Sunday, July 31, 2011

in port

edward h. potthast in port

after sailing across seas
and oceans of the mind
the work
of washing
and painting
the hull of me
seems mundane
and yet also

every so often
i stop
and gaze deeply into
the rippled mirror
of my work
to admire its deliquescent form -
like so much melted glass

Saturday, July 30, 2011

we come from very far

from deep in the belly of a whale

after tumbling down the side of a himalayan mountain

we have come from very far

music: laurie anderson "kokoku"

Friday, July 29, 2011

back window

photograph by alfred stieglitz "back window"

i'm missing


the sense of immediacy
that clings to me
as closely as my shadow
is hiding
in the corner
like me
it has no defence
a summer
that scattershots days and nights
into the sky
like so many stars

Thursday, July 28, 2011

lying on my back looking at the sky

i lay on the grass today and watched the sky.

i'm so unused to emptiness.
i don't know what to do with it.
- fill it i suppose -
but isn't that the antithesis
of what i should do?
perhaps i should take the message of the sky
and empty myself.
and perhaps i should
allow the clouds that pass overhead
to gather
and disperse
... fall as they may
and simply be
right there
between the richly-veined leaves
scattered with sunshine

music by: morton feldman the rothko chapel

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

forgiving yourself

you can be forgiven
for thinking those things of yourself
by acknowledging
what rests in your own heart

the very presence
of forgiveness
is its own miracle


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

i know

i know
in all the quiet suffering
a tenderness
an opportunity to sense
will arise

it can feel
like an opening
as if a doorway has come ajar
and revealed a room
in which the window has been left open
letting in a breeze

a breeze with cool fingers
that move quickly
across the room
as if given
the wish
to express in their soft touch
the words "i know"

and when i feel
that soft touch
i know

Monday, July 25, 2011


touch her light
with your eyes

she is so round
so pure

when the night
describes her

Sunday, July 24, 2011

each flower

what would change
if you knew
that every flower
holds everything
in constant

_ _ _

Saturday, July 23, 2011


i like to imagine that i
am moving across the sky

stopping to rest
on little cloud-islands

and watching the earth move
beneath my feet

Friday, July 22, 2011

bird cloud

winging across
the hot sky

above the cool
cloud sea

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the holy entirety

i fear and treasure those days
that are filled with the presence of the holy entirety
most of all
i can feel it enveloping
and leaving me behind
within a moment of waking
in the soft voices
that ask me kindly
and knowingly
to be all or nothing
of what i have become
and knowing that so much of what i am has been stolen or borrowed
ownership forgotten
source material buried in the passage of time
the unforgiving erasure of time
the first defence
i am left wondering what will be left of me
when the stripping bare
is completed and yet
i sense
in that sense
beyond all senses
that it is right and good
to allow for the possibility
that no matter the suffering
God knows
i am good with that
good at that
good for that

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

my body

my body

so thin

long ago
i wished for something else

and so
no matter that
it learned my dissatisfaction
at an early age

it evolved into
my unwillingness
to leave work

my comfort
with being
by my self

my body hurts
so often

through my unwillingness
to honour
its limits
its restrictions

and yet it sustains
as all good animals do
through whatever means
are available


i trace its bones
and feel the history of me
in its fragile strengths

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

that's how it's meant to be

it's fascinating to me that i can pass through my days and be transformed in the blink of an eye.
that a few words can soften a stance that i hadn't really considered i held so dearly, so tightly as to almost be protective of it. as if it would somehow shield me from that which is not simply right before my face but is my face and all else that i am.
i read your words and find myself adrift.

so it was when i read these words.
i have held for the longest time the idea that the flaw in my presence is my very human nature.
my being human.
that the true value of my presence here is everything else beyond that state.

so, i was so excited when i read these words because suddenly the face of my presence and its necessity became crystal clear to me and not something to be ashamed of.

. . .

inside the huge romanesque church the tourists jostled in the half darkness.
vault gaped behind vault, no complete view.
a few candle flames flickered.
an angel with no face embraced me
and whispered through my whole body:
“don’t be ashamed of being human, be proud!
inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly.
you will never be complete, that’s how it’s meant to be.”

italicized words excerpted from "romanesque arches" by tomas tranströmer

Monday, July 18, 2011


cool grey-tongued shadows
lick the violet face of dusk

birds and fish hover
on either side of the water-skin
wrapped in ribbons of moonlight

Sunday, July 17, 2011

it's like that

there are people i meet
who i have never met before
and yet i know them
as deeply
as they know me

like the perfect handclap:
air compressing
inside a rapidly narrowing space
skin on skin
from light to lightlessness.

it's just like that
when we recognize each other

Saturday, July 16, 2011

their own quiet prayers

i hold my hand
and trace the soft mapping
of its threaded sinews
the small birdlike bones
the pale blue tracings of veins
so very near the finely wrinkled
summer-browned surface

i remember a photograph
my father took
of his hand
and i wondered at that time
about all
that his hand had known

in reading the topography
of my own hand
i can see the story
of the whole
in stuttering
and fragmented still shots
like so many conjoined cells
spread across the smooth space
of my entirety

