Showing posts from 2006

Touch, Rapture


In the steam, you disappear. I feel your presence only by knowing. You sit before me until you vanish; hot clouds dissolve us into vapour. Your strong sensuality, like a sensate Zeus, yet you become a phantom. Until I am alone. When the hot breathe of air presses in on me your hands rest on mine, our knees touch. Two figures of naked skin streaming as the steam subsides. It was in the room you built, this womb of steam from which we emerge wet and hot into the cold air of the welcoming night.


We are clothed in the streaming truth of
the night sky, its melting snow.


Do I have anything to say? I wander around feeling a relief from the pressure of writing, a pressure which was so intense for awhile. I don't have to continually create what I'm living in writing; I don't have to reach for metaphors that inadequately embody my experience, imaginary or otherwise.

Only I do.

This I cannot escape from. Every moment is writing.

The world I interact with is composed of lights and planes and shadows, of sounds and textures, of feelings and thoughts, of people and events. Every moment is intimate.

The life that I live demands that I read it continually. That I be agile, open, dancing. That I maintain a strong sense of self while being loving, caring, gentle, giving. That I find where the light froths and bubbles with incandescence. That I fill my days with laughter inbetween the tears and furies.

Last night, amidst the usual family crises that occur over the holiday season, with many thoughts about the way we compose ourselves for ourselves and for ea…

Writing into the Future

While I don't think I'm still 'in' the writing that cohered around themes and that collected itself into a 'parcel,' my writing's changed. Who can stay the same?

My first husband accused me of changing every year. Ah, mid-70s?

Do we transform into different versions of ourselves as we age through the years?

It's the brain cells that are most magnificent, the way they are born, live, die and somehow pass on their information, their memories, to the new crop, and they do this continually throughout our lives.

All the cells in the body maintain the structure of the whole of us by keeping their processes going.

But transmitting memory,
and who knows how, is a feat, a miracle.

Is this why the brain is perhaps structured like a grammar? With syntax and a lexography? So that it can write itself into the future?

Star System

When you've finished a first draft... the months that it's taken, when things were rolling, or not, but moving, and then it's over. There's a lull. A let-down. An emptiness. I'm not sure what it is, perhaps like a mini-grieving? One should be happy that the end has come and the rewriting can begin, and yet, the high is gone. I don't know what that is.

It's like there is sand or something in my eye. So I'm typing with my eyes shut. Blindly groping in the darkness behind my lids, talking to you, my readers, whoever you are...

There are changes in my life, and more coming. I really can't explain what they are. Movement, but also settling in. Establishing directions for the near and far future. Odd, obverse things that we intuit but find it hard to speak of.

An image of myself spinning slowly while my life unwinds through time...

I'm here, touching the keys, staying connected.

But I feel as if I'm floating on the other side of the star system.



Still one more piece to write that will complete my little prose poetry book, my rhizomatic text, which I may or may not post. It's a Monsieur piece and you might just have to buy the book in 50 years when it's published to see how it ends. Sighs, and laughs.

Monsieur is an amalgam of the men I've loved/love... you know that!

But even amalgamated Monsieurs like secrecy.

For the last month I've been working at a very busy central switchboard at the executive level in a corporate bank, only a 7 hour day, but exhaustion! The board rooms, the expensively appointed dining rooms, the clients, meetings, parties. In a fish bowl. Asked always to wear a suit, be polished. Come home late, 8pm after walking my doggy, too tired to think, let alone talk or be with my daughter or help her with difficult homework assignments. Not to complain, it's money for gifts, and hopefully to move to a larger apartment (I pay rent and storage each month so can afford a better place just need the…


How did it happen? The soft cotton sarong of orange and plum and cream in wide swarths of colour and simmering moons became a snake with many eyes. I know by the way it winds around my neck while I sway on the floor.

Serpents of protection.

Am I hallucinating?

Dozens of gold snakes cling to me, pour over my undulating arms, wrap around my curving belly as I shimmy and gyrate to the sensuous rhythms of flute and sitar.

I am possessed. The writhing waterfall of coppery snakes stream while I hold earth lightning in my hands like the Minoan Snake Goddess. I can't stop dancing. I writhe and undulate and spin like a whirling wind, a belly dancer, a dervish, a dakini.

I am the lady of serpents.

Everywhere they slither and coil, opening deep chthonic mysteries, an energy of creativity that persists despite inner dissentions, or the envy of the other.

The face of envy on the dance floor is a mass of dry, dead hair, an austere, thin frame, a rigid torso that wiggles without sensuality, or warmth, …

Almost done!

Almost done! Two more pieces, I think. Then letting it grow through editing and drafts, rhizomatically.

Only about 17,000 words and perhaps 60 pages, and most of you haven't a clue what's been going on I'm sure, but I am drawing it to a close.

Who knows if it'll be back to regular programming or not at Rubies in Crystal?

Life is so different now.


Writing, Tides, Impermanent, Sores, Eyes, Uncoiling, Other, Muse, Subjectivity

-early drafts of these poems have been removed by the author-

Blessing, Pulse, Devotion, Eternity, Threat, Escape, Fragments


On that day, the light that bathed the world was visionary. The sun shone with a relentless determination against the cold. I shivered in your arms. We stood in the weak Winter light receiving its lucent blessing. Even when the earth tilts and we are far away, the sun illumines us.

In your embrace, I am illumined.


Is love always a revelation?

Or is it the underlying synthesis of existence, what we are founded on, what keeps the mystery unfolding from its nascence? Is love what embraces us or what we continually strive for? Is love a substrata that we can align ourselves with, open ourselves to, if we could clarify our vision?

Is the universe a pulsation of love?

Is love light, what is evident, or the deeper hidden energy of creation?

Surely, mon amor, love is all this and more.


