A working printer, so editing...

After She added salt..., which was problematic obviously, this, which comes before On the edge of, which wasn't, and which I posted way last year. I have a working printer finally, am editing, but not in any order; since it's all I'm really writing these days, I'm posting little bits...

This is a piece on, hmnn, security, but it's poetic, so what I consider "the glue," connective images running through the whole book; She added salt... and On the edge of I think of "as bones."


Is feeling safe in your domain security? Protecting your assets, information, property, who you are? She is without domain. Skinless, visceral wandering. Every abode temporary, a borrowed shell.

Without firewall, dam, divider, enclosure, screen, buffer, barricade. Nowhere to hide. The parchments of her words peeled back, shorn of the sheaths of a fragmented grammatology.

Exfoliate. She is peeled, pared, scraped, sloughed. Shorn of her home, its belongings, the collection of a lifetime.

To bruise, cut or injure the skin of.

The petals of the rose, like dried fragments of blood she carries with her.

Living life in uncertainty; in reality, not philosophically. On edges, where nothingness is, a fall into the irredeemable. Shouldn't the irredeemable be a footnote, the never-realized fear, the 'what happens to other people,' never oneself?

Bleeding, a release of. Sloughing. Shedding the impotency of harm.

A woman without armour, a shell, accoutrements, can disappear quickly.

The weight of things so very important.

Comments (3)

The last post, on Core Values

I am surprised that my last post garnered not one comment. My site meter showed a healthy number of readers. I wonder what the problem was? And I wonder if I should consider it for the upcoming conference on the ethics of care; I worry, as ever. Writing always has to be poised, somewhere where it doesn't slip over the edge nor is too cliched, conventional.

Of the last piece, I could say, 'You can take the woman out of the Third World, but you can't take the Third World out of the woman."

Although it takes place in this culture, perhaps it's too alien to this culture? Too Africa or India or South American or ...

In that piece I aligned with probably 70% of the mothers of the world. Who do live in poverty, who do hold their families together in often impoverished conditions, who have a strength beyond reckoning if you really think about it.

I'd still like some comments, a discussion of any sort, encouragement, criticism, attack, it doesn't matter. Silence is the hardest of all. What does the silence mean?

Really bad writing? Way too whatever? Someone tell me!
Comments (2)

She added salt...

This is a later section from my story, The Move, and any criticism or feedback is appreciated. I want to submit it to a conference on Carework and Caregiving: Theory and Practice (deadline March 1st), but find it onerous, or perhaps I am fatigued with it. Some other responses, or readings of it, would help enormously. And give me a way to introduce it...

She added salt to a bag of trail mix in the bulk foods store before sitting down with a coffee at a table to write. The colours of the street had became fainter and her step less sure on the wavering sidewalk, and she had sat on a bench until everything recombined. The doctor recommended eating something salty and drinking if this happened.

In the past few days she had eaten little and her stomach hurt from the lunch of minestrone soup and a pumpernickel bagel that her friend had served; this small bag of nuts, seeds and raisons seemed excessive. But she continued nibbling. She had lost too much blood over the past week.

Surely it was only perimenopausal bleeding. In the heat wave, on the weakest day, she'd gone out to find a drop-in clinic, walking slowly along the main street, resting frequently. Those she asked looked at her strangely. That day she did not have bus fare to go across town and knew she couldn't walk the distance. With such impossibilities thrown at her, she decided to forget medical help until she had moved and was settled. The woman she was staying with had become crazy with frequent and protracted hysterics over imagined infractions. Every few days, or oftener, she exploded with paranoia and accusations. Only when the woman smoked up was there peace in the house.

She sat at a table in the small cafe and considered her options. The situation where she was living was not good. It had been a mistake, but she wasn't trapped, soon she would find another home. In the interim she tried to stay balanced in her heart, stable in the inner alter of her mind. She was flying a migratory route, on the way from somewhere to somewhere, the general direction known, but not the details of the landing. She bled along the way. That's how it was.

She had lost over a litre of blood in three days; she had counted how many times a day her diva cup needed emptying, calculating the amount. She was anaemic. She didn't care if it might be cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, or a thyroid problem. She hadn't a place to call home, hadn't transferred her health coverage when she'd moved, and who would look after her child and cat if she had to go for tests? It was better to leave medical procedures alone. She took iron pills from the small supply she had, ate when she could, and in meditation focussed on healing the tearing in her tumultuous womb.

