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Difficult Memories

This is going to be hard. He won't divorce me, though we separated 14 years ago and he has been living Common Law with another woman for 13 years. I've been browsing my old journals that I brought out of storage recently. Yesterday I posted a 'found' poem from lines and images found in some journals from 1980. The ones I have been dipping into tonight are harder. A thesis I didn't finish. The death of my beloved father. Marriage, perhaps out of desperation, perhaps out of a strange love, who knows anymore. It's not as if none of this happened before we were married.

Friday, August 30, 1985.

10:55am

For the first time I watched one of B's violent episodes manifest.

Last weekend, when he was changing the kitty litter in the basement washroom, he accidentally knocked one of the 'arms' on the toilet roll holder. With sharp anger he suddenly kicked the whole thing, tearing it off the wall. I said, "You idiot," and got out of the way fast. At dinner on Monday, he told me about telling the bear story [from a camping trip] to a man at work,  and how he thumped his desk suddenly with his hands --womp!-- at the moment of his telling about hearing the bear and how that man jumped. I did, too, as he mimetically smashed the table we were sitting at, making it jump. Visiting C and S, they were relating C's problems with S's grandfather visiting from England in that he excluded C from family photos because he wasn't of the "D's [family's] line." B said, "I would tell him to FUCK OFF," as he suddenly punched the air with  a force that would have knocked anyone cold had they been the recipient of it. C and S were noticeably, but momentarily, alarmed at B's violent motion. Last night B and I were haggling over household bills as we entered the last 10 months' collection on SuperCalc. At one point, he flung a binder of mine with a calculator in it on the floor, causing all the contents, even those in small pockets to fly out. I grabbed it and lightly tapped him for doing that so needlessly. Oh boy. He stood up on the couch and began punching me, my chest, my arm. I started shouting, "You have no control! Stop it!!" while fending off his blows. He shouted that he hated me. I continued, "Just because you feel weak and powerless sometimes do you think that beating up your wife is going to make you feel stronger?!"

"You bitch," he frothed, still punching me.

"How can you do this to the woman you love?" I shouted as I tried to defend myself. "Alright!" I stopped, "If you want to beat me up, go ahead and do it!!" Without an opponent, he subsided. He doesn't like the image of himself as a wife-beater. Ever since I began using this tactic it has invariably diffused his violence. I don't get nearly so bruised or bloodied, which is a relief, because if I don't somehow diffuse his attacks they are terrible. He has no in-built mechanism for controlling himself.

Afterward I just cried and cried. He refused to talk about what had just happened, but did 'make up.' I sent him off to buy cigarettes and continued crying, feeling sorry for myself, wondering how I had ever gotten into such a relationship.

There's more, of course... many paragraphs. Then, at 3:00pm that day I wrote:

How I dislike writing about these fights. Who wants to commit this sort of thing to paper? I hate myself for doing it -- what if someone were to inadvertently read what I write here.... I do it because I'm confused by these extremes, these violent episodes, and... try to understand. I can't talk about what goes on to anyone.
_

Why did I feel I had to hide what was going on from everyone? Why was I ashamed? He blamed me for his anger. Perhaps I was trying to heal him; perhaps I didn't believe in my own worth. It is now 26 years later, and still I struggle to speak.


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La Luna: a draft of the poem

A poem I composed from lines found in three of my tightly written, packed journals from 1980. I may or may not use it as the voiceover poem in the video of the crazy moon I'm playing with presently.

La Luna

razors of lightning press my eyelids
your white love, the pearl shell seas
the sky peels back like a scroll
you are mine, unsplitted, fleshless

cornucopias, hot-bed undersea growths of things
joined to other things in sections, in shell lines

mad shadows. my blood is full of alcohol

memory is internally roused, without evasion

I open the door to your shadowed face, dark hair, beard-
those fluid sea-algae, jade-green eyes
do they absorb or reflect light?

light is a tumbling ball
the moon is a lunatic
there is a lady on the telegraph pole

each man or woman who enters has to leave
their personality behind like tossed clothes

pastel lightning crosses the sky
the moon is a fetish
a fat, marshmallow moon
the moon contemplates itself
a blood moon

words are a wash of waves;
waves of a ceaseless alphabet

my throat is a silent, howling hyena
the illness of passion

I've been caught

where is the land; where is the vessel?

lapped wind and frothed cloud
mutant moon
- a glowing field of electrical fabric -

vision is dangerous

this fragile moon letter of white light

the white imagination that you have to travel
through the prism to get to

when I'm in love I'm outside of what
I'm inside of the rest of the time



I follow the moon
am nothing but motion
...............following
streets marked by lights
as round as moons

am nothing
but shadows of light

as the moonlight
careens drunkenly in the sky

shrouds hide me
while the moon dances

a hallucinated ball

of white wind

shorn of darkness
dance naked night
my eyes flutter
in the tops of trees

spirits gather and flee

you have gone



direct link: La Luna

Music by Arnold Wohler, 'Larghetto espressivo' from his album, "Quintett für Flöte, Geige, Gitarre, Klavier und Cello in 5 Sätzen."

