Monday, October 27, 2014

Egypt Diarra-Kai

I love you baby girl....
On the anniversary of the passing of my daughter, I'm posting a poem I wrote 16 years ago soon after my baby girl breathed her last. Those were the best 5 weeks a mother could know!


Ahhhhhhh... Angels awaken me,
     or was it
     the sudden chill?

Wait---Was that a sigh?
Dear God, let it be a sigh.
My heart skips a beat
but does not

The blood rushing 
through my veins

You see...
The timeless truth about tranquil turmoil
is that
going back 
is not an option.

Her limp limbs in one hand
chest compressions with the other,
     one one thousand
     two one thousand
     three on thousand
     one one thousand
     two one thousand
     three one thousand

An eternity happened in that moment
An eternity---happened---in that moment

Existence ceases to exist.
My life swirls about me
colliding with past worlds
     with repeated rights
     and record wrongs.
Was this punishment?

The universe unraveling 
at it seams...
like a dream.

As Motherhood conspires with Death
she withdraws her embrace
leaving me
once more.

I offer a sacrifice
     my own breath
     my own life.
Was I too late? or 
on time.
Time with his cold insistent hand
was on me.
He pinned me
threw a blanket of despair
about me---
     then laughed.

I could not see
the next moment
suffocating me.

It was not my time.
It was hers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Art Opening "Reflections" @ Studio Montclair, New Jersey

Studio Montclair Presents Portfolio Series: Reflections
at Montclair Public Library November 2 – 28

Media Contact: Yvette Lucas  |  | 973-809-8261

MONTCLAIR, NJ: On Thursday, November 6, 2014, from 6:30 to 8:30pm, Studio Montclair Inc. (SMI) will host the artists’ opening reception for its exhibition Portfolio Series: Reflections, on display at the Montclair Public Library from November 2 through November 28. This exhibition showcases the work of five artists whose work depicts the theme “reflection.” Each artist explores the theme in a highly personal and subjective way, with no two artists using the same medium. Collage, photography, fiber arts, animation and drawing are all employed to their fullest in the hands of these five very talented women. Most of the artists will be in attendance at the reception, which is free and open to the public. All of the artists are SMI members.
The five artists in the show are Rachel Kanter and Paula Stark of Montclair; Roshanak Elmendorf of Ringwood; Linda Jacobs of Maplewood; and Michelle R. Thomas of Hartford, CT.
“Some of the works are about light and its many forms of reflection,” says Curator Lisa Sanders, “while others depict the theme in its meditative sense, as in carefully considering and reflecting upon experiences, cultures and personal relationships.”
SMI Gallery Director Amy Becker explains, “Every November, the library is the site of an SMI Portfolio Series exhibition that provides an opportunity for SMI members to showcase a body of work.”
About the artists
The works by fiber artist Rachel Kanter portray the theme “reflection” as the revisiting of Jewish ritual objects through the lenses of tradition, domestic roles and modern ideas. Kanter uses embroidery, aprons, kitchen towels, and other household objects as the substrate for her artistic and personal reflection.
Paula Stark’s landscape-inspired paper collages capture the subtle variations of reflected light, color, texture and space found in nature. Her work draws upon observation and contemplation, which bring an especially fresh point of reference to the landscape genre.
Iranian-born Roshanak Elmendorf uses moving images—animated drawings, photographs and film—to represent her inner reflections of memory and culture. Her work intertwines memory and poetry to create a unique personal and cultural narrative.

In the work of multi-media artist Michelle R. Thomas, the theme of reflection harkens to the phrase, “pause and reflect.” Thomas is a retired airmen of the U.S. Air Force/Connecticut Air National Guard, and her works for this exhibition reflect the many facets of her experience in the military and the people with whom she served.

Photographer Linda Jacobs’ photogram images capture the reflective qualities of light. Her careful selection of objects used in the images reveals a fascinating interplay of memory, free association and abstraction that compel the viewer to respond to the work at a very personal level.
About the Curator
Lisa Sanders received her MFA from the New York Studio School in 2011. Her work has been exhibited twice at the John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY; outdoors in Art in Nature at Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ; at Gallery 202, DUMBO, NY; Reverol & Co., New Rochelle, NY; Governors Island Art Fair, New York, NY; the Box Gallery, Galesburg, IL; and the Arts Guild of New Jersey, Rahway. She has received awards from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (2014 Artists Fellowship), the New York Studio School (sculptor in residence), and the Vermont Studio Center (fellowship residency). Lisa lives and works in Newark, NJ. Lisa is on the SMI board and serves as Exhibitions Coordinator.
About the Gallery Director
Amy Becker is the SMI Gallery Director for exhibitions at the Montclair Public Library. Ms. Becker is also a Studio Montclair board member and serves as a Communications Coordinator. Additionally, she serves on the board of the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance. Ms. Becker is an award-winning fine art photographer. Her work has appeared nationally, and regionally in such institutions as the Morris Museum, Noyes Museum, Hunterdon Art Museum, George Segal Gallery, Aljira, and in New York galleries Soho Photo, Pen and Brush Club, and Ceres Gallery.

