Monday, April 01, 2019

A Brilliant Gloss of Tidal Fury by John F Walter

A Brilliant Gloss of Tidal Fury, notes by my dear friend, John Francis Walter

John wrote these notes in 2016 - the care and depth of his reading of my book of poetry was overwhelming (and I was probably a bit embarrassed by the attention my little poems got). He parses the book poem by poem!!! John is a true polymath -poet, playwright, writer, intellectual, teacher, actor, translator, friend to many, and more. It is with deep gratitude that I finally post these notes, which were to form the basis of a more traditional article. As a collection, they are more effective in their notational form - being closest to the immediacy of his reading.

(If you have a copy of Tidal Fury (also in the Toronto Public Library), keep it open as you read each of his insights.)

p.1 'Entrap'--deliberately contextualized via Roget's. Theme of entrap recurs throughout volume, most notably on p. 37--Masks, seduction by destroying rivals, and 62, Fear and Capture, which evinces the awareness of projection of fear of entrapment since poet-siren agile at entrapping the man (all done in pas de deux of intimacy/separation mediated by space and language's separation effect. Poet speaker 1 of the Pessoa-an like sylph set of voices addresses him--Monsieur--initiating dialogue of Self/Other across an aporia of competing discourses.

'writing is an ocean continually closing over itself' --language as immense closed dynamic system of physical.

'Her hair is like seaweed' --NISO or negative internalized self object or inner critic as subject, but also poet speaker 2--water woman--skeptical realist--seeker of harsh natural truth over soft human intimacy.

p.2 rich in details (color matters in this poetic narrative!) and thick description of a self-aware female Dorian, a sybarite (Beardsley reference) in unabashed decadent symbolist manifestation. Portrait of the socially constructed female as artist deconstructing herself the—rough imagery of decay.

p.3 Clipped--a split off self, inner voice denied speech in the Lacanian sense of suppressed expression "when I am deprived of the power of speaking."

Undercover--Baudrillard's redefined 'seduction as an exchange of signs', Deleuze 'dance of desire' in prosodic rapture.

Polarity--We feel the passion and the chill, embodied in the bed. Polarity within us and with our partner. Female/male Shakti/Shiva (this theme referenced later explicitly).

p.5 Conjunctions--In direct address he corresponds to her image of herself as stranger, as collector of experience estranged from self.

Sweet Life--different visions/versions of love, all defined by men. Familial love, detached love, reactive love, all possessive forms of love. "What we are searching for are endings." The end of attachment in detachment. 'If I own my story, I get to write the ending.' Brene Brown.

p.6 Hybrid--desire's detritus Death behind all our efforts to want, claim, feast. "She tars my words." Language is contaminated in engulfment.

Unravelling--romantic self flung upon the world, mirrors the Self. Feathers are her colors.

p.7 Unblinking Eye--poem of surveillance--consciousness outsourced as raw data. "The unblinking eye, without ethic." Without judgement. Judgements are manufactured.Warhol's silk screen--no story, no emotion. Detachment comes from denying/suppressing/removing the narrative.

p.8 Braille--Derrida's presence of absence, absence of presence theme from On Grammatology. The lover, 'real' and imaginal, recalled as words that become physical through haptic domain.This happens when we realize our imaginary life is de-realized, mediated between simulation of the senses assembled in perception and our purblind visions in language.

p.10 Scrawls--everything is perishable, ephemeral. We lose our memories in words, failure to be able to read our own daily redraftings (Dennett's theory of multiple draft consciousness).

