Showing posts from September, 2006

A Blog Recommendation

John Baker recently interviewed a writer who I admire a great deal, and who has become a personal friend: Five Questions: The Narrator.

Ira Socol, whose work I've been reading for over two years now, is one of the best writers I've found who is posting on the NET. Stylistically, his work is nearly perfect and continually astounds me. He manages, through action, memory, description to convey complex situations and characters. One doesn't get a sense of judgment of the characters in these often complex situations by the narrator of the piece, nor any of the self-aggrandizing or moralizing that is rife in the blogosphere, only compassion. He writes perhaps a kind of 'film noir' prose and his writing, without a word of excess, seems always to overflow into poetry. Despite posting rough drafts for a book, his posts are encapsulated and complete in themselves - knowing the broader sweep helps, but it's not necessary.

While it is wonderful of him to include my blog amo…

Writings of 'Who'

Since this poem is with a publisher, I have encrypted it in the same place where I posted it so that the comments are left intact and I can find it again if the need arises (Blogger is a fantastic easily searchable archive). Show encrypted text

Fellini's "La Dolce Vita"

The only man, un autore, who speaks of love in the film shoots those he loves most at close range, his children behind white billowing diaphanous curtains, then, seated in his black leather armchair, in his black suit, himself.

We should learn to love each other so much we live outside time ... detached.

He said (Steiner). La Dolce Vita(1960).

Who can love in a world where money must be made? The film is from a man's perspective. It is the women who talk of love; if love is spoken of. Especially Marcello's fierce, suicidal and beautiful girlfriend for whom love is possessive.

Those whose lives overflow with money don't know what to do with love either. Fellini knows this. Love wants to hold, to keep forever in its embrace, but it's all feathers. The clouds of pillows become unstuffed. We are tarred with our desires. What we are searching for are endings.

(Or so Fellini implies, not I.)

(from a mss-in-progress)

Andy Warhol / Supernova

Warhol set up a continuous camera at an old, large, lumpy, dark cloth Couch in his Factory studio - people ate on it, talked, gyrated nakedly, made love, fixed motorcycles. They knew they were being filmed but the unblinking eye watching them became unfetishized, ordinary. They played to it, but without response, so they became outrageous before it. It recorded them in black and white in the frame. And now Gallery goers can watch a group, dated in the late '50s/early 60s, slowly peeling and eating bananas with a pronounced sexual tone, a nude woman, whose large breasts are particularly caught by the lighting, gyrating unendingly trying to seduce a man who's more interested in polishing his motorcycle, two men lost in a naked embrace, one lying lengthwise on top of the other, humping for hours while others move obliviously around them, the motorcycle guy, a cleaner.

The eye that doesn't weep, the unblinking eye is a dangerous eye. Warhol made it art, though, and so gave it…

Visiting "Andy" Today

I'm always trying to unite the critical faculty with the poetic one, but they're not easily seduced by each other, often preferring opposite sides of the bed. It's too bad criticism's a 'talking head,' and poetry is, well, simmering with passion, and, let's not forget angst and deep meditation on the paradoxes and ambiguities and fleetingness of love, life...

Today I expect the collusion of the critical and the poetic to be further clarified. I'm going to the Andy Warhol show at the Art Gallery of Ontario which should be interesting - I find his work, despite its elevation of the commercial icon to art, cerebral. It requires a critic as go-between, as intercessor, a body of theory to explain it. Commercialism figures highly in Warhol's art. He was a successful commercial artist before becoming a 'fine artist,' and he became hugely successful at that, too. He took cultural icons, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy/Onassis, and made us aware of our…

On the Life of an Artist

Since 2004, I have been working hard with no remuneration. In that time I have produced four manuscripts of 50,000 words or more that need to be revised and edited. How often do I browbeat myself for not making more of myself? Why does all this labour seem pointless, unworthy, senseless? Browsing The Atlantic Monthly I came across something which helped both to define myself, and to give voice to people who live quiet, hermetic, and let's say it, poor, lives for their art. I quote this section from So You Want to Be a Writer in the hopes that it may help others who are dedicated to their art despite its lowly value in a society that measures success by financial standards:

"Wallace Stegner, an author who served as director of the Creative Writing Center at Stanford ... [wrote an] essay "To a Young Writer" (November 1959) [that] took the form of a letter addressed to a former student—a twenty-something young woman with literary aspirations, a graduate degree, and an u…

Today I Am Not Good with Words (Ver.3: switching to the epistolatory form)

Clouds trap the sky, threatening; the air is heavy with words. Words that have the weight of droplets; the kind that sleet earthwards, crystals breaking on the pavement, streaming on the window.

I confide in you, Monsieur, troubled by the writing we are immersed in. The air is steamy, damp. And the communities, internet colonies, are like flocks of birds flying in scattered formations. Today, mon cher, I am not good with words. I say what people already know.

You ask me to describe her? I trace patterns of words to read the braille she is. It is like surfing where the screen becomes a crystal ball of tides. Posts open and close like visions. Writing hides in an ocean continually closing over itself.

Her stories are long, drawn out, each paragraph a wave dissolving the sand, the shore, encroaching. She is the rising tide; it is overwhelming. My computer screen is splashed with spilling breakers.

Must I imagine her? Like seaweed, hair, dark, long, pulled back loosely with wisps softening…

Today I Am Not Good with Words

But today, mon cher, I am not good with words. I say what people already know.

Very dark brown hair, long, pulled back loosely with wisps softening around the face, I think. I've never seen her; shall never gaze upon a photograph. She wears a veil of words.

