Sunday, December 21, 2014

wake up note





Idea for a mini wake-up card.
If there were such a thing
as wake-up cards.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Little stones in the hall outside the library.
They hang suspended from the ceiling.
If stones could dream, is this a playful romp -
or freefall jump toward free?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"People are Extremely Angry"

Truthout Interviews Dahr Jamail on Electromagnetic Radiation War Games 
scheduled for national park and forest in Washington State

They will be war gaming for 12-16 hours per day
for 260 days

The Navy says these massive electromagnetic radiation pulses
will have "no significant impact" on humans or wildlife, despite scientific reports to the contrary.

"Tens of thousands of outraged residents from around the Olympic Peninsula
have expressed their opposition."

Read the full article here

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ink & Beans

 in the seed catalog -
words grabbed for harvest -
to bean or not to bean

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Threads in Our Life

Went  to an exhibit last summer of the 6th biennial of contemporary sculpture where the artists all focused on the same theme--perdrePied  ("losing one's footing")

"Losing one's footing, to no longer be in control,
being disoriented, being overwhelmed,
no longer knowing where you are"

This was one of the presentations highlighting that theme.  The artist exhibited a model church sculpted entirely of thin, fragile, translucent fabric, held together with thread and suspended from the ceiling in a stark, bare, otherwise empty white room.    At its base, cloud-like tulle hugs at its foundations, as if trying to anchor it.  It seems to move, and breathe, or tremble, as you walk past.  The effect was ghostly.

Nearby, a crane ominously awaits.

Side View.  These photos don't do it justice.  The whole thing  was absolutely exquisite.

"I decided to approach this theme in a figurative sense," says the artist, "exploiting the topic of the disappearance of the heritage built up in Québec, and more specifically, the religious heritage." 


What interests this artist is "the gradual removal of these monuments of the past that allow us to identify with our history, and to position ourselves in relation to it."  

"The church is in some way the physical incarnation that endures through time of a system of values and of an ideology that were formative of Québec society.  Our culture results from key events in our history and is as much coloured by the Great Darkness as by the Quiet RevolutionOn this point, I wonder about the impact of the vacuum produced by a certain rejection of our past.  Won't this loss lead to a search for meaning, a search for identity, a loss of balance?"

"I raise this questioning through the production of a textile installation that notably presents a church where demolition is imminent."

The demolition crane (detail)

"This architectural structure was built by a work of sewing, using sheer fabrics, giving the impression of lightness and fragility to an item that is normally solid, which seems to us indestructible, immutable."

Jannick Deslauriers was born in 1983 in Joliette, Québec.
She lives and works in Montréal and teaches art at the Cégep Marie-Victorin.

To see more of this artist's work, click here.

Her web site is here.

I particularly liked this earlier piece (not part of the above exhibition):

lethe (from series battlefield series) 2009
Artist: Jannick Deslauriers

A poem I encountered around the time I'd gone to this exhibit seemed to speak directly to related thoughts on  the disappearance of familiar traditions, objects or landscapes that are part of one's past.

Of Things Past

                                                                Draw as you will you cannot
                                                                Hold on to them as they slip

                                                                Like water through fingers
                                                                Frozen in marble round

                                                               The ring of a well.

                                                                    ~ ~ Vassilis Zambaras

The artist Jannick Deslauriers wonders "about the impact of the vacuum produced by a certain rejection of our past,"   asking:

"Won't this loss lead to a search for meaning, a search for identity, a loss of balance?"

One's identity--how one defines oneself with respect to one's culture, heritage, country--is subjective.   While loss of a tradition or native language can indeed be unsettling, the loss of the meaning one attaches to them can be even more of a disconnect - because it positions you outside, so to speak  (standing away, apart from, not experienced as "one with" it anymore).  Loss of  meaning in something does not always result in disorientation, however, if one fills the void left by its loss with something more meaningful.  It may actually ground or stabilize, rather than serve to dislodge, one's future life "footing," so to speak  But that's a whole other topic.

A  fragile, soft sculpture that cannot stand on its own and needs support from above, this church floats and  "breathes",  as clouds of tulle gather at its base, attempting  to anchor it.  Take away the strings holding it up and it collapses in on itself. 

What does it mean to think of something as indestructible, a kind of "given" - only to discover that it  perhaps . . . . isn't? 

That beautiful old churches get razed to become trendy new condos saddens me.  When in 2001 the Taliban destroyed two giant  6th-century carved Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan it sickened me, a loss felt even by those outside these cultures, as a universal reminder of the impermanence of 'things'.

