Thursday, November 29, 2007

Early Snowfall

Snow drifts from the sky whitely combing
the red and golden yellow leaves;
when it melts,
bare limbs climb into the sky.
I want to lie on those whorls of wood,
like mastheads of stately Nordic goddesses
or my tender frozen ancestral grandmothers,
dreaming of Daphne, firey gowns
stripped by solar winds to stark
nude greys of Winter.
Thick ridges of weather
carved rivulets
in the bark.

_____
Visit Riverside Rambles for the 18th edition of the Festival of the Trees, where this little poem is included among many great entries.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Magnolia Stellata

A desolation out of which writing comes. An emptiness of words. The streets are dark as I walk. Perhaps love is not fullness but the absence itself.

'Despair....invokes beauty only to pour the void into it. The emptiness of the soul is so vast, its cruel advance so inexorable, that any resistance to it is impossible. What would be left of paradise if it were seen from the viewpoint of despair? A graveyard of happiness.' E.M. Cioran, Tears & Saints.

We cannot merge. Are we are in love with each other's absence? Our holy madness is our love, founded on renunciation.

I am emptied in my love for you. I have no desire to possess you - desire emphasizes lack. Even in this violent wrenching towards each other where we are alienated and jubilatory. When we are empty of ourselves we take joy in the sweetness of the other.

If I could tell you a story, I would. There are no avenues of magnolia trees here, though I wish there were.

'Loneliness means I am at last whole.

Only with him could I be lonely. Open up to him. Completely open, completely for him. Welcome him completely into myself. Surround him with the labyrinth of shared happiness. I know it is you.'
Peter Handke, Wings of Desire.

I am alone with he who is alone. Seul á seul.

I'm looking for the essence
that I can drop on my tongue,
until I am suffused with the
scent. Until my kisses are
magnolia,
........soft white petals of perfume.

Imagine the magnolia trees where Venus is born aloft on the shell blown by Zephyr.

Where writing comes to an end and sinks into its
emptiness.

Only then.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rubies In Crystal - a new template

A new design. You noticed, thank you, Jean. I resurrected my old Rubies In Crystal banner (of 27 layers, my first real attempt at creating a composite image in Photoshop, it took forever) and decided to make the post titles a deep red, you know, to match - like pillows on the couch with the heavily brocaded curtains of rich rubies and Merlot, the, ahem, 'Tibetan red.' I struggled with the html in the template (which uses 3 numbers for colour, not 6 or the RGB code that I could easily access in Photoshop Elements), a template which I'd already fiddled with quite a bit, and wished I'd taken courses in webdesign, and finally saved the whole mass of computer jargon in a word file just in case, and took the leap into the "new" and easier templates Blogger offers. Along the way I discovered that any photos you post to your blog are automatically saved in a file at Google's photo site, Picasa, which is neat, and where they remain unlisted unless you choose to make them public. Google is creating a marvelously integrated package, with Gmail, Documents, Reader, Calendar, and Groups, plus lots of other stuff - I love Google and its increasing array of offerings.

Rubies In Crystal is a reference not only to mystical caves of jewels that are the colour of the vibrant life force but to wine and the full enjoyment of life as expressed in Sufism, and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, one of my geologist/geochemist/scientist father's favourite books (perhaps I'll try to elaborate in another post sometime). I like the simplified look of the site now, the ease of the addition of the red accents as well as the ability to put the banner in a red background, and the way the font appears. The template still needs tweaking - like why are there question marks before the archived posts (which seem to work nevertheless)?

Forays into html for another day...

:-)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Composite SOHO image of the Sun

"This composite image combines EIT images from three wavelengths (171Å, 195Å and 284Å) into one that reveals solar features unique to each wavelength. Since the EIT images come to us from the spacecraft in black and white, they are color coded for easy identification. For this image, the nearly simultaneous images from May 1998 were each given a color code (red, yellow and blue) and merged into one." SOHO Gallery: Best of SOHO

The very best image of the sun, and it's nearly a decade old! What was I doing 10 years ago? Oh -?! Gasp. Never mind. SOHO's sun of three-wavelengths was far better.

The Gravity of the Situation

Without the attraction of this force of 'holding still' we'd fly off
surely.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cacao Trees for Three Millenia

Natural laws. Diurnal follows nocturnal. Inbreath, outbreath. The world works: in it's clashing, it fits together. It's trustworthy. We rely on it's smooth operation. What rises falls. What is alive dies. Boiling water turns to steam. Nice, this regularity.