Lip Read--Play of spoken and lost (repressed) meaning in Logos. How we are signs to each other.

p.11 Writings of Who--Female Pessoa stand-in questioning the inner voices, subpersonalities, agencies of the mind. Questioning the possibility of contemplating a 'true' or 'authentic' self that writes, rather than speaks. "We are haunted by ourselves, ghosts moving through ourselves." Loss of the illusion of a continuous self. (Heart of the pre-Sim project.)

p.12 Inflamed--The theme of inflamed as the passions ruling us, our bodies, taken up here as a key motif in this poet's quest to create herself. Recalls Roland Barthes's notion that writing emerges from the body. Wittgenstein: Language as a 'form of life.'

p.13 Letter in Saffron--What's the purpose of marriage. Poet's mood defined by, but also defines the meaning of the color saffron. Saffron is the most expensive spice, sign of Lakshmi abundance in Indian culture. The traditional life of traditional 'fortunate' wife that the poet eschews.

p.14 Remember the night--In the memory is constructed the history of feeling, its nuances. So different from the actuality.

p.15 Grammars--perversely original form of direct address to a fiction masquerading as the icon for a genuine unknowable but undoubtedly real lover (Octavio Paz, "We are labyrinths of solitude whose entrances abut each other") . Central conceit of TIDAL FURY--we must show all facets of awareness, consciousness, in our descriptions of love, and this is best done through intimate voice despite the impossibility of sustained intimacy. Marguerite Duras's THE LOVER, one act play THE SQUARE, HIROSHIMA MON AMOR.

Exile--Brilliant gloss on Foucault's authority-power-control imperative through legitimation/oppression of different discourses, distortion of consciousness. Monsieur: It happened to me." Ostracism through being ignored. Denied a voice because the audience refuses to read.

p.17 aphatos, speechless, not speakable--figure who haunts the poet speaker from archetypal realm.

Spectre--The Medusa.

p.19-20 Stony Glance--We blind ourselves with the return of shame. Vulnerability is the only way to face the coldness of unworthiness.

p.21 Polishing The Rocks--Spaltung--the splitting of self through point of view requires a reconstitution, integration. Retrieving soul fragments frozen by Medusa archetype, which also must be integrated, accepted. The immortality project that results in our inability to accept self breakdown and reconstruction intrapsychically. "Into iconography." Displacement of fluid self into frozen statuary.

p.23-24 The Medusa--The gaze within that breaks down order, logic, belief systems. Freeze the chaos into Apollonian architecture of system building. Nietzsche’s contrast of unconscious and conscious in The Birth of Tragedy reworked by Jacques. The poet's questions reveal an awareness of the structural tension in these two psychic tendencies.

Great passage on p.24, showing an awareness of how immortalizing is a gorgonizing, a killing through Midas touch. Dynamism lost and regained through self-awareness, expiation--"I weep on an altar." We are not our artifacts.

p.25 On The Beach--Musical restatement of all the themes/personae thus far. TIDAL FURY is constructed as a late romantic symphonic form that's been imploded. Mahler reinterpreted by Stockhausen. All the multiple identities of the speaker (again, I think of the great Portuguese poet Pessoa) emerge in a dream surround that is a wet world at the border of sanity, where thought can't go further.

p.26 Leaving time--Loss of continuous self as consciousness continuum implies loss of sense of distinction between subjective/objective Time. Self as constant mystery due to vacillation of conscious/unconscious states. How is atemporal possible? Sacred time?

p.27 Tidal Patterns--The myth of Raven brings together the imagery of Tidal Fury--the old woman has the power over the tides and the symbolic totem animal must snatch it back for humans (we think of Prometheus stealing the fire from the Gods, Inanna taking the 100 valuable things and giving them to humans. "Crazy old woman at the edge of time" in the sacred realm, where water holds the food of life, the rhythms of staining it, and she must be tricked in order to save humankind from hunger. Raven makes a deal with this Chronos crone, who is identified with the powerful Divine Feminine archetype woman at the center of Tidal Fury. As in Berryman's Dream Songs and all of Pessoa's poetry, Clews splits her poetic Self in order to embody the contradictions of Witness, Interpreter, Crone Goddess. She becomes the lady of the tides in her questions. "How did my eyes fill with sand? For what do I weep?" She is both the actor and the acted upon by impersonal cosmic forces.

p.30 Death of Time--Time is gravity, the weight of frequency, a barrier to full awareness.