There's a big difference, of course, between changes wrought slowly by time or inevitability, and those deliberately  and systematically engineered to erode or eradicate a people's identity. Native American Indian children taken from their families by early religious groups, renamed and forbade  to speak their own language;  and Tibetans today, having had thousands of their monasteries burnt down, their way of life now tightly controlled by the Chinese, are two examples that come to mind.  When your land is no longer yours, your language no longer spoken, your culture not something succeeding generations find easy to "identify with", except as a handed-down story or inherited label, then not the where you are but the who you are may cause you to examine what this all means to you personally.  Parallels flooded my brain as I was drawn back to the scene before me.

 I marveled at the sheer craft involved in the creation of this floating church.  Anybody who's ever worked with certain fabric, trying to get needle and thread to cooperate, will appreciate the enormous amount of time and effort it took to design and produce this magnificently constructed artpiece.  (I understand  that it was still being worked on up to 40 minutes before the exhibit opened.)

I peeked inside (or tried to) but saw only complete white space.  A gently held Emptiness.  I became fascinated with the black threads holding it all together--their intricacy and sometimes whimsical randomness.  For example, on the crane boom, they appear to be both clinging to and escaping from that which they are tasked with holding together.  I like that the artist allowed for this threadly ambiguity, the visual play of being both attached to and moving away from -- even the church's front bannisters and steps seemed to undulate to this rhythm.

Lost footing with respect to identity--what we identify with, or as--like the meanings we attach to ideas and things--is mutable.  What we accept or reject (or are simply indifferent to), how we respond to their loss, and who we become (or remain) as a result,  largely depends on their meaning to us not just collectively, but individually. Does this loss to "us" (the culture as a whole) make you feel more--or less--connected?  The answer to this question perhaps holds the clue to the nature of the connection, where we stand in relation to its absence, and whether that makes a difference or not.

This particular artist focused on the loss of religious heritage.  Wider considerations presented themselves in the overall theme as well:

  lostFOOTING, is to lose one's physical support, one's usual perspectives, one's aesthetic values, one's physical anchors, whether in a corporal manner, metaphorical, emotional, mental, or creative. It is also a rupture in equilibrium, a change of scenery, a rout, a stumble in the rhythm of walking, in the momentum of a journey, in the thread of life… All artists participating in the various exhibitions, events, and other activities will explore the proposed theme.

 Loss of one's physical, emotional, or metaphorical anchors, stumbles in 'rhythm' (who of us hasn't?!), lost momentum, ruptured equilibrium, loss of creativity (or in interest thereof) - whole pages could be written on any one of these 'threads'.

This all gets so murky.  But the subject is fascinating.  Utterly.  I like art that makes you think.  And this artist's work certainly did that. . . and then some! 

Thank youJannick Deslauriers, for  this visual and reflective adventure.  The exhibit was outstanding.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thought-Pick at the Bus Stop

 "Now don't go getting any crazy ideas, like
that we all really originally came from outer space or something.
That's a conspiracy theory, man."

"The Philae space probe was powered down earlier than expected, but not before an instrument discovered an organic compound that was first detected in the comet’s atmosphere, the Wall Street Journal exclusively reported Monday.

 "The find is extraordinary considering the organic compound contains the carbon atom, which is the basis of life on planet Earth. Further research is being conducted to see if there are complex compounds like amino acids or simple ones like methane and methanol, considered “building blocks” for proteins.

 "The research “will help us to understand whether organic molecules were brought by comets to the early earth,” Stephan Ulamec, the Philae’s landing manager said, according to the Journal." [Source]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Imagining what it's like

. . . .   to have to run from drones


Sunday, November 2, 2014


So long ago . . . .
Sundays in that drafty loft
reading the newspaper, sipping espresso
and cheap red wine,  the air reeking of Gauloise, 
Hardy's voice charming the pigeons in the rafters.
All the storms we weathered, he and I -
but not together. (Some things are just not meant to be.)
Ah, memories!  Scenes replayed as if on cue
each time you hear a certain song,
reliving faded old snapshots of that long-ago you
who still calls out from time to time
to remind.

