether in us—
unseen, unsaid.
Then take them down without shame.

Time widens to let Patience pass—
a procession paid all necessary dues.
You may find a rabbit hole
and the map to guide you:
to treasure and bleating lamb.
No treasure without the lamb.

Walk the path between the pines.
See a tapestry of shade stitched
with dappled light.
Find the place you go to hang
your head between your hands.
Rest the sun-discs of your knees
to the ground.
Your head meets the earth—
bone to rock.
Wait for Dawn. She holds the sky
with both arms—will come
with roses and gold.

 

© Laura J Braverman

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