I know my love for you by my passion for you.


Monsieur, yes, of course I understand what romantic love is, and it's capricious, dependent on sexual passion, it's created out of de…

Sand, Horizon, Wind, Nomad, Tracks, Joust, Switchboard


At the seashore she shouted incoherently to herself and flung handfuls of sand into the air.

Sand from a beach so white it was like the pause between paragraphs.


I wanted to make it over the event horizon this time,
to get desire past fantasy into the real.

But I couldn't.


In the angry, cold wind at the bus stop sand blew in my eyes.

My eyes filled with tears, the world of bright sun became unfocused.

When I stepped on the bus, my collar was wet with salt tears. The bus driver was concerned, 'How are you this morning? It's cold.' 'Yes, and that high wind blew sand into my eye - I'm not crying,' I laughed, 'it's okay.' And he smiled and closed the door and pulled the bus out into the traffic.


You are a floater, tumbleweed, a fellow nomad.

How could it be any different?


The point in the tracks where the switcher is.

You pulled it and we separated;
or, you went off elsewhere.

Gleaming steel,
it frightened me.

The trainyard was
a terrible …

Wonder, Transparency, Explore, Glare, Possessive...


Thrust forward
into the unknown.

What carries us though?

How do we rise each day
and move with such agility.

I'm not sure how I breathe,
eat, walk, see or hear, how my heart beats,
let alone write my way through
this manuscript.

What is talent? What is the muse?
Why do we have to make art, create
businesses, produce culture, perpetually
shape our world?

This morning is full of

This morning you are too far
away to share in this conversation
of wonder.


Monsieur, when you pull away after an event, trip, workshop, conference, when you say, let's just be friends, or let's take a break, or suddenly stop writing erotic notes, it is clear you are pursuing other interests.

How can you not know of the transparency?

With your worldly desire for encounters, I offer you up without complaint to your pursuit and conquest.

When it ends I may not be here, and that's a risk, but you don't care at departure (you have your eyes set elsewhere, mon cher).

But then, somehow I rema…

Fever, Forgive, Wild Heart, Mirror, Culpable, Trapped, Insomnia, Sea-breaker...


As if a fever broke.

In the shower, warm water pouring over me but as if I came in from the storm somewhere out in the wilderness. The steamy fog unrolled itself and you found me sipping morning coffee and we talked.

Of uncertainty and even though decisions were made I felt they were also being unmade and that endings were beginnings.

Can the paint on the canvas be unpainted? Or must we whitewash and re-paint? Will sandpaper take it off? Could I sand myself to an essence, a place of blank openness, the untouched whiteness of the beginning?


To forgive is not to condone, to allow the same behaviour to continue, the patterns to play out their relentless rhythms.

I forgive myself.

For being there: for being hurt or hurting.

That is all we can do.

Wild Heart

It is so precarious, day after day,
these inner desires, meltings,

The Mirror I Don't Want to Hold Up

Do I pick men who can't make a commitment, unattached, single, deliciously attractive, brilliant, because then I don&…


The trail, Monsieur, is a decoy. It does not reveal my whereabouts, or my perspective. I could be elsewhere in the terrain where it is dense and dark and dangerous. You would never guess from my notes and messages. I could be escaping from our field of connections, and yet appear to be available, even stable. If you could know what maintaining these appearances cost you might be surprised.

But this is how I deal with my capricious interior.

Even with falling away, I remain close.

Shooting Star

There was a moment of confidence, but it's gone now.


When a writer leaves that many spaces between paragraphs, I find it threatening.

What's in the white spaces?

Is it a white font of writing that curses us? Hidden writing that... She talks under her breath, muttering, blaming; I hear her the way one hears the ocean in a seashell held up to one's ear. In those spaces between the blocks of black words.

Especially when I see virid and cinnabar feathers lying about, and can hear the swishing of the endless sea foam beneath her squawking, the way she belittles us.

Roar of the Tidal Pattern

She left too many spaces between her paragraphs,

and they encroached.

Masque du Shaman

Dreaming, Monsieur. All the muscles enclosing the head, redly, dark eyes staring out. It reminds me of wounded and healing. Then I saw your face like a carnivàle mask of clouds floating, and emptiness, the void itself, where your eyes and open mouth.

A burqua of white around my head, the snowy landscape. The purity of the whole unbroken light, its whiteness.


Did anything change?

I don't think so.

Once she was back in her unkempt house, where she was looked after until she regained her strength, the tirades began again. She said she was living out of a dumpster which was of course ludicrous. She lashed out at anyone who was younger, brighter, more beautiful. Which was most of the women in the world since she was old and on the decline.

The black habits continued. Dark and flapping with a cane at the seashore, she looked like a nun. Except for the florid red lipstick, the crimson suede gloves, the cherry red French lace petticoat under the thick layers of black burlap when the wind blew.

Liqueur du Feu

Driving me home, you softly asked, 'I'd like to lie naked next to you,' and I thought how warm and comforting. Only when our clothes lay on the ground you became fire and I melted into liqueur, hot sweetness all over you.


When we drove he kept his hand high on my inner thigh. Did I like it? Of course I did, Monsieur.

I - The Lake

From the wing chair covered in brocades of cream, through the variegated leaves of the pothos in the porcelain pot glazed with orange blossoms, the lake rushes in equal potencies of green, grey and blue. It reflects. Mist drifts steadily across in streams of softnesses with pale blue sky patchily appearing and sun that reveals its presence on the blinding whiteness of cumulus clouds over there. The sky is like a steamer rushing by. The lake is greener at the shore and around the islands in contrast to the band of deep blue towards the horizon.

In the distance to the East, look, the mist is broiling into a squall and the water froths with whitecaps and it looks as if the turbulent sky has fallen into the water, their boundaries disturbed.

