Posts

Image
On the edge of not knowing. The flow forward about to begin. Knowing without surity. Already the energy has begun its motion; already the future is in place. Yet it hasn't happened yet.

She sips a cappuccino under the green awning. An empty cigarette pack falls to the ground. A tiny Chinese lady pushes a shopping cart with a hundred yellow plastic buckets stacked in three leaning towers. The musician playing the guitar strums bluegrass in a straw hat and a pale cream linen suit. It is a cloudlessly sunny Summer day, not humid, perfect. People are casual, happy. Life is easy on a Sunday in the city - Kensington Market is closed off to traffic and there is an ambling street festival of musicians, dancers, food, shopping.

Does time stop for such moments, these pleasant hours? Even now the future is drawing nourishment, like tendrils of roots in the present. The question I want to ask is, does it happen before it happens? Or are we only and forever creating a lattice of possibilities fo…
Finding your creativity in your body, its sensuality…From Fruitflesh by Gayle Brandeis [paraphrased for women & men who write]:Relax, perhaps lie on your back, let your breath circulate in your body, “When you feel quiet, open, bring your awareness to the inside of your body. Explore your inner regions, the space inside your skin. Can you feel where your creativity pulses right now? Is it located in your vulva, or phallus, your rib cage, the arch of your foot? What shape does it take? Does it have a colour, a sound, a density?” I am dreaming my way in. Glimmering rainbows, electrical, channels of energy pulse, throb, unfolding, hovering, swiftly moving currents. Is there a location for this energy? More deeply, envisioning this creative energy, its locus in my body, moving into it---an apex in my vulva, in the folds and membranes, but also floating above like an orchid, sensitive, delicate; and sliding across my thighs, radiating up and down the sides, where my body retains its me…

Drawing

Image
© 2005 by Brenda Clews
Image
This is inspired by the photo I took to go with the last post and is a whole series of images in itself. Today I wrote this prose poem, away from the images in photo, in my notebook at a cafe, remembering. ~Follow the curve of birth. Images of fertility. How did they appear with such intimacy? Seeds, eggs, vas deferens, oviducts, ovum, egg sacs, a winged maple seed helio-revolving, honey combs, womb, scrotum, the tubes where living cells spawn. Cracking apart, breaking, blighted, ideas and wishes that form, eggs bursting without yolks, and one perfect moment that rises whole into the world. What is viable, what happens, where desire and its fulfillment are one unfolding. Purple, blue, insect, fowl, animal, human, whirring. Moonscape, the deep unconscious. Libido an overflow of the deep forces in motion, possibilities appearing and disappearing, where the shape of the future occurs. Incipient wholeness. Where it is never still. Three hundred million sperm entering the central canal of …

Body Painting on Saris

Image
Body Painting on Saris

I am moving through a landscape of strange passion. The air is scented with a mixture of hyacinth, pine and memories of seabreeze. With wild fruit. Raspberries glisten redly amidst thorns, and I greedily pluck them from the bushes until my palm is overflowing and my tongue alive with sour freshness. The wind dances in the treetops, plays with racing clouds. I breathe deeply. The warmth of Summer and the ease with which I glide across the urban terrain, even with my unsettledness, unsettles you. I am like a tendril falling across your face; a glance of wind on your cheek; a sudden rush in your heart; a woman swirling about you like a dervish. You thought you had forgotten me, turned me into a speck of dust that you blew towards the mountains. And here I am, my mouth full of raspberries, red juices trickling. And I hold my hand to you, heaped with berries like jewels. But am I real? How quickly can I swirl in my colourful sarongs, beads and bracelets jangling, and …

The River

Image
i

What is the surface
of this river
that I am flowing with?

Gliding where the water
paints the trees and sky
in liquid colours,
calm, steady, tranquil, smooth;
underneath, I am a torrent of emotion,
a riptide of passion, flux of feeling
affirming, reeling, denying, spinning
into my own whirlpool.

My journey
back to my city
re-invokes memories
endings, untenable relationships that have lost their power,
that time has spun into the eye of the whirlpool,
currents of emotion, burdens of loss, gone.

I can look at you now
without flinching.
I am not trapped in cycles of unending irresolution.
Because I can leave, wash myself
of algae, reeds, sand and grit,
let the waters rush the detritus that remains
into a spining watery vortex.

This knowledge alone
depotentiates.

ii

I am the gentle
lapping on the shore,
fresh water of coolness...

Do you not see or hear
the thundering waterfall that I am?

