dance/ ...indigo folio leaves

direct link: dance/ ...indigo folio leaves

Folio: a sheet of paper folded once to make two leaves of a book or manuscript.

Late afternoon, when the spring sun was pouring in, I videotaped some dancing to José Travieso's track, 'Monster,' on his album, "No More Faith":  Besides being technically beautiful, quite goth baroque in its composition, there is an undercurrent of feeling in this music. Music like this can awaken the inner self in its dance, or this is how it calls to me.

And I layered two different dances to the same music: first I separated the figures, but it didn't look quite right, so I superimposed them, allowing the dance of the two to occur in the same space, an intertexuality of subjectivities, like folio leaves.

I see the woman of the dance transformed into figures that are, but are not me.

I wrote to the Spanish musician, José, on his track, 'Monster': 'This piece is so beautiful, like the passion of angels, pain and transcendance in the music that you play, what is the monster? Is beauty the monster?

How can beauty be a monster?'

He teaches all day, and at night, the music. Stressful, hard. He rarely has time to read, walk, visit friends, relax. "Everyday I work on it with passion... or maybe just obsession. So, everyday, when I'm recording an album, I feel more and more tired, it consumes me... Music is my own monster, my search for the perfection and the beautiful thing is my own monster. This is my explanation."

'I understand. A consuming passion. A beauty that devours its creator in consummation.

I, too, prefer art that is vulnerable, without pretence.'

[still working on this prose poem]


...enters your backbone, joints, plucks the
cartilage holding you together. Music is the
moon of the red tides of your bloodstream.
Drift to and fro, a willow tree, or sway, bend,
a flamenco, stretch, purple morning glories
on the vine, jump. Centre in your hips, your
delta of fiery flow. Feel your pain, power, joy.
Express yourself, woman. No-one is watching.
Say it all. The lyric travels tenderly through your
wrist, a memory of the wind on the hill. Be the
hands that play you. You are an instrument of the
instruments of the musician who is blind, absent,
gone. Whose music plays on; who does not know
you exist. Orphean muse. Twirl on the floor, the
beat in your ankles, room spinning, see through
the canvas walls, stars, sun, moon luminous
on the clock turning. Give everything.

Wanton woman. Harlot of the night. Mother of
angels. Insufferable radiance. Black hole of
emptiness. Sweet moan nectar.

Be loose as a cigarette on the lip in Rio de Janeiro.
The ruffle on a lacy skirt in Dusseldorf. Like the
ruins of the Colosseum in Rome. Glide as
diamonds on the Aegean Sea. Icy tundra of the
Arctic. Emerge and submerge a dorsal fin in the
Caribbean. Become a stone age myth, a magic
amulet hewn from rock. Goddess of the Oroborus
serpent, undulate your liquid bones. Mystery dangles
like your silver bracelets, the ghosts are present.
Approach yourself by disappearing. Rhumba to
this moment; tango to the other side. Primavera of
being. Beautiful in your sensuality. Seek invisible
illumination in your writhing steps. Flee time,
transform in your multiplicity, a seer searching
the spheres. Manifest your wishes - your dreams.
Shake them out of the air to materialize like light forms.
Shimmy, wet sweat, a flag in a wind storm. Thunder
the floor. Cross mid-section through a Pythagorean
theorem and come out the other end of Leibniz's prisms.
Play on Goethe's colour wheel. Trip like a stream
dashing over rocks as smoothly as a Shakespearean
sonnet's sexual ambiguity. Witch, werewolf, Goth
beauty, fragile starchild, cyberpunk, pull the sky
down. Sway those hips, woman. Sway them until you
ignite. Be you while you dance; don't let them
touch you. Dance with your ineffable
muse. Just, dance.

I pull purple veils over my eyes, in love with
indigo blue silk lights and shadows.

I dance the white and black keys of a harpsichord
while it dances me.

Listen: dance on the stage of your

© by Brenda Clews, 2011 (a sort of inspirational poem for women, but there's a lot going on in it, too)


If you're fascinated by the way videos evolve through versions, there are two earlier versions at a Picasa album: The Canvas Backdrop

I've entered this poem in the Big Tent Poetry's Ring of weekly poems. 'dance, ...indigo folio leaves' is a performance piece that includes video and poetry. One, a poetry of motion; the other a written poem. They are on the subject of dancing, and the poem is still being drafted.