Without the natural laws, I couldn't rest.

Have you noticed how clean the microscopic world is? Blood platelets hang together like little solar systems of planets, each with space. Fierce dust mites look tidy.

The four forces, electromagnetic, the atom-binding strong force, the radioactive-controlling weak force, and gravity dependably weave our universe.

Or the four humors before them, but never mind.

It's a relief. The regularity of process. Eating chocolate, as I am, produces sweet heaven on my tongue. It always does. Chocolate can be trusted.

Perhaps you are like creativity,
dangerous.

I don't think about anyone else.

I'd better come back in,
where stars sparkle behind my eyelids.

At the deepest level, there is no chaos. It's troubling. An insane waring bloodbath is a neat and tidy microscopic world of platelets suspended in solution. Or the decay. Molecule by molecule. Lovely chemistry, that's all. Electron microscopes are revealers of the secrets of matter, I tell you.

Love wherever it happens is the most extraordinary of all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Earth's Nightside

We are moved by our stories, their involving narratives with plots, characters, themes, structures mimicking us in our real lives but grander than us, more dangerous, the stakes higher, but I, oh, what can I say, and ought I to apologize, I find this image of the dark side of the earth taken by a passing spacecraft with our cities shining like stars more moving than I can find words for. All of the stories are here. I ache for this world; my heart beats for this sun-rimmed beauty - I am thick with love for this world of ours. Doesn't everything in you reach for what is within this image - us, in our nighttimes, on our rolling planet.

_______________
"On Nov. 13th, Europe's Rosetta spacecraft flew past Earth, swooping a mere 5300 km above the southern hemisphere....Rosetta also took some spectacular pictures of Earth's nightside, capturing city lights and possibly some auroras, too: annotated image. Inside one of those dots of light, a team of Italian astronomers (Giovanni Sostero, Ernesto Guido, Luca Donato and Virgilio Gonano) were looking back at Rosetta. Here is the view through their 18-inch telescope; Rosetta is the dim streak of light cutting through the starry background. Bon Voyage, Rosetta!" SpaceWeather.com

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some thoughts on injury during dance...

If we try to exceed ourselves too much we injure ourselves. It's important to excel beyond oneself, to lose one'self' in the ecstasy of the dance, but safely. There is a hubris to an injury - an overdoing. If the ego tries to stretch with the expanding/dissolving self it's called ego-inflation and perhaps the emotional corollary of physical injury. The muscles stretch but at a point they have to 'let go,' 'relax,' even in intense, highly aerobic movement, otherwise there'll be damage: a pulled or stretched or torn muscle or tendon, a broken bone, a dislocation; harmony is lost. I find most of my injuries occur when I am working in an area of unacknowledged emotional tumult. Then I push myself and overdo it when perhaps I should be tenderly reaching in with self-compassion and loving-kindness. I forget limits, my fragility. And remembering to be humble towards what I can and cannot do.

Self-care, how important this is.

Most of my thankfully minor injuries take about six months to heal fully. Often I overdo and re-injure. In the high octane of the dance it is easy to forget that a part of your body needs constant TLC.

TLC, for myself.

Ah, should we not all do that more often, and not just when we're injured?

________________
An expansion on something I'd written in the feedback for the 5Rhythms dance workshop I attended last August.

Dance

On the edge of a great cloud bank
wet, each pore
fire suffused, open,
bones like wind
sunlight of the Summer, free
asking where the words went
when they rained, drenching the heart
the beat of the circle, writing on drums
words flashing in air, lightning.
It's electricity
not gravity
that connects us.
Blue paints the tops of the clouds,
lit.
Waves across the world.


August 26, 2007

_________
Written at the 5Rhythms workshop Taeji and Shara held at Dovercourt House - towards the end of the 2-day event, we were each given paper and pen and asked to write something that would be sent to us a few months later: received in the mail from Taeji today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November Sun

leaves, fire colours
reds and oranges
the fallen sun

a street carpet
of fragmented light

sodden endless rain

paper garden bags,
of collected leaves,
raked and packed

my heart, enfolded
withdrawn

an economy of words

no fixing it, either - if it's
not there in the first sweep
it'll never be

I was on a pathway
that disappeared
before I arrived

the large wood-wet oak
a shiny canopy of leaves
held by powerful branches
bright yellow lanterns
slivers of sun

scattering1


______
On November 8th, browsing radio stations I came across Don Jackson in his nightly spot, "Lovers and Other Strangers," and found him presenting a marvelous Autumn show composed of November-inspired poetry and music, that, hmnn, has obviously been inspiring...