p.31 Pythia, Priestess of Apollo--Another mythic association with the poet, who understands lamia and naja as deep ties to the unconscious realm of manifestation. Brings together the imagery of the revealer of Truths and the blinder of men. Powerful experiential description of being in the underground priestess's cavern of dreaming and awakening to the Mysteries.

p.32-33 Ouroboros--She reveals to her paper lover of ecrit her erudition of snakes, and their ties to the reptilian part of the brain that still "controls automatic functions." We see how the biological gets restated in the religious/mythological. She is both afraid and repulsed by serpents and their meanings on every level of the psyche--"This phobia of mine--" and fascinated as well. Since this lyrical direct address is a form of thematic direct address, Clews can expound on the relationship between the "chthonic earth" and the creative process that is nurtured by its tellurian link through snakes and their place in our deep consciousness...even to the point of adjudicating between Freud's limited 'stand alone' vision and Jung's broader canvas that still does not in her mind decipher the snakes' larger place in holistic healing--think of the snakes twined around the caduceus. The memory of the male harbinger as threatening muse is a directive that she must write, as Gabriel was to Muhammad. Brenda also understands the greater place of the snake metaphor in the kundalini evolutionary energy: Just as the man threatened her into vision, "what terrifies me is my source."

p.31 Evanescence-- almost a Buddhist sense of the groundlessness of the world, our perception's fleeting stability that is deconstructed as soon as it draws conclusions. "Every act of perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination." Nobel-prize winning neuroscientist Gerald M. Edelman.

p.34 Reading Writhing Letters--Words as snakes How language breaks down when we are gorgonized, manic or delirious. Reading as the essential act of bringing a text to life.

p.35 interlacings of love--Aware that Monsieur, too, is a fleeting figure (talisman, written object now) in her life, the poet can sense intensely his presence all around her, knowing it is exactly his absence that enables this alchemical act.

p.37 Masks--Back to masks and how we both dissemble and reveal behind them. "Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see." Rene Magritte Nice study in how we compete for lovers through hiding our true motives behind masks. But it is a self-defeating game. "Who will be safe?"

Lustre--offers wisdom of the heat. This feminist passage is a bold proclamation to stop self-sabotaging. So many memorable quotes. "Shield yourself from jealousy's spikes." "Don't yield or drift, trying to be less than you are." (This is one of the central messages of the entire poetic epic: Don't keep yourself small. "Blaze with radiance." One of my favorite epigram poems, this one.

p.39 Dance of the Sarong--we get a sense of the socially constructed patriarchal raiment and masks women have been forced to wear and literally live in. The games of seduction and manipulation that emerge when one is constricted, "When we enslave ourselves." As social creatures--connected through semiotics of language, culture, dress for example-- be become bound to the world we engage in.What, Clews ponders, would it look like if I could live "an invisibility that gives me the freedom to struggle for inner peace." I love the way she moves out of the dance to the woman's circle to observe the mystery of being not yet decoded.

p.40 Approach--addresses the reasons for erotic desire, and the snares that it leaves us prone to. Nakedness in front of another becomes another form of drowning. The man's instinctual lust is questioned, as is the woman's. "A daze. Or perhaps it is a frenzy, a blindness." Not a forgetting, but a losing sight of.

p.42 Strengthen--Retreating and advancing-- metaphorically an evolutionary wave, perhaps, as well a way of envisioning higher frequency of consciousness?

Sighting--amphibian people against the earthlings. A miracle to gill breathers and lungers alike, but clearly (as in Jodorowsky's parable poems) a commentary on the faultiness of perception when trying to understand "Them" of any tribe.

p.43 Stare--The suffering ageism causes is only the surface, below it is how we default to how our animal natures drive our perceptions of others. The older woman who is "Bitterness, its terrible face." Once again we see the poet confront her own fears of aging, her own crone awareness that it is useless to cling to a false notion of beauty.

p.44 Glare--Great question--how do we detect anything when we project onto others? The poet-crone persona on the metaphorical/literal littoral. The emotion of Chains is pure suffering and sorrow, the loss of love.

