Monday, December 31, 2007

Spinning into a New Year with many beautiful wishes...

Sometimes sameness stretches in every direction and the days open and close like readings of the book of your life that you expect, and nothing shifts even if you ache for it. Other times the sheathes of pages of days open at alarming rates and you barely understand what's happening, let alone 'get a reading' on where, what, how, when, or why.

This festive season and as we make our way into another spiralling year, the latter rather than the former predominates in my life. Sorry if I've been absent, a family crisis has created shifting and buckling and reconfigurations... and both of my beautiful children are by their choice now living with me.

Wishing you all a great year ahead, loving, warm, successful, and especially feeling good about mostly everything, yourself, your family, friends, colleagues, work, health, finances, art, the whole marvelous and spinning wonder.

Remember there is nothing, ultimately, but our love for each other.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Solstice Greetings

Solstice Greeting 2007

The very best wishes of the festive season
and a bright and happy New Year~

love Brenda

(embedded image of the sun from SOHO, taken today)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Air Singing Words

It'll return differently. My inaudible voice. The leaves of the Poinsettia are indistinguishable, except for their colour. Hidden stamens in a red enfolded heart.

Voiceless, I spoke. The unheard words. Deep pressure of language pushing at my throat.

The man who couldn't speak came. I heard words that aren't spoken.

The chords couldn't vibrate in my vocal folds. A laryngitis, inflamed, swollen larynx, a temporary absence of speaking. The air from my breath couldn't sing on my words.

Uttering inaudible, squeaky synechdotes of words, charades, finding sign languages. Or forcing articulated sound through. What shapes into words that string their sentences over the landscape of plants and carpets. I enjoy the silence, resting in soundlessness.

My tongue, lips and mouth pantomime sultry words, my dear, but you can't hear. Listen for resonances. In the silk of the red Poinsettia blouse that I wear. And the tinsel of the season, green and red globes where we are reflected, cherry and gold ribbons tied into bows, sparkling prisms hanging from green pines, strings of lights lit, teasing at what's unsaid.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hubris before the Flu Gods

Hubris, that's it. For boasting that I hadn't been sick in three years. For many people, such a length of time sounds good, even if I had a bad bout of bronchitis back then, in January 2005, and was bedridden for 3 weeks. It was just after the tragic tsunami struck the countries of the Indian Ocean. I wrote a poem during that illness, lying in my bed in Vancouver.

And not a sniffle since then.

Until this week. And how quickly it developed into laryngitis! It's punishment for yelling. Whenever I do, I suppose.

Hubris and Punishment. And they sprayed Lysol around me at work, laughing, after the coughing spell, after I tried to eat my hot chili pepper spiced stew, after which I lost my voice. It's fun losing your voice when you know it's the punishment for the hubris of boasting before the Gods of the Flu.

Can't say I'm enjoying it too much though.

So I slugged codeine-laced cough syrup for the rest of the afternoon and no longer cared.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Solstice's coming...

fields of light-e

Taken with the Sony DSC-W55 Digital Camera that I bought for my daughter's birthday recently. Quite different to the cell phone camera's shot. The words of the little poem there I don't think have the quality of being born out of this image...

Ma Doggie















The bug that's going around caught me, sore throat, coughing a bit, etc., first cold in 3 years, time for sure, so posting a little pic of ma doggie taken on Saturday morning...while I was talking to ma son on the telephone while ma daughter was out getting us something to eat. That was before the blizzard. And before I came out from my shadow, though that's another story. I'm not a good sick person - I don't like getting sick! Grumble grumble. Back ta bed wit' ya! Rest the best medicine. xo

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blizzard in Toronto

It's heavily snowing, you'd be ice-encrusted in minutes, and blowing, and as the ground rose whitely through the day even thunder and lightning struck from the billowy sky. Not a day to be out, and I went grocery shopping with my little red basket and bought far too much and purchased a luggage rack and was tormented by heaps of snow which dragged my little basket this way and that waiting for buses and walking the short route home after the subway ride; the snow, a light and beautiful cascade from above, became impassable white heaps of resistant solidity on the ground. If you fall into snow, it closes around you fast and becomes like cement, I remember that from an article on avalanches.

