Chatty Sundays...

Sunday Chats, that's what I should call these 'splices-of-life' posts that seem to occur on Sundays and that I find unendurable on one level, yet seem apropos for the lifewriting of the blogosphere.

Perhaps an index is in order?

The Contents therein...

On the disc thing in thine neck...
On the Grind & Brew (a sad story), and the Saeco™ (a happier story)...
On the SuzyShier™, Malabar™, Block™ shopping expedition...
On the contents of my freezer (don't ask)...
On the slightly surreal trip down Duncan Street...
On the olde King streecar...

The back of my neck and shoulder still extremely sore, since Friday night, I think it's the stuff between the discs that's been stretched, or squashed, or bruised: let's say stressed. Sharp pain alleviated by pressing hard with my fingertips on the offending spots. Not too bad now that I'm up, but I may have to forgo my afternoon at the beach, sob! My dog pulls hard on the leash, and then there's stuff to carry since I buy nothing there. Toronto has many beaches, the water beautiful.

And my beloved coffee maker died last night - I rinsed it with the hand-held shower in the bathtub and then stupidly ran it through a cycle. It must have been wet and short-circuited. Usually I do it the other way around, run it through a rinse cycle after the de-scaler and then rinse it out 3 or 4 times in the bath, and by the next morning it's well dry and working perfectly. One of my neighbour's said he can fix anything electrical, and I wonder if I can ask him?

I'd just go and get another one (Cuisinart™ Grind & Brew with a metal thermos carafe), they have them for half price at an electrical outlet store just around the corner, but I'm short this week since I bought my daughter a lovely grey pencil-style dress and a white shirt, and a teal one at half price for myself, because I had a $5.00 off coupon that had to be used, and then I get 10% for being a member (SuzyShier™). Then I had it in my mind to purchase a long-sleeved black leotard that I could wear under jackets at work and to dance in cooler weather, so I checked out Malabar's™ (a costume and dance-supply store) website and found some in the $20. range, okay, so I rushed out at lunch, up to Queen St., caught the streetcar, got off at McCaul's, an area in which I owned a house for 20 years, many memories, all my dance gear from that store over the years, and went through racks of leotards, not finding any of the ones advertised on the NET. But there it was, black lace 3/4 sleeves, a black nylon bodice cut on an angle so that the lace covers the top of the shoulders but tapers to the underarm, gathered a little at the bust so it's not the usual round cut but more of a "v" and not too low at the back, meaning I could take my jacket off at work when I get too hot. Oh, not what I was looking for but perfect, Block™ dancewear, nice, but more, naturally, and then, well there's food in the freezer, 2 bacon-wrapped Fillet Mignon's from St. Lawrence Market, a large pork chop, one slice of spinach and feta cheese and tomato pizza, a small stuffed chicken breast, oh and 2 eggs and 2 sausages, a few veggies in the fridge drawer, 2 bags of milk, orange juice, a litre of coffee cream, that'll get me through the week, just some fruit, cheese, organic dark chocolate and my seed and nut mixture (slivered almonds, walnut bits, salted sunflower seeds and tons of flax seeds, whole and ground), I have a full 18 litre bottle of spring water, lots of dog food, it'll be fine, only now my coffee maker's gone ping. I drink a lot of coffee and am armed with a stack of studies to back up my love of this black liquid gold and am devastated, literally. My Grind & Brew! Sob! Since I de-scaled my Saeco™ espresso/cappuccino machine yesterday too, and it is finally working after 2 years of non-use, I made a huge cappuccino for breakfast. I think I'll go and get one of those cheapy carafes that you pour boiling water through to get by this week until I either get the broken Grind & Brew fixed or purchase a new one. (Is there a metaphor for my life here?:)