p.45 Unpossessed--plays with the paradoxes of absence/presence and intimacy/ distance (Love the line, "Sometimes you prefer the intimacy of p.") Clearly Monsieur is a worldly man-- a collector of experiences, things, women. Emotionally unavailable except through language. However, it takes one to know one. This idea of being possessed by another is explored in the spaces between short paragraphs. The poet cannot be collected, though she can be tasted, like the "fresh oranges in the Aegean sea." Indifference is the result, which, paradoxically again, generates intense longing.

p.47 Amour doux--Epiphenomenon A sort of groundless love that still works because of the energy of Shakti, the divine feminine in all of us. We can abide in the ephemerality of lovemaking and the traces it leaves behind, but "nothing can be gained or lost." (This is where Clews conjoins Buddhism with Heraclitean flux!)

p.49 Clarity--Great little vignette about being lost in the world, yet still a guide for others. Blindness, this time a literal/physical one, is again the theme. I think Jose Saramago once more. The poet speaker is wondrously compassionate and full of empathy for the woman to whom "I ask no questions," holding space instead. We are the 'blind leading the blind', but what keeps us in the world are our feelings.

p.50 Gaze--implicitly comments on "Stare" and "Glare". A blind gaze of anxiety that is glazed over. The helplessness of being a self when others just gawk. Again, we think of Tiresias by implication.

p. 52 Desire--Continues the gazing theme. How a look transforms into a consummation of desires, different desires, willings and materializations that merge "only to dematerialize us." We only know the literary-fictive Monsieur through the eyes of how the female poet lover sees him and addresses him, yet he is shaping throughout the book into a full-blown character. And he fills "the space of desire/where my fantasies enact."

p.54 All-Seeing--The consequences of the separation/merging anxiety of the male-female erotic bond. She emerges stronger, omniscient, like a phoenix, but scorched by his oath of destruction which ensures mutually assured destruction of the limited selves. Coiled--the leitmotiv of the Medusa returns, transmuted into a Muse of creative speech and writing and artmaking, in a Borgesian hall of mirrors ad infinitum. To the self-referential narrator, a mise en abyme.

p. 55 Waves of words--finds the amatory principle underlying all things. "Love creates itself." Language, the map, creates the adversary between speakers, as Korzybski reckoned, because of our shared universal grammar yet disparate meanings in our word hoards as they bind to its "discourse of signifiers." But if we can get beyond the story that creates the suffering, we find all is reconciled in love. A floating mobile buoyed up by love.

p.57 Absence--Love denuded of subject. The language game doesn't sustain it, nor does the act of reading one another: love exists by itself just as interpreter and interpretand. Esoteric--this reminds me of Lacan's Ecrits, language structures our desire precisely as it shields us from the signified of "our relation." I think of Wittgenstein's 'language of pain' argument. I cannot share my pain with you through language, only point at it inadequately.

p.58 Intimacy--what helps describes the world to others alienates as well. Wittgenstein's form of life as well beyond the language game. How words emerge from the passions, from compassion to the point where they serve to specify the flow of an ephemeral act.

p.59 Money's value compared again to art's meaning.

Molten--pure longing expressed here, for the ineffable, that even Monsieur can't fulfill. "Fire of desire."

p.61 Sea break--The poet/speaker's 'Autre' or Other, a la Baudelaire. Is she projecting onto the narcissist crone. Or averting herself from a similar fate? Recognition of the desire in the fury, a desire to be recognized.

Again, Clews speaking for all women who have been subsumed by men, socially molded , to the point of dis-identifying with their own indomitable power. This isn't projection, it is a recognition of what 'the withholding’ represents.

p.62 Fear--Clews circles back to entrapment. The 'ancient fear' of it. Being possessed.

Capture--who captures whom? Does the woman win the property but must become property in order to accomplish this? The poet speaker refuses to be placed into a traditional category. She is wary of clinging, of the edge being lost between the man and woman, the dualism of aloof/overly attached, a potent yet painful magnet bond. To also capture someone or be captured and not know what to do afterward. Last line of the poem speaks to the title of the book inflected into love: Tidal fury of longing/desire

p.64 Tempest--Cosmic crone as subdued medicated patient after her Shakespearean storm. Suppressed emotions, such as rage, trigger and nurture aetiology of a disease, pathology of an unswerving mind. When we lose ourselves to our passions we become as sick as our Zeitgeist.

