A little Solstice gift ... of Starfire

direct link: Starfire (33 min)

Happy Solstice! 

It last happened 372 years ago - a rare confluence: a lunar eclipse and winter solstice. In the night (at 3:18am EST), a total lunar eclipse, the full moon passing through the darkest shadow of the earth (and at 6:40am EST), winter solstice, when the northern hemisphere's axial tilt is furthest from the sun, the longest night and darkest day of the year.

The astronomy of the day is worth pondering on.

For the last two years, I have released a poetry album at solstice.

This is so I can offer a little Solstice gift to you (free to download, or listen, as you wish).

To commemorate light in the beautiful loving darkness.
Wishing you joy, love, health, success, wealth.

warm regards,

Starfire (33 min)

This album began with the first track, 'Disappearing,' which I wrote in a hammock in the hot, sultry summer. I recorded it a few times, just for fun. Then layered the readings, added music and became intrigued.

Thus began an odyssey of readings, recordings. All tracks, except one, are with music of Jamendo musicians, to whom I am so grateful.

If you wish, you can download any tracks or the whole album.

Mostly I'd like you to enjoy, and to be inspired.

An album of love poetry.


Disappearing: Brenda Clews, poetry, voice and mix; Matt Samolis, music, a section from: "Trio for Flute, Cymbals, and Glass": (with permission)

What Would I Write If I Could Write: for J.P. Brenda Clews, poetry, voice, mix; music, Roger Stephane, 'Lointain,' from his album, "Picasso": (with permission)

Drumbeat: Brenda Clews, poetry, voice, mix; music, Chriss Onac, track "TRANSE" from his album, TRIBAL: (with permission)

Glint: Soundtrack for my videopoem, Glint, which is also a videopoem at YouTube: Backgound music is "Madrox, in my head," by Arena of Electronic Music, a Creative Commons license: (with permission from his band administrator)

Hieroglyphic of Purple Lotuses: Brenda Clews, poetry, voice, mix; music, Ka eN, "Oriental Dreams": (with permission)

Starfire in the Night: Brenda Clews, poetry, voice, mix; music, Frank Harper's 'Moon's Eve,' from "Fingerstyle - Set 1": (with permission)

What Is Underground Is What Holds Us: Brenda Clews, poetry, voice, mix; music, LaiYouttitham's song, "Alone," from his site: (with permission)

Salt of the Sea: Brenda Clews, poetry, voice, mix; music, Livio Amato's, 'Dream Opening,' from his album, "Sensitivity": (with permission)

My Body Is A Word: for I.B. Brenda Clews, poetry, voice, mix; music, Lena Selyanina's piano solo, 'Summer Morning,' from "Snowstorm Romance": (with permission)

Veils To Clothe Venus: Brenda Clews, poetry, reading, mix; music, Buz Hendricks, music: (with permission - a section of a track he created for the Venus Suite of Poems - a track at Jamendo).

Ink Ocean: Brenda Clews, poetry, reading, mix; music (mixed by me), Alphacore, 'side_project,' from "Side Project":, and Extra's, 'The Quickest Vessel to a Distant Future,' from "Water Every Full Moon": (with permissions)

With special thanks to Robert A. for his invaluable advice on recording.

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Ink Ocean

direct link: Ink Ocean (version 1)

Ink Ocean (9:47min), a poem I've been working on since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the year, a darker, more troubled piece on love. Is it a good ending for my album of love poems? Not sure, though it is a love poem - loving amidst the pollution, with our wounds, whatever they may be. The reading was difficult since I live over a subway, and kept stopping the speaking every time a subway ran through because the muse beckoned the voice at rush hour this morning, O muse! Those sections were clipped out. I've been at my computer working on this recording for 12 hours I guess. May be too close to it to 'hear' it?

It's layered, of course, multiplicities seem what I like to do. You can read the words here if you like (though it looks more like a play of approaches and voices than a poem proper).

Spent days looking for music, too. I already had a small collection of 'possibilites' that I had collected through the year. Nothing was quite right. So I went searching at Jamendo. I found two tracks that each offered something substantial, and did something I had hoped never to have to do - I mixed them! Oh! I should give up these poetry performance pieces, or learn an instrument!

The tracks are a combination of that brilliant musician of experimental, midi, ruby texts that become sonic masterpieces, Alphacore's (Gabriel Garrod) side_project in his album Side Projects, and a new musician for me at Jamendo, Extra (Michael Erickson), and the beautiful track, The Quickest Vessel to a Distant Future, is from his album, Water Every Full Moon.