Montclair Public Library is located at 50 S. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 10am – 8pm; Friday–Saturday 10am – 6pm; Sunday 1-6pm.
Studio Montclair Inc. (SMI) is a nonprofit organization of exhibiting professional artists and others interested in the visual arts. Its mission is to promote culture and education in the visual arts and encourage emerging artists.
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. These funds are administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Appreciate You

For What? I'm glad you asked...

For stimulating and provoking minds,
For being passionate about the process of creation, 
     and have that excitement spill over.
For being passionate about the plight of our people
     and have a mission to act.
For being passionate about kindness and equality
     and have it take the form of grace.

My personal gratitude bubbles over 
because of statements you made 
     to half prying ears - at the bar.

You gave me nuggets of knowledge 
     to chew on.
I've been digesting the concept of the lesser mystery
     and the greater one ever since.
What is our legacy?
Why are we here?

Discussing vulnerability,
     gracefully opened a door
     I've been trying to pry open.

Figuring out the inner workings of a person
     is always the goal.
Leaving behind the superficial. 
Its invigorating tangling with a soul 
     who can show their true self FIRST.

This is an artistic and human gesture,
     to say I appreciate you.
     I believe in you.

Artistic Expressions episode 6 - Kemet Maroon

Watch our latest episode of Artistic Expressions. Michelle Thomas interviews the EXPLOSIVE Kemet Maroon (poet, musician, Arts & Crafts jeweler and community activist)
Please hit the subscribe button so you can receive the latest episodes as they come out. Thank you and REMEMBER TO ALWAYS SUPPORT THE ARTS AND YOUR LOCAL ARTISTS! peace

Come check out Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television, channel 5 on Saturdays at 4:00 pm!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Tree or Me?

A poem I wrote this morning....

A Tree or Me?

Grounded. the rich life giving soil.

Nurtured by Mother Earth,
          her sediment offers wisdom
          -food for the soul.

I stand tall.
Unmoved by time
          or circumstance.
I only grow.
Although I am strong,
I stand alone.

Can anyone see me?  
          Or do passers-by just take me for granted?
          -cuz I'll always be here.
Grounded. harmony with Nature.

When will my beloved stroll by
          and see my illuminating headdress?
This is my time to shine.
Autumn air is the signal.
          Energy trapped
          -swells with anticipation.

My leaves wait to burst 
with a brilliant array of colors,
waiting to fall

My adornment will soon 
shed her crown of glory 
          yielding to the creeping cold hand of winter.
Each vibrant leaf floats down
          a tiny sacrifice to the gods.
A desperate attempt
to be noticed.

If no one stops to look
          is it just as spectacular?
My answer lies in waiting.
I remain
Rooted...until the next season.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Caged Tiger

Another poem from an old journal (2006), that surprisingly applies to today!

Caged Tiger

Ever wonder why
a caged tiger
paces back and forth?

So much to do
So much time
So little space

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Looking Back to Celebrate the Now!

Here is a journal entry of mine from May 2001.

"I have moments of strength and moments of weakness.
  • When I am down my body shakes and I can't stop moving. Its as if I am a caged animal under attack. Sometimes I feel helpless and invisible. 
  • My most pressing concern is feeling like a failure in multiple areas of my life.  It started with the inability to have children. Everything stems from that. 
  • I also feel I'm unable to complete anything. That is a major exaggeration but crippling no less.  That's why finishing school and staying in the military until I retire is so important to me.
  •  All of the qualities and character traits of the woman I want to be are right in front of me. I seem to never be able to reach her. Yet I know she exists. I only see the failure of not being her, instead of rejoicing in the challenge of becoming her.
I want to be ok with where I am. I put a lot of pressure on myself. "
Perspective is everything. I sit here remembering the heavy heart and frustrations I bore. I am thankful that perseverance really does reap a reward. 
Changing to an outward focus allowed peace to enter my soul. My tendency to worry was replaced with a calm resolve towards what "is".  The truth set me free.