I have lotuses growing on my still surface
like stepping stones
of flat jewels, of full moons, of honey cakes.

If you wish the beaut…

Courage My Love

Image
Courage My Love grows on you. Eventually it becomes the place where you always stop, browse each week before continuing on to buy fruit and vegetables and other health foods at Kensington Market. Occasionally you buy some silver jewelry, earrings or bangles or a pendant, or sometimes just beautiful loose beads that you'll string later, sometimes a vintage slip or skirt or shirt. You'll always touch the jingly silver dancer's belts, for belly dancers or strippers perhaps. You'll run your fingers through the sheer silk scarves from the 50s in the basket on the floor, knowing the last time you bought one it developed moth holes and so you can't again. But touching is okay. You'll admire the silk kimonos hanging almost out of reach, their elegant patterns, cloud-dance colours. You'll look through the dress shirts, dozens of them, wondering if they'll all sell and be worn again. In the Winter you always run your hands through the cashmere, some of the sweate…

Tristan and Iseult...

Image
It wasn't that Tristan and Iseult were victims of a love potion that they couldn't remove from the DNA of their cells once eros had altered their chromosomes. It wasn't that they were enslaved to their passion for each other without choice because the potion had altered them forever, opened them to each other fully and definitively and without respite. It wasn't the potion at all. That was a myth. Iseult's mother didn't make a love potion for her daughter and her amour (oh, she knew they would inadvertently drink it on the voyage from Ireland to Cornwall) so they could be trapped in unredeemable desire for each other. She knew that their hearts had already opened to each other. She hoped the love potion would encourage them to follow their passion for each other. But it didn't work. What was wrong with Tristan and Iseult was that they were always trying to do the 'right' thing, to 'please' everybody but themselves: King Mark who Iseult marri…

On Uncertainty...

Image
I've been wanting to write on uncertainty for a few days, and this has emerged, a prose poem, philosophical, in the dream-time...

"Make your own flute, and learn to play it from the innermost center of who you are, play it from you soul... the woman who loves your song, as you love hers, is the one." Tony MacasaetFloating on the face of existence, wide ocean of unknowing, do the waves bring us closer, draw us to each other? In the darkness of our isolation, our lives, their solitary attachment to the energy of it all, we can live together, we can die together, but still we are born and die alone. There can be no escape from it. Together and apart, fathom this in the dark sea around us.

In the dream from which I wake in the hot night, we are lying next to each other, sheets over bare bodies, comfortable, touching, on a bed floating in a vast and dark ocean; we can hear water lapping to the edges of all the horizons around us. We are illumined in the night, diffuse spotlight…

Travels on the road of uncertainty...

Image
As I share my travels on the road of uncertainty, I am now in a residential area of Toronto. My beautiful friend is away for a few days and I am allowing myself much needed rest. This is the garden house, yoga space, sanctuary, tiny sacred temple that my friend had built at the end of her garden and where I am staying. In the Spring there was a fire, cloth over a bare light bulb, but she managed to get it under control without too much fire damage. The ceiling's been repaired, the soot washed off, and I'm to paint more coats of sealant inside, and offered to compose images of Kuan Yin on parchment paper either to transfer to the walls where I can paint them in a delicate wash of rainbow lotus colours, or that she can keep to use as she pleases (these drawings on parchment are meant to be hung over fabrics). It's a sacred space where she has conducted her healing practice and each night I sleep in a radius of love that dwells here, and that remembers the purifying healing w…

Lovesongs in the darkness...

Image
Like a continuous natural chant, the cicadas sing their lovesongs in the darkness. An awning of leaves spanning overhead from two trees, one on either side, are still. A dog barks ferociously in a neighbour's yard, perhaps at an intruding cat, and the owners come out, the woman speaking emotionally in Portuguese, then they go back in, and the silence which carries in its background the songs of the cicadas emerges again. I sit on a white wicker love seat under a spray of tiny white lit stars gracing the tree awaiting my lover's call.

A plane passes overhead and as I look up I see that a third tree fans over me, high up, leaves with fronds like palms. The plane moves across the soundscape invisibly except for its moving lights and soon the distant roar is gone. The stillness of the trees and the way I am canopied by them feels like a sacred grove.

After a hot, humid day of nearly unbearable discomfort, the evening is soft and inviting and enwraps me. A stone Buddha, seated in lot…

Written on the Plane, Monday Aug 1st...

