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Ekstasis

"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 mi…

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 unde…

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. Un…

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 heritag…

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 st…

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?

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…

Beating Breath

Still working on it -added IV:

I

Language of the heart.

An inner maelstrom,
rushing into the future.

Your distant pounding.
Can my heart be your heart?

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

A vocabulary of love,
our bodies.

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

II

The burning heart.

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

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

III

Unknot the tangled heart

Slowly, carefully.

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

Bypassing ourselves.

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

Kundalini rises,
su…

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 &…

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.

:-)

On Sunday Morning...

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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…

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...


encrypted first draft of a prose poem

Paucities...

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

After a few years of blogging in various communities I am amazed at how we repeat ourselves. Variations on our themes. Our writerlynarratorial 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…

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 generall…

Noctilucent Clouds

Image
(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.

Noctilucent Clouds - first wash of paint

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"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.

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,

Brenda

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…

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&…

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::

At 28 years of age...

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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.





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!




(click on photos for larger versions)

Lacemaker

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 …

Little Dancer Sketch

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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?

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.

Lacework

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.


It 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 apart…

Light Catches Diamonds

The Pool of Gazing

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 edge…

blindgaze

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"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.

Turbulence