Fever--the equating of the sick heart (O rose, thou art sick--Blake) with health.

p.66 Weight--the cultural accretion through transmission of language and goods marks us as human more than any other species. Memes as a form of evolution.

Hallucination--again, a return to this theme. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by neurologist David Eagleman, except Brenda's language is even more succinct in her aphoristic mastery: " Of course, sometimes it's quite difficult to know if you're hallucinating. You might hallucinate a silver pen on your desk right now and never suspect it's not real--because it's presence is plausible. It's easy to spot a hallucination only when it's bizarre. For all we know, we hallucinate all the time."

 p.67 Wilderness--The quote refers to a state of being lost in thought, not space consciousness. Schemas that mediate and keep us from knowing the surround. Wilderness--the naming. Our recourse to binomial nomenclature. Reminds me of a great passage in Fowles' Daniel Martin where the character finds himself in the world by naming it. "What would we see?" Pure phenomena? Is it possible? Our minds are reality simulators. "We create the world we live in." By automatically pattern cognizing resourcing the pre-existing a posteriori and a priori (subtilizing, for example) schemas that exist in our minds.

p.69 light glancing--again, reality mediated by brain simulations, mind hacks, pattern integration from several neurological modules in concert. But also, more simply, as Clews expresses it, revelation itself. A form of maya.

Constructions--and yet we can agree on what our visual systems (as well as somatosensory apparatus) decode/decipher to some degree.

p.70 Wild Man--Monsieur, the smooth alpha male cosmopolite turned ape divested of the Givenchy 3 piece suit.

p.71 Mist--the nether zone, hypnagogic or hypnopompic, where intention turns to manifestation.

Tide-line --Identification with the crone in the Raven poem even more explicitly pronounced. Rhythm of lovers and lovemaking, desire through tides of presence and absence.

Disguise--Love both these lines. Instant quotes. Love to quote Brenda Clews!

p.73 Lies--undisguised pain, which situates the poet as Everywoman in glocality. Fog Lights--Builds up the fog imagery from Mist. Aesthetic distance returns with a chilling detachment. "Not to meet me, but the others."

Fog of Lights--"I am behind the fog" is a killer last line.

p.74 The Lake--Demonstrates with thick description the Heraclitean flux yet again, sheer ephemerality and the hopelessness of trying to pin anything down in words: Reminds me of Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus. Just outstanding lush writing here, with a directed purpose of doing the impossible by pointing at (ostensive implicature.) There is wonderful dynamic movement, beginning with "The lake rushes...."

p.75 The View From The Lake--Continues the white light imagery, sense of movement, and the semiotic interplay between "Letters and numbers, words and money" and the urban environment they drench.

Driving--Being part of the swarmstream as an erotic act. J.G. Ballard's dystopian landscapes as a stimulus for car sex comes to mind. Liqueur du Feu--Pitch perfect pithy account of the ensuing merging of the poet and her Monsieur; now she drenches him with her natural nectar (association with spirit-- think of Jung's Latin quote "spiritus contra spiritum"-- just as the storm inundated the surround through which they speeded shortly before.

p.76 Rigid--The reversion into the bewildered inner critic, self-naming as "nun-like crone", redoubling of efforts to project intense red color while stewing over advancing age. Shame intertwined with social conditioning is highlighted fearlessly here.

Masque du Shaman--a nebulous floating mask as "the void itself," contrasted with her wearing a burqa of white, another sort of concealment.

Roar of the Tidal Pattern--Really extraordinary comment on how negative space that surround words can disturb the flow of meaning: "and they encroached."

p.77 Spaces--Interplay of true self voice and the demeaning crone, "how she belittles us." Never good enough, neither in nature or the denaturalized realm of signifiers.