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La Luna -no poem, draft videopoem-


direct link: La Luna -no poem

Last night I went out and videoed the full moon for a different video poem (Wear White Paint for the Moon), and I got some nice footage for that project. This little clip was, oh, enticing. I've played with it a bit. I think including the text in the video this time, and perhaps a voiceover, or not, I don't know. The up close might be a bit hard to watch, yet I could put words in those sections, or filter it somehow. I like that it's really only clearly the moon in the last few frames.

May not even call this La Luna. Haven't written the poem yet, but many notes surround me, old journals, my current Moleskine notebook, scribbles, thoughts...

Music by Arnold Wohler, 'Larghetto espressivo' from his album, "Quintett für Flöte, Geige, Gitarre, Klavier und Cello in 5 Sätzen."

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Wind Over Grass



Wind Over Grass, 2009, 14"x10.5", 35.5cmx26.5cm, India ink (with a dip pen), and oils (paint and pastel) on a primed canvas sheet. I based a larger painting on this, which is included in the photo album, Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass.

The figures in this drawing were originally from a drop-in life drawing session in 2005! After some years I transferred the sketch to a small primed canvas sheet. Then lines of bright oil paint, which I rubbed out to a pastel hue. That hung on a wall in the hall for a few years. Yesterday I grabbed it, deciding I couldn't stand seeing it anymore, and if I wrecked it, the garbage would be fine. Wetted water-soluble oil pastels, clumsier than brushes, but colour-bright, follow those lines of force, curves of bodies and landscape. Then my dip pen, old trusty pen, and a bottle of permanent India ink. No going back! No rubbing out! Don't spill the ink! I move it around my crowded desk, trying to keep an envelope under it, scratching lines in, over and over, a wind of lines flowing. I am in a trance almost, another state of consciousness, more primal, less 'thought'-ful, empty, an energy of muted frenzy emerging from the pen tip. I am not-me. I pass the point of no return. Then stop. I'm happier with the drawing, in the flush of finishing, but who knows?

Contact dance - the points of tension in the parts of your bodies that touch, and the flow of energy so that you know where the motion, the flow, your combined flow, is going. It is about the touch, and the space between you, and the flow of intuitive movement. Wind Over Grass is an exercise where one person stands as a blade of grass and the other runs to them as wind and gently touches them, anywhere on their body, touching lightly with any part of their body, the side of the palm, chin, back of the shoulder. The grass bends, sways, curves. Then stands upright as again the wind sweeps in again.

When we practice Wind Over Grass, our bodies become part of the landscape. Two years after I last worked on this drawing, it didn't hit the garbage, but is back on the wall in the hall. Hopefully, with lines of telluric energy finally moving.

All the previous drawings are here, as well as a painting that I began, but haven't finished, that's sitting on another wall (le sigh): Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass.


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Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the willingness to accept the truth of each moment.

Moments are dangerous, painful, delirious, filled with satiation. Many moments are dreamy; in some you are zoned out, or sometimes protective. How many tired moments do we have? Then, immersed in activity or asleep we forget about the moments.

Awareness is mindful. Of the dangers, the pleasures: where you will be enticed, or flattered, or hurt; where the simplicity of joy is. Mindfulness is not a garment of light you wear in the world that keeps you connected to infinity no matter what. Rather, mindfulness is not stepping on that land mine. Mindfulness is loving the moment in its brusque complexities. And believing in ultimate benevolence, yes.

Mindfulness is speeding at 200/mph acutely aware of every bump in the road and exactly where the other drivers are. Mindfulness is closing your eyes in the underground and knowing where the other passengers are sitting, what they are wearing, whether they are watching others or drifting in their own dreamy worlds. Mindfulness is copy editing your awareness of the moments you live as you live them.

We are mirrors reflecting the world in our inner landscapes.

We are cameras taking a perpetual film of our lives.

We are directors who edit that film into memories. The themes of the film can change, of course, and then the angles and lighting on the memories changes and shifts as they become part of an expanded design, or sometimes a new one.

Mindfulness is adapting to change. An agility of awareness. Recognizing patterns and where the deviations occur.

Of course, being open to love, loving fully.




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The straw that broke the camel's back?

I think the British government is learning that you can't just cut social programs for the poor so that the rest of the populace can maintain their --- lifestyles. Will the riots be a wake-up call? For ethical fiscal management.

Surely the cost of clean-up/rebuilding, over-time for an extended police force, riot-control gear, ammunition etc., and jail and court (for who knows how many when the final count is in after witch hunts through Facebook photos and whatnot) will out weigh the costs of those programs that were rudely cut for those at the bottom of the economic scale.

