Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Image Hosted by

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

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

Does time stop for such moments, these pleasant hours? Even now the future is drawing nourishment, like tendrils of roots in the present. The question I want to ask is, does it happen before it happens? Or are we only and forever creating a lattice of possibilities for the flowering of the future? Even on the edge of.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Finding your creativity in your body, its sensuality…

From Fruitflesh by Gayle Brandeis [paraphrased for women & men who write]:

Relax, perhaps lie on your back, let your breath circulate in your body, “When you feel quiet, open, bring your awareness to the inside of your body. Explore your inner regions, the space inside your skin. Can you feel where your creativity pulses right now? Is it located in your vulva, or phallus, your rib cage, the arch of your foot? What shape does it take? Does it have a colour, a sound, a density?”

I am dreaming my way in. Glimmering rainbows, electrical, channels of energy pulse, throb, unfolding, hovering, swiftly moving currents. Is there a location for this energy? More deeply, envisioning this creative energy, its locus in my body, moving into it---an apex in my vulva, in the folds and membranes, but also floating above like an orchid, sensitive, delicate; and sliding across my thighs, radiating up and down the sides, where my body retains its memory of childbirth, in the skin there, its puckers, spots of cellulite like the remains of a cocoon my babies slid from, losing the elasticity of tight skin, youth, the years of serving others winnowing me, my creativity in the folds of life; sparking in my breasts, curving out from my breath, this place of giving, radiating, the warmth of the loving heart, beating; I feel my creativity rising out of me like a phoenix, rising again and again from the ashes of my existence. And in my graceful hands, in a dream my palms multi-petalled roses exuding softness, tenderness, wild and winsome scent, a lusciousness, hands I barely respect, don’t cradle them, don’t cream them, veins showing like markings of jade across their white skin, but from which everything flows never-the-less; my creativity in my mouth, auras of rubies, sapphires, opals, tourmaline and serpentine and raw diamonds, multi-coloured, rising as if from some volcanic source within; and my creativity flows from behind my eyes, where it is always swirling, thick, dense, blindly seeing the rhythmic music of sounds, images, forming, creating the dance on this caress of canvas, of parchment…

Sunday, August 21, 2005

This is inspired by the photo I took to go with the last post and is a whole series of images in itself. Today I wrote this prose poem, away from the images in photo, in my notebook at a cafe, remembering.


Follow the curve of birth. Images of fertility. How did they appear with such intimacy? Seeds, eggs, vas deferens, oviducts, ovum, egg sacs, a winged maple seed helio-revolving, honey combs, womb, scrotum, the tubes where living cells spawn. Cracking apart, breaking, blighted, ideas and wishes that form, eggs bursting without yolks, and one perfect moment that rises whole into the world. What is viable, what happens, where desire and its fulfillment are one unfolding. Purple, blue, insect, fowl, animal, human, whirring. Moonscape, the deep unconscious. Libido an overflow of the deep forces in motion, possibilities appearing and disappearing, where the shape of the future occurs. Incipient wholeness. Where it is never still. Three hundred million sperm entering the central canal of the testicles of each man every day. In excess. An abundance of fertility. Eggs waiting, releasing one at a time, a slow, sensual journey towards union. For the one perfect being, the eternal hope of the generations of the future. Striving, giving, living. The deepest music of creation, unbroken, even amidst the shattering, the shards of the half-made, the untenable, the profuse attempts at what are works of art. Then the perfection of the way the unbroken energy flows, syncopates, beats staccato, creates stillness, chaotically refines, prays, meditates through what lives. Solidifies into living form. Strange magnified continents, an image of silence on the edge of creation.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Body Painting on Saris

Image Hosted by

Body Painting on Saris

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

[Image from Mythical Lovers, Divine Desires, by Sarah Bartlett (Blandford, 1988) listed only as L.Vallet.]

I'm still working with ideas of the muse as speaking subject who is consciously playing the role traditionally assigned to her. The "I" is not 'me,' it's just a poetic convention, a persona taken on for the moment, a flurry of images that have written themselves across the page of my notebook today. The woman in this piece, for instance, is much younger than I am. And she is caught in a myth of entrancement; perhaps that's it. Her laughing eyes. Think of nymphs, sylphs, devis and tantrikas.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The River

Image Hosted by


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

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

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

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

This knowledge alone


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

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

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

If you wish the beautific vision
of the saints,
it is here. But stay on the edge where the
stars meet the water.
Underneath, the currents rage like a woman gone
wild, frenzied, writhing, torrential,
hot, and uncontainable...

