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Sweet as honey
Under the sparkling flow of stories
of melting in sweetness began-
a singing in the cells
alerting us to
the melting that might follow
had we been listening..
such a rush of joy whenever we meet!
I have seen you angry and sad but
always sweet. I can barely assert a
different view, because I melt-
Honey is the substratum it seems.
You treat me like a Queen
and call me Queen of the Melliflora, a
tree native to Victoria I have never seen.
I have dreamed of bees
ever since as met,
a bee came and rested
on my breast
last time we sat on my verandah
in the sweetness
flowing between us
I am just back-
We now know we can work together
it all flows
are with us.
There is skill and grace
and, so unusual in a man,
you hold the deep earth.
We need an infrastructure
a long range plan-
but I am still turning the soil
planting and painting.
You would like me to be more grounded
but I am forever lifting and moving
to sense the shifting breeze
like a pink skirt
left on the clothes line.
Earth red to hold the centre
from a culture
where a thousand hours
is normal in the making of such a rug
and such a rug normal
in a home where people
kneel to greet their guests,
kneel to eat
and kneel to greet the day.
I was so glad to unroll this rug,
from a hidden place,
to make a rich red
lining against the wall.
It became part of the story
of our belonging-
I will look for such a
in a cushion or small rug
to be the centre of
The House of Self
and this the centre of our garden.
Yesterday Fuzzy Cat
had to be put down
He was delirious
from a mosquito or perhaps
a flea bite, was turning in circles
barely able to stand,
his wise amber eyes distressed.
The day before I had said
til next time Mr Fuzzy Cat ..
but he was eighteen
and not able to
withstand such things.
You are sad. Very sad.
I suspect you have always spoken cat.
Such a wise companion
over so many years.
You sent me
a picture of his grave
marked by Rosemary and Thyme.
There is nothing left for me here you say
after burying your cat
He loved you for a long time
coming out to meet you
always sensing your moods and
wanting you to stroke him, unknot his fur,
there for you, no matter what.
Your life is in one room and your beautiful
glass, is wrapped in newspaper in the garage
evidence of a talent you were not
permitted to unfold.
You talk about the South Coast
but it is cold.
Where do you really want
I simply don't want to know another
thing about her-
not her elegance
her good taste
her collection of shoes
that she chose the shirt I like on you
the way she books airfares
and what she likes to eat!
Especially I do not want to hear
about her texts or that you still desire her!
That I know already
and I know such desire
steals your life away.
If she loved you
she would be with you.
You would still have your home
You would still be playing with the
child you love so much
You would probably be working
or if not she would care that you are sick.
Someone called Harry
asked to be my friend on facebook
I said fine, OK
He wrote messages
increasing in tempo
from friendly to passionate
over two busy days and
while I was wondering
how best to say, cut it out
you assume too much,
and anyway you live a world away,
he unfriended me
just as fast.
That meant I could say nothing.
My here in real life friend
he might have wanted
my financial details,
that he is either
a charlatan or a fool.
I think he is neither
desperate, though literate,
and very rude!
I look at the photos
I have of my mother
and my father batting balloons
as if he were on the cricket pitch,
I sat beside Mum when someone came to play music and sing the old songs..
Mum remembered the words verse after verse.
She sang softly
but in perfect tune as she always did.
It was wonderful to see them so well, and to be there with both my sisters. Dad cannot remember our names but says, proudly, "my family". He likes to read his paper every day as well, though my sister has to explain the news which he cannot retain. Mum thanked me for coming a long way! And Dad said when he had had enough, I imagine you have a schedule!
I have been shopping and we have:
ancient grain cereal, nuts,
almond milk, organic yogurt,
olives, salami, tomatoes,
rocket, lettuce, cucumber,
onions, peppers, aubergines,
good olive oil and sourdough
and herbs in the garden.
I have left the fruit and cheese to you
as well as choices around evening meals.
I know you love to graze..
taking in the colours, shapes
and scents around you
and unerringly choosing the best.
I remember the water melon and finding
the inner pink!
I know you will want coffee
from that one little place.
I wish we could go to that marketplace in Arles!
Very hot, meltingly hot
the fan on all day, a chic brass one in the study where we work, white in the kitchen, ceiling fan in the living room, no air conditioning but high ceilings and a reliance on the
breeze coming in off the sea in the afternoon as generations did before us.
I confess I prefer to work in uninterrupted fashion for five or ten hours at a time and then laze around.. you on the other hand get restless and want to go out... Compromise is allowing music to shift our energy..yes, then we go out!
A little girl, no longer a toddler,
stands on the kitchen chair. She is wearing a yellow tee-shirt tucked under a brown apron with cream and yellow flowers.. MY apron Nana. Yes, and you have one just like it at home. I bought them for you in Hawaii even before you were born..