Elsewhere, patches of snake green appear and disappear on the surface of the water according to the whims of the fleeting sky.

The winds blow the mist at velocities I can only imagine. What appears like steam billows past the window at race neck speeds.


II - The View from the Lake

In the offices behind me, activity, jobs, maintaining the flow of business, for increasing or keeping profit margins, including the wide net of support staff, is fierce. Perhaps it's like the fierce lake with its patches of squall or sun and its endless flow of mist. Everyone works hard and everyone is tired at the end of the day.

I think of letters and numbers, words and money, invisible, flowing, like the continuous traffic on the highways splayed out before me in all directions, transferring, shaping. Do we corrode the landscape with our civilization?

From the Island View Room with its antiques and Persian carpet high in the corporate bank tower the sky is an opague pale grey; it has stopped raining but is thickly overcast.

In the distance the Scarborough Bluffs are lit by sun and look like the white walls of a white city of vision.

How do we fit into the landscape we have so crudely carved?

River of Light

From high in the corporate tower, in the dim distance, in the atmosphere of drifting fog, the curving highway, everybody driving home, a flowing river of light.

White blood stream of the city.

Fog Lights

Through the fog, forms. Other buildings, sky. It could be the corneas of my eyes.

The corona of the sun is hidden.

There are no sun spots today; no solar flares, no solar storms.

The world is quiet. Lying under a blanket of mist. The wind is absent. If the birds fly, they fly blindly.

Do you have your fog lights on as you make your way along the snaking highways? Somebody stops or swerves in the flow of cars and there is a pile-up. Buckled metal and torn and broken lives, but not yours. You are caught in the stopped and slowed traffic and are late.

Not to meet me, but the others.

I am behind the fog.

Am I seeing anything other than dim forms and whiteness?


Again, it happened. Out of nowhere, envy, its clout. Why is it that you often don’t know who is competing against you? Lies, demeaning. Set up for an ignominious fall. Only what is sought, those daggers of hidden stealth, is of no interest. Uncompetitive. I am filling the place of, not seeking to fill.

Today envy wore black hair and a black blazer with a red chiffon blouse and a smiling demeanour in the office tower that could be anywhere in the world.


Sometimes one has to pretend to be who one is to be who one is.

If I disguise you in metaphors, it is only to reveal you. Or myself. Or the interconnections that interweave us.

November 28, 2006

On the afternoon of that day I.

The time went by too quickly.

When I saw the date, I knew.

It was very strange, this feeling.

I could not know what it was all about.

But I knew the day was significant.

It had arrived; such long waiting, and now it was here.

What did it mean?


They disappear. They always return. The men who love me. It is too early to say if it is a pattern.

Sometimes I feel like the woman in the sea-cottage who holds the tide-line tight in her hands. Then I don't drift in and out like the moon-pulled sea; then I remain, present.


Dense fog today. The world is impenetrable. Nothing but the whiteness of cloud. Breathe the cool moisture; walk blindly forward. The ground remains; the route is the same. Follow your feet, knowing the way. If, according to the Hopi, there are two kinds of time, what is unmanifest and what is manifest, then we are inbetween. The world that is coming to be in its ecstasy is not yet born. The fog carries us through. Float on the breath of the mist.

Wild Man

Monsieur, you are staid, professional, solid enough; quiet, muted.

Yet you are a wild man.

When you strip your clothes, the frenzy begins. How can such passion hide under a veneer smooth as the pin stripes in a suit?

I remember, and am awakening. Erotic energy rises like smoldering bush fire. In your absence.

For you are not here, only there.


A new character has appeared, to whom the narrator is speaking. Without a name, or identification. Will he or she reveal themselves further? Or only remain in an antagonist position just out of view...

Do I hallucinate you? Who are you?

My hallucination of nature doesn't agree with your hallucination, that's all. Or to you it's not a hallucination, but reality, and you strengthen your position with references to nature writers and by being in a group who believe similarly.

Except it isn't. Reality, I mean. You're taking a position on reality, writing your own essay of it, complete with a thesis statement. Only it's all your thoughts on it, a master narrative, if you will, that continually runs through your mind shaping what you see according to the story you carry.

Which is fine, is good. We'd go mad without our stories. They cohere us, put us in social and historical context; they organize reality for us.

Reality probably needs organizing! For all I know about …

light glancing

The waves of the ocean that I watch from the window move like imagination across the dreamscape.Close your eyes, dream the world. "...That summer all the world
was soul and water, light glancing off peaks." Michael Sims


"I don't find anything out there. I find my own relation to the spaces. We see nature with our cultivated eyes. Again, there is no true nature, there is only your and my construct."
Olufur EliasonYou say the wilderness you walk in every day exists. But you have named every tree, shrub, bird, insect. You move through a wilderness of labels, of theories of ecosystems, of words and images that describe it. You cohere this experience of wilderness; without you, it wouldn't exist.How can we see but through our own perceptions? A trained and honed perceptual apparatus with its own caring, ethic and aesthetic.Could we stumble blindly through the bush --- what would we see?What of the feral child's experience of the wilderness --- raised by wolves, who move by scent and on all fours, who tear at the beating body of fur and blood with bared teeth?There is only the subjective, the relational. How can there be an objective universe?
We create the world we live in.It's emp…


Mediating the world, ourselves. How can intentions expressed as words, as images, create the reality we are living?

Within the film of my life I create the story I am living.

That story also shapes outer events. The world coheres to my version of it.

Do you understand that
the world

is a mass hallucination?

That we have agreed
to hallucinate it this way
and we teach our children.


Weight of words, Monsieur.

Referring to what is just out of reach. Emotion, idea, situation, description, always approximating, never fully expressing what they create and shape. We are not feral. Culture moves through us, syncopates its rhythms in us, punctuates us.
veils of words and images drifting over the world


Was it that she'd always had a raging fever?

