Image

An Ice-Storm in April

Pellets of snow ice fall on the roof tiles sticking to them in gullies, bands, slats. The tiles, buckled, laying over each other for the run-off. Wet, rough, sandpapery.

There are no legions of souls. Only empty air.

The rough peck of ice falling from the sky.

___

 brendaclews.com
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White Fire on Nik Beat's show in 2000



A reading of White Fire on CIUT FM in Toronto, 2000
on Nik Beat's show.


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Stills from "Green Goddess" Masque Videopoem

Last Spring I had wanted to make a video with the mask and the prose poem, but it didn't happen. The video poem is from a 4 min clip of the only usable footage from a shoot in High Park in Toronto yesterday with my daughter sorta on camera, well at a distance from the tripod, but she was affecting things.

It's not too long, 2:37min, and moves quite quickly, and, perhaps it's because I'm a little light-headed after the 18hr stint editing this video, but I find it quite funny, and so it's ok if the photos make you laugh a little too.

(Currently it's uploading to YouTube and Vimeo, but you never know exactly when things will appear. By tomorrow, I expect.)

No, she's not in it. People remain adamant about not appearing in my videos, and so I apologize, it's just me.

A 59 year old woman prancing in the woods? Oh, yes, you bet. Only one jogger about my age jogged by twice, and a fellow on a bike came rather close when I was changing out of my white strapless bra into my black lace one, and if he'd had any untoward thoughts he didn't reveal them (or I'd have smacked him wearing the masque - yes I would.)

Afterwards, on the hot, humid afternoon, we went to the subway and I realized it was rush-hour, when dogs aren't allowed on public transit. So my daughter took the gear underground to the train and my dog and I walked home about 5km, which was fine, except that though I was wearing flat black leather thongs they are not my my old brown hiking sandals and so have a few blisters.

All in the name of art! (Or craziness, sometimes it's hard to distinquish.)






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Dinosaur Book of Green Furor



direct link: The Dinosaur Book is Green Fury

And the dinosaur’s book is green fury.

Promethea's curls and flanks, her energy, combustible.
Promethea has been dancing on the 200 billion year old
dinosaur skull in the glass box that hangs on the wall
since the beginning. Petrescent, converting into stone,
from water. What isn't liquid suddenly flows.
Like lava. Boiling.

Ancient skull without skin, or legs, or beating organs.
Body without organs. The body whose. Stone. Whose
bones are petrified. In fine volcanic ash, for billions of
years. I can read pathways on your bones, a scored
map of the earth, embossed hieroglyphics. Your garrulous
breaking voice in the sparking dust of fireworks, like
millions of dancing fireflies, an exploding outwards.
Your carapace is prophecy, what bends time in on itself,
grounding. You are earth stilled to wisdom. Ancient,
shell of secret signs, messages from the eons.
Mesozoic creature. Who lived happily on the
banks of the stream that was blocked by volcanic mud
creating a 12 mile lake that lasted for another 80 million
years before volcanic eruptions buried it.

Where is your riverbank? Slow mulching of sweet
grasses, sipping freshest of fresh water, dear ancestor.
Another bit of corporeality in the drama that began billions
of years ago when we all, our possibility, came to be in
the expanding light and the fiery dust that settled
into our solar system, and into the earth, and into your
exoskeleton, with its oracular markings, star charts,
which is now rock, condensed history.

"I am writing it just behind the burning bush, by the light
of your blaze," says Hélène.1

And I see you, remembering the warm fertile lush land
of 200 million years ago, growing a body, organs beating,
a fury of blood, following Promethea across invisible
mountains, down hallucinated valleys, into the heart
of the volcano that continually explodes,
bursting you forth.


From Poem Paintings


__
A time-lapse art video: drawing in India inks in my beloved Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4; pulsing green kalaidoscope in the background; text of the poem moving slowly up the screen at a diagonal; and a voiceover poem. The world is a green furor of creativity - the green fire of life.