The aeroplane taking me home, not to a home but to the city that I call home, the city that has enveloped me most of my life, rumbles through the sky. Today Vancouver was a vision of ocean and beach and city and mountains in brilliant sunlight as we rose spectacularly into the sky. With my camera in a bag in the overhead compartment, I wasn’t able to take a picture. The only photograph is the one I carry in memory now.

Will I ever forget those white lines appearing and disappearing as we flew over the waves and up through the scattered clouds? White lines of seafoam writing on the ocean like a calligraphy, signifying the creativity I found there.

Yet it was a city of much difficulty for me. My children not adjusting even after 2 years. I began to feel I just didn’t belong there; but, in the ways of the energies of the world, before I left I found not only a job in a wonderful company, but a possible community through a newfound friend. I left feeling much better about my time there for …
That Terry passed away so quickly is, well, I was expecting to be blogging with him for years to come. I glad he is out of pain. I am glad I came to know him, his empathetic poetry and brilliant personas. I will always love him, his humour, his compassion, his creativity...

I am staying at Stephen's, voxcat's, and have met another blogger too - Bonnie, Literature_Chick most wonderful, and she glows in real life, vibrantly. There've been lots of hugs here.

The move yesterday was pure chaos, and packing your personal life, what you surround yourself with, in boxes and watching them slide out of the house and onto a van for transport is unsettling. Especially if you don't know where you're going to be living...

I pulled a marathon packing session of about 38 hours, only sleeping from midnight to 2am Saturday night. Bruises ripening all over my legs and arms from filling boxes, carrying boxes, bumping into boxes...

I filled a 22' truck and it took 6 guys about 6 hours…

Lifedrawing before I take to the skies...

Image
While I'd rather be at home packing, and there is still way too much to do, until Friday I am at a job where I can while away my time, between calls and mailings, on the NET (instead of finishing packing, oh such stress). For Jean, Adriana Bliss, e_journeys, Mary Godwin, Richard Lawrence Cohen, and Dale, who left such heartwarming messages and a welcome back whenever that may be, and Tamar who sent me an email, thank you, my dear blogging friends...

Last night I went with my new friend Stephen, Voxcat, to his weekly lifedrawing class, and then to English Bay to watch the fireworks, a magnificent display of light and colour and explosion over the ocean and against the backdrop of the mountains, a most wonderful way to say goodbye to Vancouver.

I post three of my lifedrawing efforts. They were 3 minute poses. A challenge for one who likes to linger over drawing. By the third hour I was exhausted with the speed, and began to colour instead. These images contain stories, reflections, wa…

Time to take to the skies...

Image
With many behind-the-scenes crises and negotiations, it's finally official. I'm moving back to Toronto, where I expect to be welcomed by quibbling but supportive family and a whole group of beautiful friends. I plan to fly out of Vancouver on Monday, with my dog and cat in tow. I have nowhere to stay, and will have to rely on the kindness of friends for the first bit (my family can't help, my brothers live in a no-dogs condo and my mother is in her 80s and couldn't handle me & my pets)...I'm gonna miss you all! I am working this week, and packing like a halycon now that it is actually going to happen, and don't know when I'll be on-line again, it could be a day, a week, a month...
I'd like to thank all of you for your supportive, encouraging, warm and sometimes humorous comments as I struggled through my uncertainties. You've all made it an easier journey, and my last post, Sky Songs in the Park, was particularly inspired by our connections to ea…

Sky Songs in the Park

Image

Marriage Mandala

Image
Ok, it would make an interesting tatoo. I painted it 20 years ago when I had a dreadfully sore throat and fever. I remember lying in bed, sipping codeine-laced cough syrup straight from the bottle, journal on my knees, acrylics beside me, painting. I was into snakes and mandalas, just coming out of my Jungian stage. It's a small image. Then I got married that year and used it as the image for our Wedding Invitations. My sculptor friend was the only one who remarked on it, and he said, "O my g-d! For a wedding?" C'mon, dear old friend, two ouroboros' are intertwined, the serpents are kissing and forming a heart, there's a wishing star of blessing and guidance, a pearl or moon holding the secret of wisdom, and flames of passion leaping out of the sun... Sigh. Did the marriage last, well, no, but that's beside the point.


"Marriage Mandala" ©1985 by Brenda Clews
Ouroboros: a circular symbol or a snake or dragon devouring its tail, standing for infinit…

Mismatched Coordinates, or Resting in Uncertainty?