Image Hosted by

Friday, August 12, 2005

Courage My Love

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCourage My Love grows on you. Eventually it becomes the place where you always stop, browse each week before continuing on to buy fruit and vegetables and other health foods at Kensington Market. Occasionally you buy some silver jewelry, earrings or bangles or a pendant, or sometimes just beautiful loose beads that you'll string later, sometimes a vintage slip or skirt or shirt. You'll always touch the jingly silver dancer's belts, for belly dancers or strippers perhaps. You'll run your fingers through the sheer silk scarves from the 50s in the basket on the floor, knowing the last time you bought one it developed moth holes and so you can't again. But touching is okay. You'll admire the silk kimonos hanging almost out of reach, their elegant patterns, cloud-dance colours. You'll look through the dress shirts, dozens of them, wondering if they'll all sell and be worn again. In the Winter you always run your hands through the cashmere, some of the sweaters in mint condition; in the Summer through the silk or cotton skirts. You'll remember the styles of bygone eras; the way women fit themselves to the lines of then current design that is now retro-in. You'll silently talk to the primitive masks on the walls from obscure parts of the world about where they've been, what they're doing here now, where they'll end up. You might ask whoever's behind the counter where the turquoise rings in the jeweler's case came from, or the rich amber bracelets. And you'll see calm browsers like yourself or shoppers who have that hungry look, searching for an item, a bargain, of which there are lots, or something to make them feel fresh and new again. And you'll always find a small satin bag for a semi-precious stone or a tiny carved box or an exquisite card or even some incense if you need to take something with you for the rest of the day like an amulet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tristan and Iseult...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIt wasn't that Tristan and Iseult were victims of a love potion that they couldn't remove from the DNA of their cells once eros had altered their chromosomes. It wasn't that they were enslaved to their passion for each other without choice because the potion had altered them forever, opened them to each other fully and definitively and without respite. It wasn't the potion at all. That was a myth. Iseult's mother didn't make a love potion for her daughter and her amour (oh, she knew they would inadvertently drink it on the voyage from Ireland to Cornwall) so they could be trapped in unredeemable desire for each other. She knew that their hearts had already opened to each other. She hoped the love potion would encourage them to follow their passion for each other. But it didn't work. What was wrong with Tristan and Iseult was that they were always trying to do the 'right' thing, to 'please' everybody but themselves: King Mark who Iseult marries, Iseult of the White Hands who Tristan marries, though Kaherdin negotiates as Iseult of the White Hands' brother and Tristan's friend and attempts to help him choose between his divergent loyalties to a peaceful unified state or to his heart. Because of the choice Tristan and Iseult made, to serve others, they found no relief, no solace, no blessing in their love for each other. And their tragedy unfolded and they eventually died because of the jealousy incited among those they tried to live by the rules of convention for...

Pre-Raphaelite Tristan & Iseult painting by Anonymous:

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On Uncertainty...

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

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

In the dream from which I wake in the hot night, we are lying next to each other, sheets over bare bodies, comfortable, touching, on a bed floating in a vast and dark ocean; we can hear water lapping to the edges of all the horizons around us. We are illumined in the night, diffuse spotlights, chiaroscuro lighting, a golden sepia whiteness, our faces warm and content, the soft white pillows we rest on.

Finding closeness in the vast uncertainty, we can agree on this beauty, even as we gaze into the darkness glimmering with stars.

There is comfort in unknowingness.

In the closeness of love in the vast unknowing.

Writing and Line Drawing © 2005 by Brenda Clews

Monday, August 08, 2005

Travels on the road of uncertainty...

Image Hosted by

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

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lovesongs in the darkness...

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

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

After a hot, humid day of nearly unbearable discomfort, the evening is soft and inviting and enwraps me. A stone Buddha, seated in lotus, meditating, faces my direction; he sits before a prayer mat of washed white stones amidst a fan of leaves. Peace emanates from him, calm, serene. Near him a small statue of Kuan Yin stands; this house a veritable shrine to Kuan Yin. White clay and porcelain statuettes of Kuan Yin are everywhere inside the house, and two large hand-painted colour-glazed porcelain renditions of her, edged with gold in the way only the Chinese who worship her can create, reside in the garden house or yoga space or sacred little healing temple I am sleeping in at the end of the garden.