She looks at her baby photos. I am not a baby now. I am two. I was in My Mummy's tummy before I was born. Whose tummy were you in before you were born ?
I point to picture of my mother, and her mother
and back to at least one of her great great great great grandmamas.Both her Dutch Nona and I will tell her stories of the women.. No wonder this one has all the confidence in the world.
She licks the spoon.
We are full
of the offering
and the mysteries:
focused and joyous dance.
and the echoing magic
of a red dragon fly
accompanying you, landing on your hand
and an emerald green one visiting me as it dances across the pool, joined then by a red one at the water's edge..go lightly, be prepared to change, death is not what it seems, illusions are created and disappear, life is for dancing..
Another large red one
accompanies me four days later
at the traffic lights between north and south .
So Athena is in charge is She?
of arts, culture and the city
against barbarians. She won the toss
by offering the olive tree
when he offered only salt tears
and land made barren by salt -
as we know only too well here.
Olives for shelter from the fierce sun
for food, and oil for cooking, medicine
and light, medicinal leaves and wood for carving
and for warmth. No wonder Athena won
and the diaspora
has spread this tree
all round the temperate world.
I dreamed I had a bowl of ripe olives
This was at the start
of my dream work training
with Robert Moss.
It was the first dream I shared,
he said it was a great gift.
What he meant was
Athena is in charge-
The olive is Hers
and is the sign of inspired dreaming
that can be food, shelter, medicine and light
for those who need it.
Now yesterday Athena
declared there are
no boundaries to imagination-
I must open up my vision
and see the possibilities,
food, shelter, medicine and light.
I am still contemplating
that lovely room
surrounded with trees
and dragonflies and bees
a scented evening, then
sunshine and a dramatic storm:
Seeing with new eyes I see, again
the moment when I saw a King,
the moment I knew
that I have given everything,
and the goddess
has boiled me down to glue.
No longer thinker lover artist mother
not a Queen or beggar
just a pot of glue
to be used as She sees fit.
She has also given me a new heart
I am still feeling in to it
It may take a while to know.
Linked in has connected me
You must have sought me out
from another country
and now you say you are often in Melbourne ...
I am pleased to know where you now live
what you are well
you have three grandsons
and that we may meet up
more than twenty years!
It was so good to see her,
she got lost of course
then couldn't find a park
in the baking sun
and the crowds amongst
the sculpture by the sea.
But I saw her hat-
I knew it at once
a straw one meant for a man
pulled down over her still flaxen hair.
We sat for three hours
by the window overlooking the sea.
Work, families and commitment
to the creative source.
We agreed as we get older
there is still fresh energy
but none at all
for other people's BS.
We plan to paint together
once a month..a witnessing..
It's cool I have a headache I have eaten breakfast but do not feel inspired to walk I have fresh coffee I am wondering if I can save this piece Its been raining I should take the chickweed out of the garden I miss the lake and garden I plantedI feel too tender to put myself out there todayI need the internet re calibrated. I need to find a blender for my nephew. I wonder what I should take to my women's group I need to buy water and salad greens rocket I should call the word press man I need to hang pictures I am grateful for my life Im grateful my coffee is still hot and that I have already painted much of the house. there is much to do and I am well and I can do it little by little or all at once.
I went back
to the school where I had taught art
art was no longer
on the curriculum
for any except the most
brilliant, the ones who were
academically gifted and able to verbalise
the meaning of their art.
Nothing for those who would become sparkies
or builders or sales staff, clerical workers, nurses, cleaners, chefs, mechanics, drivers or work in any way with people day to day. Nothing for those who might become potters or carvers or quilters or artists who discovered the meaning of their art in the process of doing it.
I said as I was now out of the system
I would start a campaign
and invite people to write
How Art Changed My Life.
Last night I was angry
that came after the deep sadness
and it took me till
at 2am to know what it was about!
I went into to kitchen to get a drink.
There by the open window
was a huge winged cockroach it's slightly
reddish body facing me
its wings still curved up from the flight.
I hate cockroaches. I mean I hate them.
I kill them instantly I see them,
and I have never seen one on the kitchen bench.
It knew I hated it. I had bare feet
I grabbed a tub of paint and squashed it
and still half dead it tried to move
again I slammed the tub on it.
then I wrapped it up with toilet paper
and flushed it away and disinfected everything in sight and poured boiling water over the bench
and disinfected it again.
I need some of that vehemence
in dealing with what today
is disappointment...there is a place for hating
It is too easy for me to
find the insight then
just walk away.
I was feeling loss
before making my viewpoint known.
Mrs Yes But
was challenged last night
to show her face.
One metre square canvas
and my left hand could only write no no no no no
yes yes no no no, yes it's OK really it is
in orange and pink
as if I were reassuring a two year old.
