Category Archives: art

61–“On Imperfection, For Corax” from “Frazzle”

Public Art in Dallas: The Eye, photo by M D Mikus, Copyright 2014


On Imperfection
For Corax

On the other side of darkness
the past looks far away,
and if I didn’t know better,
mostly forgotten.

Live in the now,
isn’t that what they say?
I agree mostly and also intend
to remember my lessons:

not to repeat same old mistakes,
not to let the unconscious pilot the course,
to remember to breathe,
to always be kind and

to forgive, every day forgive
imperfection. For here we learn
by being in form, subject to complex patterns
we cannot sense or anticipate.

If we were perfect—
which we are somewhere—
what would be the point of
choosing to go to Earth-school?

As long as we are here—
those numbered precious days,
those rare allotted minutes—
we have work to do.

Get on with it.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2014

From Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing.
And Transcending Boundaries: Inspired by Eric Whitacre and Virtual Choir.

Listen here:

Today it was hard to convince myself that making these videos matters. It seemed that anything I can do is insignificant in the face of massive challenges and national upheaval. Yet…none of us is alone. We inspire each other. We each do our part, right? When I considered not recording, I felt heavier, less hopeful. Maybe that is enough of a reason: to feel lighter, to hope, and perhaps inspire hope. For these few moments, let us demonstrate resilience…together. I am grateful for your presence.

Eye in Daylight, Dallas, photo by M D Mikus, Copyright 2014

For more poem videos in the series

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing










Transcending Boundaries: Inspired by Eric Whitacre and Virtual Choir

31–“Mirror: For Jan Gerber” from “Frazzle”

Dusk at Chicago Botanic Garden by M D Mikus Copyright 2015

“You are the seed crystal
the often unsung hero,

the gatherer, the glue,
the creative spark,

the tranquil reflecting pool…”

From Poem 31, “ Mirror: For Jan Gerber,” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here:

Does this sound like you or someone you know, the one always holding things together?

In 2000 I met Jan Gerber when she curated and coordinated “Women’s Journeys in Fiber,” the first in a series of “process projects” by a group of women artists based in Chicago. That year the group, reflecting on their spiritual journeys, created incredible and diverse mantles (long vests), beautifully displayed at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I was inspired to write the poem, “Mantles of Transformation,” which traveled with the exhibit and appeared in the book on the Mantles project.

When they decided to have a 10-year retrospective exhibit in 2010, Jan asked me to read it at the opening. I readily agreed. In the meantime I also wrote “Mirror: For Jan Gerber” about her. I read it as well (as a surprise). Here are my previous blog posts, including the poems.

For other poem videos in the “Frazzle” series

Inspired by David Bowie: Poems– Part 2

Piccadilly, London, England by MDMikus, Copyright 2005

Piccadilly, London, England by MDMikus, Copyright 2005

These are the remaining poems (with one exception) that I wrote related to the passing of David Bowie nee David Robert Jones. As time passed I consciously stepped back. I read less and listened less to the songs and interviews, trying to overcome what had become a small obsession. I had wanted to drain all the juice out of this experience, know all that could be known. Put it in all into the bubbling stew pot of my creativity and see what came of it. What insights, what counsel on how to be an artist, how to live fearlessly, how to love whole-heartedly, how to die with grace. I wondered if what seemed to me to be essential questions might not be understood by anyone else. And then Nancy on LinkedIn responded with a comment that showed she got exactly what I was after in the first set of poems. Thank you!

I should say this is not a game to see if you can guess what I was going for. Any poem clearly has many interpretations. What I originally had in mind was one intention at one specific time. Later I may or may not even remember what I was thinking before. Sometimes when I read a poem after time has passed I am snapped back to exactly where I was when I wrote it, what I felt, all the details. And sometimes I read it fresh and see in the lines what I did not see when I was too close. I love hearing about other experiences of the poems. Part of the process seems to me to be co-creative, what you bring to the reading matters to the whole…right now.

Worldwide the death of David Bowie affected many people. Most of us did not know him, meet him, or even see him on a concert stage. Did he represent–through his songs and performances–a part of our lives when his music was the soundtrack to growing up? Did his reinventions open some door or make you feel less alone? Or perhaps some part of his story you did not know until now moved you or inspired you. Maybe he allowed you to see into the process of creation and urged you to make something of your own creative impulses. What will you make?


Bowie Transitions

To slump down
in mid-stride
last breath breathed
with family around

no torment or regret
a longing for more yet
opening the beckoning door
not a fight or fear

but gentle release into
whatever there is.
Smile intact and grace
returning to this paradise.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016



David Bowie and More

Without a doubt
any telling of the story
selects and leaves out.
The final tale depends
on the point of view, the filter
of the one telling
telling it to whom.

