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 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


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 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


A recording (2:49min):

Voicings:Hi-speed, cable

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.

Recording of "Voicings" (2:49min)

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

A recording, the text here. I did feel like I was riffing a bit, but then not really, the chords fairly well laid out in the end. This woman is NOT a Minimalist! Rah! It's been almost a year since I've recorded anything, but this piece insisted on it. The recording I've posted is the first run through, there were a couple more, but they lacked the quiet building that happens in this version, where the movement of words, a gliding multi-coloured school of words or like a display of flecks of coloured lights, the words stream, I hope, prisms in a spectrum, or at least this is how all the "new music" I was listening to that night felt, the momentum, perhaps finally overtakes the listener (who is me imagining you, ah so, forgive me for being so bold), hopefully taking the listener (can we merge? can we? can we?) to another level of, of ...consciousness of language, of the deep connection through our body of words, love...

A question I'm often asked, Who, who is the~

And it's no-one specific. It usually isn't. An imaginary muse. An almalgam of the men I've loved. It's hard to say. So I would say it is you, dear reader.

'Pull Down the Northern Lights for Chandeliers,' Zoom video August 20, 2020

   "I'd dance to death to evoke it." "Who in me writes?" It was a rich, varied poetry evening where we read, talked ...