Saturday, December 30, 2006
In the steam, you disappear. I feel your presence only by knowing. You sit before me until you vanish; hot clouds dissolve us into vapour. Your strong sensuality, like a sensate Zeus, yet you become a phantom. Until I am alone. When the hot breathe of air presses in on me your hands rest on mine, our knees touch. Two figures of naked skin streaming as the steam subsides. It was in the room you built, this womb of steam from which we emerge wet and hot into the cold air of the welcoming night.
We are clothed in the streaming truth of
the night sky, its melting snow.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Only I do.
This I cannot escape from. Every moment is writing.
The world I interact with is composed of lights and planes and shadows, of sounds and textures, of feelings and thoughts, of people and events. Every moment is intimate.
The life that I live demands that I read it continually. That I be agile, open, dancing. That I maintain a strong sense of self while being loving, caring, gentle, giving. That I find where the light froths and bubbles with incandescence. That I fill my days with laughter inbetween the tears and furies.
Last night, amidst the usual family crises that occur over the holiday season, with many thoughts about the way we compose ourselves for ourselves and for each other, I thought, seriously, at least half of us are quite mad, barely rational, while the other half are caretakers, angels who hold us together.
But, then, I don't want to be like that, thinking those thoughts, and so I swept all such considerations away, leaving my mind a great expansive ocean. Meditation keeps me balanced. Always the vast emptiness. The silent bliss. Surely we are each everything, dark irrationalities and the stuff of radiance. All six billion of us. So toasting this mad, crazy ravage of love that we are on the earth!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
My first husband accused me of changing every year. Ah, mid-70s?
Do we transform into different versions of ourselves as we age through the years?
It's the brain cells that are most magnificent, the way they are born, live, die and somehow pass on their information, their memories, to the new crop, and they do this continually throughout our lives.
All the cells in the body maintain the structure of the whole of us by keeping their processes going.
But transmitting memory,
and who knows how, is a feat, a miracle.
Is this why the brain is perhaps structured like a grammar? With syntax and a lexography? So that it can write itself into the future?
Sunday, December 17, 2006
It's like there is sand or something in my eye. So I'm typing with my eyes shut. Blindly groping in the darkness behind my lids, talking to you, my readers, whoever you are...
There are changes in my life, and more coming. I really can't explain what they are. Movement, but also settling in. Establishing directions for the near and far future. Odd, obverse things that we intuit but find it hard to speak of.
An image of myself spinning slowly while my life unwinds through time...
I'm here, touching the keys, staying connected.
But I feel as if I'm floating on the other side of the star system.
Yesterday I took my dog on a very long walk to Mountain Co-op and there is a small blister in the very centre of my foot, in front of the arch. And when I stand and press down I can feel the little dome and it's like a homing signal reminding me to touch down, to feel the ground.
My life operates on trust.
Sometimes I'm winging it somewhere across the galaxies though.
Why not float in space for a bit?
I was watching, The Lover, the movie of Marguerite Duras' novel, and while it's beautifully rendered somehow it lacks the poetry of her writing even though there is a voice-over (in an English accent, which doesn't work for me, but ah well). She wrote that book, it's autobiographial, when she was 70!
There was a lot of lovemaking and my daughter came in and so I turned it off. Now that she's in her room writing in her journal and drawing (oh, we are so alike!) I wonder if it's worth watching to the end? It's like, okay, look at the scenery, feel the heat, and there was no more to add. The book is beautiful. Her writing is stunning, as it always is. No-one like Duras.
But I am babbling!
I knew my posts were going to change, but I didn't know how to come back to them.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Monsieur is an amalgam of the men I've loved/love... you know that!
But even amalgamated Monsieurs like secrecy.
For the last month I've been working at a very busy central switchboard at the executive level in a corporate bank, only a 7 hour day, but exhaustion! The board rooms, the expensively appointed dining rooms, the clients, meetings, parties. In a fish bowl. Asked always to wear a suit, be polished. Come home late, 8pm after walking my doggy, too tired to think, let alone talk or be with my daughter or help her with difficult homework assignments. Not to complain, it's money for gifts, and hopefully to move to a larger apartment (I pay rent and storage each month so can afford a better place just need the last month's rent, which this job should provide).
I was writing a book, though, when I accepted the assignment. Let me tell you, with will power, anything's possible. Almost all of the book, with the exception of the first bit, was written during coffee breaks or on lunch: work like crazy with calls piling up on the phones and then work like crazy on breaks writing in Second Cup, or one of the exquisitely appointed rooms high in that bank tower overlooking the lake. Enter whatever I wrote that evening when I was too tired to think or do much more than move my fingers over the keyboard.
Yesterday I took sick. Hot flushes and cold spells, perhaps pushing myself too hard. I came home early, went to bed. Today I've stayed in my jammies, resting, sleeping, warding off a sore throat, the flu. I just finished a 2.5 hour meditation that I did mostly on my back and feel greatly cleared. Bliss is restoring itself in me.
In a day or so when I recoup, I hope editing opens up. I just found out that I'm at the job until the end of the year, which is very good news.
It's blessings all round.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Serpents of protection.
Am I hallucinating?
Dozens of gold snakes cling to me, pour over my undulating arms, wrap around my curving belly as I shimmy and gyrate to the sensuous rhythms of flute and sitar.
I am possessed. The writhing waterfall of coppery snakes stream while I hold earth lightning in my hands like the Minoan Snake Goddess. I can't stop dancing. I writhe and undulate and spin like a whirling wind, a belly dancer, a dervish, a dakini.
I am the lady of serpents.
Everywhere they slither and coil, opening deep chthonic mysteries, an energy of creativity that persists despite inner dissentions, or the envy of the other.
The face of envy on the dance floor is a mass of dry, dead hair, an austere, thin frame, a rigid torso that wiggles without sensuality, or warmth, the cruelty exposed. Its breath re-inhaled, the fumes. Unable to prevent. Incapable of damaging. Useless flap of useless motion. Rendered impotent, powerless.
Today the dictator died; the despot is deposed.1
Afterwards the cries and laughter of freedom rise to the skies.
1I wrote this the day Pinochet died.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Only about 17,000 words and perhaps 60 pages, and most of you haven't a clue what's been going on I'm sure, but I am drawing it to a close.
Who knows if it'll be back to regular programming or not at Rubies in Crystal?
Life is so different now.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
On that day, the light that bathed the world was visionary. The sun shone with a relentless determination against the cold. I shivered in your arms. We stood in the weak Winter light receiving its lucent blessing. Even when the earth tilts and we are far away, the sun illumines us.
In your embrace, I am illumined.
Is love always a revelation?
Or is it the underlying synthesis of existence, what we are founded on, what keeps the mystery unfolding from its nascence? Is love what embraces us or what we continually strive for? Is love a substrata that we can align ourselves with, open ourselves to, if we could clarify our vision?
Is the universe a pulsation of love?
Is love light, what is evident, or the deeper hidden energy of creation?
Surely, mon amor, love is all this and more.
I know my love for you by my passion for you.
Monsieur, yes, of course I understand what romantic love is, and it's capricious, dependent on sexual passion, it's created out of desire and obsession, fantasy and the colliding of bodies in ecstasies.