Snippets taken out of context
what you see is what you get
unless time taken to expand
time stolen in reflection
dreaming with intention
intent on paying attention.

What is the meaning of any one life?
What was made of the moments
stacked up, always numbered
while seeming endless.
Not whether death was cheated but
whether life was served
whether radiant love expanded until
it overcame every earthly thing.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

Man on a Horse, Granada, Spain by MDMikus (c) 2005

Man on a Horse, Granada, Spain by MDMikus (c) 2005


Nature of the Artist

The artist is by nature
sees and feels what isn’t there
compelled to create
by forces benign and malignant
without regard to balance
to personal cost
To survive then is to find
the narrow path
where the voices are fed
the body sustained
and the mind remains
an open container from which
the jumble is untangled
A feather brush is all it takes
to encourage new creation and
a feather brush is all it takes
to tip over into destruction

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016



David Bowie Reflection in 3 Parts

1. After

People can say whatever they want
and some of it may be true
or true once when I knew you
true from a certain slant or
through a particular filter

From wherever I am
I will know everything then
and control nothing
nothing to forgive or regret
while bathed in that luminous ever-present

And if it is all quiet
no one speaking of me or
remembering even a little
or reading something I left
splashed all over the place

Well, I would hope I left enough
worthy of finding again
enough to turn up in
some future excavation
and I could speak or
sing from the heart again


2. Before

In the contract you signed
but do not remember
you agreed to the concept
of limitation and loss
with no understanding from experience
what that would mean, the inevitable pain
that would bring, at what cost.
The end of breath, of connection, of touch
not the end of love, of kindness
but how it feels is what you came for
expansion to learn from…to become.

3. Right Now

Dozing in my simple boat
securely tied to a sturdy dock
by a thick nautical rope

yet cut adrift by some hand
not rope undone, but severed by someone
and I am here now out of sight of land

never good at distance swimming
nor even floating with or against a current.
I have to find a way out of no way

starting here, with what I have
or can imagine, drawing what allies I can
opening…breathing…remembering kindness

to gentle anxiety over what I can’t see.
Against all evidence, the possibility
of a potentially friendly Universe.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

Reflection Above Theatre, London, by MDMikus (c) 2005

Reflection Above Theatre, London, by MDMikus (c) 2005



not suddenly gone
first preparation
for leave-taking
then final breath
essence left

it is blink fast
from living breath
then last
led to this moment
this choice
this rippling out
of a life snuffed

transparent clarity or
impenetrable mystery,
the mist resolves
or never lifts,
or unending stasis,
a choice where
not choosing is
still choosing

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

Profile in Air, by MDMikus (c) 2005

Profile in Air, by MDMikus (c) 2005

Inspired by David Bowie: Poems Part 1

Piccadilly Circus at Night, London MDMikus Copyright 2005

Piccadilly Circus at Night, London MDMikus Copyright 2005

Many of us discovered how woven into our past was the music, the wide-ranging influence of David Bowie. How bereft we felt and shocked even upon hearing of his death on Jan. 10. I was not the kind of fan growing up who bought his records or attended his concerts, but the songs were such an integral part of me, I recognized more than I was aware I knew. Of course, there are also all those artists he influenced or encouraged. By nature he expanded boundaries. He was just 5 years older than I am, so there is that, a look at shared mortality.

After the news went out, as did many others, I went to the internet and listened to songs, watched videos and interviews, and began to read. The more I learned, the more I felt I had lost, but also the more I appreciated being able to “know” such a charismatic, gracious artist. And as usual, the poems started coming to me, each day writing prompted by what I had just learned or heard. And yes, the dream poem is a true story.

So here is the beginning of my tribute: To someone who somehow, by being himself, snuck into the fabric of my life and so many others. Let me know if perhaps these poems with speak for you or to you.