The journey back to work from Malabar's was a little surreal. I had 20 minutes, and waited at least 5 and no sign of the Queen streetcar, so hurried down Duncan to King St. where the streetcars run more frequently. Firstly I stepped over the outstretched legs of a man sleeping upright on a concrete tree planter, his legs entirely taking up the sidewalk, his head against the spit of a tree, and then was stopped en-route by filming-in-progress. All pedestrians had to wait while a scene was being shot, a guy sitting on a director's chair on the other side, tons of huge lights all over the street, the great gray concrete blocks of the buildings are emblazoned on my mind, you could see the actor's make-up from where we were standing, mouthing the words of the script, which we were too far away to hear, and we couldn't slip by on the opposite side of the street due to the effect of shadow on the lights. I was impatiently waiting, and then a bright red fire engine roared up the street into the lights and sirened on and they stopped the shoot and let us through. Why I rush I don't know. At King the traffic was heavy, meaning faster to walk than take a streetcar, but I was tired, so waited, and arrived on time. I'm usually so frantic about time that I get back to work after only 50 or 55 minutes, and I'm not paid for the hour that is lunchtime, so I should have lots of time saved up, but it doesn't work that way, and who cares about such trivialities anyhow.

Why have I taken to posting such chatty things on Sundays? Splices of life, the ongoing daily stream. Often I come by and take them back down.

Forgive me, dear reader.


A recording (2:49min):

Voicings:Hi-speed, cable

voices, buzzing paths on the expanse we walk through, the dark, hoverings in the distance like our hidden thoughts, climbing the insides of our minds, echo chambers, repetitions, stress points, gasps, retreats, revolving around and around, circling,

spinach and feta cheese and pink salmon, sanpellegrino limonata, juices, absorbing, digesting, flowing to all cells, hollow drums, rain sticks beating on the inside, slipped discs, swollen tissue, torn hearts healing,

voices, fragments of conversations, hearing pathways, following lines of letters, words randomly interspersed, little collections of refuse, humming things, what's being said and what's being thought at variance, then laughter,

a music, endless conversations in all minds in all buildings, streets, films, televisions, computers, books, magazines and newspapers, sitting absorbing lying, string-theories of words accompany the activities of the world, thought flying through the words, fleshed words, graced words, like balls flying far beyond the baseball bats in the floodlit diamonds, and racing running billowing in the green grass blue sky up into outer space,

billions of constant conversations, without stopping, the telling, others, ourselves, reams, naked skin of words making love, a love of words, conceptualizations, significations, words that are concrete, actual, sensual, rolling, synaesthetic experiences, how our tongues love to form sweet angry hot explanatory seductive smart gossipy sophisticated kind compassionate judgmental searing truthful words just for speaking, writing, dreaming,

and when yours and my words meet, from my lips to your ears, from your lips to my ears, in the air trance entrance where ringing cymbals grow ever more sweet crystal singing sounds ethereal and divine where utterance who cares what we say ecstatic light levitating through space our tongues interlinking the whispering our longing our souls on fire our hearts speaking,

I was describing the speaking I was listening to, oh ok partially, it was an inspiration, on Canada Live - With Patti Schmidt and then The Signal - With Pat Carrabré.

Language That Carries Us

Language that carries us.

These words emerge like a refrain. Of what carries us in its stories. We shape ourselves through it. It's not like any natural processes, yet it is. More than a reference system. Living. An amorphous alphabet living through us. The grammar of our minds. Velocities and productions. Marks that remain, moving on. How can you use it to fathom what is? How can language describe itself?

Language that carries us.

At one time I wanted to collect theories and embody them. I never developed a mistrust of concepts. Yet the theories and approaches I once knew are like ocean foam, appearing and disappearing on the vast water. Traceries, all that's left. Without understanding how fully immersed we are. Can a watery mirror reveal itself to itself? Or only reflect?

Language that carries us.

It has no weight, language. It doesn't exist unless there are those who understand its signs and references and grammars, its codes and systems, the whole referential ocean of letters that language buoys. What floats to the surface is my sentence: sentences that play with grammar and meaning. They aren't even me; I am quite different, sitting in the library in the depths of the city writing in my mermaid colours.

Language that carries us.

Not that language escapes the telling of it, not at all. When we utter, we are the "I" of language. Can language reflect on itself from the position of subject? Can language even be a subject? I am the speaking, or the writing, or the reading, or the thinking, therefore I am? I am that which proposes memory. I am the bank. I am the money of words. I am the currency through which we. And now I go blank. The vault is full, and spins on the ocean current.

Language that carries us.

Ponder it, carry it like a mantra, a thought, to sift through, resonate in, drift with. What is language that it can carry us? I am a system of language, an encyclopedia of possibilities, an array of alphabets, a lexicon of meanings; and you are yet more. Were our minds created as vehicles for language? Words open doors of meaning; hatches in galleons of knowledge sailing on ancient seas.