A blizzard. Predicted to be the coldest Winter ever having begun. Snow crews out in force tonight.

How many angels on the way home stopped to help me? Such gallantry, men and women. 'Do you need help?' 'Yes... thank you.' Me, who is stubbornly independent had to admit I couldn't carry my load. Why'd I buy more than I could carry? Why didn't I know the snow would render my wheels useless? How could we not chuckle, the helping angels and I. And how many blessings did I give?

Someone set out to film cold, uncaring Torontonians, and found us rather the opposite. We generally go out of our way to help each other.

Toronto friendliness is something I missed when I moved away. It was so good to come home to. With my badly constructed, over-full, precariously swinging basket and its ridiculously attached wheels, oh even the blizzarding snow must have laughed at me, I received much appreciated warmth from the people of this city today.

Friday, December 14, 2007

fields of light



_______________
Click for larger size. There is so little time for the hours a photopoem takes that surely it's not quite, but then maybe. On the other hand, the next day now, I see the colours are not so good - it was taken with the camera on my phone & maybe should re-do with a better camera. The little poem is also part of a larger stream of thoughts that I recorded during meditation and which drifted into the strangeness of time. The clustering of molecules and why motion and life/birth/death occurs. Oh, and then how our solar system's magnetic field is warped, asymmetrical, which was in the news. And then I thought, maybe time is issued forth from the great burning fields of the sun itself. And I saw photos of sun spots that were so large the entire earth could fall into them. And how close-up images of the sun resemble Van Gogh's last painting, of the wheat fields. That's how the sun's surface looks - like Van Gogh's burning fields of light. And in the movie, Sunshine, how the crew die rapturous deaths in the sun. And how I've always been a worshipper of the light, mystical and real. And it's all intriguing and thus very exciting to me. But to weave it all into a prose poem! Oh, la!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sign at Computer: Gone Mobile...

Wow! After much research that was, naturally, inconclusive, when I saw the HTC Touch, I succumbed. Almost instantly, but when you're ready, you're ready. I used a Pocket PC for years, so this seemed natural, and I found a good plan, 200 min a month, unlimited local calls after 6pm, unlimited browser, no system access fee, the price of the phone affordable, a 3-year agreement. Oh, so what if the Canadian cell phone market has been de-regulated and prices should drop in 2008, I needed it now. It's time for a new computer and I really would like the new iMac rather than a MacBook and this phone seems an ideal mobile device - tiny, discreet, but with amazing capabilities. So I've been having fun all weekend, between putting up our tree and watching movies on IFC, exploring this little contraption. On which I'm posting now in a coffee shop listening to jazz. Too bad I can't get up and boogie!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Burning Brightly in the Night

Because this poem is under consideration for publication, I have encrypted it so as to keep the comments intact and as something easy for me to find in the great archiver Blogger is.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vishnu on Chinese New Year

blue lines, watchers, boxes

.......................martial arts
a whole room jumping, jabbing
kicking, cutting air

falling gold bands

then the red

......vision, blood, shirts on the backs of

floating discs, cut, fresh green

.....eyes that see
...................everything

horizontal lines raised

red banners, orange tigers

blue bricks, pink band, luminous
candles, prison

control your destiny


labyrinth, blue-black hair
smoke, the floor disappears

a dragon of virtue

immensity of primordial waters

jump from stone to stone


on the ying-yang, muscles flying

bells

opening of the passage
incense, the moon


the hooded men
striped tigers, white satin

red dragon
blue god

entryway to the past
.......................opens

......create the future


Vishnu Visvarupa

Vishnu Visvarupa, Preserver of the Universe, Represented as the Whole World | Unknown
19th century | watercolor on paper | 15 1/4x 11 in/38.7 x 28cm |Victoria & Albert Museum, London UK

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Early Snowfall

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Magnolia Stellata

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

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

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

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

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

'Loneliness means I am at last whole.