Early Tribute and Promise
David Bowie

Some ideas are only
accessible in the dark void.
They slink, they slide
they slither in
around the admonition
despite the admiration
to become again…pure
And the part of us
that has always been
David Bowie welcomes them
into expression
however flawed or flamboyant
in their perfection
unique in all creation.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016



David Jones
nee Bowie

Now you look
and Death seems obvious
in that iconic face
and the last words he wrote
at first glance
inexplicable, now explained.
To leave life privately
restore the loss of privacy.
To make what could be
of this final transformation
this inevitable reinvention
whatever he believed
about reincarnation.
To have inspired and influenced
and championed
those in need of a hand up.
That smile, those cheekbones
that versatility of hair and makeup
the otherworldly uniqueness of eyes
not losing track
of the overall arc
the forward momentum
until the very end
the last breath
the amazing grace.
He knew and made the most of it
what else is there
of earth and heaven?
To be who he was
after giving the last gifts.
To look back and see what you left
to stay and go ahead
a spirit released from
all constrictions, all small boxes,
all constraint, all confines.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016



D. B.

To live and to leave
as desired by heart’s longing
the door opening
on the way through
spilling creative juice
back and onto.
And those behind
for a brief time
awakened and aware
some purpose clear
the urge to accomplish

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016




To be born innocent
knowing nothing in that moment
containing everything from before
stardust coalesced into firmament shaped
into specific form by an unknowable hand
and shaped by choices again and
what seems like chance from this
sliver-skewed perspective.
In fact the universe playing out
and I being here, playing the hand I am dealt.
Potential shifting into real.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

Entrance to Chinatown, London MDMikus Copyright 2005

Entrance to Chinatown, London MDMikus Copyright 2005


David Bowie Comes in a Dream
After a “video” of his final poetry reading

I am not the only one I’m certain
who received a dream-visitation
talking of things that matter
life and death and in between
just as it might have been
and most gracious and welcoming.

There are advantages in spirit form
like teleportation and omnipresence
that are harder to pull off as human.
He heard us talking after and walked over
smiling as he was and thoughtful
bent toward and leaned in to the conversation
ever the interested generous gentleman
showing how it’s done:
this end of lifetime celebration
and relevant immortality.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016



More and No More

There will be no more sightings
of him holding hands with Iman
on the streets of New York
London, Berlin, or Hoboken
David Bowie has flown

But the ripples have not stilled
that were set in motion
Even now
momentum builds with more listening
new waves overreaching someone

stimulating discussion
In a context inevitably altered
he was a willing conduit

We received what became
a foundation, a template
expanding what could be healed
expanding what was possible
and expanding still

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016



What I see Now, From this Distance
David Bowie, still Jones

Truly he was not one
born of immaculate conception
but a man born of a woman
in a particular house in Brixton, London
after the war was won
in the midst of that devastation.

And what happened then to shape and form
the one he would become
driven to create and perform
what turned into what it was:
re-shaping the world around him.
What was inside coming to fruition

what had to be tamed or all was lost
what allowed or pushed him to pursue
what kept him who he was
and led to finding happiness and solace?
How was or wasn’t he his mother’s son
generous and kind to everyone.

Of course in those days he was very young
And the context, the times he lived in
the cultural milieu, the shifting sands
what he rejected, what he embraced
for connection and separation

to not be swept away as others had
by contempt or adulation.
To see the path or if not a path
a next step and take it:
what if I mix these things that do not
seem to go together

sprinkle with stardust and stubborn sweat
and voila! A charismatic life well-spent.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016




Now the stories are told
no one to correct faulty recollection
the rosy ones first to emerge
then later the thorns?

But now the adulation
sweeping the lands
of those who were inspired then
to be more than seemed possible for them.

Worlds expanded, minds blown
by this father’s boy, this mother’s son
who was real underneath all the glam
who searched and found

and became again
the next reinvention.
Charisma they say, and talent
timing, risk-taking, intelligence and

the courage to be seen…
the true gift given.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016



Still Bowie

He had a gift
and he gave it
he was almost lost
and somehow saved
the mistakes he made
the chances and choices
creating, re-creating
weaving threads
that didn’t belong together
until they did
and on to the next thing
always the next
Do you think this
is any different?

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

Coming Home from London, MDMikus Copyright 2005

Coming Home from London, MDMikus Copyright 2005

Being More Fully Yourself

Ruffled Peony (C) 2012 MDMikus

A brand new poem—from a lot of stuff swirling around in my head and then coming together. Eric, you have heard me write about: Eric Whitacre, the composer and conductor, Prada I will be talking more about, I was her Spark mentor this spring, Crystal is my friend and amazing massage therapist. For a while I have gotten away from this blog, but not from writing. Time to share more, so here we are. What are you doing to be more fully yourself today?


From Eric, Prada, Crystal, and Others

To be fully
to hit that
moving target
keep going
keep growing
keep glowing,
to remain essential
yet expansive
inviting others in
but unconcerned.
Who are you,
why are you here?
Not to dwell on
the obvious
but what are you
good at
what calls you
or heals you?
What fills you
with almost unbearable

Do that
Be that
Don’t settle

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012

Waiting for the El train, Chicago (C) 2012 MDMikus