Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Birds Wings

Images of the world. Under a chestnut tree with your dog reading Ondaatje, a superb writer, watching for the police lest they catch you unleashed, a musician on a bench who put his book down and lifted his guitar from its case on the ground and began strumming though you are too far to hear, on the pale-striped green and blue fleece blanket with the nylon underside from Vancouver where it's generally wetter though we've had record rains in Toronto this year, sipping a mug of fresh French-press espresso coffee with cream, rocking a little in a camping chair, your iPod nano beside you unused, your hair clipped back, a black camisole and comfortable thin cotton khaki shorts, and such green as this city never sees by mid-Summer, usually the grass has brown patches, unaccompanied by your invited kids who couldn't conceive of anything more boring than sitting on a blanket in the park up the road on a hot sunny day, and you're content amidst these images of your world, the breeze that flutters like birds' wings.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fragments of Healing

where I am, the edge of oblivion

blank, empty stare

you carry it in the palm of your hand

delicate music-maker, this filler of hours

without art, I couldn't imagine living

blank, empty stare,
its simmering anger boiling at the edges

that I see on your face
I know the edge

come back to those who love you,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Almost Finished Painting


(28.5"x20.5"; 72.5cmx52cm; oil & watercolour on Waterford paper, click here for larger size & press F11 for full screen)

The women on the right appeared ghostly from a distance.

The greens of Nature and the poppies and marigolds much stronger.

She wondered if that was a statement.

The ocean has turned into green.

She had to put the water back in for depth.

Otherwise she'd be flooded.

Where was he anyhow?

Why were the women always waiting.

They were naked and waiting.

Even she who was born from a seabrush
of sea foam.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Paiting Still in Process, nearing end though...


awake in night, sleep soon, hope, embroiled by my painting, get overalls on, go at it again

complexity of colours & figures driving me nuts. ready to throw it out. obsession. unscrew tubes of oil paint, try this, that. mess of reality.

where painting has progressed to, or regressed to.

(click here for larger size, you might need to press F11 if you'd like to see its whole cacophony)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mirror of Venus

I am the mirror that I watch my
self in.

Behind the mirror is where I see.

Only ask for the 'freedom to revolt- psychic,
analytic, artistic- a permanent state of questioning,
of transformations, an endless probing of appearances,'
......found on the dustjacket
......of a book by Kristeva,
who wrote about revolt, and love.

Everyone should love wholly once in their life, as
the daughter of fortune knows.

The tenor of love demands it.

Love, illicit, a revolt against the order
of the rest of it.

The amatory moment is poetry, open-ended,
without a story to guide it, what's behind the mirror
where I watch your face.

Venus, Goddess of Love, married to Hephaestus, master craftsman.

Of course love is wedded to art. How else
could it be?

The block was a red clay-baked brick which took two hours to smash. It revealed
itself, heavy, smoldering with beaten passion, betrayals and intrigues, over my heart. Cracks of light appeared that became white-red lava that disintegrated slowly the faster I danced.

When I melted into the mirror, love flowed freely.

Venus, Goddess of Love, but she knew her Ares, Mars, God of Fire and War.

Venus undid her bodice and melted
into his arms.

Illicit. Love.

Sometimes I prefer the quietness
of my own thoughts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Is my art confident? Intensely meditated? Is how deeply I love what will be remembered about me?

Strange questions Lightbrown brings to his biography of Botticelli, who was only remembered by Vasari's Lives of the Artists in what was otherwise five centuries of obscurity.

How odd that it was his paganism which appealed to the fin de siècle who brought his work from the shadows of history.

The barest outline of a life.

Botticelli is his art.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Love Affair hits #2 on the Charts

A Love Affair #2 in SoundClick's Poetry Charts?! You guys!!! Thanks. 16 min of too-rich poetry, no music, & a Summer weekend? Blow me away...

(Go here to read the poems, which I pasted into a comment.)

(Yes, I am a little out of place at SoundClick's Poetry section, but I've been posting there for a few years, before they even had a Talk/Poetry section, and it's where I keep my poetry recordings: Aural Pleasure.)

Painting In Process July 08


Clipped 2 clamp lamps each with 100Watt daylight spectrum bulbs on either side and snapped it. Blue is a bit bright, slightly darker in the original. The lower right quadrant a little darker than in the painting, but running the Dodge tool in Photoshop over it even at 25% didn't bring it to its shade of colour. Every monitor's different anyhow. My old iMac & new Dell laptop each present colours differently. Overall, and I worked on this awhile, between the 2 computers, the coloration's not bad.

Anyway, how's that drawing I posted going? Eh. Tinkering, dabbing, letting it grow in its own fashion. Slow, but I'm enjoying slow. My paintings used to be done in 20 minutes and that felt fine then only now I want to linger longer, enjoy the process continuously. A dab, a little bit of paint, wait a day, see what's next. This piece, however, who knows, it seems quite complex to me as I work on it, and I don't know in which direction it'll develop.