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Comments (10)

The blocked poet strips herself, reveals a technique only to be used in desperation

Although I've dealt with long blocks in my life, for the last decade, writing has been easy. When an image arose that caught my imaginary, I'd begin writing, and the piece flowed almost of its own accord. Sure, there was lots of editing, tweaking, re-arranging, re-orienting, and a piece might go through many minor revisions, but the original image came easily and as if my magic. The last couple of months have not been like that. Key images have not been emerging of their own volition. In the creative cycle I am currently in, I have to work a lot harder to pull the material out of my visions, unconscious, knowledge, wherever it comes from.

Because so many poets wrote about the recent perigee moon, I also wanted to contribute a piece. For days, nothing. Staring at day and night sky. Nothing. Went for walks. Nothing. Looked at images of the fabulous moon. Nothing. So on the night of the greatest fullness, I went out with my dog late, my iPhone with me. As we rounded a street corner, there the moon was. A bright spotlight in the sky. I turned on the Voice Memo, and talked for two blocks. Anything and everything that came into my mind. From that chatter, I created this poem. It went through dozens of revisions. I am happy with the poem.

For your interest, loathe as I am to 'show all' -such nakedness!- I also paste in the transcript I typed from the monologue in the Voice Memo at the end of the post.

While I don't recommend recording a monologue as a poetic technique because it is laborious, it will generally give you enough images to write a poem. It's an aural brainstorm. I like to walk the dark streets and whisper into my phone recorder. People passing think I'm on the phone. Yet, and this has happened to me, what if the Voice Memo isn't on and doesn't record your words? Remember to remember enough of the trail to re-evoke it or grab the tail ends of images. When using this technique, think of Yeats, who wrote his poems from prose he had written first.

Here is the finished poem. I spent some hours memorizing it trying to use a 'palace of memory' technique. The recording is different to my other ones in that as I am reciting from memory (mostly) the reading is less dramatic, slower. Since your eye reads way faster than the recording, I recommend closing your eyes to listen.

Music background, a re-arrangement of Jose Travieso's, "Shinigami's Dream, No. 7."

Wear White Paint for the Moon

We draw back,
it is not easy but there is no other way.

White fire spills from the cauldron of the night.

A pregnant belly of illumination where spirits gather before they arrive and after they return.

Moths against the lantern, our scorching hearts. Clouds skein like silver wool. Earth and stars spin falling into the vortex of whitening and darkening.

The moon is a rock that flew from our oceans and seeks to return to her womb within us.

Stark, startling, as I round the corner of a busy street. A spotlight in the charred sky. In the moisture of my eyes, squinting, a gleaming halo moon.

A barren rock of mountains and dried seabeds up there, dragging the oceans with her, her dress of tides. A queen of debauchery, a mythos of dark permissions. Or the purity of a white goddess worshipped by the skyclad among the trees dancing in naked circles drawing her power.

She is a pearl like a grain of sand in the oyster of the night that opens, a mystical lamp for the mutterings of poets and visionaries and the crazed in a world of forgotten harrowings. In the perigee moon what is untamed reigns.

Wear white paint, my love, so we may dance savage across the stage lit by the moon in the night sky.

Wear white paint, my love, so we may dance before the dawn draws us away.

A crystal ball for seers, the beginning of time crumbles into the end.

And as we sleep, faint and far apart,
we guard the moon in our dreams.


