The one who is dying lies in the hospital bed upstairs, unable to speak. The oxygen mask; the breathing tube.

The other one sits at the table at the end of the cafeteria by the window that looks out on the parking lot and the trees of the ravine and writes.

Canada geese walk carefully on the wet gravel, drink at the grey puddle, or stay under the pine trees out of the rain.

Upstairs the family drama unfolds. They don't expect her to live the week. It was all very sudden, this illness, this immanent death.

Those who know she is downstairs pretend she isn't. They think the old and beloved woman would have forgotten. They want to protect everyone. They are lonely, sad.

But she hasn't forgotten. Nearly breathless, the morphine dulling her consciousness.

The rain drums in the puddles.

The sprinkler is ridiculously on, a constant gush of water as high as the trees.

Sprays of water accompany the cars on the bridge passing by.

She waits.

Perhaps what needs to happen will be understood. Perhaps there will be courage through fear.

Before the end there was a chance, but no-one listened.

She waited at the window at the back, but was not called. Absolution never happened.

The Canada geese rise and fly in formation over the weeping willow trees.
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Toronto Street Performance: Leonard Cohen Live

(click on image for larger size)

Leonard Cohen and Anjani at an outdoor concert at Indigo Books in Toronto on May 13th to promote his new book of poetry, Book of Longing, and her jazz CD, Blue Alert, of songs they co-wrote (or perhaps co-arranged, really they're his poems) and that he produced. The Barenaked Ladies were there, and singer Ron Sexsmith.

Leonard Cohen is 71 years old. It's the first book of poetry he's published in 13 years and is filled with his delightful line drawings. After the concert Heather Reisman, the owner of Indigo-Chapters, came out and told us Book of Longing had made it to number one on the bestseller list; the first time a book of poetry has been number one in Canada.

A few hundred people attended the event, and the rain held off until he had finished.

I did take some video with my digital camera, and tried to upload it to a couple of hosting sites without success, which is probably just as well since the quality is not very good. If you go to the Blue Alert website and browse, you'll find all the lyrics, and some video clips.

Her voice, magical, rich tones stacking, cascading, interplaying in her singing, her beauty, radiant; his presence, however, was the highlight. And he sang "So Long Marianne" from his heart, without holding anything back, and we were enthralled, swaying before the Zen master from the mountain, a poet-musician dearly beloved by the Canadian people.
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Mount Merapi

Can't we see why the ancients thought that a hell existed beneath the earth of fire and brimstone?

An angry underworld war lord belching flames for the unworthy.

Explosions of acrid smoke, flames shoot into the sky, darkness spreads over the land, rivers of redhot lava overflow, burning down the mountainside, searing villages, the world is ignited.

The heat cloud is growing, but, as of Monday morning, Merapi hasn't blown yet. Evacuations continue. Here's a news report.

They will come in the car. They will stop to pick you up. When you get into the car, they will be silent. There may be tears on their cheeks. They will let you know the barest facts. You must understand that they are numb, with shock, sadness, grief, anger. Perhaps there will be talk of logistics, how and when. These are the simple things, where we feel useful. You will sit in the car while it is driven the distance. If he is driving, his knuckles will be taut, white, on the steering wheel. He is already writing in his head what is happening, composing the elegy. He cannot fathom the split in his heart. This time it's real in a way that it never has been before. The one who I urge you to care for sits beside you, looks striken out on the grey highway, uncomprehending. The trip will be wordless. When they arrive home, they will all disappear, into other parts of the house, into their rooms, into the silence of their hearts, to wail, to struggle, to feel the deep heaving. My love is with you, know this.
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An Hour at Christie Pits Park in the Late Afternoon

Christie Pits is a ball park, with baseball, basketball, bocce, football, rugby and soccer fields, three small interlocking swimming pools, an ice rink, and a playground with a wading pool. It was the site of the worst race riot in Toronto's history in 1933. It's now nestled between Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, Little Ethiopia, and Seaton Village. It's one of the parks I take my dog to when I need to be alone to ponder on the meaning of. A block south is Bickford Park, an off-leash dog park with many frolicking canines for my Springer Spaniel to play with and hills or benches for me to ponder on the meaning of when I'm not chatting with other dog owners.

Yesterday's word sketch. I wished I'd had my camera with me, or more time to do a drawing. Today it's raining, natch.