Does rage have a temperature, and had it now peaked, and was broken?


She crawled along the key and decided not to give in.

When the winds subsided they stabilized her with intravenous fluids, medication. They checked her blood, ran a CAT scan, an MRI. In her stupour, she relented.

I could feel the tension of resistance dissipate and she became like a boxing glove gone limp. The stuffing disappeared. She could no longer hit; the psychic force of her anger gone.

Her black dress lay on the floor, salty and ragged. She looked strangely newborn in her hospital green gown. Unlike herself.

Only her fingernails were glaring red.

Would it build again, the tempest?


Perhaps not.


I am most comfortable if you are lovingly diffident, sweet but often absent; yet I desperately need your ardour.

If you discard me, or appear to, for you never actually do, I am comfortable; if you don't, I panic, sending dozens of invisible arrows to scare you off, so you will shy away. My mixed messages, subliminal. No, I do not always do this knowingly. I'd like to stop, if only I knew how.

For me to be still, and not flee in every other thought, and be your woman is most difficult, even if I am perhaps your woman.

Capture terrifes me.

Like conventional relationships.

Love that is richly fantasized, and remains. Approaching but never arriving. Hidden in each other's lives. Intimacy, this dance of closeness. Which can't settle.
Can we roam through each other's hearts
like oceanic tides?


Monsieur, my fears?

It is the ancient fear of entrapment.


The sea wall, broached. The heaving ocean swells over it. Water flying in howling wind collapses the brick and mortar and concrete stays like pins. There is no barrior.

What is to keep her from sweeping out to sea, her black dress like a murder of crows flying about her?

Her eyes are lit with terror as the water rises, foaming.

She shrieks at the turbulent sky; her voice joins the screaming winds.

She is thin and flaps like a scarecrow.

She stands on an outcrop. The water swirls around her feet, but doesn’t wash her away. The rock holds her safe.

Her face a venom of fury
when she sees me.

What is it she desires?


The sky is molten, mon amour. A broil of clouds in my heart. How long can I wait?

In this silence in which I wait.

You cannot know, mon homme chéri.

For I do not wish to burden you.

A relational line, a trajectory, a specific set of connections, patterns, motions into. Fire of desire. The threads extinguish themselves in the smoldering flame. What is moving towards erases itself as it burns, charred, blown away in the wind.

Will you catch me?

Or will you let me pass by?


If language mediates between the world and our visceral bodily sensations, is a discourse teaching us how to organize ourselves collectively, cohere us socially, shapes how we think and feel in our approach to reality, then money mediates similarly.

Money is the mediating transmission of the world we have created for our inhabitation.

Money flows as invisibly as language through the atmosphere, roaming the globe, making our world, enabling us to live, eat, work, support ourselves, our families, each other.

Money transferred to luxury cushions us against the harsh elements.

Money is our mediatrix.

The earth turns on its axis but the world turns on money, capital that sloshes through the global markets with the force of the daily oceanic tides.


At the core, in the stock market, picking who you will support is as risky as any artistic venture, any poem-on-the-edge. Decide on what you will support – research, intuit, trust, leap. How is the support of each other’s business’s through purchase of stocks any different to the galleries that sell our work? Aren’t traders traders?

Investment is risky; art is risky. Of course there is the rote way, the safe way through the tried and true, but that’s not where the excitement is, nor the gains. Do we invest in our talent?


The weave of words that flows over the world: in the absence of the objects to which they refer; in the absence of the author who set them in their sequences on their journeys.

Phrases, sentences, paragraphs, flowing, flowing, on and on. Picked up and read, retained momentarily. Onward, joining, dispersing, shoals of words, tides of words, flowing through our consciousnesses, into our ears, our eyes, and out of our lips, from our fingertips.

The weave of words that weaves our world, shaping it into familiar patterns, without which it would all fall apart and yet which like a membrane separates us from reality. Mimicry. Artistry. Telling us how to see, how to be. The language that shapes us, shaping. Weave of words sculpting.

Is inseparable from time which structures us, organizes us into communal cohesion.

Who cares if we are carriers of the word, transmitters of culture?

The intimacy of love sighing, your lips
kissing you, I
melt in your mouth


the inner meaning of us, our relation,
cannot be grasped or apprehended in this language
or any other language
even the language of the heart

even as it structures our desire


Monsieur, you exist in your absence.
Not only that,
but you exist in my absence.

The nexus of you
renders love possible.

Which carries on without either of us.

Waves of Words

Words float under my rib cage, cascade over my heart, and waterfall down my body. It was invisible, but you knew. I could see you reading me.

Like a streak of fish, a discourse of signifiers referring to each other, signifiers whose identities are only their relations to other signifiers, an entire system mediating reality.

The colour; the ocean.

Floating like thought.

But, then.

The discourse into which we are born is a discourse of love, at the depths. Never mind the story.

Love creates itself.

What else do we need?


In the vision behind my vision I see a helmet of hair of tightly coiled serpents. They are alive but they are the colour of alabaster. Why are they tightly coiled around her statuesque head? Do they grow from her scalp or do they merely cling to her head? What do they eat? Realism is not the point of myth, I remind myself.

As I move somnolently through the world of banking and investment, I hear hissing. It is like my muse is calling. In this number-drenched world of income, or how we survive communally.

Do an aesthetic of art and an aesthetic of finance arise from the same roots?

What does the Gorgon want? Why is she imaging here?

Writhing, coiling in these numbered halls
papered with endless account statements...


When he stood, in the peace of post-coital stillness, and said, 'I want to destroy you,' she waged a battle for her life for the next 15 years.

No-one emerged unscathed.