"You look pale and tired," Cheryl said when she arrived earlier in the afternoon for a visit. "I'm probably perimenopausal. A very heavy cycle, flooding. But then I'm a bleeder- bled a lot after my first birth. Coming to the end..." she smiled wanly. The two women nodded: the female body, with its life-giving powers, was also a body that bled monthly, and went into hyper-drive when the fertile years were drawing to a close. "Only I didn't expect it to be so physically taxing! It's like the early post-partum bleeding, just after giving birth. A final dramatic flourish before it stops for good." Cheryl smiled, "There are herbs that might help, and homeopathic remedies." "Yams are good," she concurred, "I don't have hot flashes, at least. That must be so hard."

She entered the cool house. Cheryl brought out two glasses of carrot and papaya juice and they sat on the couch catching up with the events of years when she was away, their children's schooling, problems with their ex's, the jobs both of them had had and the employment they were looking for, and their spirituality, meditation, yoga and how they were handling life. They were comfortable together, both knowing the struggles of single mothers. They both believed in the miraculous, too. Often, on the edge of unutterable loss, a threat of deprivation, where she was now, a reprieve occurred that made them both trusting of the beneficence of life. If you were open to survival, to maintaining a stable course, and stayed loving in your heart, generous in ways that count, things worked out. The tornados narrowly missed you; the hurricanes didn't destroy your plot; there were no major break-ins or fires or other calamities. If your inner emotional terrain was stable, so was your outer one. You could fast undo your fragile world by giving into despair or anger. Blaming would destroy the network of support around you, cause a collapse as you were abandoned.

Despite their employment worries, her heavy bleeding and its accompanying weakness, the way key people in their lives treated them, they agreed it was crucial to remain loving, optimistic stable emotional forces in the network of relationships they lived in. They were strong women. They could smile everyday even though they lived below the poverty line. Women like them didn't crumble easily. Despair was a luxury they couldn't afford.

For a moment, during their conversation, feeling the desperations they spoke of, the difficulties, she felt connected to millions of women over the globe who struggle with poverty, grief, racism, violence, but who keep going. Women who are the emotional centres for their families, who are anchors, who place food on the table miraculously out of almost nothing, who dress their children, their spouses, themselves somehow, who clean and maintain their homes, who work for menial wages, where they are essentially labourers, who never allow themselves to succumb to madness, or drugs, or a furious destruction of the world around them, who keep loving their families in profound ways. They grieve, yes, there is sadness, but they have hearts of compassion. It was here that she felt a bond with the strength of women throughout the ages. She knew she was alive, living in her generation, carrying the flame of continuous love through the marathon that history is, only because her foremothers had also carried it and passed it on. If mothering is a stable, conservative force, if that's what happens to women as they take on the responsibility and role of motherhood, then she was grateful for it. This was where there was meaning, the staying-with-it through everything, the power to endure, to continue.

She rose, feeling the light flooding in the window of the store like an illumination, and stepped into the steaming heat, inhaling the humidity, letting it loosen her, as she made her way to pick up groceries before walking across the park to where she temporarily lived, celebrating the loving core, its continuance.
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The Move, Section #59 (An aesthetic of intimacy)

When you are making love to the light rippling in the window, the alter of streaming candles and precious leaves on the silk mat, the colour and movement and sensuality of the dancers around you.

When you are making love to the man or woman of your heart, dreaming your God or Goddess.

When you no longer care how you appear, when you've forgotten yourself, when you hold nothing back, unrestrained, and give everything, your entire passion -pain, suffering, anger, compassion, joy, love- to us.

This has become my theory of art.

An aesthetic of intimacy.
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The Move, Section #80 (on miracles)

When I post a section I have to work on it, which is good, and so is feedback. Much of "The Move," an autobiographical novella, is about synchronicity. Creating new patterns and connections. Unfolding previously unknown paradigms into new realities, to be superceded by yet newer paradigms in the process of a life...

Section #80

She continued probing how what she needed, an apartment, furniture, kitchenware, appeared seemingly miraculously. She was like a magnet. Attributing it to divine intervention was just a form of metaphor to explain it; angelic beings weren't carrying items to her. Anymore than the way any church, synagogue or mosque attempted to co-opt the process of miracle to justify their version of godhead. No-one can claim ownership of this process. What religions attribute miracle to, the stories they create to explain what is unexplainable, because it can't be willfully recreated, are just metaphors for the process, a way to explain the way to.