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

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

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

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

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

Only then.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rubies In Crystal - a new template

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

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

Forays into html for another day...

:-)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Composite SOHO image of the Sun

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

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

The Gravity of the Situation

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cacao Trees for Three Millenia

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

Without the natural laws, I couldn't rest.

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

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

Or the four humors before them, but never mind.

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

Perhaps you are like creativity,
dangerous.

I don't think about anyone else.

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

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

Love wherever it happens is the most extraordinary of all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Earth's Nightside

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some thoughts on injury during dance...

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

Self-care, how important this is.

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

TLC, for myself.

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

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

Dance

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


August 26, 2007

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November Sun

leaves, fire colours
reds and oranges
the fallen sun

a street carpet
of fragmented light

sodden endless rain

paper garden bags,
of collected leaves,
raked and packed

my heart, enfolded
withdrawn

an economy of words

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

I was on a pathway
that disappeared
before I arrived

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

scattering1


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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Setting up a small studio...

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

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

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

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

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

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

1-13Nov07BC

2-13Nov07BC

My doggy wondering.

3-13Nov07BC

Fun wall shot. Oh, whateva, then.

4-13Nov07BCStorage

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

Friday, November 09, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Neon Blue Calligraphy / of Love

Neon Blue Calligraphy
of Love

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


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


I

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

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

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

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

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

Where did you go?

And where are you now?

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

II

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

The elegant calligraphy of a mind borne through the heart.

III

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

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

IV

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

Who speaks to you in writing.

I surrender to you in the flow of the text.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Arias in the Wind

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight Shifting

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

That re-lived hour changed everything.

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

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

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

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

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

Models and Muses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exploding Comet Holmes


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

Friday, November 02, 2007

Writing in the Air

for Jocelyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing in the Air

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

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rising Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

O Halloween!

Overheard on the streets on Halloween party night, "Every vampire is a f----ing Goth." Goth is the Undead. Rah!

Making my way through the crypt-white skin and deathly black lips, hair, eyes, nails and clothes of vamps combing the streets looking for treats, I look up and see clouds looking like bruised blood in the sky, with a faint purple tinge over by sunset.

Black silhouetted trees are torn of their leaves by ravaging winds,
shadowy fat leaves fly like bats over the streets.

The clouds broil and the rain comes in,
a fierce spitting snake sliding across the sky.

Ghouls unite! It's time for Gothic Romance
or Zombie Undead Heaven!

Later I walk somnambulantly through the night after my howling dog, and see a bank of dense black cloud moving under the whitest of moons, which sheds light on the upper ridge of the clouds so it's like a stripe rolling along a great skunk.

It's eerie to see the world projecting itself in animal forms.

It must be the influence of those ancient Celts and their (listen for the wail) Halloween.

___________
Really, dear Readers, every word is true! Whooo.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Enjoying Strategies...

Tirades you sit through. It's like mumbling on the outside. Those who criticize others and defend their own positions. Placing clumbsy values that lack complexity on a person in a way that ignores one's own faults. A talent, like any other: fault-finding. Building an air-tight case. Or bitching: what enables the continuance to continue. Faults are places where there is potential rupture, perhaps it's best to keep the lid on the boiling pot slightly lifted so the steam can escape.

Or those who are paranoid about the judgements of others. Who carry self-pity around like a Lockness monster risen from the deep. But it is a form of narcissism, this continual focus on the self and on how ungreen one's grass is. And manipulative, most certainly. Who will tend to our wounds?

We should guard against excessive negativity towards others or ourselves, even if indulging feels good sometimes. Keep the teeter-totter even. Not a game of excesses but of balances.

