Sunday, July 31, 2011

visionary journey

Like a dream during your sleep at night,
At once understand as a certainty
That all the sundry notions you have are your own mind
Arisen from the sleep of ingrained tendencies.


Like clouds in the sky dissolving into the source from which
they have come,
At once understand as a certainty
That your ill-considered actions and emotions, your feelings
of happiness and sorrow,
Will submerge into the source from which they have
emerged.


Like a reflection appearing in a clear lake,
At once understand as a certainty
That all the sundry concrete things, although they appear so,
have no substantiality about them
But are the gigantic reflection of a nothingness that has and
is everything.

(from The Story of the Mount Potala Delights verse 139, 140 & 141.
A Visionary Journey - Longchenpa
Translated and annotated by Herbert V. Guenther
Shambhala Publications, Inc. 1989)


:: Note :: ... text for tone poem ... Part II of meetings & meanderings on the culture stream ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The perception of beauty is a moral test.



Then all i have to do is
recognize her, lifting

her voice in pansori with an
upward swing on the drum or

listen to murmurs of dictee
behind a seamless white scrim.

The endless culturation following
the gentle curve of the Han, a way

of grace to what is other
beyond measure. Reaching for

saskatoonberries little orchid,
maintain the heavenly blossoms.

Wholeness lost and wholeness regained.

:: Note :: ... "the perception of beauty is a moral test" sentence is a quote from Henry David Thoreau ...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Like the moon up there



Early in the afternoon they were playing in the temple
They were looking forward to further dancingness and singingness.
They could find the presence of absence in the action of memory.
They might find timescapes to share.
Just beyond the industrial area they passed fire trucks and sirens,
gas stations, a car wash and a truck stop sprouting rubber hoses everywhere.
A girl carried an empty chair searching for the porch.
Feathers fell wavering to the carpet green.
The land was flat and ordered.
The streets were empty.
They sat against a wall of old Korean script beside the family of ten.
At the table behind a man wore a shirt calling for a revolution.
The rain fell off and on washing the earth never quite clean enough.
They returned home turning on the soft lights.
The closeness, the warmth, the silence of intimacy.
The sound of a drum, pansori and minyo.
Rich layers of traditional love chants.
Discordant harsh play lines recited from memory stacked over the carpet green.
The fullness and flowering would not leave.
Just before deep darkness
the ancestors rolled into the dreamtime with memories of sky flowers.

:: Note :: ... the years roll by ...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Falling, Slowing, Flying

                                                           Today
all was usual                a hot July afternoon
there were streams of poplar seeds on side streets
he had been thinking about what she had said
                       What is not spoken is unspoken often

Cutting for more precision          on the index finger
the splinter                 could not be removed

He showed her in the shade to see her
reaction to what he had been thinking          the sun
against the cloudless sky
                      neither of them resting just yet

In the small park
it felt as if the earth opened for them
as they passed into the sky          he had to ask her
                     if this were flying or

Always having seen her walk
which set her to song          her voice as haunting
as her shining black hair               his gait as heavy

                                              The statue poised
the inscription          readable though weathered illegible away
the trees majestic         silent waiting on the edge
restless perpetrators        the heat        unwilling to relinquish

                                     Locked in world time zones
they talked and then fought and then talked
and fought and it was like that    relentless    rehearsed

She would appear central in his thoughts         then go off
on her own            meanwhile            everyone but themselves
continued planning                   cities far away

Eating ice cream            with plastic spoons
he had no idea             how to die             kept living
                        turning away from the air

I don't care            he lied            I know you do
she insisted         listen         just listen    yes and no
to change    it does matter into what

The longer one lived        the less it matters

A young family intruded             the baby
betrayed his eyes        he thought more about after
when a stenciled girl held a red helium heart
                 on the portal of hospice

They wore the scent of Paris burning

He drove         He said nothing         She in the backseat
He glanced between the houses catching the river

It was still         the canopy of foliage
forced him to look down
           he dared not share the tunnel of love

Her bags zipped shut full of yesterday's possessions
held the young child's question
                       How do you become a butterfly

When you want to fly so much you stop being a caterpillar



Thursday, July 14, 2011

like hearing your name called in a place you had long forgotten


The morning the gum surgery was scheduled
we waded through fields of mosquitoes & walked
the flats in rubber jackets & hiking boots mud heavy
with soaked & sloshed foot trodden soles.
From the lookout we saw glorious sandbars &
followed paths to whitecap along the Saskatchewan
while the silence healed the previous months hurt.
Eyes bathed in the bright yellow canola summoning
brilliance while the hay rolled under the power lines
acknowledging our own steady fault lines.
I saw the goldfinch flitting ahead his body a trace
against the sky, the heavy overcast clouds dispersed
bringing an even heavier drowsiness.
I have read the world to which this man really belongs
is far away through the fissures of dream
& I have climbed steps down to rivers and oceans
feeling winded & humbled and been glad of the green.

In every sense have I felt on good terms with a clod of
soil, an unknown song, the smell of sage.
I have been cordial to the grasslands windswept face
and the patience of horizons, though I have worn
the river on my back like a memory.
Lover be not acquiescent of your smile
expressing the depth of happiness and
expel the demons that haunt this plain.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

having darkness


No not a shadow.
Like having midday darkness at your back you can feel
but you can't see.

As if it were boring into your skull,
the shape of a recently vanished figure.
He is not living where he really lives.

The door leads into a hallway
and up the stairs with a sharp corner.

It's not that they shared the place long
but the cigarette smell stopped lingering.

There was only one door and it was magnificently quiet.

Looking behind requires no effort.

Came another with a feeling of dissonance,
almost as troublesome.

Not of being absent but building belonging.

They were drying the air shifting possessions
from one place to another.

