Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Floor Sweat





That obscure country north of the border...

"Canadians are healthier and have better access to health care than U.S. residents. And, according to a new study, Canadians obtain better care for half of what Americans spend on their medical system." CTV News

Not only that but, thanks largely to the Liberal Government under Chretien:

"The [Canadian] federal government has posted a whopping $12-billion budget surplus for the fiscal year that ended March 31 [2006]." Shaw News

Compare this to the U.S. Deficit of 8.4 trillion dollars. Methinks the US has to consider electing a president and a party who can put the economic stability of the country first, even risking electoral consequences to do it. And, Americans, do something about your national health care!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hexagram of I & Thou

Hexagram of I & Thou

Vines

Vines

Crawl of vines
inside
the window.

How can you breathe
without air?

Fresh, profuse tendrils.

My fingernails,
green like Spring.

Celine, worms
with five hearts
fill the earth
create the soil
out of which we grow.

The spirits are watching.

My mouth fills with loam
thick, rich humus.

Do I seek
what is too deep
and far away
from sunlight?

Thin mantle of earth
that supports us.

Remove the screen
find pure green.

It was the vines
that undid everything.

I'll tell you what's sacred.
Not the gods out there.
This flare of life
in the shrine
of our bodies.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Moment...

Before the moment, or is there a moment? Something freezes in time, or does it, or is it only what we embellish? Perhaps we create a moment to represent the other moments, a snap shot of time that didn't happen like that at all.

Otherwise we'd go mad with the intricacies of living. Overwhelming details. Simplify, this is the mantra.

Why not take that stream of photographs, and play them as a slide show. Why embellish one when many will do? Let's overwhelm ourselves while the carousel goes round. As we breathe, so we shall image. Snip snap shutter bug. Flutter bug. The moments are memorable; each one.

Only what we remember isn't there. If there were a camera it would tell a different story to the one of our inner narrator. What we remember isn't on celluloid, or pixelated. We can't upload our memories because they aren't orchestrated that way.

Not as one memorable moment.

Our moment is an amalgam of moments. Clarified, pure. The image that fits our interpretation. O, we rewrite it. Re-image. Revise. Take new angles and slants. Add new information, remove old patinas.

I'm not saying it's a finished moment, or that it's untrue, only that it never existed.

A to Z Meme

I've been tagged by a beautiful bluebird for a meme

accent: mostly Canadian, but have been told undercurrents of English Southern African/Zimbabwean & British, & probably some Swahili rhythms

booze: red wine, usually Merlot, and dark beer, Guiness is good

chore I hate: vacuuming, swishing floors with a mop and bucket way preferable, or sweeping

dogs/cats: a Springer Spaniel with me, a shy black cat at my mother's at present

essential electronics: computer, digital camera, sound equipment, does coffee maker, fruit smoothie blender and toaster oven count?

favorite perfume/cologne: Angel - all kitchen scents, over a hundred, no floral, but usually don't wear perfume

gold/silver: silver for my lunar/lune-y self

hometown: TO, where I've been since 10

insomnia: wake for a few hours in the night frequently

job title: umm, dog walker, chief housecleaner, mother, writer, artist, editor, receptionist, tutor, meditator, blogger... :)

kids: two

living arrangements: close

most admired trait: empathy (by my daughter's estimation, though she had a far longer list of her least admired -:)

number of sexual partners: how delightful

overnight hospital stays: pneumonia at 16, for 2 weeks, one night after my first child was born

phobia: snakes, especially the extremely poisonous ones found in African jungles

quote: "Develop this good heart that longs for others to find lasting happiness..." and seeks to help others realize themselves, their gifts, live their potential, something to that effect, it's by Sogyal Rinpoche in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and I started two journals with it, and kept it on my desk, and the phrasing slips my mind now...

religion: amalgam of mystical traditions, I'd venture

siblings: two brothers

time I usually wake up: anywhere from 5am to 8am, depending on if I've been up a couple of hours in the night and if I'm working or not

unusual talent: untying knots

vegetable I refuse to eat: did a big internet search last night on vegetables trying to find one I didn't like - my daughter thought I was crazy, but still haven't found one

worst habit: letting the world drift by, or myself drift in it

x-rays: too much dental work

yummy foods I make: due to sparse living circumstances I don't cook much (no stove or oven), but my daughter remembers the homemade pizza on the pizza stone, the fresh cinammon buns, various roasts, the arrays of curries, and as soon as we move to a place with a real kitchen again...

zodiac sign: pisces

No tagging - but please do this meme if you're delighted or intrigued or captivated by it...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Slipstream, oh the tangled garden

Furrow in the tree. Leaf flapping, a green flag. Leaves sprout endlessly, each different. Why does it have to tick every second? Give me the skin of the drumbeat of time. Leaves dance in the solar wind. Blow time away. Enfold me like a furrow. Encase me in wood, the roots, the branches. Let tendrils be the leaves, or my fingers.