There is obviously some power in the anger of the downtrodden. Too bad it's anarchy. Britain right now is almost in a situation of civil war - between unemployed youth and an employed middle class. (The upper classes are probably all vacationing out of the country.)

I'm not saying I support the riots, not at all, and I'd be one of those mothers yelling at the kids smashing and burning and stealing, but I surely don't support the fiscal decisions of the government cutting funding to centres and programs for these young people either.

The straw that broke the camel's back?


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Marriage Separation Ritual




Five-pointed mandala star with inscribed symbols, 1997, found in a journal, probably watercolour pencil, markers and acrylics, though I don't know for sure, and small, 10.5cm x 16cm, 6" x 6.25"

Here is the entry that follows the image in my journal:

April 26, 1997

We legally separated on Thursday, April 24th during a "Separation Ritual" at my house with a number of friends (John, Janet, Chris, Sally, Anne, Ingrid, Theo). John and Janet, who were our witnesses at our marriage, also witnessed our separation.

It was quite lovely. We began with group drumming, as well as rattles and bells. The drumming was a means to creating a sacred space, clearing the day we'd had, getting in touch with our underlying rhythms, creating a group bond.

Then we sat in a circle and I talked about how we were commemorating the completion of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. That Brian and I had known each other since 1974, for 23 years, that we were friends long before our 3 years of living together, and our 12 years of marriage, that our relationship was not ending but only transforming as we begin a new phase.

I said that I felt that the theme we were working with was one of forgiveness and release.

And I offered Brian some gifts of the heart:
  • self-renewal
  • self-confidence
  • inner strength
  • fun money
I also said that I wished to honour each other as parents of the two beautiful children we share.

He thanked me for each gift, affirmed our need to keep things clear, and offered me some gifts:
  • self-worth
  • stability
  • success
  • integration of life and spiritual path
  • happiness

Then we signed the Separation Agreement, marking the point between our past relationship and our future one. Our witnesses signed each copy.

After we had spoken and finalized the legal agreement, each person in the circle (with one exception, a person who remained silent throughout) offered us a blessing.

Afterwards we drank wine and ate h'ordeuvres, enjoying the gathering of our gentle friends.


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Fluid Dreams in Green


'Fluid Dreams in Green, trying to break free. Rising.' 21cm x 29.5cm, 8.25" x 11.5", India and acrylic inks, oil pastels, acrylic, Molseskine Folio Sketchbook A4.

The pencilled in words: The woman who is trapped, trying to break free. Rising.

The scanner's light tends to wash out the dark colours, and for some reason, makes everything more yellow than it is. This time I used a blue filter at 25% and, with some adjustments to mid-tone contrast and deepening the shadows, it seems to have worked.

Am I happy with this painted ink drawing? Uh, I find it quite hard to look at - but then, after I get used to what happened with the inks and paints on the paper, I begin to. People like pretty, they like sublime, not a woman rising as if out of a forest floor of mulch, slime. Yet, despite my painterly difficulties with its not being polished, and my hesitation and then determination to leave it raw, I understand the psychic process. This morning, for the first time in months, I felt refreshed, and there was a welcome torrential cloud-bursting rain storming the windows too.

The thought came that perhaps I should try and do one drawing/painting every day for a week, but carving out of my imagination one of these Moleskine Folio pages takes everything out of me.

I don't know if I'd have the emotional stamina to work on this excruciating excavation every day.


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Variations on a Ghost Theme

moon light from the window seeps around the ghost envelops it in a milky aura folds into its body as it glides through walls in a cowl of ghosts, I would twirl in slow motion around their twirling pirouettes their disconnected hands and feet dangling from bodies that radiate a white gauze of light, the fingernails of silver scratches that graze the furniture hovering in the air of our mutual dreams
_

Dave wrote a ghost poem, and then it became a prompt for a gang of ghost poems in the comments: If there were such things as ghosts

I'm joining the Ganga line with this ghostly poem. [thinking of the Hindu Goddess Gaṅgā who reincarnated as the Ganges River.]


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"Prose Services"


A woman with an old Olivetti
on the street corner. Brunswick and Bloor, across from
Future Bakery. She wore a floral dress of orange and
pink flowers on black. I wasn't sure she was real,
her sign read, "Prose Services." A man had
paid, and she was typing.

Surely a prose poem with the heat of the city's
pavement coiling in tendrils of green ivy, sweat
dampening the pulse points under her dress. Her
hair, red and swept back like Lucille Ball's, her lips full
and dark as an espionage spy.

What can a writer offer passersby for a few
coins in the cap?

I almost asked to take a picture of her clacking
away on the old typewriter keys, but thought she'd
charge me, demand toll from the faint
woman disappearing into the moon
hanging in half
over the alley. Home  Green Fire  Different, yet Same  Soirée of Poetry  Videopoetry  Celestial Dancers  Photopoems  Birthdance  Bliss Queen  Bio  Life Drawings  Earth Rising  Creative Process  Multiplicities  Links  Comments
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