She had her own metaphors, ones not relying on a moralistic theology. She likened eruptions of the miraculous to an alchemical process. That the deeper work was at the atomic level. Where the vibrating energy flies to form molecules which form things. Before gravity binds them. Once they are bound, they remain that way until the forces of chaos and entrophy break them down. After the molecules fly and before gravity fully solidifies was when it was possible to shift the making of the world into new forms, models, paradigms. Where it was possible to wish a future into being and have it happen.

Where miracles happened.
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How do we think.

Do we know how to think? That's not as crazy a question as it seems. It started this morning with my wondering why we become entrapped in stories that we take to be reality. Like the Bible, or Koran, or the Tao te Ching, or the Mahabharata. These books are holy books, yes, and at the core of their culture's belief systems, but they are only stories. Stories that tell us how about the meaning of the world, how to act in it, and how to think. Because our thoughts are where we are most puzzled. The rest is easy, eating, sleeping, making love, working. Yet our thoughts affect our day-to-day reality and shape who we are and what we do. They are crucially important to our self-identities. Our thoughts compose us and compose our view of the world around us. But the ability to do this is a relatively new creation, entirely dependent on a 2mm layer on top of the cerebral hemispheres, the neopallium (Latin for "new mantle"), or neocortext as it is more commonly called, only about 200 million years old. This tiny layer, which is wrinkled into deep grooves in humans, thus packing in the neouronal columns, composed of some 10 billion neurons, is responsible for "sensory perception, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning, and in humans, language and conscious thought."

It is the language and conscious thought part that I am musing on. It seems to me that our thoughts are a giddy, wild place, composed of giddy, wild language bits, and that, to tame the inner riots, we create stories that tell us how to think. Because we don't know on our own. We are all busy searching for 'states of consciousness' that will enable us to exist peacefully with the rampant energies of the synaptic connections in our modern brains. Afterall, we're not just thinkers, but conscious of our thinking. And being 'self-conscious' is one of the most difficult states to be in.

Is that why we believe the powerful stories of our culture? Why we take them to be accurate versions of the truth? Because it settles our thoughts, having a specific set of ideas to work with, a certain way to think?

This post is only about some questions I had preparing an omlette for my son, who is visiting for a few days.

Did the omellete curve and bellow like a neopallium? I can't say, but perhaps.
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Falling... a story about nothing.

Usually denying myself food and drink after 6pm because I don't sleep well and if I wake to go to the bathroom in the night, I'm awake for hours. Do I remember that my blood pressure is on the low side, and plummets if I'm dehydrated or hungry? Which I am every morning as I rise, make coffee, let our dog out, wake my daughter.

Walking into her darkened room in my long dressing gown, I step on a winter boot, the hem of my dressing gown catching under my foot as it slides, caught on the mid-calf length faux sheepskin. The bog of materials pivots me. I can't rebalance myself, my foot trapped by the gown and the boot, neither relinquishing their hold. I'm lightheaded anyway. I fall straight back like an ironing board.

I try to bend in mid-air, to allow my rump to take what's coming, but can't manoever my body. I fall onto soft carpet, inches away from a wooden chair, on the back of my head, which I'm trying to tuck in for protection.

After impact, I roll on my side in a curled position and cry, oh so melodramatic but a way to release the shock of the fall. My daughter, who usually takes half an hour to wake up, leaps out of bed to hug me and help me up. I'm fine, feel no pain, didn't lose consciousness, no concussion.

The headache begins towards bedtime. I'd forgotten about falling but had spent a listless day of little substance feeling grey. Today it is like a fire simmering in my upper back, shoulders, back of my head. There is some minor bruising, that's all...
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Canvas of light

Click on the photo to go to flikr to see the slideshow of the photographs my 15 year old daughter took of her 53 year old mother that night, or the sidebar of Rubies in Crystal for a flikr montage of photos ...

A Canvas of Light

Moving across the canvas, shadows. In the lights once I counted five shadows, some short and close, others long and stretching far. Did that mean I existed? How do photons spin around us and collide into the wall leaving a dark imprint of our shape? Are our obscure lives the canvas that catches us? I dance through the hours of my days, sitting, walking, sleeping, eating, talking. Breath is a dance. Displacing the air, sending the light spinning around us, the impulse of our thoughts flinging ideas into being through our bodies. Is a dance. You at the computer screen with your dancing fingers on the keys playing music for me who reads you. A grammar of light flies off into incandescence, shadowing, spotlighting, a flux that captures us, moments burnt into negative space, where it's empty, in the vastness of dark energy between the luminescences. Give me a moment, this pensiveness, before I turn and gaze upon you, love.