It's not the stability of secure love, the compassion of creation, what is strong and unyielding in its devotion to life. The foundation is mother-love, flowing sustenance, support, what is at the depths.
When I meditate I meditate into that flow, reality, substrata, vision.
Then the molecules that comprise our reality sing of love. Existence vibrates with unifying energies of love, the life force itself. Who could not respond with bliss?
To meditate is to dip into an energy of ecstasy and re-emerge cleansed and energized with cynicism and pain transmuted, rinsed away.
In these moments love is complete.
When love is everywhere, and easily accessible, why do we resist its flow? What causes us to shut ourselves off, slam the doors, refuse?
Why are we often hostile to each other? Hurt, wound, maim, destroy.
Is it because, even with love's promise, there is no eternity?
When she isn't swearing at the ocean, she is at her computer, blandishing other writers. Everyone is a threat; she battles everyone. No-one is safe.
Monsieur, you fell into that place of great chaos in me.
I didn't know if we could continue. When you left it was okay because none of the difficulties had to be faced.
Why are we always escaping each other?
I wished to write a conventional letter of love, Monsieur. But all I've managed are fragments and far too many questions on the nature of love itself.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
At the seashore she shouted incoherently to herself and flung handfuls of sand into the air.
Sand from a beach so white it was like the pause between paragraphs.
I wanted to make it over the event horizon this time,
to get desire past fantasy into the real.
But I couldn't.
In the angry, cold wind at the bus stop sand blew in my eyes.
My eyes filled with tears, the world of bright sun became unfocused.
When I stepped on the bus, my collar was wet with salt tears. The bus driver was concerned, 'How are you this morning? It's cold.' 'Yes, and that high wind blew sand into my eye - I'm not crying,' I laughed, 'it's okay.' And he smiled and closed the door and pulled the bus out into the traffic.
You are a floater, tumbleweed, a fellow nomad.
How could it be any different?
The point in the tracks where the switcher is.
You pulled it and we separated;
or, you went off elsewhere.
it frightened me.
The trainyard was
a terrible vision
of the conventional.
I am responsible
for the manoeuver
that caused the
The trains sometimes run beside the ocean and she was there, skeletal,
antique black lace gown, shrieking,
You said all your women are possessive
and you had to hide them
from each other.
Monsieur, what you are suggesting is so unexpected, and breaks all the rules of jousting.
Deleuze knows: we cannot be anything other than rhizomatic nomads.
I sit at the switchboard, connecting people, transferring calls.
All day I do this.
into the unknown.
What carries us though?
How do we rise each day
and move with such agility.
I'm not sure how I breathe,
eat, walk, see or hear, how my heart beats,
let alone write my way through
What is talent? What is the muse?
Why do we have to make art, create
businesses, produce culture, perpetually
shape our world?
This morning is full of
This morning you are too far
away to share in this conversation
Monsieur, when you pull away after an event, trip, workshop, conference, when you say, let's just be friends, or let's take a break, or suddenly stop writing erotic notes, it is clear you are pursuing other interests.
How can you not know of the transparency?
With your worldly desire for encounters, I offer you up without complaint to your pursuit and conquest.
When it ends I may not be here, and that's a risk, but you don't care at departure (you have your eyes set elsewhere, mon cher).
But then, somehow I remain.
Only you could not know the complexity underneath, the way resistances and acceptances flow chaotically. Loyalty, consistency, these are crucial, yes, but, ultimately love rules over everything.
You are a good man, Monsieur, and you love me, I know that.
In your absence I don't stop loving you.
I explore the configurations of desire in a mutable world of connections.
Shades of love
in an over-bright world.
Is love ever found
in the glare?
Monsieur, stop! I have never laid
claim to you.
Nor shall I ever.
No, I've never said, mon homme, mon amour, you're mine.
What a strange idea, Monsieur!
How opposite to the way I am. Impermanence rules!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
As if a fever broke.
In the shower, warm water pouring over me but as if I came in from the storm somewhere out in the wilderness. The steamy fog unrolled itself and you found me sipping morning coffee and we talked.
Of uncertainty and even though decisions were made I felt they were also being unmade and that endings were beginnings.
Can the paint on the canvas be unpainted? Or must we whitewash and re-paint? Will sandpaper take it off? Could I sand myself to an essence, a place of blank openness, the untouched whiteness of the beginning?
To forgive is not to condone, to allow the same behaviour to continue, the patterns to play out their relentless rhythms.
I forgive myself.
For being there: for being hurt or hurting.
That is all we can do.
It is so precarious, day after day,
these inner desires, meltings,
The Mirror I Don't Want to Hold Up
Do I pick men who can't make a commitment, unattached, single, deliciously attractive, brilliant, because then I don't have to?
How many years did it take me to learn how to spell commitment? It was the word I balked on, always. Entrapment. Then I had to become liquid and be what he wanted.
Commitment is a deep promise.
Not ownership; not possession. I can make a deep promise to love you unconditionally and with futurity.
Whoever you are.
In what ways are we culpable?
In what ways do we cause the events that befall us?
How often do we set up situations that implode and then we can disappear back into our lethargies. Perhaps whining; perhaps blaming; perhaps only sad.
If I look deeply at the words I spew forth I find hidden pins, off-putting things, tiny hisses and flashes, not quite the blinding spitting snake, but almost. Or do I exaggerate?
Sometimes I prevent myself from having what I most want. It's a determination against myself.
What can I say, Monsieur? I am a complex woman.
I am trapped in my own fears, fears which disperse and vanish like fog in the gleaming sun when confronted.
Fears don't like to be faced: they hide; they lie; they rationalize; they obfuscate.
Like insects fleeing the light in the night on the counters of an old kitchen.
When I decided to obsess about writing the way I do a lover, I stopped sleeping. Now I keep my notebook with its empty white sheets beside me to write blindly in the night with a pencil without looking.
Words that flow in the symbolic between the imaginal and the real.
Reflecting and shaping.
All day, euphoric and tired,
such nights of intense love-making.
It was a small sea-breaker, Monsieur. But love flowed over it.
An ocean of love that could not be
Monday, December 04, 2006
But this is how I deal with my capricious interior.
Even with falling away, I remain close.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
What's in the white spaces?
Is it a white font of writing that curses us? Hidden writing that... She talks under her breath, muttering, blaming; I hear her the way one hears the ocean in a seashell held up to one's ear. In those spaces between the blocks of black words.
Especially when I see virid and cinnabar feathers lying about, and can hear the swishing of the endless sea foam beneath her squawking, the way she belittles us.
A burqua of white around my head, the snowy landscape. The purity of the whole unbroken light, its whiteness.
I don't think so.
Once she was back in her unkempt house, where she was looked after until she regained her strength, the tirades began again. She said she was living out of a dumpster which was of course ludicrous. She lashed out at anyone who was younger, brighter, more beautiful. Which was most of the women in the world since she was old and on the decline.
The black habits continued. Dark and flapping with a cane at the seashore, she looked like a nun. Except for the florid red lipstick, the crimson suede gloves, the cherry red French lace petticoat under the thick layers of black burlap when the wind blew.
Friday, December 01, 2006
In the distance to the East, look, the mist is broiling into a squall and the water froths with whitecaps and it looks as if the turbulent sky has fallen into the water, their boundaries disturbed.
Elsewhere, patches of snake green appear and disappear on the surface of the water according to the whims of the fleeting sky.
The winds blow the mist at velocities I can only imagine. What appears like steam billows past the window at race neck speeds.
Despite the rippling shoulders and back of the lake, the harbours in the islands are still. Like moments of meditation.
I think of letters and numbers, words and money, invisible, flowing, like the continuous traffic on the highways splayed out before me in all directions, transferring, shaping. Do we corrode the landscape with our civilization?
From the Island View Room with its antiques and Persian carpet high in the corporate bank tower the sky is an opague pale grey; it has stopped raining but is thickly overcast.
In the distance the Scarborough Bluffs are lit by sun and look like the white walls of a white city of vision.
How do we fit into the landscape we have so crudely carved?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The corona of the sun is hidden.
There are no sun spots today; no solar flares, no solar storms.
The world is quiet. Lying under a blanket of mist. The wind is absent. If the birds fly, they fly blindly.
Do you have your fog lights on as you make your way along the snaking highways? Somebody stops or swerves in the flow of cars and there is a pile-up. Buckled metal and torn and broken lives, but not yours. You are caught in the stopped and slowed traffic and are late.
Not to meet me, but the others.
I am behind the fog.
Am I seeing anything other than dim forms and whiteness?
Today envy wore black hair and a black blazer with a red chiffon blouse and a smiling demeanour in the office tower that could be anywhere in the world.
The time went by too quickly.
When I saw the date, I knew.
It was very strange, this feeling.
I could not know what it was all about.
But I knew the day was significant.
It had arrived; such long waiting, and now it was here.
What did it mean?
Sometimes I feel like the woman in the sea-cottage who holds the tide-line tight in her hands. Then I don't drift in and out like the moon-pulled sea; then I remain, present.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Yet you are a wild man.
When you strip your clothes, the frenzy begins. How can such passion hide under a veneer smooth as the pin stripes in a suit?
I remember, and am awakening. Erotic energy rises like smoldering bush fire. In your absence.
For you are not here, only there.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Do I hallucinate you? Who are you?
My hallucination of nature doesn't agree with your hallucination, that's all. Or to you it's not a hallucination, but reality, and you strengthen your position with references to nature writers and by being in a group who believe similarly.
Except it isn't. Reality, I mean. You're taking a position on reality, writing your own essay of it, complete with a thesis statement. Only it's all your thoughts on it, a master narrative, if you will, that continually runs through your mind shaping what you see according to the story you carry.
Which is fine, is good. We'd go mad without our stories. They cohere us, put us in social and historical context; they organize reality for us.
Reality probably needs organizing! For all I know about it.
Everything we can say about Nature, the original substratum, the wilderness is constructed.
Sure, bring the sun in. We don't know what 'sun' is anyway. It's just a word!
Whatever that is in what we call sky is not sun, light, right, might, sol invictus, or illumina...
Culture creates the overlay.
The overlay enables us to all live together, but it isn't true.
Can I burn under the artificial sun
in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Museum in London?
Will the fog
of the weather project
Friday, November 24, 2006
"I don't find anything out there. I find my own relation to the spaces. We see nature with our cultivated eyes. Again, there is no true nature, there is only your and my construct."
You say the wilderness you walk in every day exists.
But you have named every tree, shrub, bird, insect. You move through a wilderness of labels, of theories of ecosystems, of words and images that describe it. You cohere this experience of wilderness; without you, it wouldn't exist.
How can we see but through our own perceptions? A trained and honed perceptual apparatus with its own caring, ethic and aesthetic.
Could we stumble blindly through the bush --- what would we see?
What of the feral child's experience of the wilderness --- raised by wolves, who move by scent and on all fours, who tear at the beating body of fur and blood with bared teeth?
There is only the subjective, the relational. How can there be an objective universe?
We create the world we live in.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Within the film of my life I create the story I am living.
That story also shapes outer events. The world coheres to my version of it.
Do you understand that
is a mass hallucination?
That we have agreed
to hallucinate it this way
and we teach our children.
Referring to what is just out of reach. Emotion, idea, situation, description, always approximating, never fully expressing what they create and shape. We are not feral. Culture moves through us, syncopates its rhythms in us, punctuates us.
veils of words and images drifting over the world
When the winds subsided they stabilized her with intravenous fluids, medication. They checked her blood, ran a CAT scan, an MRI. In her stupour, she relented.
I could feel the tension of resistance dissipate and she became like a boxing glove gone limp. The stuffing disappeared. She could no longer hit; the psychic force of her anger gone.
Her black dress lay on the floor, salty and ragged. She looked strangely newborn in her hospital green gown. Unlike herself.
Only her fingernails were glaring red.
Would it build again, the tempest?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
If you discard me, or appear to, for you never actually do, I am comfortable; if you don't, I panic, sending dozens of invisible arrows to scare you off, so you will shy away. My mixed messages, subliminal. No, I do not always do this knowingly. I'd like to stop, if only I knew how.
For me to be still, and not flee in every other thought, and be your woman is most difficult, even if I am perhaps your woman.
Capture terrifes me.
Like conventional relationships.
Love that is richly fantasized, and remains. Approaching but never arriving. Hidden in each other's lives. Intimacy, this dance of closeness. Which can't settle.
Can we roam through each other's hearts
like oceanic tides?
Monday, November 20, 2006
What is to keep her from sweeping out to sea, her black dress like a murder of crows flying about her?
Her eyes are lit with terror as the water rises, foaming.
She shrieks at the turbulent sky; her voice joins the screaming winds.
She is thin and flaps like a scarecrow.
She stands on an outcrop. The water swirls around her feet, but doesn’t wash her away. The rock holds her safe.
Her face a venom of fury
when she sees me.
What is it she desires?
Sunday, November 19, 2006
In this silence in which I wait.
You cannot know, mon homme chéri.
For I do not wish to burden you.
A relational line, a trajectory, a specific set of connections, patterns, motions into. Fire of desire. The threads extinguish themselves in the smoldering flame. What is moving towards erases itself as it burns, charred, blown away in the wind.
Will you catch me?
Or will you let me pass by?
Money is the mediating transmission of the world we have created for our inhabitation.
Money flows as invisibly as language through the atmosphere, roaming the globe, making our world, enabling us to live, eat, work, support ourselves, our families, each other.
Money transferred to luxury cushions us against the harsh elements.
Money is our mediatrix.
The earth turns on its axis but the world turns on money, capital that sloshes through the global markets with the force of the daily oceanic tides.
Investment is risky; art is risky. Of course there is the rote way, the safe way through the tried and true, but that’s not where the excitement is, nor the gains. Do we invest in our talent?
Phrases, sentences, paragraphs, flowing, flowing, on and on. Picked up and read, retained momentarily. Onward, joining, dispersing, shoals of words, tides of words, flowing through our consciousnesses, into our ears, our eyes, and out of our lips, from our fingertips.
The weave of words that weaves our world, shaping it into familiar patterns, without which it would all fall apart and yet which like a membrane separates us from reality. Mimicry. Artistry. Telling us how to see, how to be. The language that shapes us, shaping. Weave of words sculpting.
Is inseparable from time which structures us, organizes us into communal cohesion.
Who cares if we are carriers of the word, transmitters of culture?
The intimacy of love sighing, your lips
kissing you, I
melt in your mouth
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Like a streak of fish, a discourse of signifiers referring to each other, signifiers whose identities are only their relations to other signifiers, an entire system mediating reality.
The colour; the ocean.
Floating like thought.
The discourse into which we are born is a discourse of love, at the depths. Never mind the story.
Love creates itself.
What else do we need?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
As I move somnolently through the world of banking and investment, I hear hissing. It is like my muse is calling. In this number-drenched world of income, or how we survive communally.
Do an aesthetic of art and an aesthetic of finance arise from the same roots?
What does the Gorgon want? Why is she imaging here?
Writhing, coiling in these numbered halls
papered with endless account statements...
No-one emerged unscathed.
She rose, a soot-blackened woman, from the fine layers of silted taupe ashes, with scorched feet, able to see in all directions.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Can I see myself as you would see me?
The gaze is whose gaze? And what is desire, Monsieur?
Desire is more than a fantasy; it is a will towards, a propulsion. Desire materializes us.
Eros is flowing differently now, the topography's changed, or the flow of the meridians is irrigating me differently.
Desire materializes us only to
It's a paradox, mon amor.
I incarnate deeply into my errogenous body
as I disperse under your touch, turn molten.
Until we are nothing
lit by each other's passion.
But I imagine this, Monsieur. In the space of desire where my fantasies enact.
What is the face envy wears and how do we see its dark motive? Why is it a hidden face that we don't recognize until we find ourselves crying amid the ruin of our lives?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Black swamp-reeking mud on the wall, all over everything... bleuchheckt... but I plunged away.
Bein' a woman, ya know.
Stubborn one, though. Would not call a man for help, nor let the landlord know.
It was good and plugged. I used a cup to empty the sink of brown water. Maybe I swore a bit too. Probably, especially 'cause my hair wasn't tied back and tended to cover my whole head so I couldn't see and who'd want to touch it with the gucky rubber gloves? Blehuchettt....
Eventually I went to look for the landlord's wrench and it was missing! Maybe the sweet carpenter who took 3 days to put in a door to our apartment took it? Or maybe the landlord has it hidden somewhere upstairs.
Damn. I'd have to ask for help. BUT... remember what my sculptor friend who is a renovator said... the steps... put a bucket underneath... turn off the taps... done... then unscrew... they undid rather too well... and the pipes vomited black mud all over the floor, well not too badly... then I found it... a solid snake of vegetable bits, hair, gawd-knows-what-else and a FORK, a FORK!... how'd the damn thing drained so well before the mud-cleaning boots exercise I have no idea...
Cleaned it all out, scrubbed the wall with ajax, the counter, the sink, the bath (where I'd been throwing everything), threw stuff in the washing machine, etc... but the pipe leaks! A little. Bucket for now. There's a plumber's store nearby, ah ha... and I plan a foray into it to ask for plumber's goo, some kind of thick greasy stuff I have in my imagination that you put where the pipes screw together that will seal them... and plan to do this while avoiding the inevitable 'Would you like a plumber? This guy's not working right now and he can help you....'
And being the independent woman that I am, intend to finish this job myself. Without calling any male friends, "Boo hoo... my drain was plugged but I'm proud to say I cleared it... but the elbow pipe-thingy leaks... help!"
The water is running fine. Jest fine.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
She is at the top, agitated.
Black wool coat, skin pale as glazed porcelain, hair so black light disappears into it, mid-length, curly. Eyes half-closed, a bluish light. She smacks the white-tipped cane hard, like a weapon, this baton-feeler of the terrain of the ground of the subway tunnels. "Where's the exit? Why won't anyone help me? Where's the ticket-taker?" She is hitting the cane perilously close to the top of the escalator when I guide her away.
"What are you looking for? A train?"
"No! I want to get out of here! Why won't anyone help me?!"
She is on the wrong floor. She becomes more flustered when she discovers she was given wrong directions. I guide her to the elevator, press the button. When the door opens I guide her in, press the button for the upper floor. All the while I tell her what we are doing. I ask no questions of her. After we ascend and the doors open, I take her to the exit, and, holding her shoulders, point her to the way out. I worry about her vulnerability, and wish I had time to ensure she gets wherever it is she is going.
My bus arrives 5 or 10 minutes later and as we pull out of the station I see her, having only gone perhaps 500 yards on the sidewalk, hair flying wildly with her flapping coat in the high wind, tapping the sidewalk with staccato jabs, finding her way despite.
That she cannot see
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Like an overflowing equilibrium; please forgive me for saying this abstractly when I know you prefer poetry. But it was the way words carved the experience, even as they shifted it from sensation to representation. What can embody the wetness or the absolute dryness? How can the world of forms be so liquid?
Monsieur! I would never speak in riddles to you. Stop laughing. Why do you call me delightfully irreverent? How do you know Socrates wouldn't enjoy such puns? Besides, I don't mean in any absolute or invisible ways; nor as semiotic symbol. The 'noumenon of the phenonemon'? Sort of, yes... even if you're silly! As long as they're both the same, that is.
The forms of the world are like a waterfall that constantly changes yet maintains its pattern. Does that help?
You're making me laugh, mon amor. What do you mean, Niagara Falls is eroding itself into disappearance? Sweet love, perhaps that's it.
Afterall, I was floating stably, feeling the tenuousness of the deeper permanence of existence, an existence that will ultimately fragment and float away.
Changes are rising through the layers of my life. No, Monsieur, oh vous charmez, but I was not referring to layers of sheets. I slept and woke into another perception of reality. It was as if the continents of my life were floating. It was as if they were floating lotuses. Without knowing, or attitudes, or opinions, or any way to comprehend the flux. Where was the ground?
Flux? Oh, you make me giggle, Heraclitean, sure. Or Relativistic time and space that is itself fluxes of events that unfold, close, open, shift, metamorphose, glide, disperse, flow and hold still.
Energy is the ecstasy of form. Do you not agree?
Yes, amour doux, I do remember those enfolded nights of ecstasies.
Yes, I was alone, as always. Why do you, who are so far away, care? I woke into heat with the goldenness of the sun all around, only it was night, the softness of vellum cotton sheets . I always think of you! Why do you ask? In the world that is a series of intersecting, coalescing systems, nothing can be gained or lost. No, not like the stock market; Monsieur, you are silly tonight!
It's the momentum of things, forever oscillating.
The Ground of Being, mon amor, is no ground at all.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The drawing was one of the first and done quickly, a 'throw-away,' but some acrylic matte medium (Ester's tip, thanks!), and then oil paint, and she's become a landscape figure, or, bear with me, with hints of bones and layers of sediment, a geology of paint. The model in the lifedrawing class last week was a beautiful woman, a dancer, but sitting naked before a room of artists, sometimes she wanted to cover herself... I like the modesty here, it makes the figure in her nakedness through whom the landscape of paint moves more vulnerable.
(click for larger image)
Landscape Figure, 2006, india ink, acrylic matte medium, oil paint on archival paper, 13.5"x9".
Monday, November 06, 2006
Ways to defend oneself, ideas, beliefs, essence without over-riding the accuser. Instead of fleeing into fissures, withdrawing into a shell, masking with silence, remaining while rushing away, the wave rose, high, surging in sunlight, milky green underside, proud, and defended.
Those on the beach throwing rocks and sharp shell bits and driftwood at the strange fish flopping out of the water, stopping, acknowledging, backing off.
Untouched, not harmed.
Having met, and met the fear of difference, like two obverse cultures reckoning with each other. One half-submerged, gasping water and air, the other, only air-sucking.
On the shore, where they met. Waves tore the air.
No-one was hurt; the shouting group withdrew from the edge.
The flopping into the coiling wave as it drew back.
A miracle; they called it a miracle sighting,
Eyes that stare. Impassive, in the rocking cars of the underground subways, brown or blue, tiny, beady, at young women. Seated, watching. Unwavering, bleak.
Her glistening, manicured curls, gym-toned lithe body, tight jeans or skirts, tiny butt-geared jackets, dusted with golden glow.
Energetic, ambitious, sweet. Cadences of voices on phones when the cars break out of the earth and glide on metal tracks under the vast sky.
Old, heavy, arthritic, hair like grey wire. If one could suck beauty in through such fixed, harsh eyes. Beauty would be siphoned out of that diaphanous thing sitting so lightly on the seat, oblivious. But events will mark her too, face of powdered crevices, make-up collecting in the networks of wrinkles, the soft sagging skin. Time, the last revenge.
I want to place mirrors before those who stare. I think it is the dreadful reality of those who are no longer. I try to understand why the generations do this to each other. Cold, impassive, unsmiling stare.
Bitterness, it’s terrible face.
Undo it! Take off the masque! Dear Mother! I beseech!
I don’t know why she stalks the seawall, stopping, staring at the unmoving horizon. Perhaps she is waiting, remembering. Her furious, angry eyes, forlorn. Was her heart broken, and then re-broken before it mended?
Her arms of black lace, her black brocade skirt, she dresses as if from another century, the red silk scarf at her neck like a flag of conquest, of the surrendered, broken heart.
She paces; she stops.
Sometimes she screeches. Gulls land on her shoulders. Sand flies in her black, wind-streamed hair. Earrings the colour of ripe cherries dangle from her earlobes. Spray wets her tear-swollen face.
If you talk to her, she will stare blankly, or scream at you.
Attack, belittle, accuse.
It is best to let her pace. The white cuffs of waves chain enough.
I have no reason not to believe you, Monsieur. You, who are cosmopolitan, a superb lover.
Fresh oranges in the Agean Sea;
Hot Springs in Banff; or Ikaria, Greece;
Paris for art, or New York,
Monsieur, we could explore the erotique, except you are not here. Words dance in the air. Across the space of tables, phones, pages or screens. The ceaseless flow of loving language caressing, licking me with tongues of fire, yet without touching. Sometimes I understand you prefer the intimacy of distance.
You are far away, listening.
Nobody can have me; I cannot have anybody. It is a reality, mon amor.
Dance of the fragmented body. Dance intimately with the soles of your feet, or your ankles, or the ripped cartilage of your knees. Follow your elbows around the room, these points of bone strongest. Dance with the hormones of your endocrine system, the muscles of your gluteus maximus, or your biceps, or your inner ear. Heal your sexuality while you gyrate your hips. Dance your smile, or the nails on your fingers and toes. Writhe around your belly button. Or face the music and dance as if your body is on fire and you are disappearing into spirit. Dance like the Gods are watching you; or they are inside dissembling you. Dance an orgasm full and deep. Eclipse into yourself, rhythm of wholeness for a fragmentary moment.
Then breathe in twelve perfect breaths: circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal, urinary. Twelve systems of the body, like the twelve hours in the days that follow nights that rhythm your circadian, or the twelve months that form one year of living.
Then lie down.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Lifedrawing class last night. Not too far from here. A group who have become friends, so a nice feeling of camaraderie. Anyway, the drawing that I coloured late into the night didn't turn out too well. But in the morning there is Photoshop! I played, drank coffee, ate breakfast, played. My daughterly critic rushing off to school didn't think the digital version tooo bad, so here it is. Perhaps I'll see if the drawing can emulate the digital version tonight - if it works, I'll post it. Promise.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Scent of her kisses, tender cleavage, your lips, the way she holds you in her tiny hands, what it would be like to plunge yourself into her? She in whom you would obliterate.
Lust and bliss, loin and heart adaze. Or perhaps it is frenzy, a blindness?
Do we fall into what dissembles us?
A whirlpool, its swirling whorls,
naked against the onrush.
Is it that we are always approaching what we can never give ourselves to?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
*If your pop-up blocker is over-zealous, and won't open the SoundClick window, email me at brenda dot clews at gmail dot com, and I'll send the .mp3 file - it's 5.4MB.
Recorded this suite of poems in the Summer, wasn't sure, oh you know the drill, but now, sharing...
More of a drama in this reading, I think. Each poem recorded separately and then spliced, so the readings shift in tone and tenor.
Busy couple of days, and then at a conference on Thursday, where I'm presenting twice, and may or may not post again until after Sunday, but I will write in my notebook, yes!
Listen in the dark, or when you're quiet. The poems in the recording:
2. Technorati Tag Poem
3. Mantra, a Meditation
4. Painting Time
5. Without A Guide
6. What Revelations Are to Come?
7. After Watching Kurosawa's 'Rapsody in August'
8. Sultry Dark Air
9. Heliotropic Coda
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Lying on the floor, awakening, our fingers, hands, toes, feet stretch into the world. That stretching continues as we writhe across the dance floor and then slow our movement to a Tai Chi-like fluidity and finally stop. A room of sculptures stopped in motion, some standing, some lying on the floor. We are breathing, is it.
Later, to the music I unravel my sarong and wrap and unwrap it around my shoulders, torso, breasts, and then brave strangeness and wrap it around my head and arms so I am trapped. I dance like a slave trying to find freedom, from the position of stasis, stability, security of a self. I know freedom is terrifying. With nothing to constrain you, fetter, contain, weigh, what would you do, who would you be?
If we could forget about being watched, read, observed, judged, about the unceasing gaze of the other, what would we be, produce, live?
In what ways do we keep each other in check, clipped, chained, trapped?
I struggle with the sarong I have wrapped myself in, pushing elbows against the tight fabric and turning and falling and gyrating in a self-imposed prison. Because the sarong is in shades of blue I am especially reminded of the burqa, of societies which contain the energy of the woman in well-defined boundaries. I am reminded of living mummies, torture victims, Michelangelo's slaves, of enslavement from without; of the woman in the VIII Swords in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck when we are enslaved from within. I dance my life's struggles.
Twirling, fighting for release along the wall, my private anguish become visible. My upper body and head entirely enwrapped, I am enrapt with an invisibility that gives me the freedom to struggle for inner freedom, but the session is over. I peel off the sarong like a ribbon of skin and sit in the circle, wondering if any of us is closer to who we are.
We are newly reunited, this group. A flower of love is blossoming in the room in the centre of the circle and we are its petals. Here we are free to struggle with pain or joy, to wilt or face the sun while being supported by the roots, our deeper connections.
Many of us hug our teacher, who is newly returned and who holds this space of transformation sacred.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
What made the pale suite washed out, drained, anemic? Was it the eloquent executive furniture, the large walnut veneer desks, strategic abstract paintings of desert yellow with some red drips, couches and dried flower arrangements all color-coded in muted tones, a whole suite of executive offices abandoned, places of corporate battles where victories were savoured or wounds sustained, and where profits increased yearly, ever-plundering the populace, until the merger and the redundancy and the emptiness? A commercial insurance company that banked on the stability of the world, drew profits from potential disaster, disasters that could be counted on not to happen but which could be insured against none-the-less. A wealthy world, this --- swish of fine, worsted wool suits, stout bellies and fat expense accounts, of the supremacy of numbers, the tallies of the underwriter who tabulates worth and value and what staving against the inevitability of decline will cost you, enabling an elite business corps to maintain itself, a world of infinitely regressive cliches. One that now lies empty, recently vacated, pale in the cool morning light, surveyed over a styrofoam cup of weak coffee.
What I want to say is that my muse doesn't understand that money needs to be made in order to live.
Afterwards at a cafe, the green tomato on the vine in the window box that ran around the empty outdoor patio next to the red flowering geranium. So sour that looking at it through a closed window made it break open on your tongue, green and puckering, coupled with frilly, vibrant, sensuous red petals.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
It is an odd thing, Monsieur, that I feel loved by those who have abandoned me.
And of course, I loveyoutoo.
the ability to read.The letters floated somewhere between the paper and my eyes, hovered, hallucinatory, unreadable, and I couldn't catch them or make them form words or sentences through I knew coherency was there, below the
When it came back, focus, and the words stayed on the page, I read a book a day and didn't stop for 15 years.if I could just
make them sitstill.
I gluttonized on words, gorged.
I pushed myself through tome after tome, hour after hour; I let books open other books; I kept ledgers of copious notes, and dozens of journals.
I read all night. I read with urgency, as if my life depended on it. All of the classics, the 'great' books, 'great' writers, 'great' thinkers. Did I waste my youth reading Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Bacon and Shakespeare?
It's all fleeting.
But when the words stayed still, lying in neat rows on the pages, I raced through them. Who knew how long I had?
All my life I have hallucinated snakes.
Even now, they come out of the shower head, slither down my back, small pythons, Black Mambas, always in stone grey or black. Sometimes I become rigid with fear, the hot hissing water.
Ground myself: concentrate on the tiles, the shower curtain, the soap, the wash cloth. Push out sensations of snakes dropping on my head, slithering down my back. Remnants of memories of watching the poor creatures swinging on sticks in the air until their backbones broke and they went limp. It was a game, in a circle laughing.
Terrors of a memory gone awry, misplacing splices of the past out-of-context in the present: I step onto floors thick with writhing serpents, but they aren't real. This phobia of mine.
Freud's interpretation was very narrow; Jung's was better, except that they don't automatically signify psychic fragmentation if they're not dynamically balanced, as revealed in spontaneously individuated mandalas, symbols of wholeness.
Once I did a long research paper on serpents and the winged kind, dragons, in Western art, and explored many mythologies. From Egyptian cobra worship, to Graeco-Roman Medusas, to the Judeo-Christian myth of the Fall from Eden due to the guiles of the Satanic snake, to all the St. Georges' and other Courtly Love heroes fighting all the dragons who had taken over the land and were demanding fresh virgins, to modern day snake cults and Goddess lore, to the R-Complex, or brain at the base of our skulls, the reptilian one, that controls automatic functions.
For me, Monsieur: the power of the Minoan Snake Goddess who holds live serpents in each hand; and the Greek understanding that serpents enable us to enter the mysteries of the chthonic earth itself. They have become a motile symbol of my creativity.
I collect serpent jewelry. Wrapped around my fingers are silver snake rings, silver serpents coil around the tubes that form my dangling earrings, another embraces a crystal pendant that hangs on a chain and falls between my breasts, and my arms are braceleted by silver cobras.
Once when I was young, in a bikini sunbathing alone, a man, himself no more than a messenger, a hallucination, approached, wearing khaki clothes and snake boots, as if out of the African jungle itself, in his hand a choke of snakes that he held over my body, and said, threatening to drop them on my skin, "Will you write?"
My muse is a Lady of Serpents.
She is the Kundalini, the lightning that travels from chakra to chakra in the awakening.
Yes, I have painted snakes, but they don't belong on canvas; rather, they are like the brushes themselves.
Monsieur, I have always known that what terrifies me is my source.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Not the unblinking gaze of the ever-recording eye, but the pathos.
To undo the autocracy of knowledge, the way light has been used to mean power, imperialism, right, might, truth, revelation, enlightenment.
When we cry, the forms of the world blur and we forget what we have learnt to see. We move by touch, by the feeling under our fingers, by sensitivity, by silently hearing.
I write when I am almost asleep or just waking, when I can't see; I write in the dark.
When we can no longer see the forms around us, we forget the eternal forms, the eternal light. In blindness, we become visionaries.
Weep for the world; weep for yourself; weep because you can weep. Your heart will open; it will be raw, painful, and blissful, ecstatic: you will be the whole of who you are. There will be the other; there will be meaning in the closeness of connection.
We cannot see the images displayed, on view. We must move through life by touch, by scent, by listening. Only then can we see each other - through the veils of our tears. Our tears break down the walls of our imperialisms, our isolations, our losses. Our mourning and our joy: tears. Tears that implore.
When we have become immured, blinded to the world of cast light, our eyes will open to each other, our fingers will touch.
1Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 126.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
When he wrapped his blanket of black feathers around his strong shoulders, he flew. His sharp eyes watching, looking. Scanning the edges of the ocean, he found her.
Tightly she held the tide-line in her hands. She wouldn't release the ocean to rhythmically rise and fall on the beach, or draw back from it, leaving washed treasures, clams, seaweed, shells, shiny pebbles.
Why did the old woman hold the tide-line so tightly in her lined, papery hands? She sat in her small house on the edge of the sea, holding the waters in the life-line on her palms. Who can tell from the mass of mounds and lines on her hands how she bid the edges of the great water be still?
Inside her sun-bleached house with closed eyes she imagined the ocean, or perhaps she could see it with visionary sight. She sat, the tide-line, her hands, the one interconnected with the other, like a fisherman's net, weeping tears of salt.
Raven dropped from the sky, a shadow of black feathers. He sat down beside her and groaned, holding his belly, saying he had eaten too many clams. He broke her meditation, and she stood, and went to look at the clams, but he pushed her and she fell. Then he poured sand in her eyes so that she was blinded. Pulling the tide-line out of her hands, tearing the life-line from her, he released the hold on the waters and the tide at last fell.
Crazy old woman on the edge of the ocean of time, time's burden, that weight of life-giving water.
And so the ocean drew back its mantle of blue robes and the people feasted.
There were bonfires on the beaches and a festival of clam bakes that lasted days until everyone's bellies were swollen full of food.
Who was the blind old woman crying on the beach with the torn hands?
Raven in his raucous joviality passing from one feasting party to the next found himself before the old woman, who spoke, "Raven, heal my eyes so I may see again." Raven, trickster-figure, Promethean fire-stealer, knew the Gods could must be bargained with, appeased. He struck a deal: "Old woman of the sea, I will heal you, but you must promise to let the tide-line go twice a day so that the people may gather food from the beaches." The old woman agreed and so he rinsed the sand out of her eyes. Thus Raven ensured the life-lines of the people, their continuity.