I just spread the blue of her back into the other blue to syncopate the rhythm across the page better because alone it overwhelmed, was too strong. I started using watercolour pencils because they're more forgiving, and I can test the colours first.

Do I like it? I'm not sure. It's growing on me. It seems diagrammatic. A blueprint. Though of what, I cannot quite say. Groupings, images of women.

72.5cm x 52cm/28.5" x 20.5", oil and watercolour on paper (click image for larger size) or go directly here (you might need to press F11 to see it all).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Love Affair Charts

I'm tickled no end that something 16 minutes long and all poetry, an almost too-rich offering since there's some fairly complex stuff there too, and no music has made it to #5 on the charts at SoundClick! Thanks to you...

(note: only first poem is explicitly sexual, none of the others are)

A Love Affair (15:53min)

# 24 in Talk (highest position was 24). Total songs: 7,345
# 5 in Poetry (highest position was 5). Total songs: 1,594

(ps-check comments here to read all the poems, which I pasted in)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Love Affair

This series of poems is about a love affair a few years ago. The gentleman and I haven't been in touch since. Enough time has passed for me to release this recording, made in March 2006. Most of these poems can be found in the archives at Rubies In Crystal.

I would add a Parental Warning Advisory, but only to the first poem.

A Love Affair (15:53min)

Broadband: A Love Affair

Dial-up: A Love Affair

When the Grey of the Sky

When the grey of the sky descends with a feeling of chaos. A windless night while a thunderstorm ensues. We shut the windows, water pouring in.

The basement floods, where my son sleeps, an inch of water; we mop and lay old towels wringing water out for hours until it is dry. The vibrant orange vegetable dyes of his kilim carpet bleeding a little, otherwise no damage. My birth paintings are stored there but the water didn't go that far in.

My son is sad on the night of the flood, it's interim, his staying with me, nothing was damaged but a right mess and will it happen again?

The morning after the flood, the rush of muddy water, clothes that were on the floor, towels, laundry half the night, storm waters, what washed through us?

We threw the wet high density foam mattress in the basement that was a buffer protecting boxes of files, my paintings, out. It dried in the Summer sun beside the building.

Last night it was comfort for a dreaming homeless tattooed man. The white waterproof cotton sheet that covered the old mattress crumpled into a soft bed for his dog sleeping beside him.

I see him in the morning, he sleeps late. The day is sunny and cooler, and I photograph him between the trees, past our swatch of backyard.

In this neighborhood of millionaires and university students, the city will quickly remove such comforts for the outcasts who beg on Bloor Street.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sun Burnished

pink as a pomegranate, red as a nectarine, fruity, this ripeness turning tawny, O for sunswooning at the bluebluelake

Monday, July 07, 2008

Beach Bum

At the beach, it's hot! Doggie & I took wrong path - long, sandy road instead of short sandy road, uh oh, underbrush is wet, look, a swamp, where to step, soggy foot, don't want to get stuck, large boulders placed along the lake edge, climbing up and down, this way, no that, c'mon doggie! careful! not there, up here - whimper - oh, ok, over this way, found our way to the nearby beach without her getting trapped. It's beautiful here.

A not-very-visited spot, alone in our corner of the bay, light breeze, billowing blue sky, gentle lake of water, a swan and many ducks, being nipped by a blackfly though.

Getting redder from slapping the damn blackfly on my thighs than from the sun.

Parks & Rec guys come and start raking the beach right in front of me, then their all-terrain vehicle gets stuck, sand whipping out behind the back wheels everywhere.

Only here 2 hours, no sunscreen. Sun's a vitamin, c'mon! Sigh, move on.

Into people-land, purer sand, lifeguard, a dozen beach bums, seriously, a few families and some loners, and no blackflies... yes, perfect!

Sunday, July 06, 2008


the afternoon opened like a hot orange daylily and I lay floating in a hammock over the underbrush and cheatgrass lovesongs of crickets and katydids

Thursday, July 03, 2008

sun images

yesterday, gazing up

sun a white lit probe in the thick membrane of stratiform sky

today, bathing in warmth

sun a fine dessert wine muscat sweet on my body on my fingers dancing on the keyboard delirious words dancing to husky smooth leonard cohen

Writer's Almanac: It's the Birthday of Franz Kafka...

From The Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of Franz Kafka, (books by this author) born in Prague (1883). At the time, Prague was part of the Hapsburg Empire of Bohemia. He grew up in a Jewish ghetto in Prague, speaking German, in a family that identified themselves as Czech. He lived almost his entire life with his parents, even after graduating from law school and holding a steady job at the government-run Workman's Accident Institute — a place where he oversaw the implementing of safety measures. His work helped prevent lumber workers from losing their limbs.