Language that carries us.

Harvest Moon...

A beautiful Harvest Moon, which I did not see due to heavy clouds, a rainy evening. But I felt the lunar power! With headphones on, in the middle of a 5km walk, I danced in an empty park, between the trees and their shadows, on wet grass, to 1930s jazz - real original Boogie Woogie, aka Albert Ammons. Delightful! Oh how I've wanted to! I don't think any stray folks looked askance. Singers sing walking, don't they? It fits that Annex park where I've seen people doing yoga, practicing martial arts, playing baseball with the kids, and chatted with dog-owners at dog gatherings since it's an off-leash park, and seen readers and meditators and people eating, drinking and talking at picnic tables or on benches. So why not a woman dancing? ::Grins:: Okay, I was dressed in black, jeans, top, all but hidden in the night. And only for a few silly moments. But, oh, alas, only I could hear the music! Like following my own piano-thumping jazz musicians to a Goblin Market...

This photo, taken a few hours ago, shows the Harvest Moon rising over rural Bolu, Turkey, by photographer Tunç Tezel.

To sing love,
love must first shatter us.

Hilda Doolittle
Comments (2)

The One-Legged

The one-legged who weren't born that way; it happens.

It wasn't until later, one leg solid enough for the earth, held by gravity; the other, swinging wildly or gangrenous or amputated.

It might not be noticeable, the one-legged dance. Balance is difficult. The stunted leg in ekapadasana pose: straight out in front, swinging it behind, holding steady. This strengthens the ankle, point of pivot.

It doesn't matter which leg is atrophied; they switch, changing strengths and weaknesses daily or hourly.

Tree pose is favoured. One strong leg straight; the other bent, with the foot tucked against the groin. Stand like a flamenco; balance as long as you can.

Hopping about on one foot is not easy and very tiresome. Artificial limbs don't replace what's missing, not in this realm of riddle and metaphor.

Is it possible to re-grow bones and tendons and muscle? To bring the spastic flap of limb back to life? Or it is all denial?

The hardest is padangustasana. Tree pose, but kneeling, and on one set of toes.

It's possible; practice perfect balance on one leg. Don't move or you'll falter. It was never stable.

Despite the red flame flowers and yellow suns and pink cornucopias and dragon powers and torch blue sky and trillions of stars and mantle of earth thick with soft insects and fur and spark-lit cities and roads like snakeskins and upholding trees and brimming populations and untold connections, it's all grounded, like I said
millions of times.

Sunday Afternoon at the Beach

The beach on the first day of Autumn, the Vernal Equinox, half-way between when the earth's tilt and the sun's position reach a zenith and shift. Reminds me of John Coltrane's quote this morning in The Writer's Almanac, "When asked to describe his style, he said, "I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once.""

To write like that! I watch light glossing the water, overflow of foam as the whitecaps spill near the shore and lick the sand, placid on my beach towel, caressed by clear sun, cool breeze, a seamless oneness. And we're shifting one way, to the indoors, in the months ahead. Though the yachts, white sails leaning into or away from the wind, merging and parting, lyrical white paint brushing to a tip on the blue, seem possibly like the movement in a sentence of both directions at once. But then I am looking for images in the scene to act at metaphors for the concept, aren't I? Though when you find an image, and the evocation of the intended metaphor, the language finds a corollary, a grammar that allows it.

I find myself considering those who split their tongues, two-headed snakes and other Janus-faced phenomenon, Piscean fish who swim oppositely, paradox and ambiguity, how subjects and objects can interchange through the verb, Coltrane's chords and the way his music searches, running in veering directions, adding coils and back flips, trills and a highly charged sexy line, the serpentine one, even while it swings eccentrically, starting in the middle and playing in both directions at once, and I'm not sure it even matters, the day is gorgeous, and I've been teased by delightful men my age, one of whom asked if I'd like white wine or a martini, and he'd bring it by on a tray, and others who offered a canoe ride, or even to let me take it for a spin if I liked, my laughter rolling down the beach as I said, "Ha, those waves would push me back in even as I tried to paddle out!"

It was fun, though I moved to sunbathe by the distant rocks, and now I'm home listening to Blue Train, feeling the pink heat over my body from too many of the sun's kisses.