Friday, July 15, 2011

the sacred space

arnold böcklin the sacred wood

has no words
with which to comfort itself

when we leave the whispered essence
of our earthliness
dancing and turning
like so many pieces of paper
caught up
in the currents
of our passage

the ribboned vortices calm
and settle
until there is nothing to suggest we
ever were
but for the tiny soundless ridges and
drifts of dust-covered words
that gather at the feet
of the consecrated fullness
of the knowing trees

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the great fish

my pale-bellied body
watery tremors
across the skin
of this dark prism

the only form
the only colour

my hungry eyes
my hungry mouth

to the slightest movement
the faintest light

senses taut
and drawing in
the holy slightness


so bear with me, and if I thrash and groan
in those throes of sleep, believe me that i saw
the great fish tunneling the purple sea

excerpted from "night piece" stanley kunitz

music played by marilyn crispell: "one dark night i left my silent house"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

all that we leave behind

alexander ivanov "a tree branch"

wraps its dark arms around me
and i find myself
standing very still
on the side
of an impossibly steep slope

lifting my head
i see that
several women
are also standing
on the side of this slope
each wrapped in soft white muslin
that wavers slightly
in the breeze

they are looking across
the hills to the west

each is holding
a root ball

some are small
and cupped
in soft hands

some are large
and held close to their bodies

inside each root ball are
mirrors, ribbons,
torn pages,
and the fingers of each woman
entwined within the roots and the soil

but for the movement
of their clothes
the moment holds

entirely still
and completely silent


i lie on the bed with my arms outstretched
i am an anchor that has dug itself down and holds steady the huge shadow floating up there
the great unknown that i am a part of and which is certainly more important than me.

italicized words excerpted from "carillon" by tomas transtromer

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

i can see your tracks

for as long as i have known my self i have hovered on the fringe of whatever i am doing.
wherever i am.
i like the distance!
but it's lonely at times.

so i'm grateful for the gentle and good centre of my living as i have come to know it as a pre-mature man.
in fact i am very very grateful.

the golden fish tells something of my relationship with that special place.

i'm grateful to have the opportunity to not only have a means by which to share this relationship, but to have incredible, smart, creative, lovely, loving, clever, insightful, talented, motivating, supportive people
along for the journey.


look in the mirror of your knowing of yourself - you are a blessing!

as i fly across the face of this digitized experiencing of
people who are riding the same sort of train while travelling in a kazillion different directions and exchanging riffs and glyphs and signs and signifiers
i realize - well i've known from the start - that i couldn't have anticipated or even dreamed this up.
i really couldn't - and i'm an imaginative person.
so thankyou.
each and every one of you.

i would wish to tell each of you how you are in my life and how that presence is so unlikely and extraordinary and especially how it has given me the courage to express more of myself - again as never before -
but i'll let my work here and the work you don't see - yet - speak for that special relationship.


i really admire laura veirs for her ability to create intimate small spaces with enough edginess
to make me sit up and listen.
the video alone - well it's charming and disarming . . . . .

Monday, July 11, 2011


written in the cross torn pages of birth to death
this earthly emptiness
quickly fills
with the clouds
of dream and ambition

tumbling and roiling forms
that are driven together
and despite each other

and as we hide
in doorways
when the first drops
of rain
drive us away from the street

so we learn
that dreams are the rain
that draws the clothes of our ambition
to the skin of our lives

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

much more

henri rousseau promenade in the forest

you could call it serendipitous or you could be truthful and call it divine intervention, so go there for a moment. consider the possibility that in the wholeness of your day there's a sort of opening that arrives and either you're available to it - or you're not.

if you are available to it, then an otherworldly quality overtakes your day and you come face-to-face with something that very clearly has depths to it that step outside the norm.

a moment that expands in the manner that only an unexpected insight can take, draws you away from this place in almost every way.

and that moment appears to have no parameters that you could draw lines of time or space on or inside and so you go with it even though the moment has long since passed, by the terms of this world.

and this fully expanding moment travels alongside your unfolding day - not by the terms of its own reality - but simply by virtue of the fact that you are able to look outward or inward or otherward every so often
and there it is.

there it is - whole and unsullied - one little ever-expanding moment that is there solely to share with you the possibility that there is just that - a possibility of something much more detailed, much more refined, something much more - that there is, much more to each and every detail of this world - something that opens so like a narrow path through dark trees into an opening ... a pool .... silvered and cool ... a place of feather petalled rustlings ... the soft sighs of purposeful passings ... the quick and knowing eyes that blink and close in understanding.

and you know that while you are not alone, you are very much on your own with the entirety of everything outside and entirely inside that moment.