I sat on a hill and wrote, in celebration of Spring, what I could see from my vantage point:

Green curve of hills, painted leaves across the sky, blowing, graceful. Soccer in the far field, the white ball rolling, figures in shorts running, kicking, the ball flying high. A row of young trees with pale green leaves beside the path of sand and pebbles that swings around the baseball diamond where a small group of men and women prepare for a game. Two black dogs chase balls their owners throw; the dogs aren't perfect retrievers and require pointing and verbal gesticulating. A group of young men, students perhaps, play an informal game of soccer on the grass nearby and I see the circular black patterns on the ball as it flies from foot to foot. Children are climbing and swinging and shouting in the playground in the distance as they do year after year. I sit in my baggiest comfortable jeans in a collapsible camping chair on a green heaving hill of birdsong watching my sociable dog romp between the other dog people and small groups lounging nearby before tearing up the hill and into the brush. The hill is already deep green with thick grass and a shawl of dandelions, yellow dancing soft pompoms, fluffy tufts, or empty waving stalks. There is an unending medley of voices, men's, women's, children's, the thud of the soccer ball, a baseball bat hitting the leather ball, the dim revving of small packs of traffic behind me, flowing according to traffic light patterns, a drone of distant planes in the sky and the whir of a traffic helicopter like a large dragon fly. It is Spring; the world has awakened and come out to play...
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Back, and back on track

ARM's Conference on Carework and Caregiving: Theory and Practice went very well. Professionals and academics from diverse fields gathered and presented papers and discussed the practice of carework from many angles. I'm still integrating much of what I learnt.

My daughter's been intensively working on a school project on our currently "one" computer - the iMac, which has never crashed nor come down with any viruses, and I managed to slip in to say hi. There was an excellent response to my two presentations, which is all leaving me wondering, once again, if I really do belong in academia. Oh, sigh...
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Do you have an iconography of intuitive images?

One of the problems with intuition is that it doesn't operate according to causal logic. The first two times I 'saw' "Gargoyle Man" (see yesterday's post, 'Lizard Man') I let events unfold with fascination. Is there a connection between "Gargoyle Man" and the break-ins? I would emphatically say yes. Whether, by 'seeing' the image thrown up by my intuition I was also in a position to 'shift' the unfolding of intentions and events is another question entirely.

'Lizard Man' is a little differently configured. A new twist. Something less human and more reptilian; less amenable to reason or understanding. He was also 'inside' rather than looking at the dwelling from 'outside.'

Do I believe in magic? Magical consciousness is one thing; magical thinking is another. An image like this, however, lends itself easily to magic. So I can throw unsplit prisms of white light around our little home. I can surround the figure in fury and banish him to the eternal nether-worlds. I can write about him in my blog and so exorcise him.

Or, like Mary says, I can lay out the welcome mat and invite him in to do his lizard thing.

It would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

Perhaps I hope by writing to break any causal chain, or any link between intention and action.

Now that's magical thinking. But, hey, magical images got me here in the first place, so they gotta help me get out of a place of potential danger too. :)

Patry, moving would be the solution, and that's what we most would like to do.

Thank you Sky- bars on the windows would help, but then we'd be sentencing ourselves to suffocation if there was a fire. The motion of our dog would set off any security system. But, hey, our dog is a security system herself! She wouldn't like 'Lizard Man,' I know she wouldn't. :)

Mary, yes, responding in an opposite way to what would be expected might turn the chain of intentions and actions awry. And, anyway, doesn't gnosis only occur because of transgression?

Jean, really and truly it's getting worse. Too many images crowd in these days. If they're negative in any way, they happen; likewise if they're positive. I'm not sure what that is, but I tremble before it, and try to maintain a consciousness of love, clarity, freedom, purity. Daily struggle, of course... :) Meditation helps.

My intuitive imagination has a iconography of images that apparently correlate to oncoming events... sometime I should do a post on them. As I get older I get better at reading the signs.

How about you?
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The 'Lizard Man.' What do we do with our intuitions?

During the half-light when waking up I saw a 'Gargoyle Man' staring at our cottage (years ago when I was still married and had a cottage). He was a greenish colour, sort of like a stage costume, half statue, half man, eyes fixed on the cottage, not on me as I imaginally attempted to be seen. I thought, oh, a representation of the "Green Man" from British Isles myth, and started researching stone gargoyles on churches and houses. That wasn't the meaning at all. No invitation by my subconscious for an archetypal jaunt. The cottage was broken into a few weeks later.

