James Edward Hergel, Canadian Artist: A Collection

…home holds the heart as nothing else can

find me, buried in this frost & moondance rhythm of light & dark

the northern lights have held me hostage, willingly I die with them 

each summer, each dawn

this quiet haven of stilled sweetness,  thick & beloved, pining admidst the lucid shadows of winter—

there, all things are converging & tearing apart

my heart, my heart



I could pretend I know much more about Canadian artists than I do, but one thing I do know, Canadian artists seem to be some of the most illustrative & colourful. At least, my favourites are & I rarely see art from other countries that touches my heart the same way. 

Perhaps it is the bleak long winters devoid of colour, but I gravitate towards the intense images & bold colours. Often there is a fluidity to the lines that reminds me of blowing snow more than water. The shift colour gradients & deep shadows in many artist’s works is so engrossing. 

From a young age I wanted to be an artist, & for reasons I can’t quite understand, I felt very discouraged from this path. Only now do I realize you just can’t fight these things, you must let yourself be taken along for the ride with artistic journeys. For me, I could pretend only, to be anything else. My nature is artistic. 

Whether it’s been music, writing, visual art, fabric art—I am by nature an artist. This hasn’t always meant I’m good at it by nature, or that I’ve not needed to learn the craft, & practice it, it simply means, I see & dream & feel & live most thouroughly when being creative. I am not good with redundancy or conformity. I get tired, bored & definitely unproductive. Some people thrive on schedule, routine & knowing what comes next. I’ve discovered some people ‘hate surprises’ & change. That, I cannot wrap my mind around. 

I struggle to be constant. It is true, I love my own home, most certainly, my own bed; but, give me challenge & variants & an opportunity to learn new things, & I never get tired or bored. I wish I had a little more constancy to get perfected at something. I feel this might be my greatest flaw. But, if life had unlimited time, the slow gradual opportunity to form a skill as layers of sediment forms a ridge eventually, that would be perfect for my learning style. 

Anyways. Enough about me. I really just wanted to share some lovely art today. 

It’s a day when I expect the snow will start falling any moment now, things are looking browner by the day outside, the days are getting very short & dark, so this spark of colourful artwork is keeping me cheery. Enjoy! 

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breaking free

you must break free now
the way you mold your haiku—
so perfect, so clean

grab hold that language
sculpture it with broken hands—
leave a little stain

what soft warmth is there
in pleading like a robot—
siezed, failed, & grinding

these gears within you
do they weep, are they mourning?
are they imagined?

bring me your tremble
bring me your quivering jaw—
suckle me on tears

let me taste this salt
let me hear the tremble of
cracking voice & soul

let the pain pulse forth
let me feel what is within
let me crack the code…

what tragedy lies
in this inner wound, gaping
what lies there, scraping

down the bones of your vertabrae
within the neck of you
what are you gasping about? what
are you choking for? what
kept you tossing through this
anguished night? have you felt
any softness touch to that roughness? break free that gaged cage
quell the rushing tide, breathe,
like its a last breath, or perhaps, the first
find what is lost & grip onto it
hold it, with both bleeding hands.

Psalms 12-14

Today’s daily reading for my schedule is Psalms 12-14. Wow! Well timed. 

There are so many little gems in this reading. It bolsters faith in Jehovah acting on behalf of the righteous. It shows the way we can feel, asking, “how long, O Jehovah, will you forget me? Forever?” Then it shows Jehovah takes note of each of us individually, noting “the foolish one says in his heart: “There is no Jehovah, ” ” pointing out that Jehovah is looking for those seeking him & that he will become a refuge for them, and stating that Jehovah is with the generation of the righteous. 

A short but worthwhile reading for sure. 

This Is So Mind Boggling

Ever since I heard the gunfire in the footage, and then heard the number of killed & wounded, all I can think is—how? How on earth are there weapons out there that one guy in a window can shoot that many people in that small amount of time. How? 

I am a political neutal, live in a country with significantly stricter gun laws, know nothing about weaponry, or crazy people really, but how? 

Can one guy seriously all by his lonesome own a weapon that can do that much damage? 

That is messed up beyond what my mind can process. It seems fishy. It seems foolish at best that these weapons are available to the public. I mean really? You can walk into a gun shop in the States & purchase multiple weapons that are literally designed to kill people? Not hunting rifles, but weapons of war? 

That blows my mind. I always have an unease about visiting America, this just confirms I should be uneasy about it. 

Edmonton just had what is being labeled as a terror attack. A guy rented a uhaul and ran down four pedestrians & just previous to that had rammed a police officer & then stabbed him multiple times in the face. No one died. Here, we were stunned & horrified tho I think we’ve come to expect that this is the state of the world we live in. It’s ‘terrifying’ but what are we supposed to do? ‘Be vigilant’? Seriously. What am I looking for? 