Three Mugshots:

Should I ever show the workings of my 'mad' mind? Ok, ok. I'm self-taught. From these mugshots you can get some idea why my poetry recordings take so long! Files get recorded and taken from here to there, and then there to here, and back again. Can you hear all those tracks in the final version? Who knows. But, like wearing beautiful lingerie, I know they're there.

Though with this last project - an album of poetry readings with the music of Jamendo musicians - has taken nearly a year, and with 11 tracks, it's only 33 minutes long!!

I may give up poetry recordings, and lingerie too.

Gulf Oil Slick, 2010, 13" x 10", 33cm x 25.5cm, 
mixed media on canvas

From Ocean Words
Where the poem began...

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One Hand Clapping

direct link: One Hand Clapping. Play in HD if you can.
"Often when he collaborated with John Cage, Cunningham would create a dance and Cage would compose the music — separately. Cunningham made no attempt to fit the dancers' movements to the music. Sometimes the performance was the first time they heard the music.

"Given a certain length of time, let’s say 10 minutes, I could make a dance which would take up 10 minutes and John Cage could make a piece of music that occupied the same amount of time, and we could put them together," Cage recalls.

"When Cage would play the piece, there would be moments when in the other way of working, I would have thought there should be a sound, but his sound would come perhaps just after what I had done. And it was like opening your mind again to another possibility. As John Cage said once, 'He does what he does, and I do what I do and for your convenience, we put it together.' I thought that was a remarkable way of thinking about it.""

from "Merce Cunningham: Dance at the Edge," an article by Renee Montagne on NPR.

Two autopoetic systems: my short film, Alphacore's music score, without any reference to each other as we separately created them. Each of our autopoetic systems closed from each other, selectively referring to their own environments.

Mine, abstracted footage of a tree at dusk when the light dims and the camera acts like the retinal cells, the rods, seeing essentially in black and white. Alphacore's a slow, simple, quiet, meditative piano solo with a dim voice in the background whose words we cannot quite hear - or is it yelping dogs or a bird call? To my ear the background chant sounds like 'help me.' The letters falling like rain in my film do, in the slow roll of credits, line up at the end as SOS. An accidental correlation in two separate creations brought together.

I titled our collaboration, without hearing the music, One Hand Clapping, since, I, in Toronto, and Alphacore, in Seattle, each creating our component to an agreed on time span, were like the clapping of one hand - the famous Zen koan meant to sent the logical mind into an impossible spin.

Our final product, the mix, matches in the way all aspects of the universe correlate, by accident. Only this is a designed accident.

And it doesn't match in the way each of us might have originally envisioned.

My video is uncharacteristic of my work thus far - it is abstract rather than figurative; a natural black and white rather than colour; the speed is slowed down to just above frame-by-frame and thus a little jerky while the letters fall so quickly as to be almost in fast-forward; and the letters in One Hand Clapping fall continuously carrying random meanings, unlike my usual work with whole poems or sections of poems.

Alphacore's music is usually the product of computer-generated transformations of text or images into sound - they are sonic landscapes of various sounds and instruments that form unusual experimental and avanteguard abstract soundscapes - in One Hand Clapping he plays the piano meditatively note by note, a scale ascending and partially descending, we hear the touch of fingers. He is more of an embodied musician than his more usual 'Deleuzian machine' music. Deleuze writes, in Anti-Oedipus, "A machine may be defined as a system of interruptions or breaks," and this is how I might describe Alphacore's music on the whole. He creates tracks where there is no subject or object, where the sounds interact with each other in nodes, in a series of interruptions that create a syncopated flow in a minimalist rhythmic space, like the famous metaphor of rhizomes we associate with Deleuzian philosophy.

In the final product of our collaboration, One Hand Clapping, a film with music/music with a film, we have two self-referential autopoetic systems, visual and auditory, interacting. How the viewer perceives this deliberately accidental pairing will refer to yet another autopoetic system whereby the collaboration of two artists becomes one experience.
* A defnition of autopoesis: "The generic term denoting the organization characterizing autopoietic machines / systems. The term "... simply means processes interlaced in the specific form of a network of productions of components which realizing the network that produced them constitute it as a unity." (Maturana and Varela)

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Meridians of Culture

Direct URL: Meridians of Culture

(I have added experimental avanteguard music in the background: 'Lambkins Black,' by Alphacore, which carries a Creative Commons License. It may be found at Jamendo.)

It's my daughter's favourite of all my recordings, and I think it is mine too. More like a Joycean inner dramatic monologue. I am hoping it moves in the direction of a deeper, richer writing that hints at vast underlying energies the way stream-of-consciousness, surrealist and dream-time writing does...