OMG, this is so funny! YouTube is offering some 'video-making' sites. This one is a text-to-video animation by xtranormal. It took 3 tries, but eventually a video appeared. It was free. Do try it!

direct link: Free Animation of Wear White Paint for the Moon

moon image from the daily bite

What I spoke into the Voice Memo as a way to deal with my current writer's block, which is impossible to read, impossible! The blocked poet strips herself, reveals a technique only to be used in desperation:

As I turn the corner from the busy street into the tree-lined street with bare branches I am stricken by the spotlight in the sky. The white, round, full moon. Athena is close tonight. She sends her arrows of protection; her arrows of strength; her arrows of forbearance; and her arrows of delight in self-empowerment. I walk down this street and feel the full white perigee moon, the largest in decades is watching even me, even my insignificance, smaller than a cell as I crawl the face of the earth. Gazing across planets, from my darkness into the light. She is blazing white fire. I bow down before her, on Lent, on Purim. The generosity of the light that guides us in the darkness, whiteness of the shadowed world. Pregnant belly of the world. Where souls gather, before they arrive and after they leave, to watch the pageants of life on earth. Who pulls the tides of the earth's oceans, and who caused the nutrients of life to flow together and combust. The moon. The moon. The moon. Celestial sister so close, exerting a large gravitational pull on the earth at this moment, so close I could touch her and I am fully magnetized with moon power, I am drawing the moon down, down. I am being drawn up through the moonbeams, up, up. The earth falls into the sky, the earth falls into the moon. The earth falls into the moon's eye in the sky. The moon is clear-seeing. The moon may be gazed upon. The moon is mystery. The moon is water. The moon is water. The moon pulls the waters with her as she travels through the sky. Her white wedding gowns flowing. Dazzling moon beams She is a queen of the night. And she guides me along the white sidewalk, shadowed, mysterious. Magic is afoot. Magic is everywhere. The moon is the mystical lamp of the mystics. The moon is the feminine; the moon is the masculine. The moon is a rock in the sky that was cast off from our ocean and who is forever trying to return to her womb within us. The moon the moon is a majestic tutelary spirit circling the earth protecting the earth watching over us. The moon reflects of the sun whitely. The moon in its whiteness reflects the light of the sun. The moon is a combustion of white fire. The moon sparkles in the whiteness of the round whiteness of the dark sky. The clouds flow like silver ghosts about her; the smoke about her is silver, is the grey clouds, the grey white clouds. She is stark and startling in the sky. She is a spotlight in the sky. She is bright. The moisture of my eyes causes her to gleam, her white halo. Moonbeams. She is heavenly. She is earthly. She is barren. She is full. She belongs to the realm of ghosts. She is of the beginning of time; she will crumble like a pearl at the end of time. She is a pearl of great price; she is the alchemist's pearl. She is the pearl that is like a grain of sand in the oyster of the night that causes poets and visionaries and madmen to induces reverie and madness when the moon is full the wildness begins. She is queen of the debauchery of the night. When the moon is full the sky clad people emerge from behind the trees in the forests and they dance and they have rituals and they bathe in moonlight on their bare skin. The moon is a psychic force. The moon is a crystal ball. The moon portends the future. The moon is past, present and future. The moon is the Buddha, the cool light of the intellect. The moon follows us, everywhere we walk the moon, the moon is following, a spotlight. Our way is lit. The moon is the white goddess, the triple goddess, White Tara, Kuan Yin. The whiteness of the spirit in its purity. The moon is a paradox. The moon has caught our imaginations and gathered them and spread them to the stars. The moon is our guardian. We guard the moon in our dreams.


By way of apology, or perhaps explanation, though many poets included reference to the terrible Japanese tsunmai in their perigee moon poems, mine has no reference to the tragedy. They were 8 days apart. I blame violent tectonic plates, the Ring of Fire, not the moon. The moon was a few inches closer to the earth than usual, and could not possibly have caused the earthquake which caused the tsunami. I wrote a long prosepoem on the Sumatra tsunami in 2005, and may write another on the terrible Japanese one, but it did not find its way into my meditation on the huge full moon that just passed. 

I'm including this as a piece in this week's Big Tent Poetry prompt: "to take a piece of your writing, or some other bit of written text, and try out one of the toys or tricks (on our new Poetry Toys page) to generate (reformulate) new work." The prompt sat in the back of my mind fertilizing ideas for how to write a poem on a topic this week (the perigee moon), and while I didn't attempt to try any of the 'toys,' I definitely used a technique to generate imagery for a poem. See here for other responses.