His family's apartment in the Jewish ghetto in Prague was tiny, noisy, and subject to the rule and whims of his tyrannical father. Kafka once noted, "I want to write and there's a constant trembling in my forehead. I'm sitting in my room which is the noise headquarters of the whole apartment, doors are slamming everywhere. … Father breaks down the door of my room and marches through with the bottom of his bathrobe dragging behind him. Valli shouts through the foyers as if across a Parisian street, asking if father's hat has been brushed. The front door makes a noise like a sore throat … Finally, father is gone, and all that remains is the more tender, hopeless peeping of the two canaries."*

In that noisy claustrophobic apartment with his parents and three sisters, Kafka would hypnotize himself to get in a frame of mind to write. He said, "Writing … is a deeper sleep than death … just as one wouldn't pull a corpse from its grave, I can't be dragged from my desk at night."

Kafka was terrified of his father, who convinced his son early on and again and again that he was a failure in life and would never amount to anything. Kafka stuttered around his father, but no one else.

Kafka spent his life steeped in self-loathing, and he had a number of psychosomatic illnesses. To cure his perceived illnesses, he tried all sorts of herbal and natural healing remedies. He went through a phase where he chewed each bite he put into his mouth a minimum of 10 chews. And he became vegetarian, eating mostly nuts and fruits, and followed a regimen of doing aerobics in front of an open window. He was actually a physically robust and healthy young man, but he was neurotic in a number of ways. He confessed that he had "a boundless sense of guilt," and one of his friends wrote that Kafka was "the servant of a God not believed in."

He was engaged to a woman in Berlin for five years, then broke it off with her. He wrote to her, "After all, you are a girl, and you want a man, not an earthworm." They were engaged a second time, and broke it off again. Their distant relationship was carried on almost entirely by writing letters. He once said: "Letter writing is an intercourse with ghosts, not only with the ghost of the receiver, but with one's own, which emerges between the lines of the letter being written. … Written kisses never reach their destination, but are drunk en route by these ghosts."

Kafka died of tuberculosis in 1924, a month shy of his 41st birthday. All of his sisters later died at concentration camps in the Holocaust. Not much of Kafka's work was published during his lifetime. Kafka had instructed his friend Max Brod to set his manuscripts on fire upon his death, but Brod refused, and instead edited and published Kafka's work.

Kafka's best-known work is The Metamorphosis, which begins, "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning after disturbing dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous bug."

His book The Trial begins, "Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one morning."

Kafka has been made into an adjective, "Kafkaesque," a literary allusion dropped into conversation from time to time by people who may or may not be familiar with his work, which is actually full of humor. "Kafkaesque" has come to be used to describe things of a gloomy, bizarre, eerie, nightmarish, or doomed nature, and is often applied to bureaucratic or institutional situations.

Kafka once wrote in a letter to a friend: "The books we need are of the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, or lost in a forest remote from all human habitation — a book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us."

* All quotes by Kafka are translations of Kafka's German into English by David Zane Mairowitz, except for the final quote ("The books we need …"), from a translation by Willa and Edwin Muir.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Where has poetry gone?

Jay Parini, Why Poetry Matters

Where has poetry gone?

Oh, fads and fashions. Poetry was once a dominant art form and ordinary people memorized long stretches of Tennyson... or Keats... It wasn't Pound's fault, forgodssake, there'd always been 'difficult' poetry, but a change most likely brought about by the expansion of the media through radio, silent movies, records... and so on.

Whereas once people were brought to their feelings - ok, ok, interjection - I do believe that we watch movies, read books, etc. to feel, that we want to feel our feelings strongly in safe ways and we do this through our art- the best art calling out the best in us -

And of course our art teaches us about our history and our culture -

Whereas once people were brought to their feelings by the graceful language of poets, they are now brought to the currents moving within by the heart awakening blinding lyrics of a music of so many strains and varieties and so rich across the globe it makes you want to weep.

That's where poetry went, into song -

The poetry that stayed on the page became for an in-focus group of mainly other writers and students/academics, which is fine, we live in a complex society made up of many, many groups all carrying and exploring different facets of the rich world we live in.

If poets want to be heard by the great and massive public again, really & truly turn to the old forms of the troubadour: let the music of language sing.

If most poets are quiet and solitary by nature, then let their beautiful words of pain and ecstasy be sung by those who can.

What I'm saying is that the art form evolved into something more expansive and larger, and many musicians really need the half decent lyrics that on-page poets could provide if they would share.

Perhaps it's like the miser holding on to the goldmine sitting in the corner commiserating on the dearth of poetry! Rich gold veins of poetry in our world are of inestimable worth but they need to be shared, given, offered, allowed to go out freely into the world, circulated, this currency of the heart, used.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mantra to sleep by...

Even with hefty long walks yesterday to and from the mall where the No Frills grocery store is, about two hours of walking I guess, and then a dog walk, exercise usually helping with sleep, I was still awake at 3 or 4am, and knew I would get up at 7am (even though it's Canada Day, a national holiday).

For the past 13 years I've used mantra to sleep when I know I need to... and while I've been trying to let my mind be the wild place it naturally is, last night I succumbed.

What did I silently intone as I drifted off to sleep?

I love you, I love you, I love you...

'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 ...