Perhaps a blackness of cloth, but not without red. Brooch of a poppy. Toss of bead earrings, like Native American dream catchers. Or that ruby rising out of a ring of melted, cast sun, the only one on her hands woven with pale veins and the delicacy of a musician's fingers. Open her closet and you will find on the floor red canvas tennis shoes, red satin Chinese slippers, patent leather ruby red heels, red slick knee-high boots. On the shelf, a vinyl red belt, red silk sashes, red opera gloves, a red felt hat. Dragging down the wall like Barnett Newman's "Lema sabachthani," a funerary dirge of black dresses, a heavy curtain of silk, cotton, corduroy, rayon, wool on cedar-scented hangers.

Her writing, its own fert…

Bloor & Bathurst

The area tilts me on an axis. It's as if I am looking through a magnified diving mask. Only it is not me swimming but the world swimming around me. And it is the only corner I have ever been on that does this. Thirty years ago I thought it my state of mind; now I know it is the corner itself. All the shops have changed except Honest Ed's. And maybe it's that vaudevillan double football field store of everything that is a mere four years older than me and long before Wal-Mart. Selling is a circus. Thousands of feet of coloured seasonal lights never stop blinking. Lights that mean shopping, gifts for oneself or others, new things, cheap things.

Poverty drives this corner. The dispossessed come from everywhere, converging. Last year I tripped on the street car tracks and fell headlong on the traffic-heavy road. I'm not imagining that gravity shifts its axis here.


For a poem

must dance
a certain way.

In continuous presence.

Doesn't the moment
live us,
if we are living it?

Even if it doesn't exist.

Fading horizon lights
as the wing lifts

Tilts, gunmetal
surge into sky.

Which doesn't exist either.

here as much sky
as up there.

Every breath
is sky-breath.

A velocity of words

Flowing over
the sonic sphere,
winds of sound
made into meaning.

Perhaps I fell in love
with letters

Winging across the alphabet.

Oceans flow
into each other
like bodies of knowledge.

Are we a rhetoric of ourselves,
our love or war or loneliness-
how can what we say
be empty?

I cannot imagine our lives
without their ceaseless

The heartbeat at our throat.

As I tilt my chair back
in the pressurized cabin,

These words, even in their
voicelessness, the droning dark
on the ascending flight.

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Self-Healing through Self-Love, II

The Grumpy Old Bookman has a review of John Sarno's, The Divided Mind. Dr. Sarno began exploring possible causes for pain for which there seemed no physical cause and which did not respond to treatment:

"One possible cause is what he calls tension myositis syndrome (TMS). What happens in those cases is that various powerful emotions, largely unconscious, bring about a tension in the muscles of the back. This tension causes real (not imaginary) pain, because the muscles are deprived of oxygen. And Sarno's major contribution to medicine is that he has found a way to treat such patients with a high degree of success.

To oversimplify greatly, the treatment consists of explaining to the patient the physiological basis for TMS, and inviting the patient to consider, with or without professional assistance, the possible unconscious emotions which might be the underlying cause."

We underestimate the power of our emotions, and how unruly they can be if there are problems th…

Self-Healing through Self-Love

It is the end of all endings and the beginning of all beginnings. An intersection in time where the flow reverses. Where what was flowing away begins flowing towards.

Such moments are profoundly healing. The flow turns away from death, the cancerous ruin of the cells in the body, and towards life, the rebirth of glowing new cells. Radiant energies dancing the whole being, aligning with the cosmic forces of love, unity, wholeness, creativity.

Before it was always ending, every time was the last time, the future wrapped up in a ball of time where the strands are always ending. Always coming together in perpetual separation. The wrapping of the strands of moments of togetherness tempered with the forever leaving. The not now and never will be. The refusals of continuity...

The beginning of the beginning, a genesis. The flow reverses its withering away, its letting go, its entrophy undone, and enters the fearful place of the vulnerable, a fragility of the now.
I wrote t…

Soundscapes, the Moon

A recording: DSL/Cable, or Dial-up. Thank you for listening, it's #3 on the charts...

Tonality of the moon. The deep listening to the speaking that is witheld in the voice. What hides in the silence that isn't silent. Where the gasp, retreat, plummeting. Clouds mull over the moon, concealing and unconcealing like broiling smoke. Deep in the smoking mirror I hear voices speaking. Ceaseless speaking without bodies. Speech that speaks us. Calling across craters, without sound. Staccato choruses and turbulent underpinnings. Your laugh, lilt, the sobbing - glottal, utterance, gesture - cicada of love songs, night life rhythms, beats punctuating words weaving the coiling narrative I speak while hearing you speaking your story. Secret writing that is private out loud. The way we untell the great text we live. Under the moonlight, in the looking glass of the lake, in this silent night.

Note by way of explanation, begging apology: I've been playing with semiotics again, my fingers a…

My daughter's poetry...

the absence
the negative space
the only space
the free space

the filling space
to cover wanderings
to put everything that doesn't exist
all the figments
and all the fears
blooming creativity
in the corners of the room
behind that beautiful
is what you can't see
underneath the shadows
spawn the ideas
in the absence
in the negative space
the only space
the free space

One of my favourites:

Often I

To see what has become.

Or this one she wrote for a poetry project. She received the highest mark in English, coming in at 89%, oh little girl (oh proud Mama). It's beautiful for me because I, too, usually received the highest mark in English courses in high school. Her Dad's a well published poet, too. She's 15 years old...

If these were your last words, what would you say?

I'd speak about foggy memories.
Fear, and walking in a daze.

I'd scream about being nothing special,
Egging, burning and drawing blood.
About injustice and theory and the snow covered car.

I'd talk…