Dying/broken/forgiven.... now I begin

Born: 17-06-56....gemini.... monkey
re-born: 3-09-80
born again\found: 14-04-08
other notable dates: 10-03-68; 03-09-87; 23-03-96;
1-05-98; 31-01-02; 5-04-04

Interests: movement, stressed/transgressive embodiment, lived experience (body\space\time\relation)
expression ( word, dance, text, image, story, music, poetics)
learning, yielding......

Hopes for the blog:
offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters....
enact kindness
create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tell me a story about a time when you felt yourself learning.....

yes...... tell me a story about a time when you felt yourself learning.... or the first time you felt yourself learning...that's often a lovely-- or at least a memorable-- remembering...

.....it had to be the April of the year I turned eight. I returned to school with a different body after six months off recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident.

It's a Catholic school of the early 1960's. Prayer, music, choir, diction, posture and Latin in addition to the other school subjects regular humans learn. The desk is rough under my legs, textured with scratches, grooves, ridges, ink, wood polish.... the very odour of comportment.

Sustained silent reading is one of our privileges for 30 minutes every afternoon. I don't remember the book; I don't remember the time; I don't remember the day. I remember the bare windows, the streaming sun, the shuffle sounds of 30 girls in serge uniforms... and I remember the word: exsanguinate.
The sentence stopped there and went no further... a road falling into a ditch; a stone falling into a well. I am undaunted and I feel that feeling without without knowing what it is I feel. I am sweating just a little...and then there is my heart, racing and pounding, a breathlessness I have come to know as the overture to deep engagement... crossing over. I see the pieces moving in slow motion, a rearranging, nuanced and subtle; I feel the click of comprehension.... ex: out of; sanguine: blood. Of course! Exsanguinate means bleed to death!! I catch myself grasping not only meaning, but also how I got Here.
My joy is boundless..... as is my excitement. Nothing is beyond me now.... I can move inside a word.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And now a bow in the direction of slightly immature...

I was born in the year of the monkey and supposedly embody several ... attributes characteristic of monkeys. Here are a few ...with parenthetical rewording from my peanut gallery:
bright ( ingenuously and annoyingly curious )
verbal ( a pit bull with an exquisite vocabulary)
creative ( tenacious )
tempermental ( cranky ( ! ) )
and here's my favourite..... slightly immature.

so I thought, what the hell.... let's do a little of that... here are some examples of how to embody slightly immature without even trying...

-actively cultivating downward social mobility
-actively cultivating being underestimated
-going to a meeting ostensibly because I want to but mostly because it will irritate the hell out of someone there who wishes I wasn't attending
-being gracious rather than defensive ( the four most annoying words I can use in a volatile situation: you might be right)
-deliberating saying a a person's name frequently during an officious phone call or face to face conversation
-using the 3-5-7 second pause in a " conversation " ... just to make sure I have not spoken until the other person is finished speaking
-telling the person I just wanted to be sure he was finished speaking when he says " well!? " after a 3-5-7 second pause.... ( this one is remarkably effective, by the way...)
-saying just loudly enough on a crowded elevator " who's the pervert who's feeling my ass? "
-groaning dramatically in the bathroom ( make sure the stall door is securely shut... )

and why should I have all the fun? please, join me in this little exercise in silliness.... be a monkey even if you're not.... and if you are, do what comes naturally...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

...into moment now...

It was that word,
so unself-consciously placed in the midst
of a lovely phrase...
that might have begun
the cascade into moment now
or next
or then
I said " I don't think I have ever been wooed"
but I was wrong
or, at least, mistaken
not forgetful
enough for blood patience
when the memory remembering
calls out a whisper
or a murmur
so claims Rilke
that's often enough

I was teaching him how to dance
and was not interested
in pursuit
only in being
attentive and attuned
disposed to what movement can offer
I suppose that's why his attentiveness
was so shocking

Being wooed.
It still makes me smile to think of it
this manchild
dark as a flame
devastating and without guile
ebb and flow
as tides
& moons
& time

still, I dreamed him the other night
on the nether side of catastrophe
we are drawn together
his body, though freshly healing,
is tender and broken
in the places where I touch him
trembling, trusting
he welcomes my hands
we hold each other
we behold each other
bleeding a veil of yellow
over a bathroom floor of black and white tile
terrible sharp-edged imagery
made soft and luminous
by the strangeness of dream

he was not as he was, younger and so beautiful
but as he would be, now
rougher edged
somewhat the worse for wear
and even more beloved for it
no less for that playful spark
in those eyes
that always could hold mine
a sweet dream
it might have begun
this cascade into moment now
and next
and then
I'm enough of an Irish witch
to wonder
about the tethering of hearts
echoes felt at the carnal bedrock of dreaming
these portents,
these hauntings
from this man
who wooed me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I called my mom unexpectedly a few months ago...there was no pressing reason; I usually call on Sundays and I had missed a call, travelling or something. So I called on a Monday evening, around 7:00 pm her time...
you need to know that my mom came late to hearing aids....we yelled at her for a year or so before we realized that all she needed was a nudge in the direction of her grandchildren... and being able to hear their voices. Her singular discovery since then has been how damn loud is that clock in the kitchen. Still, when she can get away with not wearing them, she does. Such was the case when I made my unexpected call....