She rose, a soot-blackened woman, from the fine layers of silted taupe ashes, with scorched feet, able to see in all directions.


Monsieur, who am I in your desire? I laugh, no, you don't have to answer. Who you are in my desire is perhaps what I should consider. Yet don't we imagine ourselves through our fantasy of what the other sees in us?

Can I see myself as you would see me?

The gaze is whose gaze? And what is desire, Monsieur?

Desire is more than a fantasy; it is a will towards, a propulsion. Desire materializes us.

Eros is flowing differently now, the topography's changed, or the flow of the meridians is irrigating me differently.

Desire materializes us only to
dematerialize us.
It's a paradox, mon amor.

I incarnate deeply into my errogenous body
as I disperse under your touch, turn molten.
Until we are nothing
but pulsing
lit by each other's passion.

But I imagine this, Monsieur. In the space of desire where my fantasies enact.


What is the face that envy wears? When we compare ourselves to others do we feel our lack - is that what it is? How does the desire to undo, shred, tear, dislocate, decimate the other not out of retribution for anything they have done to you, but because they are more successful than you in whatever ways you care about. Perhaps they hold the affection or the honour you wish for; perhaps they are wealthy when you are not; perhaps they command the attention you can't.

What is the face envy wears and how do we see its dark motive? Why is it a hidden face that we don't recognize until we find ourselves crying amid the ruin of our lives?

A Plumbing Story

Today was an inadvertent plumbing day... I butter-knifed out a huge amount of 'park mud' from my 'dog walking boots' right into the bathroom sink that is our kitchen sink.. little worms of solid black mud from the treads... tons of mulched muddy stuff, squashed leaves... yeah, it eventually plugged... oh, sigh... being a woman, ya know, I got the toilet plunger... the one that's like an accordion and squished... it usually does the job... but the sink started projectile vomiting... out the little drain hole near the top... it was really gross.

Black swamp-reeking mud on the wall, all over everything... bleuchheckt... but I plunged away.

Bein' a woman, ya know.

Stubborn one, though. Would not call a man for help, nor let the landlord know.

It was good and plugged. I used a cup to empty the sink of brown water. Maybe I swore a bit too. Probably, especially 'cause my hair wasn't tied back and tended to cover my whole head so I couldn't see and who'd wa…


the bus stop,
all the people's heads
turned, watching.

Gaze of anxiety.

The blind woman tapping
her way forward.


Loud rapping at the top of the small escalator, on the old, mottled stone floor. Transit riders, hearing the commotion, turn to another series of stairs. It is dark up there. I am tired, climb up.

She is at the top, agitated.

Black wool coat, skin pale as glazed porcelain, hair so black light disappears into it, mid-length, curly. Eyes half-closed, a bluish light. She smacks the white-tipped cane hard, like a weapon, this baton-feeler of the terrain of the ground of the subway tunnels. "Where's the exit? Why won't anyone help me? Where's the ticket-taker?" She is hitting the cane perilously close to the top of the escalator when I guide her away.

"What are you looking for? A train?"

"No! I want to get out of here! Why won't anyone help me?!"

She is on the wrong floor. She becomes more flustered when she discovers she was given wrong directions. I guide her to the elevator, press the button. When the door opens I guide her in, press the button f…

Amour Doux

My consciousness is dissembling, Monsieur. Where I lay flew apart while composing itself.
Like an overflowing equilibrium; please forgive me for saying this abstractly when I know you prefer poetry. But it was the way words carved the experience, even as they shifted it from sensation to representation. What can embody the wetness or the absolute dryness? How can the world of forms be so liquid?
Monsieur! I would never speak in riddles to you. Stop laughing. Why do you call me delightfully irreverent? How do you know Socrates wouldn't enjoy such puns? Besides, I don't mean in any absolute or invisible ways; nor as semiotic symbol. The 'noumenon of the phenonemon'? Sort of, yes... even if you're silly! As long as they're both the same, that is.The forms of the world are like a waterfall that constantly changes yet maintains its pattern. Does that help?You're making me laugh, mon amor. What do you mean, Niagara Falls is eroding itself into disappearance? Sweet …

Landscape Figure

The drawing was one of the first and done quickly, a 'throw-away,' but some acrylic matte medium (Ester's tip, thanks!), and then oil paint, and she's become a landscape figure, or, bear with me, with hints of bones and layers of sediment, a geology of paint. The model in the lifedrawing class last week was a beautiful woman, a dancer, but sitting naked before a room of artists, sometimes she wanted to cover herself... I like the modesty here, it makes the figure in her nakedness through whom the landscape of paint moves more vulnerable.

(click for larger image)

Landscape Figure, 2006, india ink, acrylic matte medium, oil paint on archival paper, 13.5"x9".



Ways to defend oneself, ideas, beliefs, essence without over-riding the accuser. Instead of fleeing into fissures, withdrawing into a shell, masking with silence, remaining while rushing away, the wave rose, high, surging in sunlight, milky green underside, proud, and defended.


Those on the beach throwing rocks and sharp shell bits and driftwood at the strange fish flopping out of the water, stopping, acknowledging, backing off.

Untouched, not harmed.

Having met, and met the fear of difference, like two obverse cultures reckoning with each other. One half-submerged, gasping water and air, the other, only air-sucking.

On the shore, where they met. Waves tore the air.

No-one was hurt; the shouting group withdrew from the edge.

The flopping into the coiling wave as it drew back.

A miracle; they called it a miracle sighting,
that day.


Eyes that stare. Impassive, in the rocking cars of the underground subways, brown or blue, tiny, beady, at young women. Seated, watching. Unwa…


A pose from a lifedrawing session, and I added one of the early "Monsieur" pieces...