Rise from
this womb of roots.

Tangled papillon
like the bone trace of antlers.

Wall of sun-bleached brick. Wires snaking up, phone, cable. Veins on the outside. Electrical rushing gushing through, emitting chlorophyll.

Your breath, like dragon's fire on the folds of hills.

No, that wasn't it. I melted under the heat of your words.

What is that swaying pole of silvered wood? How does it remain erect in my view out the window?

That's what we are: transducers.

Isotopes of the living in radioactive time, burning stars.

Maps of energy currents. Midwives of time. Time is organic, change through cycles. Season to season; youth to old age. Fresh to withered. Did I mention that I am in love with time, and change, and the revolutions?

When you burnt the fields of furrows, pillars of smoke out of the mountain wilderness, I didn't forgive you.

Dragon’s teeth fall out of the sun’s mouth, armed warriors of fire.

Vincent, the wheat fields blazing, there was no need. They said your paint poisoned you. Not the flames curling around your mind.

I wasn't looking for inspiration. They threw the grenades. I wasn't sure why it was.

Time eats us, not like Cronus, Goya. Caterpillars mulch leaves so the soul can become a butterfly. It ticks incessantly, the furrows like trenches, where war pools the blood, each heartbeat a drum beat. Come rushing over the mountains, waves of warriors. We'll explode from the inside otherwise. Make me a fountain of your sacrifice. Don't follow the code. It doesn't matter who his lover was.

Only the sighs, melting under.

I fell across the shadows on the hill.

The floor of the sky, a ceiling.

Let it go into the long night.

Strangely attuned. Why am I a shaman of the dead? The wind blows the leaves, blowing me, angels beating wings. In the furrow, I wait. Slipknots of time pass through.

And when I read Ulysses, I knew language could lie. It's a layer away from. Imposing invisible sheaths over. Even the trees in their silence.

If I let it go into the moonlight, bluish white glow. Hunger is time. The hungry ghosts trail, like phantom warriors, waves over the mountains.

Who could read this? Would you understand?

Furrows incise the tattooed body. Mind maps. Memory slips like sand through the hour glass. The timer runs out. Clocks stop. Tendrils of leaves darken.

The trouble is we don't die, the demise first.

Slip me through the slipstream.

For the congruence, there is love.

Turn away, hungry ghost, turn away.

Skull-beat of time passes, and dragon hill lies sleeping.

The word dying lies in the English language like a shadow.

The furrow whorls where the dark hole, slips into, speeding,
inviting.

________________________

Listen to a slightly earlier version of this prose poem (5min 4sec): highspeed; dial-up.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Never Got to Love You"

My tiny video clip of Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas, that Google kindly uploaded directly. I was holding the camera high above my head, couldn't see the viewfinder. The clip stops because my camera ran out of memory. It's just under 2 minutes. They are singing, "Never Got to Love You" from the CD.

I took this image from Book of Longing off the Blue Alert website, have digitally added copyright information and linked it to the site. It's too beautiful not to share.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
My ex Mother-in-law died yesterday. The last time I saw her was in 1998, on a night when she came to look after her grandchildren so I could go out. I was working in an office when she passed away but I felt her presence so clearly, I knew. When I got home, my ex phoned and told our daughter. She said she just can't believe Granma won't be there this Summer, or at Christmas, that she won't see her again. We cried a lot. I helped her pack so she could catch the bus to the small town in southern Ontario to be with her Dad and brother. I wished I had a car and could have driven her, and also seen my son, who's living there and has taken it very hard. The cancer was virulent, fast, just over a week from when it was discovered; thankfully she didn't have to suffer long. I didn't get to see Granma, the way it worked out, but I did spend 2 hours in the hospital on Wednesday feeling close. She was 84; a good long life. Bless her. Bless her. Bless her.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

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.

Monday, May 15, 2006

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.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

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.

Friday, May 12, 2006

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.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

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...

Monday, May 08, 2006

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...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

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?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

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?