Friday, September 14, 2007


"Carson is drawn to selves who desire immersion and disintegration into an absolute inhuman essence (in the case of Porete and Weil, the essence is God). What's intriguing about her portrayal of this sensibility is the utter absence of melancholy. She doesn't say whether loss of the self is something any of these women try to stem or evade; instead, she focuses on the paradox of someone seeking self-affirmation in an experience of dispossession and dissolution. " Decreation

I have Ann Carson's book, I'm reading it in the evenings. Hers is literary, the way she enters. Ariadne's thread, the scholar who is a poet. But ekstasis, Greek, 'going out of oneself,' 'standing beyond oneself,' it's affecting me. When I dispersed into stardust all about myself, I was losing my/self, it was fearful, this dissolution. It was like the universe pervaded my aura, the stardust in which stars are born, a sprinkling of lights throughout a faint purplish mist. And I was seeing from all points of the expandedness. Overlapping visions, a universe come inwards and the self who is the woman in this life, and some other anthropomorphic interlocution that I don't want to call god-like but was. Each dancing starpoint an eye of seeing. Seeing myself like this and seeing outwards from these vantage points. Disturbing, being shifted out of myself, and peaceful, profoundly so.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh, sigh, my visions...

It wasn't an unusual evening. Something to eat, orange juice, a 5km walk with my dog, a long talk by phone with my daughter, who's enjoying her new school, a little red wine, a bit of cheese before bed - had been up early doing yoga before work, so was tired. Woke in the night, not unusually. Awake for a few hours, again normal. But I was tired, mind racing hither and thither, so I sat against my Orbus-forme backrest, a fleece blanket over me, and meditated, over and over the same mantra, the one I've been silently intoning for at least 15 minutes a day since September 1994. The mantra and I know each other well and have been through a lot together. I've used it for many different purposes besides general receptivity to 'what is '- working out problems, kick-starting creativity for a project. It always works: whatever the intention, going through the medium of the mantra causes what I need to happen in my inner insights and motivations. I've used it to understand how to manifest pathways to what I might need at times too. In the middle of the night I turn to the mantra to calm me, and, when I'm tired, and it's dark, it can succeed in stilling my mind long enough for me to roll back into sleep, even an hour helps. I am grateful to this little mantra for all the ways it enables me to be as I want to be.

Only last night I experienced one of those 'mind shifts' during meditation. And I didn't enjoy it. It was like I expanded beyond my body. Like I was dispersing. I was floating in the air all about myself larger than I am. More expansive. Being blown outwards.

I thought, 'Oh, no.' And remembered the other times in my life when I had significant mystical experiences with various forms of mediation and the ways in which those experiences changed my life. In my 20s I was safely enrolled in a doctoral programme in English Literature when I had a few months of extraordinary mystical experiences of light, in dreams and in meditations; they were so powerful, I left the doctoral programme and embarked on a crazy course that never found completion. I applied to Interdisciplinary Studies and fought everyone in the department to get my thesis proposal accepted and was going to write some massive ambitious thing covering imagery of light from cave art through mythology, religion (oh, East and West, if you please), art history, literature, science, psychology, and so on. I might even have completed it, I was a workaholic who rose and began working at 8am right through to 11pm every night, 7 days a week, no social life, who cared, I was driven. But my father went into ICU for 6 months, then passed away, a brother had a break-down, and I took over looking after the family holding companies, then got married and had children. While a lot of that research and thought about light goes into my prosepoems, it was a wild goosechase triggered by mystical mediative experiences. In my 40s, after starting to learn Kundalini Yoga, begining the mediation that I have since done daily, I began to experience energy waves and other phenonemon during my private sessions. A sense of deep inner transformation once again. The upshot of that phase was that I left my marriage in 1997 and who knows what I've done since besides raise two children alone with barely any work. Never mind. Creatively I produced writing and art that I would never have done in the confines of my marriage. But was it all worth it?

So when I experienced one of those 'energy shifts' last night, differently expressed to any of the other times I've gone through a radical shift in my consciousness, I felt fear, and tried to back off. But the experience took me anyhow. I remained larger than myself for some time, like I was a nebula floating, understanding universal process from the vantage of the stars, it was beautiful, oh I'll admit it, stunning, deeply mystical and peaceful, and I did manage to fall back to sleep for a short while.

Following these visionary escapades aligns me perhaps with my 'soul journey' but it's been damn hard on my life, these mind-altering experiences that cause me to make major shifts in my direction.

From my previous experiences, I would say that there is no way if a series of mind-altering shifts are coming that it won't affect the path of my life.

And I'm not so sure that is good.