(click for larger size)

Two Women Who Are the Same

Lifedrawing class last night. Not too far from here. A group who have become friends, so a nice feeling of camaraderie. Anyway, the drawing that I coloured late into the night didn't turn out too well. But in the morning there is Photoshop! I played, drank coffee, ate breakfast, played. My daughterly critic rushing off to school didn't think the digital version tooo bad, so here it is. Perhaps I'll see if the drawing can emulate the digital version tonight - if it works, I'll post it. Promise.


The configuration of your desire, Monsieur, is complex. The beauty of women, how does it move you?

Scent of her kisses, tender cleavage, your lips, the way she holds you in her tiny hands, what it would be like to plunge yourself into her? She in whom you would obliterate.
Lust and bliss, loin and heart adaze. Or perhaps it is frenzy, a blindness?

Do we fall into what dissembles us?
A whirlpool, its swirling whorls,
undressing us,
naked against the onrush.

Is it that we are always approaching what we can never give ourselves to?

Go Backwards Along the Path to Go Forward

Audio Poetry Recording (9:27min): Cable/DSL; or Dial-up.

*If your pop-up blocker is over-zealous, and won't open the SoundClick window, email me at brenda dot clews at gmail dot com, and I'll send the .mp3 file - it's 5.4MB.

Recorded this suite of poems in the Summer, wasn't sure, oh you know the drill, but now, sharing...

More of a drama in this reading, I think. Each poem recorded separately and then spliced, so the readings shift in tone and tenor.

Busy couple of days, and then at a conference on Thursday, where I'm presenting twice, and may or may not post again until after Sunday, but I will write in my notebook, yes!

Listen in the dark, or when you're quiet. The poems in the recording:

1. Ecdysis
2. Technorati Tag Poem
3. Mantra, a Meditation
4. Painting Time
5. Without A Guide
6. What Revelations Are to Come?
7. After Watching Kurosawa's 'Rapsody in August'
8. Sultry Dark Air
9. Heliotropic Coda

(©Brenda Clews)


Awakening to the self, but this implies a stasis, stability, security of self, that I am knowable to myself; whereas, I'm not. The mystery of unfolding, rather.

Lying on the floor, awakening, our fingers, hands, toes, feet stretch into the world. That stretching continues as we writhe across the dance floor and then slow our movement to a Tai Chi-like fluidity and finally stop. A room of sculptures stopped in motion, some standing, some lying on the floor. We are breathing, is it.

Later, to the music I unravel my sarong and wrap and unwrap it around my shoulders, torso, breasts, and then brave strangeness and wrap it around my head and arms so I am trapped. I dance like a slave trying to find freedom, from the position of stasis, stability, security of a self. I know freedom is terrifying. With nothing to constrain you, fetter, contain, weigh, what would you do, who would you be?

If we could forget about being watched, read, observed, judged, about the unceasing gaze of the other, wh…


(I may be updating this & the next post in between calls today... they're a bit sketchy still... in this one, for instance, there was a real clash with "the muse" that I could imagine as a "scene" of some sort, we'll see.)

What made the pale suite washed out, drained, anemic? Was it the eloquent executive furniture, the large walnut veneer desks, strategic abstract paintings of desert yellow with some red drips, couches and dried flower arrangements all color-coded in muted tones, a whole suite of executive offices abandoned, places of corporate battles where victories were savoured or wounds sustained, and where profits increased yearly, ever-plundering the populace, until the merger and the redundancy and the emptiness? A commercial insurance company that banked on the stability of the world, drew profits from potential disaster, disasters that could be counted on not to happen but which could be insured against none-the-less. A wealthy world, this ---…

interlacings of love

I can feel your presence, mon amour, pressing in on me and I imagine you vividly in this room whose walls are covered in paintings, and can almost see you in the night light, as if you are present and flowing around me, but you are not here and I want to solidify in this moment, and yet I know you are here, like a spectre, because you love me.

It is an odd thing, Monsieur, that I feel loved by those who have abandoned me.And of course, I love

Reading Writhing Letters

When the letters began curling like tiny writhing black snakes on the page,I lostthe ability to read.The letters floated somewhere between the paper and my eyes, hovered, hallucinatory, unreadable, and I couldn't catch them or make them form words or sentences through I knew coherency was there, below the

writhing floatingif I could just
make them sitstill.When it came back, focus, and the words stayed on the page, I read a book a day and didn't stop for 15 years.

I gluttonized on words, gorged.

I pushed myself through tome after tome, hour after hour; I let books open other books; I kept ledgers of copious notes, and dozens of journals.

I read all night. I read with urgency, as if my life depended on it. All of the classics, the 'great' books, 'great' writers, 'great' thinkers. Did I waste my youth reading Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Bacon and Shakespeare?

It's all fleeting.

But when the words stayed still, lying in neat rows on the pages,…


It is fleeting, ephemeral, fragile --- beauty,life.
Silence of the deep sleep, death,of non-being,eternity,the norm.


Monsieur, you have been absent, I thought you had forgotten me. The spelunker of snakes? It alarms you, this imagination of mine.

All my life I have hallucinated snakes.

Even now, they come out of the shower head, slither down my back, small pythons, Black Mambas, always in stone grey or black. Sometimes I become rigid with fear, the hot hissing water.

Ground myself: concentrate on the tiles, the shower curtain, the soap, the wash cloth. Push out sensations of snakes dropping on my head, slithering down my back. Remnants of memories of watching the poor creatures swinging on sticks in the air until their backbones broke and they went limp. It was a game, in a circle laughing.

Terrors of a memory gone awry, misplacing splices of the past out-of-context in the present: I step onto floors thick with writhing serpents, but they aren't real. This phobia of mine.

Freud's interpretation was very narrow; Jung's was better, except that they don't automatically signify psychic fragme…

Death of Time

My words silt in the paddies of time, flooded with being.
Time drowns us.