It's the professional ones who are remarkable. No hidden motives; no judgements; fair play all round. Let's just get on with it.

The latter my preferred, but stable and perhaps not as interesting as the slightly unhinged who see the days as varying degrees of battle.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Waves

Waves curve, a
continuous rail of

Cherrywood forms
armrests and around
the back when you sit
it presses against
your spine, saltwater
stays in the right spot
to bolster you upright

Upholstered thick
expensive brocade,
designs of seaflowers
and seaweed and shells.

The conversations
that go on.

Talking, murmuring,
presentations, reflections,
decisions. Streams, waves,
floods of noted notes. Tallying
Profit/Loss. Continuous,
churning world of finance.
Accounts formed the first
written records1 we have,
Numbers flow like riverwater,
bracken in the ocean.


______
1pictures of goods traded
drawn on clay tablets
in 3100BCE by Sumerians
in ancient Mesopotamia
-here's a link

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Terminals & Interludes...

The purple glass of the halogen ceiling lamps, Ella singing in the background, the warmth of the day and how everyone is smiling, and the see-through patterned negligees a few stores over. I sit in a cafe at a high wood table sipping a strong and frothy and chocolate and cinnamon-sprinkled cappuccino thinking about the men in my life.

What I cannot envision. There were too many then; now there are none.

Probably they were all imaginary.

What do I want anyhow?

The reflection of the waterfall in the glass that protects the basalt-style concrete stairs. Sand melted into clear transparency and bounded by stainless steel, a continuous handrail.

I watch people walk up and down the stairs, like mirages. Or drifting over the sidewalks, catching their images in windows.

The clothes hanging loosely in the breeze waiting to be filled. Clothes imagining the people who will wear them walking up and down the stairs. Like that.

I must stop it now. All of it. My neck aches from the angle of the computer where I work. The mundanity of the days that pass without significant events anywhere in their hours. Plunging like a race in water that cleaves while you rush through.

Only, the truth, it is a season later and I am sitting in the library working at a terminal, having taken a streetcar to write during lunch.

Extrapolate the time; never mind ruminations on what wasn't. There are thin green lines with coins hanging at the ends of the scarf I'm wearing today. The lighting quivers harshly. Pages turn noisily. A librarian is retiring this afternoon; I overhear her tell a borrower that's she's not going to help him with any extraordinary means. If it works, fine; if it doesn't, I'm gone.

Not me. I work hard and never leave. I've come every day and now the system inexplicably locks me out early. I have 1 minute and 22 seconds left to write.

If I don't write I might go crazy. That's the way it is. She has greying pink hair and black fingernails and her clothes are large and black and animated. Look, I wrote in my book, on those days, in those places. June, August perhaps. In the plunging of time. And it was just like that. Certainly there were stories that I didn't tell under the purple halogen lights with Ella playing. But how are you to know that from the writing, which curves without revealing whereabouts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Perigean Moon

During the height of a lunar and solar tide I fell into the watery moon. The time of the decreasing declination of the lunar gravitational pull. My inertia held me.

You are angry at me and I don't know who you are, or why. No, I'm not waiting for an answer.

Somebody knifed people a few blocks up, stabbing two women's faces, a man in the back, someone's hands, at downtown street corners, or boarding a streetcar, randomly; no-one knew him.

Answers are meaningless during these flood currents when the bays and estuaries are swollen.

Sometimes the water rushes in a few kilometers an hour. Then you must run, the roaring. Do beware of the perigean tides, when emotion floods us.

You wouldn't know from the cool, clear, serene day with that clarity in the sunlight.

The current full moon, located on the nearside of the ellipse, the biggest and brightest this year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I don't know if language hovers between my nerve endings and the world, or if language is my skin itself.

Sheath of feeling. Words groping to touch air.