They moved along nailing and staining
without agreements.

He desired to make an invisible room.

He left cans and crumbs scattered throughout.
There was his black cat jumping to the window sill
watching every move. Broke through the screen to escape,
returning when called.

A scheduled group came drifting in with stomps and grunts.

If this took place anywhere near an institution
it would be clearly terrifying.

This could be the reason he has started to scowl wanting to howl.











:: Note :: ... peace will come soon ...

Re: Survival, in pursuit thereof

It is 2011, just before the thunderstorm.
Here I am, repairing, and I am bleeding.
I am located at the corner of alphabet village
at the bottom of the hill. I need your help. You will find me
surrounded by apartments, where the trees
tower especially silent during the day,
where shouts and cursing rubs the back alley.
We roam to make one another suspicious;
to fend from eyes that bring disease. We
are running on borrowed time, recycled filth in the
last cycle. Mouths open/shut.
We would be criminals to one another
stealing or scavenging. We would be sticky,
dirty and in vengeful stench. We would be lost or,
at least, struggling. Be hurt. Invisible
except to the most callous observer.
We will be sewer water. Potash tailings
of bleach. Collapsed lungs. No,
we must first collect. Be reused. Be taken apart.
Be lightning.

:: Note :: ... hovering before rising & falling ...

Re: Survival, in pursuit thereof

It is 2011, just before the thunderstorm.
Here I am, repairing, and I am bleeding.
I am located at the corner of alphabet village
at the bottom of the hill. I need your help. You will find me
surrounded by apartments, where the trees
tower especially silent during the day,
where shouts and cursing rubs the back alley.
We roam to make one another suspicious;
to fend from eyes that bring disease. We
are running on borrowed time, recycled filth in the
last cycle. Mouths open/shut.
We would be criminals to one another
stealing or scavenging. We would be sticky,
dirty and in vengeful stench. We would be lost or,
at least, struggling. Be hurt. Invisible
except to the most callous observer.
We will be sewer water. Potash tailings
of bleach. Collapsed lungs. No,
we must first collect. Be reused. Be taken apart.
Be lightning.

:: Note :: ... hovering before rising & falling ...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

condo ritual

... one of my ritual summerl activities used to be gardening but ever since Mom sold the house it's been a simple condo balcony flower display ... have tried herbs but they don't seem to take ... the tomato plant she still receives from old neighbour Peterson thrives ... we'll see how things grow this season ...

... sure miss the raspberry bushes & the horseradish which was totally out of control ... oh yes & we always had to be careful with the zucchini or it would rule every spare space ... Mom loved the potatoes & beets ... she would go out daily for her lettuce, onion, chives & tomato salads ... mixed results with beans & peas ... we did well with carrots havesting them in the fall ... we got a couple of pumpkins for halloween ... tulips in the front were the first sign of spring & they were the first bulbs Stefan planted ...

... the honeysuckle climbed the fence ...

... we had these huge petunias, iris plants taken from Nana's place in Coleman, Alta. & of course the roses ... haven't passed through the Crowsnest Pass for a long time now seems it's time to ...

... still digging at the Temple ... only not gardens just trenches for weeping tile to prevent further basement flooding ... the Temple upkeep is relentless ... the roof is now fixed with no more leaking ... windows need some repair ... paint at the back ... new back door required ... ahhh ...


:: Note :: ... ... re-using forgotten (collective) memory-spaces ...

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Kafka

Kafka has a dear place in my history ...

... Metamophosis, read at age 13, was the first work of fiction that made sense of the nonsense I felt around me ... after reading decided to spend a whole day as a worm at the high school ... arms entwined, squiggling from class to class ... great fun ...

... an adaptation by Steven Berkoff of The Trial was the first mainstage university production I directed (Nov. - Dec. 1989) ... an exhilarating experience ... the students were thrown into a process of me sorting through my European studies ... the retiring stage designer for that show was cleaning up his office when he found the original Trial maquette offered it to me which i gladly accepted despite wishing to unload rather than collect stuff ... photo to the left is from Emry's Dreams: Greystone Theatre in Photographs and Words taken by David Maneville ...

... Kafka resides in the deep recesses of my memory haunting as he haunted the 20th century ... await his latest incarnation ...

:: Note :: ... this piece A Message from the Emperor in the N.Y. Review of Books loosened these memories ... Mark Harman in translators notes: "I was mindful of the fact that Kafka often read his stories aloud with the 'rhythmic sweep, dramatic fire, and a spontaneity such as no actor achieves' " (Max Brod) ... would have loved to have heard him read ...

Friday, July 01, 2011

Last Day

... well as school concluded & report cards handed out in front of the school ...

... did I mention the whole basement flooded & my office, all costumes, props, sets, scripts, computers, filing cabinents with 25 years of teaching material were lost as well as the boiler room and all electricity ... apparently it flooded to a height of six feet busting through doors ... we're not allowed back into the school until mid-August ...

... well as school concluded so did a precious working relationship draw to a close ... for the last five years principal Chad has guided us through many a storm ... transformation from a mainstream high school of over 1,400 students to a inner city abode for just over 300 has been dramatic & challenging ...

... i met her when i was in grade 11 & she a grade 9 student ... our paths though varied have crossed often during the span of 42 years ... she retires today ... one of the best ... one of the extraordinary ... her last act was to give each of the staff a card of thanks ... each received their own message ... i quote mine ...

Well old friend, I wish you well. Working with you these past five years has been a highlight of my career.

You truly understand and see the goodness in kids. The world needs more of you!

I hope the next few years continue to bring you happiness.

God Bless you!


... i can only return the sentiments & double them ...

:: Note :: ... too much more to say which words fail to express ... we have all been "chaded" ...