Uncertainty continues only because the coordinates are not coordinating. Desires and their fulfillment are slightly off. And that variation sends the compass spinning into chaos.I'm attempting to plan a move back East because I have not been able to find permanent work. My children are presently in Ontario and their plane tickets back to Vancouver have been cancelled. Everything is nearly in place, but not quite. Late yesterday afternoon I received a call asking that I stay on as a temp receptionist at my favourite company in Vancouver for a month; and I have been asked to do a maternity leave for a year beginning in late November too. Had the offer of a month's work occured even a few days ago, it would have changed everything.I've been doing well living in uncertainty. Making plans based on the lack of work here, yet with no certainty when I arrive back in Toronto either. That's equally up in the air. But this call yesterday threw me into chaos, a sleepless night, th…

What's Hidden in the Crevices?

Image
I wonder what is hidden in the crevices, the tiny tide pools, the obscure and wayward parts of ourselves? There is a central story, our main narrative, who we are, what we've experienced, the way we think of ourselves, the way we tell our stories, the way we present ourselves to others, but what if that falls away? What if sometimes our own mainstream is still, empty, non-existent; what if it disppears for awhile; what then? What would come creeping out of the shadows, slithery, bat-like things, or fairies, gnomes, sylphs and undines, or a cast of characters of every shade and tenor, or visions of sublime beings composed of light? Would the inner child come creeping out -- who's full of fears and magic? Would we release pure poetry like the kisses of soft breezes and rays of warm sun? Would stray and incoherent thoughts stream by, fluffs of seeds floating into view, and allow themselves to be thought, their blossoms already promising, even if for a moment? In what ways do we s…

MP3: On Paintings in the Sand

Image
MP3: On Paintings in the Sand

Prose Poem ~ On Paintings in the Sand ~ at SoundClick, 6:42min (text here). There is some fun discussion of time in it, and other insights into the creative process that our lives are...

Jean, whose photograph inspired my piece, has written of the Tibetan Buddhist Sand Manadalacreated by monks visiting from Tashi Lhumpo Monastery in India in the basement of Clerkenwell art gallery in London. The monks, who had preplanned this by months, started the day after the recent bombings and the pouring of the sand to create the mandala went on for a week during the aftermath. Jean has written a beautiful entry. I urge you to read it.


(Photograph by Nancy Jane Reid, click on the image for its source URL.)

For more background information, here is an introduction to Mandala Sand Painting. Here is a site that shows the Mandala Construction process in photographs. And here's another series of photographs of the astoundingly perfect creation of a Sand Mandala and its be…

On Representations of Ourselves, or "The New Profile Pic," or Myths of Self-Imitation...

Image
A discussion on the self-referentiality of imitation of the self...Oh, ok, I'll stop being so veiled, in my travels through the blogosphere today I saw a comment by someone that said that all the bloggers they met were nothing in real life like they portrayed themselves in their blogs. Which got me thinking...


On Representations of Ourselves, or "The New Profile Pic," or Myths of Self-Imitation...

"...many people put on masks to discover who they are under the covert masks they usually wear, so that the overt mask reveals rather than conceals the truth, reveals the self beneath the self; and it tells us that, although such masquerades cannot change people into other people, they may change them into others among their many selves"....Doniger goes on to say, "the essence of a masquerade: to present something known in such a way that people mistake it for something unknown (or the reverse.)" Wendy Doniger, The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was (Oxfor…

On Paintings in the Sand

Image
The weaving's come undone. Stitches untied, unraveled. Strands of lace and bright-coloured yarns lie like fragmented, melted, Surrealist Dali paintings. Time itself has unwoven its tight grip. What was is spinning undone, the wheel unweaving each strand of memory, each flashback, scattering the cloth that was worn into the unrelentingly ragged. All that remains are tatters of a way of perceiving, a way of composing, a perception that gave coherence to the confusions of meaning.

The wind that sweeps across the damaged landscape of meltings and obscurities scatters what's left, taking even the mementos of a way to compose the picture that made sense, that held it all together. There is no centre. Or circumference. Only the burning, the ceaseless burning of the fire in the sky. And the light that pulls consciousness with it, into recognition, into awareness.

Into weaving stories, making patterns, creating forms, dramas about the world, personas for ourselves, staging scenarios beca…

Sacred Symbol of Female Creative Power...

Image
The relationship between Goddess, hunter, and prey is shown in this ancient rock painting from Tassili in the Sahara.
Rufus Camphausen, The Yoni, Sacred Symbol of Female Creative Power (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1996), p.58.

