Bluster, flourish, flood, full

How May has flown! I write to you this month with a brief update amid the bluster and flourish of early summer. Since I wrote last I have started fieldwork on North Manitou Island, and I’m writing this between my third and fourth stay out there. The work is absorbing and exhausting, the birds are multitudinous and the point is as familiar and mysterious as ever. Each day is a veritable flood of images and patterns.

A wave rises against a slate blue sky and curls over ahead of itself like a hand groping forward. The wave is white, its edges against the sky silver. Another smaller wave rises in the hollow of the first, reaching in the opposite direction — what wind has created this surf? Perhaps some mass hides just beneath the surface, a reef or a craft, and the waves break in chaos over top. Behind the high wave looms the colloidal disc of the full moon.

High wave, Kamisaka Sekka, May 1909

The fieldwork doesn’t afford much time to sit down with a notebook, so I’ve been playing with composing bits of poems out loud as I walk — trying lines as questions repeated with small variations (words transposed, emphasized, omitted) and held out for a response. Those that hum I record on the spot with my phone, as speech to be transcribed into text only later. It’s a perfect inversion of how I usually work, and so far has been fruitful. I’m calling the cycle Island lines, and you can listen along here. I’ll post one or two fresh each week until August.

Since I mailed out the first issue of Drift Body zine at the beginning of the month, responses from pen pals have been arriving in the mailbox. It’s such a delight to see your prints and drawings and zines. What riches! Thank you. Subscriptions are perennially open, and no matter when you hop on, I’ll send you all the previously-published issues.

That’s all I have for you, dearest readers. Until next month, may the flood sweep us all onward. Happy full moon!