Friday, October 19, 2007

ARM Conference: Maternal Health and Well-Being

This weekend is ARM's Maternal Health and Well-Being conference, which is being held in a hotel in downtown Toronto. I went last night for the launch of Andrea O'Reilly's massive 846 page tome, Maternal Theory: Essential Readings, and the equally wide-ranging book Rishma Dunlop has edited, White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood. Most impressive. I love this group of women.

I'm presenting Saturday, a chapter I wrote for my thesis on the maternal body that I didn't complete. The chapter was the 'grounding in the body' and is about the process of conception. It took months to write, if I recall, between medical accuracy and writing it as a love poem of what happens deep within our bodies when we create new life. After finishing it, I intended to continue on with the 9 months of pregnancy, but it seemed such a daunting project I didn't get started. And a more difficult task - for me to humanize pregnancy by bringing the poetry back into the medical view would mean writing it from my vantage and my pregnancies were, of course, different to the experiences of any other woman's and I foresaw problems with issues of essentialism were I to embark on writing it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Iconography in Marble

Like lavender, or dark plum mixed with titanium white by a wet brush on the palette because of the faint grey tinge in the tone. On a ceiling many stories high.

A cream coloured maze over the pale purple, reminiscent of ancient Greek motifs, that's upraised, embossed.

My attention on the groups of five squares in the upper configuration, one on each side. Their borders are fine gold lines. The interior is vibrant turquoise, what I lust after in jewelry of the semi-precious stone, or the colour of the Caribbean ocean, where I always want to be. The turquoise in contrast to the staid cream marble of the rest of the foyer.

In the centre of the turquoise squares, gold suns. The ten stars radiate out from central gleaming circles like crystal balls in twelve rays tapering to points. Fairy tales can come true under such a ceiling of shining stars.

Did the interior decorators go wild way above? Who looks up, gazes?

Before me letters are carved into the marble, large and elegant with serifs, inlaid with gold, they are perfect, curved, crisp. Once I thought that language was a symbolic representation of objects and actions. But look at that wall. Language carves and shapes reality, creating the world as we know it. It collects our memories and forges our future, shaping us as it shines through us.

Under the light-echoes from the stars I see you. An empire builder. There's substance behind it; resources to enable sustenance in abundance.

The muted dark veins of the cream marble race over the huge walls like maps of territories.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Governor General's Literary Award finalists

My ex has been nominated for Canada's largest and most prestigious literary prize for his latest book of poetry, Nerve Language, and I'm proud of him and hope he wins. It's his best book so far. That he's up against people like Margaret Atwood and Dennis Lee... they've already won the prize in past incarnations.

This is the recognition he has wanted all his life, the one he dreamed of when we were together so long ago. It's really great news.

Governor General's Literary Awards finalists

Poetry

Margaret Atwood, Toronto, for The Door: Poems (McClelland & Stewart)

Don Domanski, Halifax, for All Our Wonder Unavenged (Brick Books)

**Brian Henderson, Kitchener, for Nerve Language (Pedlar Press)**

Dennis Lee, Toronto, for Yesno: Poems (House of Anansi Press)

Rob Winger, Ottawa, for Muybridge's Horse: A Poem in Three Phases (Nightwood Editions)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On creative process...

In whatever it is that I'm currently working on I am exploring a kind of 'found' poetry in that whenever I remember to, I compose little images of what I see around me, and then place them together in a piece later on. The prosepoems are not written in one sitting; I don't know the theme that they will cohere around beforehand. It's like preparing your palette before you paint. Or putting together some fabric with certain colours and patterns before you sew.

BrendaClewsNotebookMy little collection of images will find their way into a prosepoem, shifted, buckled, smoothed out, layered; however it is, they become part of the fibre of the prosepoem, expressing the nuances of the complexity of the underlying emotion.

In this way I am not an Imagist, nor a Minimalist, nor a Zen writer of haiku. I like to think that the little images keep their integrity of simplicity despite becoming part of a larger more complex thematic pattern.

When I hadn't any images collected for today, and not knowing what to write about, I thought, oh, ok, a post about creative process...