Today I can acknowledge the blessings showered upon me.
My "most pressing concern" of infertility was wiped away by the success of UCONN's fertility program. The 5 year struggle ended on March, 22, 2002 with the birth of our "wonder twins" Madi & Wave!  The joy of my life. I can't imagine a time without them. Their birth instantly dissolved a lifetime of wanting and hurt. Their life continues to teach me humility and grace. I am grateful.

Feeling that I was unable to finish anything, stemmed from a scattered and unsettled mind. I lost my focus and patience. I allowed my mind to roam about with no direction or purpose. This produced a hopeless feeling inside me. A lie.
However, staying on course regardless of negative thinking, and not giving up proved to provide victory. I earned my Bachelors Degree in Art 5 years later. The accomplishment of that moment gave purpose and carried the honor of being the first immediate family member to have graduated college since 1929. That is both sad and hopeful.

I can honestly say, retiring from the military after 21 years of faithful service was exhilarating! I took on that challenge, one day at a time. There were MANY times along that road I thought to just get out, however, being of my word and finishing what I started became a model for my life. It also has left an unexpectedly positive impression on my children. They carry with them a tangible sense of pride that their mother stayed the course, served in the United States military and helped people.

My most precious gift was reaching and getting to know the woman within; the woman I was to become! Countless hours have been spent evaluating and re-evaluating my character. Refinement is a daily undertaking. The challenge is refreshing and restores my soul. I am constantly on a quest to improve as a human being. Remaining open to the positive forces of the universe allow for such internal change. My desire was and continues to be to grow in all the virtues - love, faith, patience, joy, peace, kindness, grace, integrity, truth, honesty, wisdom, excellence, generosity, service, goodness, humility and the like.
Although, I have grown exponentially since my 2001 journal entry, I am light years away from my enlighten true self. This is a journey that will carry me through to my grave.

I am ok with where I am. No pressure.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Artistic Expressions-Darryl Oates-100214

Enjoy episode five of Artistic Expressions! 
Michelle Thomas interviews Hartford visual artist Darryl Oates.

Artistic Expressions is dedicated to bringing awareness to the vast talent throughout Hartford, CT and its neighboring towns. We are in the beginning stages of producing videos that highlight local artists. If you know an artist who would be a great candidate for an interview on Artistic Expressions please contact us at 860-655-6685 leave a message for Michelle Thomas.
Help us give back to the arts community.

Come check out Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television 
Channel 5 on Saturdays at 4:00 pm!
Remember to always support the Arts and your local artists!
Please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can receive the latest episodes of Artistic Expressions.  

Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television - Michelle Thomas

Please Click link!

Artistic Expressions Promo Video-091014

Come check out Artistic Expressions on Hartford Public Access Television, channel 5 on Saturdays at 4:00 pm!
Remember to always support the Arts and your local artists!
Please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can receive the latest episodes of Artistic Expressions. Peace

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why Can't You See Me?

Why Can’t You See Me?

Taken for granted
Taken advantage
Is lost.

Does the brightness of my soul blind you?
Has the predatory nature of pride preyed upon you,
Stalked you out, advanced and devoured your sensibility?
You blindly use words of control and manipulation,
Fumbling in the dark.
Take a journey with me.
There exists a universe,
Where the bright nature of purity drips from lotus pedals.
As I slide down the optic nerve
Into my mind’s eye,
A vision enraptures me.
Clarity is crystal clear.
Sweet surrender is a comfort in the morning,
Wrapping her loving arms around you.
Close your eyes and give in to her.

Love restores sight.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A poem I wrote some years ago....


When I Dream...

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
The search is over, and the floodgates burst.
The spirit fills us with such incomprehensible peace, 
our bodies soaked with His promises
never again to return to the unknowing.  
We are baptized. 

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
Kind are his words, his touch---understanding.
Then the cool night air kisses my cheek,
my pulse pounds through me
unraveling the mysteries of a thousand years past.
We are in love.

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
Our families gather as the children play.
The salty ocean air en-wraps us in a magical mist, 
while vows are made before God
lifting our gratitude on the wings of seagulls.
We are married.

When I dream...
open wide are my eyes.
What was once empty is now showered in abundance.
As life grows, tiny limbs explore their world,
our hearts swell with love
unable to contain the electrifying anticipation.
We are pregnant.

I can only imagine what I'll dream
when I close my eyes.