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Comments (15)

Whirling Stillness

Where time clots, a stillness whirling
in the motion forward. Points
of condensed age in the meridians.
I look to see

a dissolving mirror
bones, skin, neurons

the self-image.
This is not a poem neat as intact
fishbones, mysterious as dinosaur
fossils. The poem writes through
me. Rises from ruminations, dried
flowers on my spine
bursting seeds.

Are memories nomads wandering
our minds? Seeds of recollections
reflecting whole scenes from our past,
or partial images in the distorted ways we
compose and re-compose our lives?

Is memory how we narrate the stories
of our lives? Where we describe
our experiences to ourselves...

Do some experiences burrow like
bulbs in the network of capillaries,
memories memorizing themselves,
knots in the ganglia?

Replays of moments we've lived
that change as the story changes.

We are forever changing our stories,
aren't we.

Is that the river? Our blood
of experience?

Our collections of images,
re-iterating ourselves,
recalled, recollected, replayed.
Memories are slowed time,
knots in the Chi of
our neurocircuitry.

In the forever now, memories
where time recoils and coils slow eddying
resisting the rush.

Who I am is my memory of myself.

I remember you remembering yourself in me.

Wandering Nomads Bone Image, 2011, 19cm x 16.5cm, 7.5"x6.5", mostly archival inks, sepia, black, red, orange, and oil pastels, Moleskine sketchbook. Fishbones, dinosaur bones, ivory piano keys of the mind playing its strange music, I don't know. When I sat to draw an image for this poem, a vertebrae emerged. Click for actual size.


Big Tent's poetry prompt this week was to use the "stories or ideas" of science "as a metaphor for something in your own life or a made-up life. The odd mix of fact and fiction is poetry in the making." I've kind of combined a physics of time - suggesting that, like time slows down in black holes, perhaps it also does in the creation and maintenance of longterm memory in the onrush of the present - with a neuroscience of non-localized (nomadic) cerebral processes where memories might be compared to pockets of stillness in the constant flow of cerebro-spinal fluid, the sparking of chemical pulses. And then I did a drawing where a vertebrae emerged. It was all as strange as any Science Fiction. Ultimately, my piece becomes a philosophical poem about the nature of memory, of subjectivity, of the self. For other responses, see here.

(Picasa's a bit strange these days. Below a thumbnail for 
services like Facebook to read feed readers)

(Readings of the poem didn't, um, didn't, and need more tries, but the afterward, which is more like a pre-amble, was kind of fun.)

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Comments (20)

Photographer of White Clay

Your clay-whitened bodies covered with cracks like dry riverbeds on the surface of the moon.

Cracked and dry as a desert. Denuded of identity, warmth, flush skin tones. No bright highlights, no glamour. Bodies risen from clay pools, an earthen pottery.

No colour, erase difference. Frozen white ghosts on the edge of time, a sea of pale mud, a genesis.

You are Adam and Eve, the beginning of all beginnings, or the end of all endings. Face each other, relinquish your loneliness.

Your skin hardened like living statues in a dissolving Garden of Eden, the smeared powdered rock, breathing clay, imprisoned in your own beauty.

Or Butoh dancers, the anguish of the bomb that whitens into ash,
pain rising as dying reeds sway in the blackened river,
encase yourselves with white wet dust,
obliterate yourselves

In it, roll in it, emotion, explosive,
hidden in those primal masks,
naked in your ghostly forms,
raw spirits rising.

Pass beyond the eye
of my camera

To the dark side of the moon.

Sink into your bodies,
into each other.

(background music, a tiny section of 'Bodydrama at The Nave,' by ARTSomerville)

Statues in Profile (photograph will open in a new tab)

photo by Marko Kulik

In response to a Big Tent poetry prompt: Write a poem about a portrait photograph that you did not take yourself: "The strategy this week is that you will imagine the photographer and write about the subject as if from the point of view of the photographer."

As a photographer, I am a director of the shot as I describe the poetry of the scene to the actors so that they can become what I am looking for.

See here for the prompt and links to the other poems.
Comments (16)

Sole Readers

What histories are written in the feet? Who can read the lines? Steps through the years. The earth presses against our feet. Ancient bone runes, graveyards rising, shoes fill with dirt, with seeds that unfurl cartographies inscribed in swirls of lines, ridges and hollows that map life in calloused, toughened skin.