Lyrics (en  français)

Beaucoup de mes amis sont venus des nuages
Avec soleil et pluie comme simples bagages
Ils ont fait la saison des amitiés sincères
La plus belle saison des quatre de la terre

Ils ont cette douceur des plus beaux paysages
Et la fidélité des oiseaux de passage
Dans leurs cœurs est gravée une infinie tendresse
Mais parfois dans leurs yeux se glisse la tristesse
Alors, ils viennent, se chauffer chez moi
Et toi, aussi, tu viendras

Tu pourras repartir au fin fond des nuages
Et de nouveau sourire à bien d'autres visages
Donner autour de toi un peu de ta tendresse
Lorsqu'un autre voudra te cacher sa tristesse

Comme l'on ne sait pas ce que la vie nous donne
Il se peut qu'à mon tour je ne sois plus personne
S'il me reste un ami qui vraiment me comprenne
J'oublierai à la fois mes larmes et mes peines
Alors, peut-être je viendrai chez toi
Chauffer mon cœur, à ton bois.

the English version:

So Many Friends:

So many friends have come and gone like you have done
I meet them for a while between the rain and sun
Like birds of passage shelter from a stormy sky
We get to know each other while the clouds pass by.
They always leave a little of themselves behind
A tenderness and sympathy so hard to find.
They listen to my troubles with a look so wise
But often there's a touch of sadness in their eyes

Like you, you came to me, from the storm
You came to me, and I kept you warm

So many friends of mine before have done the same
They go away from me as quickly as they came
Their hearts are full of tenderness and love to share
With all the lonely people they meet everywhere
Who knows exactly what the future has in store ?
One thing I know for certain, I've got one friend more
A friend in need will always find a friend in you
Maybe some day when I'm alone you'll see me through

Someday, I'll come to you, from the storm
I'll come to you, and you'll keep me warm.

 (Gérard Bourgeois/Jean-Max Rivière) English adaptation: Julian More.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Danse macabre

the bones cavort
mock death with mirth, and
hallow we don masks, pretend
(Treat, or get tricked!),
each house feigns fear
as we loot on.
These rituals help
us remember the gone,
 satirize the goneness.
Party on.
For the little ones -
pirates and princesses, 
supermen and goblins,
witches and hobos and
 tigers and bumblebees,
it never gets old.
For me, either.
I dance with those skeletons.
Macabre kollabra,
till death let us laugh.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cracks in the Wall

Some photos I took yesterday of some cracks in a wall
along the sidewalk down the street.

Original photo of section below the area
shown in the photo above

Experimenting with different color schemes:

         "Four Deer Dancing"

Cropped, enlarged, turned upside down, inverted,
the deer 's legs become - a lamb sleeping.

 Repositioned, retinted -
it reminds me of ancient cave wall paintings.

Enlarged, rotated and I changed the color. again:

"Accidental Abstract Stonewall Art"

~ ~ ~

Sometimes your camera doesn't cooperate:

Leaf on pond water, and assorted detritus, at Park Chenaux
Way too blurry - what can I do with it?

Rotate, crop, enlarge, tint, invert -
 it's a Halloween ghostie, waving!

 Isolate a different section - and out come
two heads, back to back,  in profile, 
the woman on the left, slowly disappearing.
(Rorschachian interpretation #4)

but  . . .

Let's go with that profile on the right,
expand rightward, and tweak some more:

"Old crone smiles, talking to her skull"
[You can tell Halloween's coming.  It's coloring my imaginings!)
This  might work as a book cover for a little handpubbed chapbook . . .


Who knew noticing a few cracks in a stone wall and a leaf among pond scum would generate such a flurry of experimentation and discovery!    I wish I could  take really good Black & White photos and knew more about cameras.  It's more fun (and challenging) though, to see the possibilities of what can be done with what you've got, coaxing imagined specialness out of the "what it is".  What's surprising was how enjoyable it can be.

~ ~ ~

Okay, enough crazy imaginings.
Some other photos taken on the same walk, at the same pond:

He kept walking around, as if lost.

 Optical Illusion:

Three gulls, mirrored

 Then there were two

"Are you done photographing us yet?!"

  Dreamlike, upside down

Mr. Egret is bored.
He suggests we both call it a day.


Photos were taken with an Olympus SZ-14 pocket camera (14 megapixel).  Tweaked with Picassa3.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Comparing something you wrote 25 years ago
 to something penned yesterday -
different fabric
same feel.
A voice in search of its



postdictable = obvious in hindsight; predictable after the fact
[a word found in the Urban Dictionary]

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Traveling south to meet North

Brief hiatus of a few weeks down to the States and back.
Some  photographic highlights of the trip.

Mural across the street from the bus station in Montreal

En route, passing through Vermont

The newest little grandbub

Welcome to the world, North!

Returning, stopover at Burlington, VT - UVM campus (from window of megabus)

bussing back home, goodbye wonderful mountains

Autumn surprise. "Maurice" our tree had green leaves when I left.