Okay, each time it has opened creative potential and greater creative expression.

But each time I've left the conventional road and slipped off into the unhewn fields where there's no security. I've followed these visions to the utmost of my ability, been true to them, let them guide me. But they have been visions which always abandon me at some point - meaning the energy which fires them and my crazy leaping about in unknown fields disperses -leaving me in a completely different locale with nothing but my day-to-day mind to cope with a life that looks less and less normal and on which no-one has ever been able to advise me.

Why do I tell this tale to you, dear reader? I suppose, if it's happening again, I ought to track it, note the mystical experiences as they occur, see where they lead. For surely they will lead off the beaten track...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mondrian's brush...

Or Mondrian's nearly Symbolist paintings, before the geometric Neoplasticism, their jazzy rectilinear primary colour grids for which he is famous, the ones with blue paint, that underlies the flesh in the portraits, or perhaps over it, a defining spirituality, I can't explain what it does to me, this blue of Mondrian's, let's call it a theosophical blue, and the red, perhaps hair, or dress,* or mill, or trees, strong contrasts, earthy, vital, yet the blue, its grayish tint, manifesting the moment of balance of coming into or dispersing from, assembling or disassembling, a vision of whatever we are, this world, incarnating its molecular structures, what coheres energy into form.

I see our loneliness in this blue. What is calling us away even as we maintain ourselves.

The blue is everywhere.

I'm breathing it in the air right now. My fingers are interlaced with it. I couldn't see myself before, but I can now. In an ocean of raw aquamarine, not resisting the waves. Under Mondrian's brush, who's limning my infinite edges.
Or yours.

*She looks like a figure from a Greek mural frieze and is the most haunting of all, even with her too-large eyes, the whites of which are that blue that is the same colour as the outline on the edge of her face and neck and lining her red hair and buried in the background's dark tones, but I can't locate her on the NET: "Portrait of a Young Woman in Red, 1908-09," Piet Mondrian, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Come, walk with me...

Exquisite imagery, but what is the emotion beneath the surface? I am reading a poem that's like cloisone, as carefully crafted, meticulous, images inlaid and enameled, fine gold lines. Like the mechanical nightingale, a beautiful jewel, yet I can't feel a heart beating, no syntactical error, or slippage, where the pulse is.

Be flagrant. Let the emotion swell beneath the surface. Words that ride over the cross-currents. Imperfect. It's not that the words slip away or are unreliable; they are approximations. No inviolable carvings in stone.

If you listen to these promiscuous words. No, I don't know where that came from. And I don't think I've ever thought of words that way. But if you consider it...

On our walk on this late Summer's scented evening.

The flowers are bright suns in the darkness of the dark green hedge, yellow spikes radiating round. Did you notice them?

What other neighbourhood can you have a conversation with a man who owns a million dollar heritage home and a lake up North and who talks longingly of his solitary beach where his dog swims regularly and has no problems with fleas and come across a small gaggle of people surrounding a man who appears to have collapsed half on the road, half on the sidewalk? Should we call an ambulance? Mister, you're on the road, you have to move. He's in clean new jeans, a clean red t-shirt, his black back-pack tightly around his shoulders. I look closely at his chest: he's breathing, his heart beats. Where's he from? A man touches him and he yells with drunken, slurred words, Get out man, you f-cking b-st-rd.

Let's continue on our walk with my dog, who ignored the guy lying on the road, and she does swim at a beach, too, but she's been scratching and so in between her shoulder blades is anti-flea oil, Hey, don't pat her tonight!

What I most want to talk about is how life feels: in this body, with these perceptions, this mind. How my toes fit in my new brown Roots™ cotton socks in my brown leather Ecco™ walking sandals. How I carry a dog treat in a Guatemalan blue woven wool fanny pouch. How I went into a black car port and gave an old and smelly brown-furred dog who's always tied up a piece of the dog biscuit and the dear dog seemed confused and sniffed it and looked at me, and I couldn't discern what the problem was.

Or how I'm going to write honest words, not jewel-encrusted or bespeckled, even if sometimes they are lush. To share with you, and who knows how you'll receive them.

These words, which have been everywhere, Oh, Mama, everywhere. It's not my fault; I inherited them along with a glottis, and a dictionary (ahem, think biological and linguistic evolution). And how many glottises? Hardly virgin, with their geneologies and wide-spread usage, these worldy words.