Friday, July 8, 2011

unopened parcels

william hatherell the quiet spot

the yearning for days that are long and filled with quiet sun
transmutes into the comfort of complacency . . .

in the fevered transition from anticipation to actual,
summer's dance follows a disjointed rhythm that is accompanied by harmonies that seem distanced
and arrive in colourful parcels that beg to be opened and yet,
with the scissors of perception carefully stored somewhere out of reach,
they remain as they arrive and slowly pile up in the corners of my mind.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

subtle bodies

loving . . . for all of time and out of time

i am a loving person, bound by conditions that flare like late night fireworks off the surface of this world, and yet i have learned to accept love without condition ... in part ... not quite in whole ...

the subtleties of distractions and expectations are like so many flowers in a garden, like so many swans in a river ... beautiful distractions ...

in this iteration of my presence, i live in a man's body

i live on many levels in layers that unfold and come with entirely distinct mappings and soundings of the whole of my physical existence ....

the details, the practicalities and deliquescent realities and then ...

and then i am also sensitive to the whole of my non-material existence ...
which calls for work in order to be welcomed and to move in its own rendering ...

work that draws me into the subtle body of my self

and then into the entirety of selflessness

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

flat sea

john prentiss benson dhow

a wind-filled skin
of salted cloth
pulls my body
across the cloud-mirror

i am pinned
to this place
by the sea-anchor
that is
my gauzy shadow

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

dark flowers

where does this compulsion come from
that arrives unbidden each and every day
like birdsong
sweet, gentle, insistent
begging to be heard
articulating territories of understanding
singing of joys and fears
under skies
that already know
all that there is to know

over seas
that have danced their dances
through every living thing
that ever was

what can i add
to the music
that has been playing

i rest the eyes of my weary joy
in the shadowed petals of sun-shy flowers

Monday, July 4, 2011

the writing process

so when i write, what’s going on?
a while back, dan thought there might be a need for an answer.

i know how i set the process in motion and i know that when i write, it’s a very happy place for me.
i also know that there’s much i don’t write about.
that’s a choice i make for now.

i don't know how to put much into words.
those words will arrive at the right time.

for now, i try and resolve or throw things out into the world to see what i see. to know what i know.
so how do i set the process in motion?
well, i have several pathways into that world of worlds.

1) i free-associate, writing whatever comes into my mind and then organize it later. and again. and again. until it feels as close to “right” as “right” feels at the time i push the publish button. then when the piece is live, i edit it some more because i have a better feeling then for how you might read it, and sometimes even how it might make you feel or think.

2) i hear a phrase in my head. it either pushes me to search out a painting or a photograph that can not only stand on its own, but can dance with the words. i have lots of phrases banked, waiting for the right accompaniment, the right partner. the painting or photograph usually tells a story and it’s part of my work to hear it. i find that part easy, but the retelling is very difficult for me. i miss details, i cut out parts of the story. then the piece needs to be a certain length because i know that longer pieces of writing intrude on the reader’s inclination to stick around.

3) the whole piece appears in my head while i’m walking or biking. the trick is to remember it all. same thing for waking in the middle of the night. i am usually awake enough to hear all the words but not so awake as to get up, turn a light on, and write it all down.

4) i read poetry written by ancient japanese, chinese, persian, and modern scandinavian authors. sometimes a phrase or a thought or even something associated with their words will enter the moment and if i lay it down on one of the pathways i’ve already mentioned, it opens up the vista that was previously undefined and misted over. .

5) for a little while i used a tool called n+7 which helped me reorganize my phrases more-or-less randomly. very occasionally something would come up that came close to what i was looking for. more often i focussed on associating outwards from the random phrases generated.

the writing seems to pass through phases. i’m trying to figure out how things might work. little things and big things. because really, they’re telling stories about each other aren’t they! i also like to write about beauty and love from the skin-deep to those features of the entirety of everything that i can conceive of
and place into words.

i’m so deeply grateful to all the people who come here because they often leave comments that bring me to think about my thinking.

in one model, that moves me along the helix.
in another model, it pushes me deeper into myself and so, further away.
in another it connects us in a special way as we share a moment that arrived from the creative energy that emerges from the love that connects everything.

i value that above all!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

this little space

the child
cries with outrage

his mother calls
in her own voice
"cry my child"

his father calls
"be strong my child"

and i whisper soft encouragement
and quiet assurances
that i don't wish anything more
than to share this little space

Saturday, July 2, 2011


listening to my own music
i have danced
the timeless
of a world
long distanced
from the calls and cries
of the marketplace
a dance redolent with the comings and goings
of angels and magi,
my arms and legs
the whispered knowledge
of the shaman,
my eyes framing the portals
of the oracle,
my heart
a lagoon
holding what i am
of God

music by alberto mesirca

the image was graciously provided by reya

Friday, July 1, 2011

the subtle body

only you
can hold
the subtleties
that define
the entirety
and the otherness of you

in this place
that holds

and everything
of itself