The Upward Spiral
The Upward Spiral is a 2011 collection of paintings and monotypes from activist artist Catie Faryl’s exhibition series, Digging Out From The Dirty Decade. Two poems accompany the paintings, “The Shaman’s Dream” and “What’s The Use Lullaby,” serving as the artist’s statement on the collection.
The Shaman’s Dream
A Shaman’s Dream is Waking Life since really there is no such creature as a Shaman’s Dream.
Terrestrials come equipped with a guarding wall, or a curtain at least
While between the worlds a Shaman travels light with only a veil which rent by starlight
Is open to all manner of visions and things.
The Shaman disliked the early morning hours except for the 3 AM holy one yet during infrequent
Air-swimming interludes, at sixes and sevens with cattle calls, he’d ride a wild horse in sleep canyons
And lasso stray goats of prediction to bring back to the tribe.
In the dream desert there were primitive glyphs and newish broken china – with
Delicate color shells like empty sea homes that fleet teenage crabs had run away from.
Time moved unharnessed until noon and terrain was traversed where dingos had made
Self-deprecating statues to the humorless gods.
In distant hills tongues in trees wagged restless secrets of close encounters.
Nearby cacti tipped their blooms to the intruding gyrations of oil rigs
Pounding out their desperate demands for Earth to obey and relinquish her lubricants.
Small tremors foreshadow vacant times like teapots all tipped over and poured out.
What sprig of fresh promise can a Shaman Dove bring as the midday heat wilts what mortals can see?
Comfort is evening spreading her cape and sprinkling stars to rest our tired eyes.
Sleep deep, Good Shaman, then return to the tribe with advice to look skyward.
WHAT’S THE USE LULLABY
“What’s the use?” Does the growing tree say it? Does the water care as it’s carried away yet?
“Use your head” my father said and so I try but find Heart is still my strongest guide.
And in my mind’s eye I see better times, though passing through some troubling blinds;
We thread a difficult needle to stitch up the crimes of those who have trespassed before us.
If everything happens for a reason, then on to the future – it is the season
To stand and assess what destruction has wrought – from rubble and scraps we can salvage a lot!
And when I look into my heart or the eyes of a child, it is chilling, this willing I feel to start.
I SAY “What is the Use” of unwanted freeways ? Those will be platforms for future skyrails!
Or else wide-open bike trails where hikers and horse carts step over snails.
What is the use of billions of cars – when gas runs out and elites move to Mars?
We’ll build sublime towers and shout praises to real stars!
What’s the use of gyres, those islands at sea? They can be made into harbors to keep our ships free
From evil currents and pirates on climate change seas!
What’s the use of Freeway Rest stops? Few visitors coming – no traffic, no cops!
No worries dear ones – make Re-Use depots with jobs that won’t stop.
In our forests an Ecology of Eden could be, with careful stewardship we can set ourselves free,
and make markets for farmers and homes for bees.
And what of the herds of white elephant factories? What possible use can these old things be?
My guess is they’re empty so we can agree to grow food and botanicals when the heat disagrees.
We’ll be using these places to stay safe and free.
So all children, sweetest dreams you deserve.
Grown-ups awake! – rested and cured.
There is use for everything under the sun – though we’re reeling, we’re healing and having some fun.
Awake, you doubters in your dark TV caves; come out in the sunlight and join with the Brave.
From The Upward Spiral 2011