I feel blessed in the Goddess's radius of energy as it emanates from this house where I am staying, the house of my dear friend. The phone rings, and I answer it, my soft voice, his quieter one over the receiver, joining the singing of the lovesongs of the night.

Image Hosted by

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

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

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

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

Yet it was a city of much difficulty for me. My children not adjusting even after 2 years. I began to feel I just didn’t belong there; but, in the ways of the energies of the world, before I left I found not only a job in a wonderful company, but a possible community through a newfound friend. I left feeling much better about my time there for these simple reasons. And I know I will be back, if only for a holiday.

The uncertainty ahead unfolds with the unrelenting wings of the strange bird I fly on, the drone of a metallic butterfly swooping across the landscape, crossing mountains, prairies, lakes.

In the balance, Toronto weighed in heavier, with a number of different communities, family and probably a university I know well; I never felt like a Vancouverite, but like someone who alighted from another world, that my energies didn’t suit the city, or that Vancouver, as beautiful and fertile as it is, wasn’t my city.

Yet I return with 3 books that I’ve written in the last 2 years, and while they need much editing, they might never have been written had I stayed in Toronto. The natural fertility of the city, its abundant greenery, inspiring creativity perhaps. The creative energy of that part of the world is extraordinary. Surely it has something to do with the beauty of the surroundings.

Creativity on the West Coast is in tune with the flow of the natural energy of the land; in a city like Toronto creativity erupts despite the pollution, traffic, crowding of an intensely built city of brick and concrete and manicured parks. The one an effortless extension; the other a determined statement in the midst of an artificial world, a city where beauty is not a paramount reason for being. In comparison to the casualness of Vancouver, Toronto is a business-oriented city with multiply positioned goals to achieve, to succeed. The natural landscape is a human one, one created by people for people and it is about people. Is that what I missed?

I like the energy of the people of Toronto. It’s a big city energy, even if it only approaches the truly large megalopolises of cities like New York or Tokyo or London or Rome.

It’s a city on the edge of a lake that it has cut itself off from by putting a highway between itself and the expanse of water.

That highway is where millions of people stream, driving in, out, working, loving, living their lives; it’s fast, the expanse of Lake Ontario to one side, the city risen from the flat landscape on the other.

Where I am going, into that core. Where the buildings are high, where the crowds move like large packs, herds, where the beat pounds.

And what will I find in this latest re-entry, this my third time heading back downtown to live in the busy core? The first time I was there in my 20s, I stayed 18 months; the second time, I stayed 20 years. I leave, and am always pulled back...

The plane takes me steadily across the country, my dog and cat in the hold below, during the passage between cities.
The landscape below me is veined with roads, mapping pathways, blanketed by fields in a patchwork of warm earth tones, grain yellow to dark green to dusty oranges to dirt-coloured to pale green, until we come to the vortexes of towns and cities where knots of community energies coagulate.

I feel a sureness of trust that this return is good, that the city will envelope me again, that I will find myself inspired by the wild and crazy and gentle and brilliant and ordinary and beautiful and loving people around me.

In 2 hours the plane will land in Toronto.

I follow my heart and return home.

Monday, August 01, 2005

That Terry passed away so quickly is, well, I was expecting to be blogging with him for years to come. I glad he is out of pain. I am glad I came to know him, his empathetic poetry and brilliant personas. I will always love him, his humour, his compassion, his creativity...

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

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

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

I filled a 22' truck and it took 6 guys about 6 hours to move me... I'd like to thank yet another blogger for being there by phone for me throughout the insanity, he's an amazing friend, Ira, thenarrator...

And on this overcast and cool day in the fertile beauty of Vancouver, my son's cat seems to have disappeared and I have to leave in an hour to catch a flight, and I'm worrying. Oh, and the movers left all my art from university and high school, and my Winter boots! So Stephen will keep a box for me for shipping later... and also I can take an extra box on the plane, it's cheaper than shipping by courier actually... I'm gonna be loaded down by the time I emerge at Toronto International Airport.

Stephen and Bonnie have been most wonderful to me and it is with some sadness that I leave extraordinary people like these, but the next part of my journey, this living in uncertainty, calls...

I'll be staying at my brother's tonight, and then at a beautiful friend's house till the weekend, though she's away a few days so I can completely relax, then I have no idea...

I live on trust.

Be well, write great blogs, I'll get around to reading as soon as I can.

Archeology of Water

This began with an image of memory scrawled in a notebook in April 2019 that I knew I would work with, either in a poem, or perhaps video. ...