While packing books today, I was deep in my maternal body section, and found a stunning cross-cultural book on The Yoni. Which I haven't read but will. And I also found this roaming through the blogosphere over my morning coffee. Is there any connection? In the way of things, yes, I'm sure there is. This delightful wisdom from Dave Bonta's blog, Via Negativa:

"A woman with the right kind of fat is a joy to others and a joy to herself. Her body is pure lubricity, able to move in several directions at once: go watch a belly dancer if you don't believe me. One night with such a woman, my friend, & no skinny woman will ever again be able to entrance you with her momentary cry & one-dimensional hunger. The exclamation point soon loses its p…

Packing books, I come to a shelf on love...

Image
Packing up my life. And moving I'm not sure where. When I come to my section on books on love, I hesitate, should I pack them all, or carry some with me? Here's Chopra's, Path to Love, and Ackerman & Mackin's massive anthology of love letters, poems, fiction, essays, memoirs, The Book of Love, and the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh's, Teachings on Love, and Joudry's & Pressman's, Twin Souls, and Roman's, Soul Love, and Gurian's, Love's Journey, and an unauthoured collection, One Hundred & One Classic Love Poems, among too many to mention. I decide on John Gray's, Handbook for the Heart, with beautiful essays in it, and Sarah Bartlett's, Mythical Lovers, Divine Desires, which I haven't fully read yet, and carefully slide the rest into a box.

Ah, then my books on tantra, how many are there, two dozen? Lots of art books on mandalas and yantras and academic books on tantric art and tantric thought. But there's this, Tibe…

On Uncertainty...

Do I like being a deck of cards in the air, a swirl of ocean foam, a migratory bird without a home, having no place to live that I know of in this moment? Maybe...

It doesn't feel free; it just feels like life. Where we can only be certain of uncertainties.

And so should I give up the need to know what's next. Anything at all could be next. Anything at all...

Packing...

Image
Packing is a laborious process. We, my son and I, are numbering boxes. It's screech, cut, slap; screech, cut, slap - oh ho, taping boxes! Then ka-thump, ka-thump, there go the books; after being swiffered with dusters or RRGrindRRSuckRRGWhirrRRGrindSuckRRR with the hand-held vac, from which the dog has run and hidden. Followed by UUHMPH, UUHMPH, which is me lifting heavy book boxes and stacking them; my son lifts weights, he has no problem. Then of course I have to run out to the supermarket, all that work has us way hungry. Now I'm finishing a home-made cappuccino, and am ready to tackle Science, Philosophy, Art, English Literature, Psychology and Religion. Or the filling of another 30 boxes. Then we'll call it a day. Whew.

And how're you doing today?

Making Love/Art Making

Art is created in the dance of love between the artist and their muse. The best art is created by the artist for the beloved, with the beloved.

The dancer, poet, writer, painter, actor, muscian makes love to their lover, symbolically, to the fragrant air, the rich and fertile universe, the intimacy of the medium of their words or paint or music. To see a harpist or a pianist lovingly caress their instrument into singing, or a rock star playing his electric guitar like it was his woman, this dance between lover and beloved is where art is created, deeply, profoundly. It is created in a loving that is erotic and spiritual, emotional and intellectual, that is an act of pure faith, a risk and leap into the unknown.

I feel art can only come out of absolute vulnerabiltiy, when all the veneers have been stripped. When we are naked and unashamed before the beloved. When we have left the safety of our patterns and are in the present moment in its entirety. Even if this moment be one of pain, an…

Tonight, a love poem...

Image
At the request of Vexations, I have made a quick MP3 of 4 recent pieces, entitled Body Texts I (6.5 min): Her Hands, Calligraphies; The Artist As Model; Scattered Drumbeats; and In the Wake. If you have any responses or suggestions, I'd consider redoing the recording if I have time before I move...


Friday, July 8th, tonight, a love poem...


London Bombings...

Image
The bombs in London, the underground, the street ~ terrible! Such an assault on a city. A thousand injured; over 30 dead: yet a bigger weapon than the bombs, fear, which will paralyze millions.


Passengers evacuate an underground train at Kings Cross (Photo: Alexander Chadwick)

Comment I left at thenarrator's site: It will never end, will it. Prayers. Prayers that the conflagrations may end. Prayers that mediation in the world may ultimately win. Prayers for the mediators; our hope lies in those who can calm the extremes, bring about resolution, who do not see the political world in terms of black and white. I don't know how mediation can occur with terrorist groups and organizations, but it can, somehow. Mediation is the only thing that ever works. Prayers for the fear and the suffering...

That view...

Image
Some photos of the inlet that the Pacific Ocean flows through where I was working - I have brought work home to do, where I don't have a view like that to distract me.