My grand daughter told me
this afternoon I am a big ogre
and I told her she was a little one
when I asked her
to move her dolls blanket half a metre
from my pile of drawings
and she shrieked no no!
Why is it so vital that the will is free
to create it's own expression
it's own form and order
to discover if others will join the dance
rather than being told?
It's so confidence and courage
can be the normal style, the normal
way of being,
temperered with respect
for the will of others.
I have to respect my shreiking
there is more..
with shoes that are emerald green
on deep brown earth made
restless by the recent dead.
Determined not to
to fall back into the abyss
that yawns, just one step
behind her, she bends
to the onslaught
of the future.
She carries something precious.
Perhaps when they pass
beyond the soldiers and the green trees
he will find his own feet
and walk with her
or freely take his leave.
From the deep earth
opened up now
two black arms shoot up
clawing their way, grasping the edge
They are desperate
to haul the body
buried for too long
into a world that is raining crimson
as well as rain.
Legs move and the crust of the earth
as the woman
in emerald shoes
turns her back
and makes the ascent.
Her bones are cold
yet she carries hope
despite the fact
the war is still raging.
She leaves the greater need
to bring back love and growth, beauty and the harvest-
And the god of the underworld lets her go.
I do not want you to be flooded
with the desires and griefs
of the battle field!
who died in Flanders Fields
passed on the torch of their desires.
Not everyone, even after 100 years
knows that they are dead
and will never return, as Martin and Sam
Pierre and Hans
to workplace or farm, forest,
beach sand or turquoise sea,
to the arms of their children
who were themselves
the dead of the next great war,
or are now very old and living out their last years.
Will your children
have to come and find you
once they too are gone?
She says we were young and happy
in a convivial world of cafes, art and music.
It was our world, we were French and very happy.
We married and had children.
And then the war came.
Our children were teenagers.
She did not say more after that.
If we were
twenty five among the Fauves
thirty five to forty in WW1,
and if we lived,
burdened, saddened by loss,
we'd be sixty at the outbreak of WW2.
I remember dying in 1960
of some chest infection.
as I was
a child gathering catseyes by the ocean-
another way to see.
Polish of Russian descent,
my father and brother murdered
a decade before the Bolshevik Revolution,
the I of this storyline was sent to school in Poland
to learn music and French in safety.
I might have been a slightly older contemporary of my maternal grandmother
who was sent to school in France
to learn music and French.
Poland was torn apart.
Marieschka had a hard grim life
and was raped and murdered
at the edge of the forest
where she was trapping rabbits
at the start of WW2.
She did not die of a chest complaint
in 1960. Was not a young widow
as my grandmother was.
I am glad there is
a story of a happy marriage.
No wonder I love and hate poppies,
so lovely waving in the English hedgerows,
so grim in Northern France. I always fly,
this terrain is still too hard for me to cross.
I have an image of Penelope Cruz
with a large poppy in her rich, dark hair.
It's a flier for that movie
where she plays a woman who murders
her abusive husband
and has to work out how
to dispose of him.
War's like that.
After the adrenalin,
the heroism and violence,
the stench lingers:
the earth receives our bodies
and our fear and guilt,
and poppies grow.
Your'e a different character.
Your'e an evil dude. When I refused you
you thought you'd get me.
You waited til you were dying and no-one would accuse you of murder, or if they did,
you would die before the trial.
You reckoned without the Lynch mob.
I was a singer. You drove a wedge of flint
under my throat, not only to kill me
but to ensure
I would not sing for many a lifetime.
If I would not sing for you
then no-one should hear the voice of the nightingale.
Pace, pacem, go
I am singing your Requiem
I've had it.
Take back your icon.
I am sure you were desperate when you
died, with it lodged up under your ribs.
you refused the grace of a good death.
Did you think you did not deserve salvation,
and that you, I, would sort it out
sometime in the future?
I've got news for you.
No-one deserves salvation.
And I won't carry this Byzantine
face of Mary for you.
I do not want your heroism or your shame
or your fear or your fame.
I don't need to know anything about you.
Go, I absolve you.
What dying soldier placed
this burning face of Mary
in my body?
And who placed a wedge of flint
below my collar bone?
deeply angled in to cut off
the flow of my love!
Take them out! I do not give my permission.
In this time, any time or no time.
How dare you pretend your white fingers
are the hands of Light!! Get out.
Go and never return.
I command you remove these photographic plates.
I am not a subject for research!
You are mine why did you betray me?
Tell them they are not welcome here.
I reclaim my sovereignty and I reclaim you!
She has arisen.
She cradles me
in her tender embrace
as she lifts me
into the green flames.
Yes, I held my life precious
but the rainbow dancing of my small desires
small deeds and somewhat greater loves
needs to be free to dance a wilder dance
to create new worlds.
from the world of death-
Death shall have absolute dominion
for only comfort is lost.
You will always know me.
The Tip Jar