These animal pads.

finely boned dance.


If you click on any image it'll take you to the album, and a larger slideshow if you so wish.

Into the bathroom I went with a large pad of paper, dark acrylic paint, a cleaned shrimp sauce container from Christmas day for water, a large brush and shouted to my daughter, 'I'm taking off my jeans, don't be embarrassed!' I laid an old dog towel and paper towels on the floor, poured some water into the tub with bubble bath creating a pool of a few inches of warm water.

I painted the soles of my feet, and stood, stomped, painted some more, took specimens, footprints, identifying etchings. The bottom of my feet were dark sepia black.

Then I scrubbed my soles clean with a sponge in the bath, watched the grey water swirl down the drain.

After I used a daylight bulb and took these photos. For the visceral, the real. Animal pads, baby!

Feet that done a bunch of walkin' through a whole crunch of years, oh yeah!

Written for Big Tent Poetry prompt: feet.

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Comments (15)

If I Could Write

direct link: If I Could Write

for JP

What would I write if I

I reach over continents
into the Parthenon
to find you pressing
the shutter on your camera,
the photograph
you sent.

Or ordered chaos,
                          but this is my life.

A leaf swollen with rain.
Sleeping in a hammock
in a barge with hundreds of others
on the Amazon River in Brazil.
Sun shining on metal.
How sentences
                         in on each other
like white rose petals.

Days pass endless
waves in the lake.

I found her,
a spirit in the forest of the lake
in the Canadian terrain
where I fast for days.
She broke the spell.
in the silvery leaves of the
maples standing in water.

Abandon logic for metaphor.

Speak in the tongues
                                     of the poet.
I burn the fire
on your eyelids
in my soul.

Those Ionic columns in the heat
of your Grecian photograph.

to hide behind.
My polished earrings,
necklace of reflective stones,
shirt sewn with tiny mirrors.
See yourself seeing me.

Clouds that form
a grammar of understanding
of the sky.

The wine
that sweetens your lips.
The dazzle of a sunset
the colour of

Piano solo accompaniment: Roger Stéphane, 'Lointain,' from his album, Picasso, on Jamendo.

Response to Big Tent Poetry's prompt (where other entries are linked in the comments).

The recording, for some reason, took unexpected hours, and yet I feel strange including it and hope it adds to your reading of the prosepoem.

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Comments (14)

Underground Vault

My hunger,
Dark battlements
of earth and stone.

of kindness

In my dull stare
I watch you.

You seek a
comfort of stars
I can only imagine.

Do not praise me, fool.

The maze in which you are lost
is my lair.

Words from a wordle, Big Tent Poetry's prompt (where other entries are linked in the comments):

Wordle: Big Tent Poetry Wordle 2

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A Pantoum on Anger

After I wrote *the worst* pantoum, I wrote this abstract little ditty to try to explain myself:

I've fallen to

Snap, shout, hiss
but the old

Once a

What used
to ignite
fiery torrents
now brings
days of

(oh dear)
Ok, ok, onto the truly terrible pantoum (and I do think anger cliché-ridden, that there is a repetitiveness of the trite in states of rage):

Anger is a potent force. Anger is red, explosive, repetitive. An angry person has lost their rationality. Anger is a sword of destruction, a way to hurt. Anger is red, explosive, repetitive. When the victim becomes the oppressor. Anger is a sword of destruction, a way to hurt. To hurt the way you've been hurt. When the victim becomes the oppressor. Anger is a bullet. To hurt the way you've been hurt. Anger is a fire bomb. Anger is a bullet. Anger collects furies to hurl. Anger is a fire bomb. Anger destroys what took time to build. Anger collects furies to hurl. When it erupts, it tears the gaussian blur off things. Anger destroys what took time to build. Anger is a great leveller. When it erupts, it tears the gaussian blur off things. Anger sees the mark darkly. Anger is a great leveller. The raging storm. Anger sees the mark darkly. The roaring wind. The raging storm. Tears the world apart with battering. The roaring wind. The broken homes. Tears the world apart with battering. Anger transforms. The broken homes. Loss of illusions. Anger transforms. Anger is a potent force of renewal.