Break out of time: escapee.
Leave the encircling fields of the centuries.

Plummet silence.
Breathe without tracking, calibration, rates, or seizures.
When time stops we die.

Blind Writing

We have eyes, not to see the light, but to cry. Among the animals, only we can weep.1

Not the unblinking gaze of the ever-recording eye, but the pathos.

To undo the autocracy of knowledge, the way light has been used to mean power, imperialism, right, might, truth, revelation, enlightenment.

When we cry, the forms of the world blur and we forget what we have learnt to see. We move by touch, by the feeling under our fingers, by sensitivity, by silently hearing.

I write when I am almost asleep or just waking, when I can't see; I write in the dark.

When we can no longer see the forms around us, we forget the eternal forms, the eternal light. In blindness, we become visionaries.

Weep for the world; weep for yourself; weep because you can weep. Your heart will open; it will be raw, painful, and blissful, ecstatic: you will be the whole of who you are. There will be the other; there will be meaning in the closeness of connection.

We cannot see the images displayed, on view. We must move throug…

Tidal Patterns

It wasn't always this way. One upon a time the tide remained high. And there were no clams or seaweed to be found and the Tsimshian went hungry. Raven knew what lay under the blue glistening robes of water.

When he wrapped his blanket of black feathers around his strong shoulders, he flew. His sharp eyes watching, looking. Scanning the edges of the ocean, he found her.

Tightly she held the tide-line in her hands. She wouldn't release the ocean to rhythmically rise and fall on the beach, or draw back from it, leaving washed treasures, clams, seaweed, shells, shiny pebbles.

Why did the old woman hold the tide-line so tightly in her lined, papery hands? She sat in her small house on the edge of the sea, holding the waters in the life-line on her palms. Who can tell from the mass of mounds and lines on her hands how she bid the edges of the great water be still?

Inside her sun-bleached house with closed eyes she imagined the ocean, or perhaps she could see it with visionary sight. She…

Simple Yoga this Morning

Early this morning I pulled out my yoga mat (a sheepskin bought in 1994 and for which I sewed a case out of peach-coloured upholstery fabric as many years ago), laid it on the floor (a very tight fit since I live in a closet), and did this yoga set: Spinal Flex Series.

I began my day with this simple yoga set for the spine for many years - sure it got boring, but different music every day helped. Today, as I flex back and forth, I feel how stiff I've become, how I need to loosen, to take care of this Sushumna, central column, spine, place where all the nerves, nadis, meridians flow. I feel the weight of what I carry as I rhythmically flex, especially when I get to the 'shoulder shrugs,' eh, let the tension go, let it go...

Each day is new, life is strange, but it keeps going. Perhaps I shall still be sitting on my mat, flexing my bent old spine when I am a centenarian, shrunken, withered, wrinkled, but ever so wise :-)

Thinking of you, I got out my old scanner with the cra…

On the Beach

I worked 7 hours in an office without a break (my choice), and it was mostly busy, and then a crammed transit ride and 2 more hours of tutoring my remaining Korean student, and this little piece got written somehow in between it all, oh and begun yesterday at a cafe but interrupted by my arriving daughter. It's a bit garbled, at least it reads so to me. Perhaps tomorrow I shall expand it so it is closer to the scene I imagined - just some days don't allow you the time, and who knows what happens to the tenor and rawness of the images that come flowing out on such days (days of work for which one is grateful, too).

Images collect on the beach like polished pebbles, smooth glass baubles, tangles of fishing wire, water-logged boots, seaweed, shells translucent and sometimes chipped, mollusks and sea urchins, dead, cadaverous detritus, swollen along the glimmering band of sand.

I am sure I will see her on her seawalks. That she will be dressed in a long black skirt and gazing out to…

The Medusa

-the early draft of this poem has been removed by the author-

Polishing the Rocks

It is the problem of the pounding of the surf.

Fear holds me

captive; like the Tarot card where she is bound and blind-folded, unseeing and scared, though all the swords are stuck, blade-first, in the ground.

It's not a question of personal safety, Monsieur. It's a lifelong problem with creativity that I have, she has. Monsieur, I split myself into a third person, a she. That is me. Or her. Does it matter?

If we deconstruct the subject-object construction, does it matter who swirls in the salt spray, its turbulences of disappearing foam?

Who says the invisible be rendered visible
through our perceptions?

I am the subject; and I cannot look upon myself lest I turn myself into statuesque art, lest I turn the Medusa touch on my seeing eye.

An unblinking gaze. The object of the subject is the subject. Only in the self-portrait does the ruin of the self break down. We are decomposing into text.

Into iconography.


Immortalizing ourselves in time: statues, broken rubble of stones amid …


She is there, walking the sea walls, endless array of black, coats, pants, dresses, and the flashes of red, the ribbon and feather in her black felt hat; or the whiteness of her face against her black hair and the lurid red lipstick.

When she who is a spectre, who is a vision, the invisible rendered visible, a hallucination without reality but a guiding perception of the self, whose look freezes us into self-portraits, whose look turns us into sculptures of death from which the beating warmth of our blood cannot escape, when she looks at us, our unblinking eyes:
The straining eye always resembles an eye of the blind, sometimes the eye of the dead, at that precise moment when mourning begins: it is still open, a pious hand should soon come to close it; it would recall a portrait of the dying.* Medusa would immortalize us as art. The Gorgon is the muse whose terror petrifies us would we but look upon her venomous, spitting face.

We are no more than statues to the woman in black walking the…


In deep structures of power:
Who creates the agenda?Who manages the meaning-making? Who is in control
of the speaking, doing, appearing?

Elements of deep personal power:
PrivilegeSelf-knowledgeDisciplinary micropractices Do we comply,
or do we resist?