1While I couldn't work it into the poem, I was also playing with an origin of the universe metaphor with a reference to the point of the "last scattering" when, in the diffuse plasma of ionized atoms, particles and anti-particles annihilated each other for the last time, leaving about a billion photons for every particle of matter, thus making the universe transparent. I wanted this reference to echo the emotional underlayer of the poem where fragmented light leads to a naked transparency of the heart, a clarity.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Setting up a small studio...

On the weekend my son and brother moved about half my storage space out. A solid pine queen-sized bedframe in pieces, a dismantled swinging couch for a backyard, an old stereo system with speakers that still works, a workout bench in its box, a functional old laser printer with an unwrapped toner, things no longer needed or there isn't room for. They cleared enough space for me to set up a small painting area so that I can work right away if I have the gumption. Once the remaining dozen or so boxes are unpacked, there will be no excuse anymore: it's heated; there's a tiny window for ventilation; next door is the laundry room with a big sink for washing brushes (I use water-based oils, so clean-up is easy); the lighting's nothing, but there are clamp lamps and full spectrum bulbs...

I paint on the floor, whenever I can summon the courage to let it go, or when I manage a zen-like state. It's always a risk. It's the most nerve-wracking thing I do.

Once the canvas is dry, I can move it upstairs where there is light in excess and work on an easel.

Some of my best paintings have been done when it's almost dark and I can barely see what I'm doing. It's not about the amount of light but the state of mind.

I'll try to take a photo later and add it to this post.

Later: Ok, so 4. And so what if they're a bit silly. You get the picture.

1-13Nov07BC

2-13Nov07BC

My doggy wondering.

3-13Nov07BC

Fun wall shot. Oh, whateva, then.

4-13Nov07BCStorage

What's still to do. Sort of Arrgghhhh....

Friday, November 09, 2007

And, anyway, what part of the brain is remembering...

Why am I trying to remember Plato? It was a dark green hardcover book. I took to reading outside of my course lists, rising every morning at 5am and reading for about 2 hours before getting ready to make the long trek to the university for my courses or teaching assignment. When I finished the Oxford Annotated Bible, I began Plato, naturally (and after him, well, Aristotle, who I found tedious, with his categorizations and namings). In the Fall of that year I read Plato cover to cover, and hardly remember it except of the wonder of worlds opening out. Though subsequently I felt I had the "Plato layer" somewhere in my psyche and would have some dim general idea whenever I came across a reference, or when reading Neo-Platonists.

The cave, and the chained, and the muted light, this I remember. Or the city of perfect people all with their perfect roles. The split of the soul into two halves each forever seeking each other. Transmigration of souls. Pure forms. And Socrates and the hemlock, oh yes. Plato really is two men anyhow, not one. He never was one man. Any philosopher would laugh at me.

This morning carrying a large chocolate-dipped apple that I was given for answering three silly Insurance Company questions (what might insurance be good for? is there a difference between an agent and a broker? oh ho ho my) and getting my picture taken I saw it, I'd never noticed before, down by the vault. Whoever uses it? The way the morning light rested on each of the horizontal lines. It looked like an industrial strength plastic flooring until closer and realizing it was marble. Light shone ethereally down those stairs, surely a representation of pure forms. Why do we have to find representations of what we're thinking about? Is that called pathetic fallacy? Walking by walls of marble tile and on floors of marble, it could almost be a cave. Not quite, but if you thought of the tremendous industry, hauling it all from the earth, cutting and polishing it, cementing it in...

___________
Writers read everything, and readers of writers read everything, and I was doing a graduate degree in English Literature and was tired of references to basic works I hadn't read and so embarked on a wide-ranging and varied reading project... that went on for 10 years at almost a book a day - totally different to Fine Arts, which I also did a degree in, where mostly what you had to know was Art History, at least back then. I'm sure it didn't begin with Plato... so why is He popping up? And on marble staircases of all places.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Neon Blue Calligraphy / of Love

Neon Blue Calligraphy
of Love

The concern of the French genre of récit is retrospective - it does not follow the unfolding of events like the novel, but looks back musingly upon them, allowing what has occurred to return in various ways, to the extent they can never be said to be completed at all. It names, thereby, a genre characterised by reflection rather than action, bearing on a single episode, or group of episodes as they present themselves as an occasion for meditation.1 Lars Iyer


from where writing issues
enfolded in the heart
lines beating like blood vessels
this book of words


I

Do I resist the pull into the past? The way it swirls in me. How much of my heart remains in that vortex of love?

