November 02, 2016

Queen of Cups Issue Twenty-Five (Howie Good and Page of Wands)

The Ancestor, Leonora Carrington

Welcome to Queen of Cups Issue Twenty-Five featuring three short poems by Howie Good and the Page of Wands card. I want to bring your attention to the link 'seed texts' which appears after the last poem. Good embeds information from outside sources into his poems and this link will bring you to some interesting referential material.
Anyone who curates a literary journal, even a mini one like this, brings her aesthetic to the table. I've never wanted my personal aesthetic to homogenize QOC or limit its appeal to readers who have their own ideas of great writing and subject matter. Some people like their art and writing to embody beauty. The function of art, they believe, is to be beautiful. Some want beauty and truth, for others just truth will do. Some want to recognize life in art. And for others, just the opposite, only experimentation can achieve real art, the complete lack of anything recognizable, a metaphor for life through utter disorientation and disjunction. Obviously, art can come in all of these guises, and more. I think the magic of art resides in the individual imagination and intellect behind the creation, the human in the act of creating, not only the conceit on the page, canvas or stage.  We, readers and viewers, thrill at glimpsing another human's creative experience and expression, that's why we read, go to performances and museums, and make things ourselves, whether we label our creations 'art' or not. It's exciting to think of all that potential, all the art that hasn't yet been put into the world but will be. The hours of inspiration, creativity, and self expression that we will experience directly in our lifetimes, and vicariously through the art-makers we connect with, is what actually makes the world go round, I think. Which is a damn good thing!  

Tarot Card of the Week: Page of Wands
Page of Wands: This is the third week we've pulled Wands! The Wands suit represents intuition, creativity, inspiration, spirituality, ambition, determination and strength: all expansive states of being, pushing toward growth and change. Pages signify enthusiastic young spirits just embarking on life, still unfettered by too many burdens. So, Page of Wands is kind of a double dose of youthful enthusiasm. Some have compared this card to The Fool in that the Page of Wands is a free spirit, free thinker, seeking new beginnings and adventure. As a figure that represents youth, he is unfettered, free to come and go at will, and necessarily more carefree than say the King of Wands. The shadow side of this page represents risk taking, blind idealism, impulsiveness, quick temper, boredom, and immaturity. The Page of Wands could indicate your need for spontaneity and a youthful approach to life or could signify someone in your life with these qualities. Just be aware of the pitfalls of the shadow. The appearance of Page of Wands in a reading often signifies creative restlessness, being on the verge of a new discovery or life phase, or the receipt of welcome surprise news.


Page of Wands for Writers and Artists: 
I got all 'tarot card for writers and artists' in the intro, but I think those initial thoughts are eminently relevant to Page of Wands for writers and artists. This card is pure creativity for creativity's sake, it's experimentation, play, making without judgement, spending the day not only painting but dwelling in your imagination the way children do in imaginative play. As adults we don't marvel enough at the ability of children to imagine worlds, sustain them, and then act within the worlds they're imagining. I can see my boys at seven-years-old, wandering around the yard holding some kind of prop: lego creation, deflated beanie baby, stick, (maybe a beanie baby on a stick) or whatever was at hand, sometimes mumbling quietly, other times running, crouching, jumping off of rocks and stumps, or striking odd poses, all happening in a world that was a mix of the physical one in front of them and some other imaginary world being created on the spot. Think of the creative stamina and power in that! The same behavior in an adult is bound to be labeled eccentricity, escapism, or delusion. But for an artist, that ability is pure gold, and I don't mean the monetary kind. I'd argue that the ability to create worlds and then act in them, a kind of wakeful lucid dream, is true magic, the vestigial whispers of which writers tap into and readers respond to in such works as The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter books and Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, among others. This was a magical power we once wielded with complete confidence and faith and have all but lost with maturity. It's heartbreaking for a parent to witness the first falterings of imaginative magic in their children. The day comes when your child goes through the motions with legos and beanie babies, makes the sound effects, imagines the storyline, but can't seem to fully enter the imaginative world. You see him sitting on the bedroom floor surrounded by the props and realize he knows he's just sitting on the bedroom floor with a clutter of toys. I guess it boils down to a growing consciousness that comes with maturity, but from the outside looks like loss, a death. I can barely remember what it feels like on the inside. Without the intrusion of consciousness and the loss of our early imaginative magic, we wouldn't have Harry Potter, because that series is both a striving back for its author and the fulfillment of a deep need for its readers. Our imaginations and creative abilities do come back, just in a more refined, mature, productive, some might argue less potent, form. We naturally move away from the desire to swing sticks at imaginary monsters, to less pure, often more creatively ambitious, forms of imaginative play. Those years of possessing magical creativity can never be fully retrieved, but we couldn't be adult artists without that apprenticeship and without the loss. That emptiness makes us yearn and work to restore something of our former abilities, resulting in art. Page of Wands reminds us that every human has artistic potential in any given moment, as a birthright, that creativity and connecting through creativity are soul-healing, dignifying acts.

Introducing Howie Good!


If you’re talking to a man whose face has been consumed by a dandelion, then you’re probably a psychopath. There’s no hole in my head, although I change my mind a thousand times a day, every day.  As my mother lay dying, she dreamed that Hitler was chasing her through the outlet mall. In the dream, only Hitler had a shadow, a dark triad personality. Fear of dogs suddenly seemed gratuitous. That’s sort of how junkies feel about rehab. They hate the creeps and the fetus and the bricked-up windows.

Donald Trump Won’t Leave Us Alone
I like to walk around with a friend and a granola bar.
Today I was punched in the face by a man
who got out of his car and yelled, “Trump 2016!”
Four small pink alligators are still missing.
Theoretically, I love the fact that cities
from all over the world are under one roof.
Point your camera at the world around you.
I just want to sit and play guitar to my goldfish.

Still Life with Firearms

I should have kept it, brought it inside, put it where I would see it every day, on the desk or on top of the dresser, a chunk of jawbone with sharp yellow teeth that I found in the woods and, for a long moment, weighed in my hand before tossing away. Weeks later, I stand at the window and count the wild turkeys – 1-2-3-4-5 – pecking for acorns in the yard. The questions concerning the gun disguised as a cell phone don’t concern them. I myself am trying to guess what I’m more likely to be, unintended victim or stray bullet.
Seed texts

Howie Good is the author of A Ghost Sings, A Door Opens published in 2016 by Another New Calligraphy Press and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.
Weekly Writing Prompt: This week's lead art is by mid-twentieth century surrealist Leonora Carrington. Check out some of her paintings here and here. Carrington embodied the Page of Wands in her work, creating mythologies, life forms, and lineages that are original and bizarre, but strike us as familiar too, both on the metaphorical level, and because they contain familiar elements: a house, a tree, stairs, the moon. Her paintings evoke in the viewer a childlike thrill from being in the company of invention. After looking through her images, (google some too) write a story for one. You can choose The Ancestor (above) if you're pressed for time. You'll be writing fairy tale, science fiction, magic realism, allegory; you'll be connecting with worlds and magic not unlike those of your own childhood imagination. I find that Carrington's images are particularly reminiscent of the child's ability to create worlds. Her creatures are humanish, the rooms almost like our rooms, in the way that Hogwarts is almost familiar except for the moving stairs and talking portraits. Just have fun with this one!
Next week: Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee