Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Propogating Fire

With my fierce language; it's my writing language, not my speaking words. In speech I am always bright.

Write from rawness. How else to find where we are? Plummet, forget safety. Go for the bleeding. Or maybe that's not it. Maybe it's bathing in nectars of fire.

The burning halo came anyway. And then I was alone. Leave the books behind to write.

I walk past a slate black iron tub in which a wash of rusted water runs, an Ecumenical bath.

A man in a white shirt photographs a bird-bath in the Church garden, a series of circular waterfalls in which birds shake their wings, flapping water.

An ambulance sirens by and crumb-pecking sparrows flutter so quickly to hide in the yellow rose bush that I laugh.

I am walking to a store to look at a sheer red shawl impregnated with flowers that I will not buy, but find myself standing near the park, writing in my notebook.

Two pigeons interlock in a dance on the ground nearby: the beak of one deep inside the mouth of the other, their grey heads bobbing back and forth. Is it a love dance?

It was humiliating that I was coerced into a dead-end corner with one ungraceful exit so the infidelity could occur.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Beating Breath

Still working on it -added IV:

I

Language of the heart.

An inner maelstrom,
rushing into the future.

Your distant pounding.
Can my heart be your heart?

What tightens or beats
too strongly or dissolves
into pain or
bliss?

A vocabulary of love,
our bodies.

Expansively warm &
beautiful. Knowingness
of the heart. Where
we breath.

II

The burning heart.

The Sufi Master,
Hazrat Inayat Khan: "in pain
the heart becomes living
and without pain man seems to be
living on the surface."*

Pain brings the heart alive, and
when purified of bitterness,
shines,
then joy flows
from the "source of all goodness"
and acts of kindness
are easy.

III

Unknot the tangled heart

Slowly, carefully.

A delicate operation, hurts
furies, angers, losses.
Scar tissue, where nerves
have had to find
their own way
through.

Bypassing ourselves.

In Tibetan Tantric Buddhism
the Anahata, or heart centre,
requires copious hours of
purifying sounds of mantras,
visualizations of yantras,
untangling the knots
then energy flows
unimpeded.

Kundalini rises,
surging electric current
and multi-petalled
rainbows of love
flower in
us.

IV

We opened passageways, subtle vessels.
Until we hit the dead zone. Scar tissue,
and how many times were our hearts broken?
Where the nerves had gone dead;
where there was almost no feeling.
We liked it that way.
The soft, beating core hidden,
where blood thunders
in its cave of life,
red tides
rush.

I lay the whole day alone,
unable to move, or think,
as if I held the weight
of both of our
hearts.

When we came to each other,
nerves beating in our hearts
where they hadn't for years.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Beating Breath - rough draft

It's not language that I think about, but my heart.
The language of the heart.

Images that express the inner maelstrom which enable me to understand while rushing into the future.

Or expressing you, your distant pounding.
How can my heart be your heart?

Is it a metaphoric centre of feeling? Where it tightens or beats too strongly or dissolves into pain? How did we create a vocabulary of love based on physiological reactions? Or is there a consciousness located in the beating organ? Expansiveness, the warmth and beauty of love. A knowingness of the heart? Where we breath.

A person's "real being is his heart, and in pain the heart becomes living and without pain man seems to be living on the surface." The Sufi master, Hazrat Inayat Khan (A Bowl of Saki, Aug 15th, 2007). If we live and work with our body and mind without our heart, he says, we haven't lived. Pain brings the heart alive. When purified of bitterness, the light of existence shines through. Then we become a "source of all goodness," and acts of kindness are easy.

It beats. It is knotted. Untangle the knots of the heart.

In Tantric Buddhism much consideration is devoted to the careful untangling of the Anahata Chakra, the heart centre, with purifying sounds of mantra and visualizations of yantra. The Heart Sutra.

"A giving which gives only its gift, but in the giving holds itself back and withdraws, such a giving we call sending."

"Why are there beings at all, instead of Nothing?" Martin Heidegger

Give me platitudes, admonish me.

How do I write about fragility? What is it to be fragile? Shouldn't I allow the images to emerge and let feeling sort itself out from there? Can the expression come before the content? Do we learn about ourselves from what we do and say retrospectively?

Is life a backwards motion forwards?

I am always only catching up with myself. A lapse between beats.

An underlying combination of emotions, passions, thoughts, memories, talents, from which emerge words, images that express the inner maelstrom. Where the heart forever untangles itself.

If we can plummet the visceral reaction we can discover our feelings?

Appetites, emotions and feelings, from the simple to the complex. A spectrum where feeling is a complex nexus of interconnections, and we are irretrievably connected.

For me to have empathy, compassion, I need the full range from lived experience to understanding, don't I?

Does a newborn understand perfectly?

Clear mirror.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I tip language like a fallen cup



Rocking Robots

Dancing Japanese Robots! How fin de siècle! All that technology put in the service of dance, and for the pure pleasure of the audience. I love it! Forget warfare and servants, bring on the Robie Chorus Lines-

Amazing Dancing Japanese Robots

It might be fake, certainly, the nomer "Japanese scientists" a front. Maybe they aren't robots but people dressed up. Except that I find the timing when all four are making the same movements suspiciously mechanical. Could people be such exact replicas of each other? Be that as it may, it could be a spoof of Japanese science students who are dressed up as robots and are teasing us through UTube. I don't know about you, but sometimes it's fun being gullible.

Now I know if I had a robot I'd want him to dance for me at all hours... morning coffee and a pirouette please. A little can-can with the Chili Rellenos. A Foxtrot with the custard tart.

:-)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On Sunday Morning...

It is a wonderful, bright & sunny Summer's morning. I'm not sure if I'm emerging from my cocoon or not, but I spent the entire day yesterday cleaning my apartment - at least half the day scrubbing my old sectional leather couch with a tiny natural bristle brush and a spray saddle soap that is simply amazing. The Italian pale gray leather couch from The Art Shoppe is almost 20 years old and has been through two kids, not just the milk burbs and apple juice but the coke phases as teenagers (well out of that now, tg), three cats - the leather worse for the wear, considering those little cat claws and all, and a fairly long-haired dog. It's ripped in one section, which I have to get fixed at some point.

My computer is full with my daughter's iPod iTunes songs and photos are a challenge, the system usually telling me the "scratch discs are full," so one at a time, saved onto a memory stick until we can figure out what to do - at this point I'm favouring a Mini Mac for her. But, oh what the heck, some morning photos for you-

And olde, fifty-five, a good age, as good as any, and lucky to be extremely fit - I notice no difference between now and 30 years ago in terms of flexibility or agility, the only thing is that I can't dance all night anymore. But even back then, I'd still be going at 4am and everyone would be flaked out around me. Now... I'm good for perhaps a couple of hours at most, though when was the last time I went to a party? A dance workshop coming up and we'll be dancing 5 or 6 hours straight, so perhaps I do myself injustice. Wrinkles on my face and tiny capillaries on my legs, but isn't that the wonderful part of aging? Seeing how far you've come? The way your journey is etched on your face, in your body?

You can see I am just moved in, more-or-less. That bookcase needs to be moved back by a strong man, perhaps my brother will drop by this afternoon. The wall needs some paintings - but with the very bright sunlight - the windows face due West, they can't be watercolour, something that can handle light like oils. Next year I hope to have some Italian silk curtains that I am lusting after, though they have to await other more necessary purchases (like a bed for the spare room). In the meantime, I went to the art store and bought kilometers of canvas, which are rolled back and clipped with Alligator clips until the sun comes burning around in the afternoons - it'll be wonderful in any other season, but those 30-35 C degree hot humid days, oh la! Steamy...

That's my doggy, Keesha. She's 8 years old, a Springer Spaniel, and very adorable.

1-BCAug12-07

2-BCAug12-07

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Critical Density

While I try to write about how we circle ourselves (see Paucities...), in my notebook I found this, written on July 16th. Perhaps not posted because it didn't seem 'enough,' and, as ever, I'm not sure 'who' it's about...




Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Paucities...

My stance here, and my stance there. Taking on a certain perspective and allowing the writing to impart that. Cleverly expressing myself in certain ways to reveal and conceal what I choose about myself. Hiding behind metaphors, or perhaps finding the metaphors to express what's going on and thus satisfactorily expressing myself. Blogging seems often a self-infatuated exercise. Yet, if you love to write, you love to write...

After a few years of blogging in various communities I am amazed at how we repeat ourselves. Variations on our themes. Our writerly narratorial voice intact, our approach consistent, only minor variants in plot structures change. If it's a litany of daily life, after a few years life every day begins to look nearly the same. I'm terrible, I know! But I drop in and out of sites, sometimes months apart or longer, and find the same writing from the same stance and the topic barely changed! Oy!

Do we write ourselves into our own paper bags or what?!

I'm the same, I don't deny it! Always approaching, never arriving, the play of my 'sensuous intellect' (as it's been called) and yet another dancer painting, ho hum. We've all got our pet favs and peeves, our beloved Weltanschauungs and experiences, theories and authors and styles to uphold our world-view. Somewhere on the time line of our lives we established our taste and how to groom ourselves for the 'look of our time' and stuck with it, even 50 years later. Never mind my writing style, my hairstyle almost exactly the same as 30 years ago, but, yeah, the clothes have changed. If cotton didn't eventually develop holes and disintegrate, I don't know though.

Not that I'd want us all to change, either. Please don't misunderstand. I don't know what I'd do if I discovered a 'different' persona writing at your site - fear that you'd developed a potentially alarming split personality? There's comfort and security in visiting a wide array of sites over a long period of time and discovering that, yes, everyone is still the same, then you can rest easy and sleep at night.

It's why we don't realize we are our very own 'repeating records' that intrigues me. I stopped writing journals after a 3-day marathon reading dozens and dozens of them in the late 90s when I realized that I was still saying things that I said when I was a teenager and still thinking them somehow new! Pointless. If I wasn't going to figure it out after all that writing, I never would. Hence shifting to more public writing, of which this blog is a vehicle.

But I find the same clinging to the 'same old, same old' that I found in my journals, and is it true that we each really only have one story to tell, and we tell it over and over in slight variations all our lives long, and if we're lucky we crystallize it in one really good telling that somehow outlasts us? Becomes relevant beyond us.

My tongue has been loosened today and I do apologize for these long posts. Prose poetry, and mine begins to look much the same after a number of years even though I can see that there is development, okay minor development, but... :-) is much harder to write than this kind of outpouring. Fingers just click the keys, keys I don't even have to look at, it's like they're wired into my poor brain.

And, anyway, August is a slow month. Can't you tell I'm edging for commiseration, or a confrontation, a discussion, a disagreement! Anything for excitement.

Reflections on choices...

Why does the process of living entail choice-making? Ideally, shouldn't everything be accommodated? Isn't there room for all aspects? But evolution operates through choice. This way; not that. An increasing balanced complexity of unfolding. Thus we are creatures of choice. It's buried in our Biblical myths too. Free will, with a hidden clause: choose the 'right way' or suffer. So we make continual choices based on a wide range of criteria. I can be more of who I am here rather than there: this is a better fit for me; I am more useful here; I can better fulfill my ideals in service of this.

The underside of choice is rejection. Turning away from, shutting down, negating, shaking yourself free of. I leave this for that: that opportunity suits me better than this one- it could give me greater happiness, success, wealth.

We are always considering our choices, hoping they're the right ones, seeing if we can make better ones. People who have definable goals generally achieve more than those who don't. Mulling around 'looking' without knowing what you're looking for usually doesn't produce much of anything. It's better to establish priorities, short and long term goals, to make decisions. By making decisions, we move on. This, not that: whee, I'm on a trajectory...

But there are two problems with this 'mind-set'- the torment of regret over making 'a bad choice,' and being so worried about ramifications, consequences and what might or might not happen that one is unable to make any decisions at all, and so keep treading the same water, running on the same treadmill, arriving where you started from. Indecision as a result of fear is to my mind one of the worst dilemmas of all.

Then we never give ourselves fully to anything. We don't dive deeply, take chances, are absolutely alive to everything life can offer us. Perhaps this is what is known as 'the conventional life.' Taking the road well traveled - after all it seems safer.

Yet we are 'hot-beds of passion.' I've never spoken to a single person my whole life who wasn't simmering with desires, regrets, angers, joys, judgments, emotional memories under their beautiful surfaces. We are fiery beings, powerhouses of energy. All of us. In our happinesses and unhappinesses, our successes and failures, our desires and furies. We're competitive, ever-watchful of each other. Attempting to balance our need to cooperate lovingly and to come out ahead. And always cognizant of our bodies, their appetites, perhaps shaping ourselves through dieting or exercise, trying to hone and contain ourselves...

I'm feeling chatty today, it's very quiet in the middle of the Summer, so a reflective post. While I don't have to make any major life-path decisions currently, whenever I do I seem to choose the wild, tangled, lonely ways, the ones that are full of strange ecstasies and deep heartbreaks, visions and insecurity, finding and losing myself continually along the way. I seek out challenges. Is that why I'm an artist?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent Clouds
(click on image for larger version)

"Noctilucent Clouds," 2007, 14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4" x 9"; oils, India ink, on paper coated with acrylic matte medium; photo taken in bright sun (colours not bad on my iMac).

A lucent state of consciousness, my fingers thick with oil paint, spreading it quickly, curves, folds of the drapery, her ecstatic, graceful form, the broil of the night sky...

Do I sense what will emerge? I have to find the 'right moment' in the streams-of-consciousness to paint, and painting is always a fearful act where I throw my spiritual life on the line. And then it becomes accepting what emerges, and working with it.

This little piece has a specific purpose - to remind me of dance, movement, freedom, the sky.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Noctilucent Clouds - first wash of paint

Noctilucent Clouds

"Noctilucent Clouds," 2007; 14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4"x 9"; oils, india ink, paper, acyrlic matte medium.

14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4"x 9"; oils, india ink, paper, acyrlic matte medium

Sorry! I guess with flickr's new limits, this image is gone. You can view a page of Celestial Dancers at my website, however: Art & Writings of Brenda Clews/Celestial Dancers.

It took longer to photograph this little painting under the flourescent lights in the kitchen near midnight and to colour correct the image and upload it to flickr than it did to paint!

My fingers thick with oil paint spread the colour so quickly, me in a lucent state of consciousness barely aware... that calf of hers, the one she's holding herself aloft on, needs more shadow, today I can see that.