Shooting Star--How fleeting a high frequency feeling can seem at times. Again, we emerge and dissolve in ourselves.

p.78 Trail--"My capricious interior." An interplay between conscious motives and the imperatives of subterfuge of the unconscious, in all its automatic stratagems. Elusive, map doesn't match territory on purpose, a form of protection just as wily as a fox's.

Wild Heart--The poet speaker knows this journey of self-discovery is game-like, also provisional, yet although precarious worth re-igniting again and again.

p.80 The Mirror I Don't Want to Hold Up--Fearful feelings are like fog, promiscuous bugs escaping. Poet is vulnerable to herself but also subject to fears because of that self-exposure.

Insomnia--writing as erotic activity, as a form of release.

p.81 Sea-breaker--Recursion of the tidal imagery to comment on the depth of the affair, its unstoppability. This use of repetition of imagery for different themes is very effective throughout this tour de force poetic novel.

Wonder--What gives us the elan vital to get up, keep going, make money or art or love. We are beginning to feel the unstoppable pull of the separation of this couple, Madame Poet and Monsieur, that energetically drives us to the end of Tidal Fury. Absence is now truly absence.

 p.82 Transparency--We feel longing, potential heartbreak, a pique over the male lover's see through tactics to mask his other hunts. He is the genuine narcissist, and it is the aging crone that receives the shame of his projection onto her. I felt a sharp pang of sorrow for her here.

Explore--she tries to keep the relationship light, explain its tenuousness to herself and see it in a wider, analytical perspective. The juxtaposition with earlier and later poems gives this emotional heft.

Glare--again we find this title, and realize that it is a form of protection, fear taking over. Fear and love can't co-exist!

p.83 Possessive--Fencing of wills between two powerful individuals who want to maintain independence and yet merge despite the desire to remain apart. Her riposte is sharp, feels anguished though she intellectually believes it. "Impermanence rules."

Sand-- Again circling back to the mythical withholding crone, now in a quotidian context. Dispossessed of power, flinging the very sand that will blind herself.

Horizon--a pitiless awareness of how difficult it is to rein in the passions that keep us in the 'real world.'

Wind--A culmination of the blinding that leads to the withholding, myth becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. So poignant.

p.85 Nomad--A reckoning with, "it is what it is." The poet speaker drew in this lover because of her own intrinsic nature and desire to remain free over the urge to merge.

Tracks--A reckoning with, I am just as responsible for the 'end of the affair' as he is, which also flows into the idea of constant accelerated movement toward alternative psychogeography as part of the gamble of relationships. Decoupling, switching

p.86 Joust--the poet as theoretician resorts to the impossibility of fulfilled attachment when Monsieur parries with the possibility of commitment.

Switchboard--new metaphorical interface that leads to:

Operator--where we see her dilemma to keep her freedom as an artist even as her longing contradicts it: "if you came to me so I could re-direct you elsewhere." She really is in control of her destiny, but has often deliberately interpreted it otherwise in the past. Her very occupation gives her clues to her own inner heart's intention to stay aloof, when all is said and done.

p.87 Blessing--remembrance of a moment of union, illumination--association with Rimbaud, and Clews's own previous published work, The Luminist Poems. Why the affair was sought after in the first place.

Threat--self-protection. The world caving in. We are in the throes of full uncoupling. Riveting and heart-rending, this whole page, when read for subtext as a performance piece.

Escape--reasons the poet gives herself to let go of this bond. Fight, and flight--"We are always escaping one another."

Fragments--we realize this remarkable poet cannot write anything conventional; not in her nature.

Writing--allusion to the shifting subtext belying all language, but this climax and denouement between man and woman in particular.

p.89 Tides--circle back to the one of the main leitmotivs of the book, the rhythmic, episodic nature of their tie. Description of his nature as a natural force that in a way lacks introspection, which she as poet speaker possesses in abundance.

Sores--A sense of the trauma-origin of the inner critic, a maternal figure, who passes on shame as a parental introject. This short poem in its context just floored me!

p.90 Eyes--the answer to the poets question: We are narcissists, incapable of empathy.The pain of projection onto others when we cannot receive or give authentic loving compassion in a state of vulnerability.