_____
ps Click on the photo to enlarge. Not that I always write this way! I thought those lunar images would cohere around the 'settling into the tedium of what is' but instead something else was more urgent and about which I cannot directly write but which formed the emotional underlayer of the piece that I posted. And I can see from the little notebook that, working on a computer in the library during lunch, when I was composing the writing from various sources, I forgot to include that image of the clouds that are grey up top with choral undersides...

Now that was beautiful! Though I couldn't decide whether to leave the "h" in choral, or not. It was a coral colour, but a symphonic movement through the sky...it fit more with "cadences of the voice" which I used elsewhere, so a dangling image, and where will it come to be?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Unlived landscapes that are unfamiliar. How is the miracle to be performed where it's hidden, where no-one knows?

In the pre-dawn the moon fell into dark clouds rising over its floodlit. Whiteness dipping in and out of black veils.

Later striations like shredded tendons grazing the moon; in the distance dark thundering clouds of muscle.

Then, stillness. Mist, veils of light, white-gray, bright, shadowless. Obscuring the upper atmosphere, upper stories gone, the unshadowed light, stark clarity to everything below, where we are.

I wait. Navigation that should have didn't fit; I am lost. A familiar cycle, yet the drives and their effects, different. What I saw in the shadowless clarity was a map that wasn't grid-based. When evening came it became a moonlight of mist clinging to the falling leaves I pass under.

In the beginning of the turn-around, a fragility of time. Take me slowly through the awakening. I am unfamiliar.

The remnants of the Summer's heat when a harvest moon the colour of apricots rose, and the feasting of Thanksgiving to come round the overlaid table, at the mid-point of the equinox, a cold front came and the weather turned towards the new season of the year.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tribal Dance

Video Peek, we laughed quite hard at work, and then at home again. My daughter, when she was younger, said grownups look crazy when they dance, and, um, yeah. But we're having such a great time! Delightful, Julie's Tribal Dance, and I do love to go whenever I can, and won't point out who I am either!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Poetry Recordings

The silliness continues. Really, I've never followed anything like this in my life. No music, and not my best recording and the writing needs pruning perhaps though it does seem to build through a momentum, and so the rise on the charts is intriguing. Still #1 in Poetry; up to #9 in Talk. Hopefully by next year sometimes I'll have a new iMac or Mac Mini or something and be able to add some sound tracks. Since I don't play any musical instruments, it'll be interesting.

Voicings (2:49min)

# 9 in Talk (highest position was 9). Total songs: 5,366
# 1 in Poetry (highest position was 1). Total songs: 1,242


Over at Ourmedia, you can download "On Paintings in the Sand," which has been downloaded 1,590 times, "In the Uncertainty of Every Moment" has 594 downloads, and why I decided to charge for the recordings on my poetry reading site: Aural Pleasure, where, naturally, no-one has bought anything.

How do artists make money? Ahhh, another topic...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Word Painting Soirées

Forgive me for my enthusiasm of this morning, I was being a bit silly, but usually the ones at the top of SoundClick's Spoken Word Poetry section are with music and I don't have the ability to make different sound tracks and combine them, so I was rather pleased to be a poet-voice-only at #1 on this little chart.

My daughter's returned home, weary and weepy, and I am much relieved.

She says the dog and I have both lost weight, but she may not exactly remember us in our volume. Or it could be our 5km hefty hikes at night.

I went out and bought a futon frame for her mattress, the one we agreed on just before she moved to her Dad's in early June, lugging it back through an alley on a heavy-duty luggage rack (who'd pay for delivery when it's a 3 minute walk?), and then, strong women that we are, we carried it up the stairs. Next I'll get out myBCSep30-07-3 electric drill and put it together.

Maybe tomorrow this blog will return to its Rubies In Crystal prosepoetry...

Yeah, there's the Bloch™ leotard with the black lace sleeves, a portrait-in-the-mirror-type arte shot, which I took on 'chatty Sunday'...