the phone rings for about a dozen times--this ought to have been a harbinger for me, some kind of anticipatory warning signal, but no, good will is, above all, stupid at times like these...finally, a pick up and a tentative ...dare I day frail ....Hello?
Hello, I quip, all jaunty and lighthearted. Nothing.
Then, frail and tentative again, maybe even a little unnerved: Hello?
Ok, time to volume up....HI MOM HOW ARE YOU ?
then, worse, a puzzled, confused, trailing off ...fine.....that's as much a question as an answer....
than almost immediately: Who is this !!?
worried; scared. Dammit! I know the kind of calls she 's endured.... I have to handle this well, now...
It's me, I shout, then my name
It's me! shouting again, my name...your daughter ...
It's .... I try another name she also calls me by...
she claws her way back, uses the short version of my name...louder but not yelling, hopeful and still, unnerved
...Is that you?
Yes, I say, it's me.
Good God, from my mom...I didn't even recognize your voice. I didn't even know who you were.
It's ok, I start to say, you didn't know, I don't usually call at this time....
she speaks over me...I didn't even know who you were...God, I'm sorry
I'm sorry, I say, almost crying now. I can feel how ashamed she is..
not only for not hearing me, but for not knowing me...
and I realized then how thin are the threads of contextual anchors
how slippery a thing is time
how slippery time makes things
how long that minute was
how hurt we both felt...by each other's disconnect, how ashamed of our smallness,
our inability to move across that sixty seconds...
probably fewer... who cares....

I used to think that I could handle the oft' quoted tales of memory lapses that accompany aging, my own, my spouse, my friends, relatives, my parents...
but I sure as hell didn't handle that one single minute when it felt like my mother had forgotten me.

Mom and I talked the following Sunday at our regular time and we could laugh about that long minute... time being a thief as well.

Still it makes me wonder .... and appreciate you even more than I thought was possible.... your courage, maybe even some of your sorrow.....
I would never forget you, but how would you have known?
you remain my greatest gift....

Monday, February 16, 2009

ever feel like you are being written by this thing you claim to be writing ....

it's been an uncanny time
bringing forth a backwards weaving
authentic and utterly un-romantic prose
that nevertheless seems to summon times and places
soaked in memory, wistfulness, longing... joy , sorrow, love...
perhaps it will do that for others as well
that's the hope of writing
the promise of word

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to write about a place so beautiful.....

I am going to follow the lead of one of my favourite philosophers...when I write I discover what it is I wish to say...

I am visiting a beautiful place. I'm here in Norway on a work-based assignment of a sort...but in many ways it is a perk of my job. I was here summer, 2007,and now I am here in winter and it is an enchanted time:twilight days, sky that is so gray it is white and so white it is gray....
mist /ground fog that hangs low enough to whisper, yet is not wet enough to be mist or fog...I grew up in a place with lots of mist and fog, so it's not like it is new phenomenon--yet, here, it feels new. It hangs differently even as it is familiar
in some ways
it does have that feeling of the little cat feet
and it does sit looking over harbours and cities
and trees and houses and hills...

I feel it and see it as a shimmering shivering haze, almost dream-like, even in the clearest most startling and unsettling open spaces, when the cold is chalk screech cold yet filled with uncanny quiet, cold enough to keep everything still..even the wind... no breeze....time suspended, like something holding its breath without the distress...

the trees are silver, it feels like I am inside a snow globe or a bell, the hush is palpable...

The folklore here tells of people trekking and touring out on the land... folks going out into the wild spaces to be with the elements, extreme conditions nevertheless sought, the journey into the vast silence, a metaphysical quest, as much a journey inward. There is talk about people coming from these treks, perhaps encountering other humans sooner than is warranted given where they have been, a diver coming to the surface too soon, not giving ample time for decompression. The language used to describe their countenance is sublime.... it holds out a divining rod to me: "his face had an alarming stillness" ...such are the words of encounter...

there is something about those words that resonates and vibrates and hovers, hauntingly, still just out of reach
Still... I wonder how to write about a place so beautiful it makes me want to ....