A response to Big Tent Poetry's June 11th prompt: write an angry pantoum (and where you can read the other entries in the linked comments)

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What is Hidden in Ourselves?

What is hidden in crevices, tiny tide pools, our obscure and wayward selves? Our main narrative, who we are, what we've been through, how we think of ourselves, our stories, the way we present ourselves to others, what if that falls away? Our mainstream still, empty, non-existent. Creeping out of the shadows, slithery, bat-like things, or fairies, gnomes, sylphs and undines, or a cast of characters of every shade and tenor, or visions of sublime beings composed of light? Would the inner child – of fears and magic – creep out? Would we utter pure poetry, mad phrases? Would stray, incoherent thoughts stream by, seed fluffs floating, promising blossoms? Can we surprise ourselves? Do we know ourselves? Are we open to stories of our lives that don't fit the main narratorial road we've carved out of the mountains and sand and ocean of our experiences? Can we accommodate our minorities, submerged selves, to create an inner democracy between what composes us? Listen to stray thoughts on the edge of your consciousness – what do you hear?

I wrote this prosepoem 5 years ago, but edited it for Big Tent Poetry’s June 4th poetry prompt: where will our wild things be?

Sure... it's a rephrasing of the question posed by Big Tent's auteurs, but you can see from my piece, I understand what's being asked! ::grins::

(I've been all those things - sublime vision of light, and yes the slithery bat self -when I dare!)

The Lady and the Chimera
, 12" x 9", 30.5x23cm, oil on canvas, 2010.

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A Lascivious Tray

For my housewarming you arrive with a cooler on whose ice a bottle of Moet and Chandon Brut Imperial champagne waits, and a power drill to hang my curtains.

While you hang, I toss organic baby spinach, fat green leaves, sliced large white button mushrooms, raw and thick, thin wheels of hot red onion, peeled sliced sweet mango, a handful of ground walnuts, slivered almonds, flax and sunflower seeds in a raspberry vinaigrette.

On the sectioned tray I lay ripe strawberries sweet as jam, green grapes, sinful fresh figs.

From its wooden case, I lift fresh smoked wild Sockeye salmon and lay it down.

Large green olives stuffed with garlic nestle beside the focaccia embedded with olive slices, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped onion and herbs.

Around balls of sweet honey dew melon I wrap ribbons of proscuito.

Peeling the papers from the cheeses, I uncover Isigny Sainte Mère, a creamy Normandy Camembert, Pont-l'Evêque, a soft cheese, pungent white Cheddar, tangerine-coloured rich Mimolette, and from sweet sheep's milk a soft Italian Percorino Toscan Fresco.

It is a steamy June day.

We take each other's clothes off in the enrapt way way lovers do. We feed each other with our mouths, teeth, fingers. We hold strawberries between both our lips and bite them.

We sip long crystal flutes and drizzle champagne into each other.

I'm sure I lap-dance, it's becoming a blur. Leonard Cohen's woman, that beautiful Anjani, sings soft, sultry songs of his poems.

Lust breathes us.

Later, drunk, I dance in the living room, a naked middle-aged woman.

The curtains are drawn tight.

This morning I videod my exercising, dancing, and then layered so many filters on the footage Final Cut Express says it'll take 4 days to render a 12 minute section! I'm currently trying to circumnavigate that by saving to QuickTime, but that's a 20 hour process! Oy ya. These stills may be all that there is to show of my afternoon's work. Let's just say, three years later, not naked.

It was a memorable night, perhaps our best, but our last. I’ve kept the empty bottle of champagne on my shelf since then, knowing I had to write about it. In the Winter I received a letter from his other lover and then we discovered each other, though I had ended my relationship with him not long after the evening I write of here. This is a section from a much longer prosepoem.

This prosepoem piece was written for Big Tent Poetry's May 28th poetry prompt: aphrodisiac.

You can read the response of some Big Tent contributers and readers here: Rubies In Crystal at WordPress.

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