Sundays... when we have our
'Word Painting' soirées, where we gather and drink white wine and nibble on hors d’oeuvres, and, dressed like flagrant muses, flirt and discuss our art... We’ll celebrate each other as the afternoon shimmers into evening in the lavishly rich studio you're welcomed into.

:-)


Many thanks... beautiful readers: #1 on the poetry chart!

Hey, what a lovely surprise this morning! My little recording has made it to #1 at SoundClick!

# 1 in Poetry (highest position was 1). Total songs: 1,242
# 13 in Talk (highest position was 13). Total songs: 5,363

I'd like to thank all my readers and listeners for such beautiful support. Blessings all round. Love every one of you. xo

Voicings

Voicings
A recording (2:49min):

Voicings:Hi-speed, cable
Voicings:Dial-up


Monday, October 01, 2007

Comparing the creative processes of words, paint, voice...

The various art forms are intriguing. Today I'm thinking in terms of editorial capabilities with words, paint, or voice.

Words are easiest, as long as you've kept earlier versions, it's possible to go back, or follow a thought forward to something else, to change the piece of writing entirely, or add to, clarify, work on it until the words sit still (this can take a little time, and only happens after the words stop nagging you with their undoneness).

Paint is a less forgiving. If you go too far or not far enough the paint will give you some leeway, but there's a point where overdone is overdone and there's no going back. Paint has a Rubicon, and I go in fear of it. It takes a long time to plunge into paint for this reason. Gathering the ideas, sketching, this takes time, erasing is possible and I do it often, buying or selecting the paint, this is important, like creating a little medicine bundle against what is to come. It's all laid out on the floor, one is in one's overalls, hair tied back, no phone, the jars of water, the tubes of paint in a row, the palette awaits. It's what I imagine it's like to get into a racing car, or to climb to the very end of the highest diving board. You wait. You steady yourself. Then you go into a Zen frame of mind. You let everything go, you hit the accelerator, you dive. You trust your body will know what to do. You are fully present and completely alert. It is not time to hesitate. The flow begins. I paint with my fingers, my hands, and I can't see what I'm doing in that everything is so wet and sliding that form hasn't begun to emerge. That comes later, as it dries, and there is a paradoxical sense of disappointment, discovery, and a newness, accepting what's emerged, and working with it more slowly, with a paint brush, to make things go in or come out, to echo colour or form, to balance or unbalance, the finishing touches. It's like letting a tornado spin through you. It's the most utterly fearful thing I do, putting my life on the line like this.

A recording of words are the least forgiving of all. A run-through, it has to be all of a piece. Due to the cadence of the voice, which keeps changing, each moment it changes, the air or the particular openness of the glottis or the emotion pushing up or disappearing make the voice different, and so you can't add a word or a phrase here or there and have the piece maintain it's consistency. Subtraction is possible, but again, tricky. The listener will hear it. The momentum is lost. And so with my recordings I find I grate at sections, like other bits, and have to go with whichever version somehow is 'listenable,' that I can bear to live with. It's hard to say what the criteria for this 'listenability' or 'bearability' might be because in a year I might feel very differently.

Unlike with words, where you can diddle endlessly, going over and over a piece, leaving it, coming back, rewriting, polishing, or with paint where it is possible to work patinas over the original whirlwind, you can't with a recording, not the particular track that captures the cadences of the voice, but you can record the same piece over and over.

Perhaps the process of writing is like creating a medicine bundle that you can contiue to compose, add to, pick away at, shift or change; whereas, the process of painting (for moi) is like throwing the contents of a prepared medicine bundle onto the canvas to do their transformative work; and the process of recording, with the ability to re-record, like endless medicine bundles of the same, until finding the one that holds the spirit?

As I speak of these processes, it seems that they move towards the performative.

With all three forms, the final criteria is 'Can I live with it?'

If so, it's bearable.