I saw a similar 'Gargoyle Man' standing in the back yard staring at our house in Vancouver. A few weeks later the house was broken into when my kids were home and I was at work. It was very stressful.

Not much was taken either time. The images of the 'Gargoyle Men' preceded the break-ins both times. The men in the images were boyish, Pan-like, mischievous, but not harmful. As with any break-in, though, I felt marked, violated. The burglars had been considering, watching.

This morning in that half-light, coming out of the wells of the light of my dreams, I saw, not a 'Gargoyle Man,' but a 'Lizard Man.' The same fixated stare at where I live. The same greenish colour. Only his body was actually a lizard's. We live in a basement, and there is a small array of insects down here that you'd find any place you lived close to nature (or the earth, as we are). So this 'Lizard Man' is somehow associated with that: the occasional potato bugs, ants, spiders. Something reptilian. Or I would assume. And less human than the 'Gargoyle Men.' Of course I'm worried!

Based on my previous intuitions, and this one was as strong, I'd say I'm due for another break-in. What I want to know is how to prevent what I see coming.

Having strong intuitions is one thing, knowing what to do is another. When I 'see' something like this it's like an archytypal 'stage set'; I can flit about, looking at the scene from many angles, but am powerless to enter it and change its script.

Each of the times it happened before, I couldn't. As the 'Gargoyle Men' were unaffected by my imaginal presence, so I didn't figure in the actual break-ins. But when you receive a 'warning' there must be some way to offset the possible series of actions that is about to take place?

I never took the 'visions' of the 'Gargoyle Men' seriously, and they had a connection to real life. Perhaps by writing about one of these images, it will change the outcome? If we live in a Quantum Mechanical world, that is.

What does a 'Lizard Man' mean?
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untitled love poem (see comments, suggestions welcome)


You rise out of flat stone
the shield
of your heart.
The moon crosses the sun.
Do we
become light
when we dream?

The folds of your corduroy
like ridges and hollows
furrows where the Spring runoff
sculpts a geology
in a landscape of tundra.

"passageways and connections that
happen deep within us when in relation
to another..." Nancy Otto

In our Klondike, cross and beams
hold the tunnels we dig through
to find the gold in each other,
rich veins tracing through the rock
like sunlight.


Spring is a tendril
of green;
the leaves a papery mass of veins unfolding.

Cliffs of grass by the old mine ripple
in the wind.

We are like those two trees
ancient, weathered, yet
our roots thoroughly

What is
is what holds us.

The deeper passageways
and connections.


I wear the crescent moon in my hair,
the cold northern air;
you are the sun buried in the land,
illumined from within.

The sharp edges
in each moment
bind us.

My Adoni, my Aholi,

even in this harsh typography
you are a landscape of love,
a cartography of desire.

┬ęBrenda Clews 2006
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Update on my life...

A few days ago, I spoke to the company that moved us from Vancouver to Toronto last year. Very good news. What I can afford the moving company will accept. Negotiations couldn't have gone better. Now my kids don't have to carry guilt over returning to TO (they did not want to stay in Vancouver, even for another year and even though I had a job), which is the only important thing, and the only real reason I'm picking up my burden of possessions and continuing on.

I just have to figure out housing, meaning more space, a lot more space than my daughter and I have at present, to move it all into in the next couple of months. Even if housing doesn't happen as soon as that, I'm still okay with the storage company and the monthly rental we agreed on (the original amount, not the $200./month they tacked on once my stuff got to their storage warehouse in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto).

Do I feel a sense of relief? Not really. More like I'm putting my heavy turtle shell back on and moving slowly ahead. That I can't just 'leave,' 'exit,' 'start over,' but have to continue on. It'll be nice to get my books back; I've missed them. And my clothes, oh yes. And my paintings - I'm not used to such bare walls as I have here. The family photographs. A dining room table. Stereo and TV. Kilim carpets. My Salton espresso/cappucino machine. Ah. And my yoga mat. My whole alter. Large desks. And bed. It's all nice to consider. Not necessary, as I know now, but nice. The comfort of my 17 year old sectional Italian leather couch from the Art Shoppe. The whole panoply unfolds. And my kids are happy that I've decided to reverse the loss, prevent it from happening, and to land, to stay.

Not there quite yet, but I'll figure it out. Along with some magic. For it's always ultimately about magic, isn't it.
Comments (3)
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