Frankly, I don’t fear any one race or nationality more than another. People seem quite equally prone to badness regardless of their beginnings. 

If it truly was, a white guy with no warning signs or criminal record who committed such a devastating & abhorrent crime in Vegas, and a dark skinned guy who committed the crimes here in the city I live in, who was ‘known’ to police & expected of extremist views, who am I to fear more? By collateral damage, the white guy with no criminal history or extremist views. 

I just have such a hard time believing the world we live in keeps sinking lower & lower. Just when you think it can’t get worse, it numbingly does. 

Of the victims in Vegas, my heart instantly aches for what strikes closest to home, the four kids of one of the Alberta women killed. Those poor kids lost their mom that night. Because why? I don’t know. 

Giving Silence a Voice

I could give this silence a voice—it’s anarchy upon the soundstage of that inner world. 

There’s a mad flailing, like tentacles, foamed in black ink & I notice death has both a particular glare & a particular smell. Both are putrid. Both are hot & cold all at once. 

There’s screaming from those to the left & to the right; I can’t tell if they scream at each other, or the sky, or the earth below their feet. I have a deafness coming over me, followed by a breathless swallow as commotion spins down this swirling drain. I can only consume so much of these silent moments—the one inside the eye of the storm, before that next hail begins; the one after the fact when silence, well, silence just won’t do. 

Silence is the shock. Silence is the doom. Silence is the stunned disbelief. 

Silence is the hungered child who finally hasn’t the strength to cry one more sob. Silence is the hope teetering upon hopelessness. 

Silence is the stench better known as death.  

I tire of silence. I tire of death. 

I tire of screaming soundless echoes where there are no walls or valleys or canyons to bounce upon. 

So there I sit—in chaotic meloncholies of agonies & deafening reverberations of sickening anguishes, howling & wailing—yet more & more, this wild wild wind storm. 

The silence falls, heavy on my heavy chest, crushing what breath remains, choking my heart, subduing my lungs, flung to the ground while running—

How long do I lay here, am I playing, or am I dead? 

Just Another Day…

So there it was, some dream-like agony with a fresh dust of snow—you screaming agony…you poor screaming agony. 

You go, severing life & echoing blood from flaring nostrils, & you cannot love. You cannot. 

You keep gripping needles & guns & knives, plunged deep, and you’re the widening of hate. You’ve got guts in your gills & sorrow strewn upon your hills. You’re anguish—full & raw & slaughtering & empty. 

You’re not even taking a step to slow. You keep coming. Your face is fueled with things I’ve never known, never understood—never have I wanted to. 

With all this death you come dripping, & I’m not listening. You spew another vast hail of hate, & I’m not listening. I won’t. 

You’re nothing but a curse that will fall away from memory. You will fade. You will die in your vast vats of  sticky tumultuous blood. I’m not watching. I’m not listening. I can’t feel you nor see you anymore. 

Filigreed

Wandering the lake side, noticing all the subtle greens—
How I will miss them come Mid-Winter, them, & the gentle yellow wildflowers

…but for now, the crisp bite to this morning wind, the shocking vermillion bleeding from the leaves, for now, it is terrible & beautiful

…and how there is a roughness to the sky, tree-bark under fingertips, lichen under nails, all this silent churning of the season, to gold

…to aching white & blooms of savage unrestrained, falling will become all the meadows, all the sky, the gazing sun-dogs & whispering north will become the howling, black & thick & heavy 

…and what was summer will so completely fade that it’ll seem a distant dream, & everything will break into particles—breath & life & hope

…summoning softness & summer, so pale, so weak, these fragile little lovelinesses, cascading in these delicate shades of green, fawn & succulent, will be impossible in ways that will be unbearable…

…but it will be beautiful. Mid-Winter will own every blade of grass & sword-upon-the-throat & every echo humbling the trees into barren wind-beaten skeletons

…and what is summer here, but the sweetest sweetest dream, warm & filigreed. 

Dredging 

It’s the dredging song, the one, pulled, plied from the inner calm

The one that has a subtle hymn-like nature, gutted up, the one that tastes

Of soft silence, a hint of sweet hope but that little edge of wonder unknown

The one, that has sunk deep in the belly of the heart, where all the imaginables hang low, in filigrees of soothing light—basking 

I must dredge them up, let them swallow this darkness in thick sips, temperate moans spilling out & eyes

Slowly closing in the after-taste glow of satisfaction

How supple the comfort of horrors, devoured & gone, a warmth on this ever-cold day

The loosed echoes of things past, disappearing off into the murk of time—a wind pulling it all away

I have dredged. With bloodied finger tips, nails broken, pain beyond feeling—until, until

This song came bubbling up, a spring in all this waste—

And I am full. I am calm. I am fine. 

I am fine.