What am I supposed to do? Spilling lexical wanton wiles everywhere...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Similes & Metaphors

When I use simile the 'as'/'like' is a gap the neurons fire over, so that one thing carries the energy of the other without either losing their distinctness. But the image is moving along the neuronal pathway of the poem, transferring and transforming as it goes. With simile what you started with isn't too different from what you end with, but it's been through a journey along a specific trajectory and is richer, heavier, wiser, more worldly, better able to explicate itself. Like life. I'm the same as I was half a century ago in many essential ways, though transformed in my knowledge and experience. I'm not a completely different being; I haven't become someone other than who I am.

Metaphor is a richer, complex process of leaping about, collapse into, cross-fertilization, creating a newness out of disparate parts. Metaphor doesn't work for me like the hand-holding of simile but in the relation of things to each other. The best metaphor creates strange, new, fertile relationships.

Often with metaphor I have to let the gap between what is being aligned be in the punctuation, the space between stanzas or paragraphs, and leave that as what the neurons fire over. Because it's like they leap from one highly specialized section of the mind, or a discipline of knowledge, to an entirely different one. Metaphors follow paths of intuitive logic: spark new connections, creating pathways that weren't there before, maintaining the flexibility of the language which is evolving through them. Liquid and plastic, metaphors open up new insights, ways of perceiving, create new realities for us to live.

The ability to make metaphors like the continual creation of neuronal stem cells in the hippocampus, but, then, I'm using a simile aren't I? :-)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pruning A Wild Creativity

Wild creativity where I continually have to prune the excesses, this seems apropos. Slicing, trimming, removing. Articles, connectives, pronouns, prepositional clauses, whatever slows down the immediacy. Sudden leaps from one image to another, something invisible hovering between that connects them, something other than a random placement on the page, that is. Honing while listening to an internal rhythm, the syncopations of an inner aesthetic, what's overdone and weedy, or too sparse, how to. Otherwise I'd overrun, a confusing conglomerate of overgrowth.

Meditate perhaps for the same reason. To hone wildly outbursting thoughts. Clarify an inner terrain. Make it livable within the self. A friend recently said that I had the busiest mind of anyone they knew and no wonder I had to meditate.

Editing oneself. Ah, so.

How about you?

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:


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

A vocabulary of love,
our bodies.

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


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,
then joy flows
from the "source of all goodness"
and acts of kindness
are easy.


Unknot the tangled heart

Slowly, carefully.

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

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

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


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

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

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.



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


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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An Amatory Moment...

Dear Reader,

Amatory intoxication bursts all our stories. When we fall in love, we are not only in a state of lyricism, metaphor, joy, but we forgo narration, allegory, moral messages. Forgotten are the sermons we carry around with us of our lives and instead we sing the song of love, complicated, exhilarating, prey to a states of divine madness. It's not that we lose boundaries, but that we lose composure, surety, safety; we forgo the stories, the novel of our lives, for the poetry of the moment. Possession of the loved one cannot exist in the motion of love's excitement. The 'I' collapses into the 'Thou.' A state of enlightenment, surely, surely, this incantation of love.

How to be there, remain there, without owning, holding?

In the unknowingness.

Forever yours,


ps Inspired by what I read today, it all suddenly coalesqued as I poured through Kristeva's analysis of the lyricism and grace of the songs of courtly love, their idealism and joi, in the 14th c. and the movement into a verse of allegory and satire, of seduction, aggressiveness and realism in a chapter on "The Troubadours" in Tales of Love (Columbia, 1987) over a thick, rich cappuccino drizzled with honey and sprinkled with gratings of dark chocolate.

If there's no destination, you can't get lost.

Monday, July 30, 2007

If only, before...

On a bridge, as if on the Great Wall of China, before a wide green valley and drop into a canyon of rock, the Siberian shaman standing beside me, sharp blue eyes, neck thick with middle-age, threw out the line with the sinker on the end, small metallic piece like a tiny boomerang, and caught floating flocks of ghostly men in black. They are like children's Halloween puppets, black cloth pulled over a head of cotton batten and tied, empty bodies. A group of them appear, drifting in the air. I am alone, the line and sinker in my hand. While I'd watched him throw it out and the way it looped around and back corralling the ghosts in black cloth, causing them to fall into the deep rocky canyon below, I hadn't been shown how. As I looked at the sinker in my hand, the ghosts caught a woman and took her out over the precipitous drop, hovering about her as if she were a doll, and cut her long blue-black hair and sliced the back of her white neck, a thin line of blood, and I couldn't throw the hook and line without catching her and causing her to fall into the pit with the flock in black. I woke with guilt, shame. I'm not used to warfare but I should have flung the line out, at least tried, when I had a chance. Before, before they got her...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

ravishment of light

Ravishment of Light - listen to a recording

Or go to the Internet Archive page for this recording and listen there.