Uncoiling--return to the self-analysis of the Medusa subpersonality, which creates by self-referencing without ceasing.

p.91 Muse--pitiless stare into the heart of most creative activity.

p.92 Subjectivity--Clews unpacks the meaning of self-referential art (what else can we do when we gainsay self-transcendence?) And yet it's power. Walker Percy in Lost In The Cosmos declaring that the only sign that we can't suss in the universe is ourselves. But we can express and reveal are natures to others in our constant self-mirroring. Think "Being John Malkovitch," the scene where he sees his likeness on all others' faces.

Inscribe--how warm the touch, how freezing our immortality project.

p.93 Chthonic--Great prose poem that builds this thematic tour de force to a climax. A restatement of the Shakti divine feminine theme inflected into the Minoan Snake Goddess (she, who burned through me when I was a child!) When the lady of serpents dances, the 'face of envy' falls to the floor, desiccated and undone. Great contrast with the death of Pinochet; we feel the difference between being controlled and being free agents.

p.95 Writing--a rhetorical question. Writing cannot map experience at all, only suggest its enactment. Hesitancy--She unpacks the impossibility of writing about the ineffable. So many ways we are turning in perspective within ourselves. To talk about 'intentional fallacy' is to make a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT. Our feelings and brain states change while we are writing a sentence! A way through-- reciprocal love. Which paradoxically is denied to this pair of solitary 'nomads' because of their singular aim to rein apart from each other, except in the merging.

p.96 Haunting--our own simulation of what we appear like to the other mediates all provisional relationships; only breaking through to full reciprocity can prevent this. Hence the verbs "shattered" and "relinquish." Our self-referencing must be deconstructed somehow.

p.97 Curse--great passage about what underlies limited self fury when we self-transcend and discover we are not just connected, but part of the One. I love the D.H. Lawrencian build of this syncopated sequence!

p.98 Target--Final facing down of the narcissist crone introject. By rising bravely and focusing awareness on one's shadow protection it can be seen for the miasma that it is of memory and false self-belief. Brilliant.

Touch--we get a sense in this wispy poem of our closeness when we are allowed to disappear into steam, as into mist. In dissolving clouds we can find ourselves-"I am alone."

p.100 Rapture--I grok the interplay with the following title, Rupture. What goes image of fluidity and watery passion (water is the ideal symbolic medium of the anima sexuality) where Freud's "oceanic feeling" is recapitulated as "an immensity that has no name." This is writing as ultimate erotic reminiscence.

p.101 Rupture--How Shakti/Shiva may seem like "the magic of transformation, absent" to the other. How union cannot be interpreted without two points of view in the male/female act of sharing flow/structure. So desperately true, except for rare moments of seeming telepathy.

p.102 Portal of Breath--such a beautiful poem. So beautiful. And yet again, the vast distance in the perspective taking. Heartbreaking!

p. 103 Truth--The inevitable moment of stunned frozen hurt when one is betrayed in the cruelest way. A self-fulfilling wish drawn in because her own narcissist crone that protects her artmaking and writing exists and faithfully serves the function of choosing an emotionally unavailable man.

p. 104 Relation of-- And yet there is a sense that this will go on. As long as Medusa reigns, she will draw in these powerful virile men who come and go like tides. Monsieur is all Monsieurs. As well as all the accompanying fantasies thereof.

Distance--The "final facing down of the inner critic" was not final, just an iteration of a series. But the poet artist by book's end has shown us that she can outwit herself in this aspect of being, and go on creating.

p.105 Reciprocity--Put as a question about the possibility of genuine romantic love, it's a dare to the reader to explore this transcendent possibility in their own journey. Hold space for the other. W. H. Auden, the line he disavowed: "Only connect."

Night Blossom--Great conceit of the possibility of an evolved human. We do not need solar light when we have our own bio-photons, as it were. Superb ending to a feminist masterpiece statement. ___

'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 ...