In my story, as I walk the empty beach strewn with empty clam shells, seaweed, the detritus of modern civilization, I want to find her, and find out why, the witholding.
I want to know why she denounces me, or those like her.
And take the cawl she has wrapped me in off: to breathe, to see.
But I spin like Tiresias under an unrelenting sun.
Why do black feathers lie strewn in my hair?
My eyes, gritty and sore, are on fire -
I see only flaring volcanoes
A red rage of light;
On this windless day
How did my eyes fill with sand?
My hands bleed as I write.
For what do I weep?
Friday, October 13, 2006
I began my day with this simple yoga set for the spine for many years - sure it got boring, but different music every day helped. Today, as I flex back and forth, I feel how stiff I've become, how I need to loosen, to take care of this Sushumna, central column, spine, place where all the nerves, nadis, meridians flow. I feel the weight of what I carry as I rhythmically flex, especially when I get to the 'shoulder shrugs,' eh, let the tension go, let it go...
Each day is new, life is strange, but it keeps going. Perhaps I shall still be sitting on my mat, flexing my bent old spine when I am a centenarian, shrunken, withered, wrinkled, but ever so wise :-)
Thinking of you, I got out my old scanner with the crack in the lid, started it up, scanned these sets at least 3 times to get a clear image. My friend who was in her 30s and had pain in her back that was finally diagnosed as arthritis and had physiotherapy sessions let me teach her this set one afternoon when our then younger children were in school and she marveled at it. A few weeks later after doing the set daily she asked, 'Why don't Physiotherapists teach these exercises? This flexing really works, really helps.'
Are we as young as our spine is flexible? It's okay, I won't go into 'yoga teacher mode' and lecture on the spine. Let's just say that all of the billions of nerve cells in our bodies are connected to our brains through the braid of nerves running through the spinal column. If nothing else, keep this central part of your body flexible, in motion, healthy...
Kundalini Yoga: Guidelines for Sadhana (Pomona, California: Kundalini Research Institute, 1974), p.45-6. For another layout of this set, see Basic Spinal Series, and scroll to the end to read a description of Mul Bhand (root lock) and Maha Bhand (great lock).
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Images collect on the beach like polished pebbles, smooth glass baubles, tangles of fishing wire, water-logged boots, seaweed, shells translucent and sometimes chipped, mollusks and sea urchins, dead, cadaverous detritus, swollen along the glimmering band of sand.
I am sure I will see her on her seawalks. That she will be dressed in a long black skirt and gazing out to sea, grief on her slightly wetted face from the spray of the water on the rocks that she stands on, and something indefinable, lit from within, but subtle, like sunset spilling out of her eyes.
But I don't. The coast is empty.
I am not sure who I am.
Me, her, or you, or a transfigured archetype,
a Medusa-lady, the curls in my hair tightly coiled in the salt spray,
I watch blue dancers leap and fall into disappearing bubbles of sea foam.
You are the edge of the waves that tip over. When the peak cannot hold itself aloft and falls like a dancer letting go of taut tension and plunging. Or perhaps it is words that fall into froth.
If we are standing at a shore of words that encase the earth like the oceans, that is.
Let me bathe in your words; let me drink them into my being; let our vision be as infinite as the sky-line.
Am I in love with you, and who?
Are you my unbidden,
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Fear holds me
captive; like the Tarot card where she is bound and blind-folded, unseeing and scared, though all the swords are stuck, blade-first, in the ground.
It's not a question of personal safety, Monsieur. It's a lifelong problem with creativity that I have, she has. Monsieur, I split myself into a third person, a she. That is me. Or her. Does it matter?
If we deconstruct the subject-object construction, does it matter who swirls in the salt spray, its turbulences of disappearing foam?
Who says the invisible be rendered visible
through our perceptions?
I am the subject; and I cannot look upon myself lest I turn myself into statuesque art, lest I turn the Medusa touch on my seeing eye.
An unblinking gaze. The object of the subject is the subject. Only in the self-portrait does the ruin of the self break down. We are decomposing into text.
Immortalizing ourselves in time: statues, broken rubble of stones amid the hissing of the broiling waves.
Monday, October 09, 2006
When she who is a spectre, who is a vision, the invisible rendered visible, a hallucination without reality but a guiding perception of the self, whose look freezes us into self-portraits, whose look turns us into sculptures of death from which the beating warmth of our blood cannot escape, when she looks at us, our unblinking eyes:
The straining eye always resembles an eye of the blind, sometimes the eye of the dead, at that precise moment when mourning begins: it is still open, a pious hand should soon come to close it; it would recall a portrait of the dying.*Medusa would immortalize us as art. The Gorgon is the muse whose terror petrifies us would we but look upon her venomous, spitting face.
We are no more than statues to the woman in black walking the sea wall, her hair, its tendrils and curls coiling in the salt spray. When we are marble, the pale green veins in the rock, we are bloodless, art. Upon whom she splatters red paint the colour of her fingernail polish: blood, the alabaster skin.
The soul which inclines towards meaning in the fire of life, silenced. Art takes us beyond suffering; the Gorgon creates a stage of unmoving characters who are her silent companions. She laughs at my drained creativity; I know this woman. The blood drains from my lips: I am silenced.
Pushing against the seawall with my inner lashing waves. Tears of salt.
Her parrot, cinnabar and virid feathers, mocks, repeating endlessly the soulless words that echo on the sea spray while she laughs.
Don't ask why. Why is there cruelty? Who knows? It is; we are.
I want to become a tidal wave but I withdraw.
How can I describe the figure of jealousy, of derision?
What is jealousy? Who feels it? How do we act from this feeling?
Is jealousy the overweening desire to upstage the other?
To cast them into stones of silence?
I evade her stony glance
*Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 57.
- Who creates the agenda?
- Who manages the meaning-making?
of the speaking, doing, appearing?
Elements of deep personal power:
- Disciplinary micropractices
or do we resist?
How do dynamics of power unfold in planned and unplanned organizational structures?
Unlike Surface Power, with legitimate authority, expertise, a referent of trust and commitment, rewards/coercions, associations/networks/who you know, a visibility of coalitions, and a show of flexibility/autonomy, the elements of Deep Structure Power concerns management of meaning, symbols that are difficult to define, routines and rules that are taken-for-granted, unquestioned.
Power is the ability to do.
Power is knowing yourself.
Power is having others believe.
Deep structural power is invisible.
In the Deep Structures of Power, mechanisms of surveillance become internalized.
Dynamics of Resistance:
the ultimate subversive
Who creates the story has the power.
Can we re-write the stories,
or abandon them to write new stories?
A weaving of notes found on a scrap of paper from a lecture in 2001 by I don't know who... update: search engines are marvelous: Patricia Bradshaw: "Deep Structures of Power and the Challenges of Organizational Transformation."
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
What if relationships are the primary ordering principle?
What if the way relationships are ordered
clarify, explain, and instruct us on the way things
stand towards each other?
If connectivities are performatives, then the grammar
of the relationship determines its patterns.
We meet at the edge of the text. These words unfold through the syntax of your absent presence in the writing.