When I have more pieces I'll upload this tiny recording to my poetry reading website, Aural Pleasure, in the meantime I copied this over from a gmail email I'd sent to a friend. It's small -800k- and short -1:21min- for your enjoyment... xo


just playing... but I do want to see the movie,
Sunshine, not for the plot, which hasn't received great reviews, but for the images of the sun... and then, oh, perhaps this little piece will expand with light ::twinkle::

Thursday, July 26, 2007

At 28 years of age...

I now go on a 'treasure hunts' in the packed storage unit in the basement that will be a small studio whenever I can get help clearing it out... and find, oh, things that give me pause. Like these photo-booth photos at 28 years old, the only ones from that era, found in an old journal. This one in particular haunted me for about a weekend. I'm not sure who I was, or who I thought I'd be, or what I've become, but the fire is still there, though, ::grinning:: a little wrinkled now.

 BC 28 yrs - 700px

A couple more... the last one looks rather 'Pre-Raphaelite'- something I heard a fair bit in those days. Oh, it makes me laugh to remember!

BC  28 yrs - 1 - Four

(click on photos for larger versions)

Friday, July 20, 2007


In a moment words will appear from which everything unravels.

Or begin with an explosion of lace.

Lace that is white, or whitened with the sun's steaming. Looped, twisted, braided threads, sewn with sharp needles, shaped like a cutwork of leaf veins in the sky. Finely-woven stitches, not broken or lost. Florals in white; sun-rises in white; waves in white. Spider webs of lace floating, an organic garden of cotton and linen and silk.

How many fine stitches I see everywhere.

Seams of perfect clothing, backs, shoulders, arms, waists, hips, the tight stitching of form-fitting shoes, the interlapping folds of purses. Fabric. Like skin. Woven tightly or loosely. Draped, tucked, formed, fitted. The soft velvet of the armchair in the cafe in which I sit, rounded, plush.

Colours in swathes, patterned. Different attire for different scenarios. Layers of warmth or mere covering if it's cold or hot. Whether a garment can open or close or covers in one swoop. Pieces of cloth fitted to hold the shape of the wearer. Clothes that adhere, drape, flow for sitting, walking, sleeping, dancing.

Looms and sewing machines and bobbins. Billions of miles of thread around the world. Stitching, this way of composing, holding together, covering ourselves, these metaphors, textual narratives.

What if I don't want to take a stance? What if I don't want to weave a garment out of these threads? A story out of all the stories filling my mind? If "Narratives, or more precisely plots, synthesize reality," (Snaevarr) can I exist without telling a tale of myself to you, or even to myself?

The flow of language like clothing, fashions that encase shaping how we present ourselves. Can we be naked without the speaking that stitches the world together, seam by seam, reams of bolts of cloth, patternings?

What was lost in the scrap lace pile, discarded, worn-out, old, the remnants, unraveled in the tears and rips, bleached out by wear?

How do I hem these words so they don't fray?

Shawls of Shetland lace are knitted first in the middle and then out to the edges and is so fine it can be pulled through a wedding ring. Can we marry ourselves to words that knit us to ourselves, each other, the world?

Social customs inform the attire of any given era and shape the body, but does the weave of worsted wool or soft cotton follow the curves and hollows of the skin and shape the wearer?

Or are the words we clothe ourselves with what we hide under?

Presentation and fashion. The way I compose myself every day; every piece of writing. Gathering myself in this historical time, a product of my age.

All the stitches of the world held in syntactical rhythms of meaning, social fabrics.

Is that why we want words to unfold in comfort from us? Wave-white words wedded. Words that aren't performative; that are dream-like, real.

Unraveling, I came to this, and I can't obscure it, truth, death, the words of the lover, and she who knits, knots, tapes, crochets, sews the world into being with her openwork, the lace maker.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Little Dancer Sketch


14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4"x 9"; india ink sketch on archival paper coated in acyrlic matte medium

How long ago did I do this little sketch? It must be months. I taped it to a small board and it's still awaiting a fast wash of paint. Since it'll only take 5 minutes to paint, perhaps it's that I have to be in the right 'zen' frame of mind to finish it?

And when is that going to happen?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Burning Star

Writing stopped its ceaseless flow and I don't know why. Something occurred in my interior life that jolted me severely and I lost the imaginal figure who fired my desire to write. I'm shifting, transforming, unable to see or know what's ahead. The shock remains. I am sundered, unsure. Is it that the star came too close?