Decades pass silently.
I didn't know where,
or even if
you were alive.

Looking but not searching,
for an essence of what we shared.

How
I,
but words, like billions of capillaries,
this body.
Flow of the aorta.
Systolic.
Writing renews itself for you.

Prodigal.
Like Lazarus.
From beyond, risen, returned.
Kaddish to The Rite of Spring,
a funerary dirge becomes a blossoming landscape of love.
Which I barely recognize, our aged selves.

Where did you go?

And where are you now?

The neon blue calligraphy of the skies, where the plane was swallowed, where you went.

II

When he came out of the past, I wasn't sure it was him. The elegance of his language, that lexicon, I knew it had to be. Always I had difficulty putting him to his words, the latter an outflow of the former but the clarity of his intelligence, how it definitively appeared, neatly without difficulty, on the page.

The elegant calligraphy of a mind borne through the heart.

III

Only from where it is deep, searing,
vulnerability of the self.

Only if my writing pours out,
the blue blood of veins.

IV

I am your lover;
I write as a woman who loves you.

Who speaks to you in writing.

I surrender to you in the flow of the text.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Arias in the Wind

A woman singing arias on a high platform on a truck parked on a cold and windy November day. Her voice flowing with the gusts keeps becoming obscure, becoming wind. Will she fly turning through the air like a Chagall angel, lift and float in the lightness of being?

You haunt me. Is it that we fly together where it mingles, rebounding off each other, an undulating pattern of togetherness that's different to the separateness that's ongoing?

Who are you as the hours unfold across the tableau of time? When do you come bounding from that sky of vivid pastel colours?

This coalesquing of ours in various patterns and never stopping and always moving and reconfiguring, our agile dance across the expanse.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight Shifting

I woke, and found the hour returned for revision. End of daylight savings, an hour that repeats itself: from 2am to 3am, and then back to 2am again.

That re-lived hour changed everything.

Take both forks in the road. Try alternatives, side by side. I lived the first hour trapped, obsessed; then went a different way when the hour started again. In the dark hours, a resolution to the dilemma, and I became free in a new way.

Or explore it multiply round-the-clock & superimpose the hours until time is like Comet Holmes expanding.

All day I re-live each of the hours when I pass clocks, the large blue-rimmed one that ticks loudly on the kitchen wall, the yellow-lit numbers on the stove, the travel clock on the bathroom shelf amidst coloured stones strewn around a conch shell, my electric bedside clock with its red LCD numbers, and my tiny silver watch, some are changed, and some aren't, absurdly I like it like that, playing with time, repeating each hour.

I envision changing my watch on the subway platform in the morning, stale underground air, crowded, turning the dial and watching the hands unweave the forever spiralling forward of time.

Today, the 25 hour day, when time repeats itself in the shift towards the light.

Models and Muses

Probably I will take this down and integrate it into a prosepoem, but I am intrigued by this insight, or perhaps it is only a reflection.

I hadn't realized before, anytime through all the years of exploration that began, perhaps, during my Jungian phase and obsession with the animus, the divine masculine.

When I am obsessed with a man, I write for him. Or is this too simple? Over 30 years of writing, I'm not talking about very many men. Those I've fallen in love with. Those few jewels sparkling in the light.

What I clearly understood today is that a woman writer has models, the man on whom the poem is dressed, but that the model is not the muse. The muse is the man to whom the poem is addressed.

The one, the figure; the other, the inspiration. The one, the man one might have become involved with because it worked for one's art, and was rather fun; the other, a man one rarely was involved with because he's, oh, how to describe, brilliant, knowledgeable, talented, huge in his capacities and achievements, and thus fearful. One is vulnerable before one's muse.

Yet one feels understood by the muse, for whom one pushes oneself to produce the best one is capable of; the model barely understands what one's working on, and only sees it in terms of themselves. The muse is hidden, the glory underneath, and for whom everything is propelled, created, while the model perhaps gathers an arrogance from the attention. It's an odd thing, this model/muse.

Perhaps the one is like Helios, who drives the sun across the sky each day; the other like magnificent Apollo, the ancient Greek God of Light. Rarely have the model and the muse been the same man. Though sometimes I mix up images of both: hopefully, it's cleverly done and goes undetected. I write about one as a model for the other's imagination, and pleasure.

I would never consider a serious relationship with a man who's a model, though I might with a muse. But I stay away from my muses. It's easier.