How do dynamics of power unfold in planned and unplanned organizational structures?

Unlike Surface Power, with legitimate authority, expertise, a referent of trust and commitment, rewards/coercions, associations/networks/who you know, a visibility of coalitions, and a show of flexibility/autonomy, the elements of Deep Structure Power concerns management of meaning, symbols that are difficult to define, routines and rules that are taken-for-granted, unquestioned.

Power is the ability to do.
Power is knowing yourself.
Power is having others believe.
Deep structural power is invisible.

In the Deep Structures of Power, mechanisms of surveillance become internalized.

Dynamics of Resistance:
disobediencesubversionchallengedefiance Isn't silence
the …

ἄφατος : aphatos, speechless, not speakable

we speak.

It's the making

Without hearing each other,
how can we listen?


What if relationships are the primary ordering principle?
What if the way relationships are ordered
clarify, explain, and instruct us on the way things
stand towards each other?

If connectivities are performatives, then the grammar
of the relationship determines its patterns.
Monsieur, you are a character who is invisible, a reference outside the writing for whom the writing is written, your eyes read as the reader is reading. You were conceived as a literary device, and then I discovered we knew each other intimately.

We meet at the edge of the text. These words unfold through the syntax of your absent presence in the writing.

Those of whom I speak are embedded in grammars too. While we are a syntax and lexicon of unique verbal patterns, we are still bound by the rules of a grammar which shapes our relationships.

In her radical pedagogy, the woman who teaches says: "What we must never do:

Patronise, reduce, laud, ridicule, dismay
• Simplify, bowdlerise, censure, censor
• Wield discourse a…

Remember the Night...

.......................................When, you,
without closure, engulfed me?

.....When I disappeared into your vastness,
became lost in you, lost 'I'?

..... Everywhere you touched, mountains,
valleys, plains, even the ocean in me,
parted, shook, opened.

..... Do you remember how we,
two sighs enfolded in each other?

..... Breath of love. I speak of romance tonight;
forgive me, Monsieur. Afterwards,
we did not speak of it.

..... On the surface of the water that resists
before you fall in, that edge of sweetness.

..... Mon amour, now it is like sitting in a darkened room
with a screen of scenes before us, our hands close,
but not touching.

..... You are so far away.

When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking

I've always had a natural mistrust of the letter e. It was the egg, Humpty Dumpty, who fell off the wall, yolk and albumen spilling viscously. In high school, I adopted the Greek epsilon, ε, and have scrawled it ever since.

e is a very tricky letter, I tell my young students. It's like the e of flea, and jumps clean over consonants and makes innocent vowels sitting there wake up and say their names. a becomes æ. At becomes ate. It's good, that letter e, but it can't jump over two or three consonants, so 'settle' remains 'settled.' And if e is next to c, watch out: e gets a crush, we could say. Then c gets stars in her eyes and forgets to be a 'k' and becomes a sinuous 's.' How do you read 'receives'? Of course, when two vowels go walking, one becomes shy, perhaps bashful, while the other proclaims its name.

Sometimes my young students can't read 'boat' or 'rain' or 'real' and so we jump up and walk …

Letter from a restaurant

Monsieur, the day is over, I worked at the investment bank, bought a sweater, walked city blocks until too hungry to continue. I am sitting in a corner of a Parsee Restaurant that drew me with an unusual warmth in its Indian colours and curtained light writing to you.

I sit at a small table covered with clear plastic under which a string tablecloth, woven in a loose stitch with an orange central flower radiating out in a circular pattern that stands out from the white stitching, lies. Lifting the glass stopper on a bottle of olive oil, I pour a delicate gold stream over my mostly lettuce salad, and then, from the other bottle, fresh lime juice. When the glass of housewine arrives, it is slightly vinegary, and I wonder if they bottled it themselves. The beef Keba is tender, the white rice is intermixed with yellow orange grains cooked with saffron. On the edge of the oval dish is a stewed tomatoe.

The patrons consist of an older retired couple, two young men in suits talking about busine…


The poem I wrote disappeared. Usually I copy what I've written before posting, but the inflamed belly - perhaps it was the prunes and dried apricots, dark chocolate discs, Guinness draft, muesli and raw sugar, all fermenting until my stomach swelled in pain not unlike the labour of birth - and the late hour, I clicked on the wrong button, it disappeared. Poems can't be rewritten, not like prose can. I'm left wondering if what surfaced from the currents of words will reappear, or, if like a melted iceberg, it's gone, become ocean.

I wanted to post the poem, not talk about the bad night, and enjoy my quiet weekend making my way out into the day today, but I'm aching, light-headed, still swimming in the depths of the emotional disaster last week, the emailing, the words, the decisions, the silences, the loss.

Incomprehensible on the edge of.

Aren't they all edges?

And where is.

A Blog Recommendation

John Baker recently interviewed a writer who I admire a great deal, and who has become a personal friend: Five Questions: The Narrator.

Ira Socol, whose work I've been reading for over two years now, is one of the best writers I've found who is posting on the NET. Stylistically, his work is nearly perfect and continually astounds me. He manages, through action, memory, description to convey complex situations and characters. One doesn't get a sense of judgment of the characters in these often complex situations by the narrator of the piece, nor any of the self-aggrandizing or moralizing that is rife in the blogosphere, only compassion. He writes perhaps a kind of 'film noir' prose and his writing, without a word of excess, seems always to overflow into poetry. Despite posting rough drafts for a book, his posts are encapsulated and complete in themselves - knowing the broader sweep helps, but it's not necessary.

While it is wonderful of him to include my blog amo…

Writings of 'Who'

Since this poem is with a publisher, I have encrypted it in the same place where I posted it so that the comments are left intact and I can find it again if the need arises (Blogger is a fantastic easily searchable archive). Show encrypted text