I shot the video with a Canon HF S100 and speeded up about 800%.

Twenty min of footage became a 2.5 minute video. A longer drawing would use a huge amount of space on the hard drive, and so, except for short films, I don't recommend this technique.

I edited the footage in Final Cut Express 4.0.1. Because of the camera angle, I rotated and cropped the sketch clip, and underneath added a layer of footage with a kaleidoscope filter, and also ran the text of the prosepoem over the paper at an angle, motion keyframing it, and changing the opacity from light to dark letters over the duration of the video.

I created the music in a cool program, the 'P22 Music Text Composition Generator (A free online music utility).' In this program, each letter has a sound. When you put text in, you can choose the BMP rate and instrument you'd like, and the program generates a midi file, with the sheet music. I layered my track in GarageBand 6.0.2 using different instruments, bmp, splicing and re-arranging.

Even the reading of the writing was speeded up, in Audacity 1.3.12, using the tempo filter.

From start to finish took about 12 hours, there were many layers, of image, text, and sound, each with filters, and I had to render a few times, which took hours, to see if what I had produced worked.

While this method for creating an art video works, my camera battery can only tape for 1½ hours, which is not long enough for most art projects.
__
This video poem was featured at Moving Poems, an "anthology of the best videopoems, filmpoems, animated poems, and other poetry videos from around the web" (check it out if you haven't already): http://movingpoems.com/2011/04/the-dinosaur-book-is-green-fire-by-brenda-clews/


__
Notes: 1Hélène Cixous' The Book of Promethea

Go to "The Book of Promethea (European Women Writers)" page
The Book of Promethea (University of Nebraska Press, 1991)
by Hélène Cixous, trans. Betsy Wing (quote used, p.23)


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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.




2:15pm.

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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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.




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



moon image from the daily bite
_
If you'd like to read about the process of this poem, I wrote a long post in the next entry. Go here.

If you'd like to download this recording, try here, though I think the link expires after 90 days: WearWhitePaintForTheMoon-320.mp3 (6.64 MB)[/url]


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A few Autumn images...

They look like small twigs branching off from sticks, not witch's fingers. Nor do they resemble black lace or a tangle of neuronal nerves. They are not like veins of capillaries though obviously part of the same evolutionary design. They teach us cadence, grace and survival.



Who could ever tire of the wind in the trees?
The wind blows leaves off the trees that are not already bare.



A day of snapping of inner winds, turbulences, furies,
but all subtly, hidden.



Glum takes hold, and I shake it off like dead leaves falling from trees.
Seedpods, broken leaf veins, dried stalks.



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If I Could Write


direct link: If I Could Write


for JP

What would I write if I
                         could
                  write?

I reach over continents
                               and
                                       oceans
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
                                     fold 
                         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.
Unexpectedly,
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.

                         Mirrors
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
oranges.


__
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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A Snow Globe

The landscape, a white squall while I walk through it. Snow thick as confetti. The Ice Queen married her King and the atmosphere swirled in celebration. My eyelids sting with windburn as their chariot rises into the north wind. After I found the street again it seemed the landscape between the hills had been shaken like a snow globe. Blue, blue sky, sunny, no wind.


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Survival of Beauty

The unseeded seed, unflowered flower, is without consequence, easy, undiscovered, resting in the future.

Quiet in the husk, shell, unrooted, unopened. Genius of possibility, profound. Before the strength of the tendril, what opens, reaches, sensitivity, the grounding, earth, nourishment of soil. Or the unfurling of promise into stalks and leaves and fragrant colour of soft petals fertilized by bees, the wind.

In the flowering, my hands beside my face, fronds, follow the sun from dawn to mid-day to dusk, twisting stalk to drink the light. At night the head of petals rests. Or it rains, cup of petals communing.

In the flower, survival of beauty.

In the flowering, nourishing fruit ripening the future.



Detail from The Lady and the Chimera, 2010.


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Comments (2)
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