Or so I surmise: I haven't landed anywhere in the last 10 years, since my marriage ended. But there've been some wonderful men who've inspired me greatly; and I've had perhaps one or two wild rides with fascinating models.

Exploding Comet Holmes


"This is a composite image of exploding Comet 17P/Holmes. German astrophotographer Sebastian Voltmer combined various exposures taken through his 4.1-inch refracting telescope and processed the composite to highlight the comet's bright golden core (with jets and streamers), its gossamer green halo and an emerging faint blue tail. It's one of the strangest and most beautiful photos of a comet ... ever."
Spaceweather
(click on image for larger version, and take a look at these from photographers around the world -magnifique!)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Writing in the Air

for Jocelyn

Ancient and barbaric tongues, a music, mystical, meltings, crossings, of decay into other forms.

Are our metaphors metaphors of the metaphor? Composting into earth; or the ocean sweeping under.

A warmly cool wind blew over me after a hot humid night. Later, my feet caressed by sand, I walk to a nearly deserted beach. The pale-sapphire lake, remnants of mist like writing rising into the blue sky, infinity brought close.

Signs. A blond-haired young woman ambling the beach who stepped into the water to catch a tiny flap of orange and who freed the Monarch butterfly in the shrubbery. Or the man with wiry white hair who dozed on the wood brown-shellacked picnic bench, his dark tan, like a toasted chestnut, kayak a pod beside him.

Emergence, tumescence. Unendingly, cycling, one following the other, appearing and disappearing, jarring, the punctuations of this rhythm.

Lying on a blue striped beach towel, brushing the sand with my flat palm, my fingers touched a stone, small, perfectly round and flat, slate black. I knew it was hers, a philosopher's stone, and I would place it with my Australian dream-time stone on the alter of abundantly flowing memories and mementos composed of everyone's love for her.

With the upcoming memorial dance, I took a taxi to the subway, arrived home, showered, blended bananas, nectarines, peaches, strawberries in milk with soy powder and honey, put on a black dance leotard, some sports capris, filled a bottle with spring water, and hurried out.

The day blossomed into a flower, rich and hot and curling at the edges, crumpling. Its redolence like ripeness bruising to a deeper hue. I had barely known her. In the room where we gathered there were many tears. It was her blue Pilate's ball that submerged me as I clung to it. We cannot navigate through grief; it is grief that navigates us.

A room full of dancing for her. Already she is an apocryphal story. Auspicious. A little dizzy, sitting, eating pizza with her partner on the porch, happy, content, she died suddenly and unexpectedly. Without resistance, she went. A heart murmur, perhaps. It wasn't an aneurysm, no direct cause clearly discerned. Writhing, crying, leaping, sliding, we danced for her, her absent presence.

It was massive, the dancing of grief and joy. Our bodies moving through the hours like love writing in the air.

Afterwards in the circle we held the black twine passed around, coming in tighter, all connected, and we each took a blue glass bead, and when the scissors came round, we cut, cut the thread holding us, separated our life lines, and strung the bead and tied it around our wrists or necks or ankles.

In the evening at home, I ate a mixture of seeds and nuts, fed a neighbour's cat, warmed a little beef bourguignon, watched The Sea Inside by Amenabar, tears, copious, finally finishing the evening with sweet dried pears, hazlenut and currant dark chocolate, cheese and red wine. The night, still soft, Summery, by morning a cold front moving in, with clouds and rain.

Writing in the Air

___________________
With many thanks to Taeji, our 5Rhythms facilitator, for holding the memorial dance on September 8th; and to Rhodda for creating the black twine and blue glass beads ritual at the end.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rising Water

My table is set up in a dining area in a small carpeted room adjacent to an enclosed porch overlooking the lake. I take it away from the hands working on it and move it into the windowed area with the sun and waves close.

Alone, I continue preparing my table, perhaps for dinner for my family, although underneath are art supplies, brushes, tubes of paint, a disposable palette, primed canvas; it's on wheels.

The building disappears and I find myself on a spit of land in the room whose windows have now dissolved so that the air pours in.

The area around where I am setting up is becoming wetter and soon will be impossible to reach. The room has disappeared and I am standing on a low-lying bank beside rising water. The ground is muddy and grassy, soggy. I continue setting the table until I realize my family won't be able to get here.

When I look out towards the water, I understand how vulnerable my set-up is. One storm, one lash of water, and everything's gone.

I am considering how to move inland but slowly come to wakefulness in my warm bed in the pre-dawn darkness.