Hope you enjoy this recording! I am hoping, somehow, to add video to it, though the thought is daunting, just daunting. Any ideas or suggestions for video would be muchly appreciated.


Wrote this poem in the intensity of the afternoon on that day and I wouldn’t describe it only as stream-of-consciousness or surreal or dream-time but as an inter-splicing, like synapses crossing the brain to create strange formations and patterns, of different meridians from the world in which I am embedded. From the sonic to metaphors of natural substances, processes and systems that express thoughts about life and death and consciousness to cultural events, such as the recent tragic death of Michael Jackson and the paradoxes he represents, or personal ones, like my 86 year old mother’s recently broken hip, to historical revolution. The way it is in the deeper speaking, behind which. Life enters. Renovation going on outside my window, which you may be able to hear, became the renovation in the poem. The poem spans many meridians. I’ve decided to call it,

Meridians of Culture


In the deepest speaking. Clone the element. Tarry the fishnet. Slice swordfish swording slices. Cut the knuckles. Chuck the jade. Be verbs to your object. Sledge hammer the screwdriver through the wood grain fibres until the wood splits into columbines. Spin with the wind machine. Pan is wandering the forest like a komodo dragon. Whiteness of the clouds pushes in on vision. Tinsley sound, boot scratches soil. Dirt, rocks. Fecund upper being outflowing volcanic rubble. Don’t laugh. You’re next.

Line up; fall out of place. Jump off turning ferris wheels. Neverland never was. Don’t turn a black-eyed cheek on me.

Roth your socks. Mildew doesn’t grow between our toes.

They floated by the Great Wall of China, and then fell. Mao had thick fat lips and I never trusted him. He killed millions in the name of revolution, a tyrant like any other.

Go green. Like everyone. Green, keep greening. I don’t mind my status. Neither should you. Hips are beautiful; why do they crack & crumble? We will all have metal hips in the new utopia. Where we clone with steel. Pins. Motherboards. Chips. Design element.

I don’t want to make this easy for you but it should be fun. Today I’m a bit of vibrating anti-matter; tomorrow I could be a gold statue by the pond of orange fish. Fish float freely through Freon.

Rainbow my world.

The world is sweet. Layers of sweetness. I get caught in the honeyed loving of it all. Birds sing my heart. Happiness.

‘Let me in,’ the man renovating says to his bud. Clatter of sheet metal.

It’s a cool summer of bliss.

But there I go. Not undercutting myself enough. People live different realities.

When you’ve been tortured, wounded and set free every day is a gift.


In this speaking, no I don’t. You do wind, wood, fire; I, metal, bone, water. If you can sustain the listening. Where the flames roar.

Punctuated sentences. Punctured.

Eyes of meridians cool the water you pull the sword out of.

Acupuncture of the soul, which can’t be pinned.

Our souls are wind, fire wind.

Burning through life.

The birds in the trees never tire of their singing. Speaking to sing.

Hush rush of cars sleekly sliding by.

Clouds of gold
fall on me.


The ear is a nautilus shell out which the ocean pours. Roar of seawater. My spine is brine. Mollusk, exoskeletal dancing on the flashing rock-star studded stage. Sliding into Motown. Ho-town. Show town.

In-earbuds. Listen.

The deep speaking is song. The burning bush sings of nautilus souls sweeping the burning deserts of ruin.

Ozymandias, crumbling.

Dust is the most creative substance on the planet. Ground rock. Galvanized gallantry. Silica strands. Igneous dreams. Encrusted crystals. Embedded dreams. We are miners of the ore.

We come from what we go to. Everything that takes form dissolves.

What is the intuition of the cloud-bank? It’s so white it brights my vision.

Most days I am dissolved and barely resolved.

Hailing baby cries. Rush of thunderbird. Ignition. Trains rocking. Laughter. Baby glee. Sun. Wind. Tree. Out of the dust storm of life. How can a life be fragmented? It can’t unless it cuts into death from life, like a zipper. Maybe we do, death-teeth, life-teeth, hailing our baby screams. Flesh cuts both ways.

It’s irresolvable. Nothing to hold onto.
This ragged bone-edge of the world.


I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be scattered. I want to be collected.


Frosted tip of emeralds shining in the raw rock that slips like soapstone.

Green, greening.

He is black, with green cat eyes. Fur over bone.

Hiding in the rocks. Under your toes. Ground bits of the ground world. Greening its grounding. A planet greening its grounding. Magma slips. Seawater steams.

I don’t think I’m living in a forest fire but I could be.

Forest fire of flaming souls.

How can the liquid light of being be honey glossing the fires? Sweetness, beauty.

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