But perhaps the point is the obscurity, confusion, incomprehension. Inside this burning star where I blindly feel exploding energy without graspable form.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


When I came back to writing, a simple image. Proustian, perhaps, but I shall let the lace unravel. It's taken me back to my grad school days, at the little apartment in the Annex area of Toronto I rented after the university year had begun and almost nothing was available.

t could begin with lace.

Lace that is white, or yellowed with the sun's steaming. Threads that are looped, twisted, braided, sewn with sharp needles, shaped like a cutwork of leaf veins in the sky. Finely-woven stitches, not broken or lost. Florals in white; sun-rises in white; waves in white. Spiderwebs of lace floating, an organic garden of cotton and linen and silk. Threads weaving the world...

That hangs over the door's casement glass.

On the hot Summer's night I pass the house that resembles the one that I remember.

The same brickwork, windows, placement on the land. Perhaps the orange lilies are descendants of the those when it was a boarding house and I lived in the kitchen become a bachelor apartment in the little room out back without insulation where I put my bed and had visions.

Upstairs the Vietnam vet who once a month shrieked for hours at the guerrillas in the napalm drenchings of his mind. He deserted what could never desert him. He became a Peeping Tom and I kept my curtains shut at night, long, deep burgundy red velvet curtains, redolent with smoke and cooking oils, that were there, perhaps, from the house's inception.


He only looked in the window once, at night, it was very dark, but I knew who it was. I was writing in a journal, non-stop writing that I did every spare moment. My hair was blonde and long and curly. When I lifted my knees on the couch to hold the book while I wrote there was an audible gasp -though I wore shorts- and he ran away. That was when I began keeping the long, dark velvet curtains shut, and I told a man who had lived in the house and who knew about the man who shouted at the air for hours every month or so and we agreed he was a bit crazy but harmless.

Once when I went upstairs to see the kitchen that my friend used his door was open and he was lying in the middle of his large bed without a shirt on, fat, big white belly and a fuzz of dark chest hair, tortured with memory, flashbacks, fury, the incendiary mess of the Vietnam war, a victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and he looked very hot, it was a Summer heat-wave, and sorrowful.

The look on his face at seeing me peering at him was a surprised interruption of an unending tangle of thoughts that always occupied him. Perhaps he received a government cheque every month and paid his rent and got drunk; perhaps that was when the shouting began.

It was like he was yelling at a commando, someone who didn't do what they should have done, or didn't look after everyone as they should have, an unending invective of recrimination, scattered words, repetitive, without coherency.

The whole house shook with his shouting. It was from a place of such deep pain no-one ever called the police. Or complained to the landlord. Canada was a safe haven from the American obsession with a pointless and horrific and endless war. It's hard to imagine that he felt we were taking care of him, but in our own way we were.

Of course, in those days, the door didn't have an exquisite, expensive layer of lace, it was bare.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pleasure and Happiness

"But if one begins by having pleasure, it is like knowing how to swim: one never forgets it." Helene Cixous

Now I wonder if the half an hour of "happiness" last night, and this morning, of allowing myself to feel as pure a joy as I could, which is not easy, wasn't an evocation of 'pleasure' rather than 'happiness.' I took great pleasure in the mystery and miracle of breath, body, experienced an inner ecstasy of being, of those I love, and the unfolding of my life and talents, indeed, for moments, this happened, but was it a sensual pleasure of loving life rather than deep happiness?

It was in the range of the orgasmic, that kind of ecstasy, but not localized or specific. It was like I let my brain produce all the high endorphins, neurotransmitters of ecstasy, and my mind was filled with light.

But happiness? I sought to allow what a full and complete happiness would be like. My seemingly huge issues and problems and worries kept nagging at the edges, but I was able to fully immerse or emerge in a field of pure joy for long moments and the minutes passed quickly.

I wonder what happiness is? I know what pleasure is, that indeed I do, but happiness?
Pleasure may be independent of life circumstance; happiness surely never is.

We can profoundly enjoy the moment, savour the pleasure of a flower or a smile or the kindness of a heartwarming act, but the trajectory of our lives, our underlying contentment with our lives, our feelings of accomplishment, of being a vital part of thriving communities, does savouring the way the wind blows over the water on a languid Summer's day affect any of that?

Is there a difference between pleasure and deep inner happiness?

And yet I felt profoundly ecstatic when I let myself...

Sunday, June 03, 2007



"blindgaze," 2007, 32cm x 25cm (12.5" x 9.75"), oil on acrylic matte medium, india ink, paper.

Playing with a sketch from a lifedrawing session last Fall - perhaps not as fluid as my figures usually are, but I enjoyed melding colour... I had forgotten how sensual paint is, especially when spread by your fingers.