Those of whom I speak are embedded in grammars too. While we are a syntax and lexicon of unique verbal patterns, we are still bound by the rules of a grammar which shapes our relationships.
In her radical pedagogy, the woman who teaches says: "What we must never do:
• Patronise, reduce, laud, ridicule, dismay
• Simplify, bowdlerise, censure, censor
• Wield discourse as spectacle
• Wield discourse as power
• Wield discourse contemptuously"
And, I would add, silence each other.
We silence the other in the ways that she says, we humiliate them, and finally by ignoring them. Ignoring them, we remove their voice.
If we refuse to listen, they cannot speak.
If they speak they will not be heard.
We have created a hole in the grammar of our connection
which divests the speaker we did not want to listen to
of a speaking voice that is heard.
I know, Monsieur: it happened to me. My words formed an uncomfortable anomaly in the grammar of the group. Without an anxiety about the rigors of practice, I was not struggling in the way I was meant to. Given the nature of the self beliefs of the group, I could not be overtly ridiculed; eventually, I was skipped over, ignored. The member who became absent though present. Silence was wielded as a contemptuous power by those who formed an inner circle and who felt there was no other way to deal with me, and carefully, so my diminishing welcome would not be evident to the others. What happened Monsieur? I went into exile.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
without closure, engulfed me?
.....When I disappeared into your vastness,
became lost in you, lost 'I'?
..... Everywhere you touched, mountains,
valleys, plains, even the ocean in me,
parted, shook, opened.
..... Do you remember how we,
two sighs enfolded in each other?
..... Breath of love. I speak of romance tonight;
forgive me, Monsieur. Afterwards,
we did not speak of it.
..... On the surface of the water that resists
before you fall in, that edge of sweetness.
..... Mon amour, now it is like sitting in a darkened room
with a screen of scenes before us, our hands close,
but not touching.
..... You are so far away.
Monday, October 02, 2006
e is a very tricky letter, I tell my young students. It's like the e of flea, and jumps clean over consonants and makes innocent vowels sitting there wake up and say their names. a becomes æ. At becomes ate. It's good, that letter e, but it can't jump over two or three consonants, so 'settle' remains 'settled.' And if e is next to c, watch out: e gets a crush, we could say. Then c gets stars in her eyes and forgets to be a 'k' and becomes a sinuous 's.' How do you read 'receives'? Of course, when two vowels go walking, one becomes shy, perhaps bashful, while the other proclaims its name.
Sometimes my young students can't read 'boat' or 'rain' or 'real' and so we jump up and walk around the room holding hands and I say, "We're a boat! I'll be a bashful 'a'; you be a courageous 'o' and say your name!" Are they puzzled? Maybe at first; then the laughter; then they start thinking up words we can play. If a parent looks in, I say, "It's okay! We're vowels marching around the dining room table!" They smile and withdraw politely.
Never mind the exceptions, I say - that's why we have memories: to memorize the exceptions!
I teach phonetically with flash cards that we make together as we travel into the wondrous land of reading. I teach differently to the regular school system of expecting children to 'pick up' reading from a reading-rich environment. Often my students simply memorize stories that have been read to them and are unable to recognize words out of that context. Teaching them phonetically gives them a way in to reading anything anytime. When my little students get tired or on 'overload' before our weekly hour is up, I'll switch roles: "Okay, time for you to teach me!" And I read so badly and make so many mistakes, but all so earnestly, they're laughing almost too hard to correct me, but correct me they do, my beautiful little charges.
My only motive, afterall, is to set them on a path of delight in the craziness of leaping e's, and vowel pairs who are friends, one out-going and one shy, ou's that are yowling, and the super shy silent h's that follow all the w's of every question word, as I hopefully open the world that a love of reading provides.
(This little piece shows the barest surface of a phonetic-based reading system. And, yeah, their marks usually rise about 2 grade points; if they were getting D's, after a couple of months of the crazy Tuesday Tutor, we could expect B's; meaning, yeah, it's not just fun but they also learn actual reading skills that they get to keep after Ms. Tutor's a phonetically dim memory...)
Sunday, October 01, 2006
I sit at a small table covered with clear plastic under which a string tablecloth, woven in a loose stitch with an orange central flower radiating out in a circular pattern that stands out from the white stitching, lies. Lifting the glass stopper on a bottle of olive oil, I pour a delicate gold stream over my mostly lettuce salad, and then, from the other bottle, fresh lime juice. When the glass of housewine arrives, it is slightly vinegary, and I wonder if they bottled it themselves. The beef Keba is tender, the white rice is intermixed with yellow orange grains cooked with saffron. On the edge of the oval dish is a stewed tomatoe.
The patrons consist of an older retired couple, two young men in suits talking about business, and two Indian families who sit at tables pulled together. My favourites are a girl and boy, both perhaps 18 months old, whose words consist of 'blaaah...' and 'ma-ma-ma.' I think they are told they are too noisy for the woman in the corner because I am pointed at and they both suddenly turn and look at me with wide brown eyes. I smile, they smile, and then they run around the tables until their mothers grab them and put them in the high chairs. The women each have long shiny dark hair and are young and beautiful and are dressed in new sweats, unlike their husbands in their starch white shirts and office trousers. Throughout the meal, they continue to expend energy tying to quieten the children while their husbands talk. I think of an always-smiling young Parsee woman I met at a job recently and her wedding that week in a dress of white lace; afterwards, she said, she was changing into a mustard honey sari with gold threads sewn through it, the colours of the table cloth and the fragrant rice before me. I wonder about the Parsees in India; my young soon-to-be married friend originally from Sri Lanka, and if the life ahead of her will be similar to the families seated near me.
The young children cannot sit still in silence. I ruminate on what I am observing, mon cher. Why do we feel we have to contain energies that are different to our own? Why do we need to bring others down to our level? Why do we try to silence each other in the ways that we do?
These are questions that are haunting me, as you know, Monsieur.
I watch the fathers' irritation with the noisy children; the mothers' attempts to stop them from crying. What is this process of containing that begins so young?
The waiter, who can barely keep up with the orders, and runs from table to table, and the man behind the counter, who is also the cook, look like brothers. They have just opened this restaurant, on borrowed money perhaps. Business is already going well.
I wanted to post the poem, not talk about the bad night, and enjoy my quiet weekend making my way out into the day today, but I'm aching, light-headed, still swimming in the depths of the emotional disaster last week, the emailing, the words, the decisions, the silences, the loss.
Incomprehensible on the edge of.
Aren't they all edges?
And where is.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Ira Socol, whose work I've been reading for over two years now, is one of the best writers I've found who is posting on the NET. Stylistically, his work is nearly perfect and continually astounds me. He manages, through action, memory, description to convey complex situations and characters. One doesn't get a sense of judgment of the characters in these often complex situations by the narrator of the piece, nor any of the self-aggrandizing or moralizing that is rife in the blogosphere, only compassion. He writes perhaps a kind of 'film noir' prose and his writing, without a word of excess, seems always to overflow into poetry. Despite posting rough drafts for a book, his posts are encapsulated and complete in themselves - knowing the broader sweep helps, but it's not necessary.
While it is wonderful of him to include my blog among his 'most read,' his site is one of the best in the blogosphere and I would highly recommend it to anyone.