Post-It Notes

Kindness like an orchard that, with cultivation, bears sweet succulent fruit year after year, peaches with the sun in their hearts.

Quivering, gentle, strong, we are flames in the wind, precious, too easily extinguished.

Sensitivity, oh, complex, nuanced response to the world, and fragility, what I rest my being on. Moments of feeling vulnerable, and fragile, it's exquisite, open with gentle reverence for the self.

I am passionate about honesty, and believe the truth frees you.

Laughter, silliness, mutual respect, enjoying joy in each other.

Love cannot be an illusion.

Fire Drill

On the day of the fire drill. Not the end of all beginnings,
just a final moment.

Who could say in the jangling bells what could have been?

The business-suited stomping down stairwells in hoards.
How many of us are there? Clattering.

Only I stayed away, my late lunch tied to the fire drill;
I imagined it.

Nothing's severed yet, and perhaps never. The jangling
in the centre of the world like a prearranged
fire alarm, a practice session for when the planes fly
into the buildings or when the bombs ignite.

Oh not here, never here, where we are a peaceful country.

With the inability to schedule ourselves indefinitely, due to
the indecision of death looming; we will die, but who knows
when, living our private moments not listening to the

Outside I saw the change from the arboreal splendour of
earlier: leaves no longer gleamed, trees let them
go. Flaming, browning.

Our over-riding thoughts determine our way through.

Like steering winds in the trophosphere, that drive swirling
volcanic dust, creating an "eye" of stillness.

The phototrophism of fire.

The drill that ended us.

The Sky

The sky, scrubbed this morning,
a dusting of bleach powder like clouds.

Is it possible to unravel
a counter-current of imagery?

The tightly-coiled poem,
bound and ready to spring.

Or perhaps excesses where
not everything matches?

It's harder to clean a busy sky
sunrises, sunsets, auroras, varying
storm clouds, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Poets do their best
what with the wild weather,
the scarf that wrapped their hair
lost and flying loose.

Then it clears.

One spectral colour,
polished around the shining sun,
still and fat as a blue porcelain basin.

Whistler's Nocturnes

Or Whistler's Nocturnes. I've been to The Tate, I studied art history, I'm familiar enough with American art, how did I miss these?

To say they are forerunners of abstract art is almost to do an injustice to them. As if they were just passports to. The grandiose Kantian sublime is gone in the Nocturnes; I do love Turner, but it's still there in his storms of light: the fabulous scene of such splendour or power you bow before it.

The Nocturnes, rather, are the stream of life; the Tao de Ching instead of a fire and brimstone Jehovah construction of the world. As viewers who encounter his art through these paintings, we are moved, not by our relation to the huge forces, but by the ordinary flow of events, the wash of simple paint across a canvas, the sound of a music of water that continually drifts past. It's not the dissolution of the self as the river sweeps into the ocean, but the current of everyday, swimming our way through.

Certainly Whistler had a fairly complex aesthetic regarding the autonomy of an art that is its own dynamic force driven by its own internal logic and momentum,1 but these pieces, oh, lyrical, yes.

Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea
James McNeill Whistler
1871; Oil on wood, 50.2 x 60.8 cm; Tate Gallery, London

1Craig Staff, in 1001 Paintings (Universe, 2006), p.450.
Comments (1)
Apr 2024
Aug 2023
Oct 2022
May 2022
Oct 2021
Sep 2021
Jul 2021
May 2021
Jan 2021
Oct 2020
Aug 2020
Jul 2020
Jun 2020
May 2020
Dec 2019
Sep 2019
Aug 2019
Jul 2019
May 2019
Apr 2019
Feb 2019
Jan 2019
Nov 2018
Sep 2018
Aug 2018
Jul 2018
May 2018
Apr 2018
Mar 2018
Feb 2018
Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
Jul 2017
Jun 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
Jul 2016
Jun 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
Jul 2015
Jun 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
Jun 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008
Jul 2008
Jun 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
Jul 2007
Jun 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
Jul 2006
Jun 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Oct 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005
Jul 2005
Jun 2005
May 2005
Apr 2005
Mar 2005
Feb 2005
Jan 2005
Sep 2004
Jun 2004
May 2004
Oct 2003
RSS Feed