(the "you" in all my pieces is always the reader, you, my unbidden, golden muse, without whom I would write nothing.)
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How a woman.

(Sat: With Blogger down again what was I to do but tinker with this? The first paragraph slightly revised (sorry to upload it again to those of you with feeds! Like the 9th time?)

Fri: How hilarious!- Blogger's been acting up this evening, giving error messages, refusing to open sites, and now that it's working again I discovered eight copies of this post!
And 8 copies have been duly emailed to me!)

She looks in the mirror, pushes her hair back, curves her back slightly, smiles. The nightdress is dropped on the floor as towels are laid close by. She turns on the bath tap, feels the spray, steps in. The warm waterfall falls on her back and neck and shoulders and soaks her hair; flicking open the shampoo that smells like a meadow of alpine flowers, she pours honey-coloured liquid into her cupped palm, rubs it between both hands and sweeps them into her hair bringing a lather. With the tips of her fingers, she rubs her scalp until it tingles. Arcing her head back, the water runs through her hair until it is free of soap, and then she begins again. After the final rinse she squeezes the excess water out, applies a conditioner and gently pulls a wide-toothed comb through as she unentangles it. Then she wets a facecloth and rubs it over a bar of soap until it becomes soapy, and begins massaging her body. She strokes her feet, undersides and tops, up the curve of the calf, around the knees, up her thighs, across her belly. She gently soaps her pubic hair, but never any lower; the vulva is sensitive. With her fingers, never the washcloth, she soaps the crack of her bum. She massages her breasts with the facecloth, under her arms, down each arm, and finally around her neck. Slipping the shower head out of its socket, she rinses her legs, arms, chest, breasts, belly, back, she gently pulls apart her cheeks and rinses her anus, and then holds the nozzle between her legs, letting the water dance off her labia; the water is warm, the droplets enliven her skin, the soap runs into the tub and down the drain. She holds the warm spray against one underarm and then the other, finding the gentle pounding of the water sweetly erotic, and she thinks of the body's erogenous zones. Today she is meeting her lover, and she is preparing herself.

Turning off the water, she opens the shower curtain, reaches for a towel to wrap her hair in, and then the large bath towel and dries herself slowly. She ties the towel around her breasts and hips and steps onto the tiled floor. Wiping the mirror, she sees a vague form in the steamed glass and with a comb parts her hair. She squeezes some conditioner into her palms and rubs it through her wet hair. Later she will put on matching lace panties and a bra, a tight top and jeans, and a small amount of make-up, concentrating most on the mouth, outlining the lips, applying a pencil, then lipstick, then gloss. She thinks of him the whole while. She sprays perfume between her breasts and behind each ear. She can hear him whispering to her.

The heat in her body already growing. She allows it to flame. The sensations warmly spreading through her in expectancy always amaze her. They are generated only by the thought of what is to come, the pleasures in the hours ahead. Sometimes she is so aroused that she has orgasms, little ones, as she walks to meet him. By the time they collide, kiss, fall into each other, undress each other, she is a heaving, sighing, moaning woman who is fully open and comes before he enters her and continues the crescendos with him thrusting deeply into her.

This is how a woman gets ready to meet her lover...
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White Fire

Old projects that you didn't finish and feel guilty about? Ah, I know those. Some of them won't let you alone, though. Like White Fire. Blogs are always new, none of us want to read stuff from years past, so I've posted the beginning of this epic prose poem at my website. And I hope, by doing so, that that act triggers me to get back on it. I need to stop looking at it as a massive research project (which it is) and as something tiny and possible (which it is in incremental bits).

White Fire
began in 2000. I wrote about 6 pages, which I read on a poetry show on a local radio station. It almost became a performance in 2001 too, with a troupe of a dozen disparate singers and dancers, but that's another story (that I'll obviously have to tell if I get back to the work).

It's an epic prose poem on the history of love in our culture. Ostensibly, that is, we'll see.

It's theme is a discussion on whether 'soul mates' exist. I personally don't believe in 'eternal' soul mates, only that your soul mate is whoever you're in love with, no more than that. But the question of love, ah.......
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