Friday, July 31, 2009

Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

Mary Oliver

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When I woke pt II

Every morning I make,
God in bed, good and bad,
After a water-face walk,
The death-stagged scatter-breath
Mammoth and sparrowfall
Everybody's earth.
Where birds ride like leaves and boats like ducks

(section of When I Woke, Dylan Thomas)

When I woke pt I

I realized I had a dream during the night that echoed perfectly some of the sentiments I had yesterday concerning being able to transport chocolate through space and time.

And other sweets.

Seriously. We can chat online as we land on the moon & mars, together, synchronized planet dancers. We can perform operations on each other using light sticks and magic technology wands, we are thinking of ways to blow each other up using fusion and re-fusion and splitting of fusion and and and.

Clearly, I am not a nuclear scientist, if that even exists, BUT I do know that if we can do all this, why can't we pass food through the phone, or send each other chocolate through the computer?

Well, When I woke I realized that I had, in fact, come back from a land where you can do just that. And it was a marvellous, wondrous place.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And black boots, just at home

Less of an explanation needed for this one. I am not Napoleon, (I know, you had all these suspicions) but I went to an exhibit about him recently and while I was unimpressed with the gut and war stories, I was very much impressed with all the furniture and accessories and especially, his boots. I know, I know.

But what could be more sensual than a pair of riding boots that fit perfectly found at a flea market for $20? These puppies are probably worth hundreds - no millions - of dollars. Which just means they're well made. It takes about 20 minutes to get into them, and 30 to get out, so they aren't for everyday use, but man are they fine. Maybe I am an object-sexual....

Green, everywhere

Part of my 90-day sensual challenge (my very own, a not-new-years-resolution-resolution in the middle of it all, the year that is, or at least, this everyone-has-calendars-that-say-so version of the year) is to try to keep my eyes and ears open and more present than they often are, which has meant that I've found myself often looking at the tops of buildings and in places I wouldn't usually bother seeking out.

Which is how I ran into this wonderful display of a makeshift flower garden yesterday, up above a depanneur in the city. Does the person that cultivates these flowers also sell you packs of chewing gum and hostie? How comforting that in so many corners, tucked away from the world, are signs of life and the care that goes along with it. Or perhaps it is equal parts comforting and a challenge in and of itself to create spaces that hold some magic for those passing by.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A good reminder, part II

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver

Looking for work by day...

While I am spending some time volunteering in my off-hours, by day I am working on work, that is finding a job. Now that so much information is to be found online, I have been researching about how to job hunt over the internet in a savvy way. This article proved interesting

Art Pop 2009 Redux

Um...I don't even know what redux means, but I think I am using this term correctly.

You know when it's as if your brain had a subconscious thing going on where it learned something you didn't think it did? Like all the stuff stored up in your head about Avril Lavigne and Jem dolls that you could do without and you have no idea how the information got there...

So I am still raising funds for Art Pop, the non-for-profit Pop Montreal's visual arts segment, of which I am a volunteer. We need your help to drive the program we've curated into existence. I am pretty passionate about the artists we have lined up for this year.

Here's a pdf that gives tons of info about Art Pop 2009 for you to peruse. And here's my initial call-out for fundz.

And the photos are from one of last year's festival projects, Lop Art duo nights held in partnership with Loplop and Agence Topo. Featured artists in these photos are Tyler Rauman and Diane Obomsawin.

We had an amazing time, and you can take a look at the program for 2008 here.

To donate, just click on the paypal donate button on the top right of the screen. And as I mentioned previously, any donation $10 or over gets you a drawing mailed to your doorstep. See the initial call-out for further details on the prizes offered for you being so darn amazing.

Hip-Hop Babies never sleep...

This window display is for a business near my house. It's on a street full of strange and wonderfully off-kilter art installations of businesses that don't-know-what-they're-doing.

This business, for instance, sells baby clothes that I think probably never, ever get bought. So they "show" them more than "sell" them, which helps the whole art-installation argument along. But seriously, why do all these mannequins from the 50s look like they've been put in cheesy mainstream hip-hop poses? Who is in charge of this? Or maybe it's the children themselves, coming alive at night and trying to figure out what cool is along with the rest of us.

Disturbing and awesome. Like so many other things out there...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Life as a workout, meaning literally.

Soooo....I've been going to the gym lately. Well, twice. I wish I had the nerve to bring a camera in so I could post pictures of the whole, ridiculous show, but you'll have to use the power of imagination here folks. Trust me though, if I could indeed snap one or two images for you, this post would be unnecessary in terms of the word-vs-photo quota. That whole thing about something saying a thousand words and all....although I am not one to be satisfied by a mere thousand, usually. Yet (again) I digress.

It's been a very interesting experience, and a truly hilarious one at that. I have decided to go to a gym that I am not going to name here, but it is in my neighbourhood. And my neighbourhood, it would seem, is full of men who really feel like the words macho dude suit them to a t. Their small little t, that is, stretched all across the rippling mass of muscles they each call "my body". There are perhaps only 2 people at any giving point in time who are there to work out and who won't stick around for the daily Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike contest. I am definitely part of the minority in this landscape.

My "trainer", Phil, seems about as interested in me as a cat is interested in going door-to-door doing volunteer housework. (Ok there WAS that cat one time who did that, actually, but I am pretty sure that was rigged by Oprah). He was a nice enough guy, but I had to yank that nice out of him and it had a slippery quality, lending it to get popped right back into its protective shell (just below and to the right of his ribcage). So while I was yanking-the-nice, I was also learning how to use these ridiculous machines that are impossible to understand. They resemble strange mouth retainers for giant monster people. How am I supposed to get my body into a machine that is only really for the use of a large monster person's oral hygiene?

Thing is though, all said and done, I've been having an awesome f*ckin time going there. Twice. It's so far been such a good experience. I love the gym, and I never thought I would ever say that, and if you see how much I can lift with my legs in comparison to the macho dude over there, you would hang your head in embarrassment for me, maybe. But I am just finding it hilarious. It's almost like my experiences with french - before, when I hadn't travelled to France and had just moved to Quebec, everyone though it was SO cute that I barely spoke it but tried to nonetheless. I got so many extra "awww, you're so good at french, really" points. It was great. I was also 22 at the time. That could have helped. Shit, I never thought about that.

Whereas now, 31 and NOT new to the language, I can speak it more-than-passably with anyone, about anything, (that exists, I only speak about imaginary things in English) yet people give me a hard time far more regularly that they used to. It's like, "well if ze tongue underztands ze French zat much, why doez ze tongue not understand it all?" I have noticed you get in trouble at a certain level with other folks about your abilities in general. I believe it's when you're staring off into the world from your plateau.

And I am most certainly at the grovelling-at-the-ground level here at the gym. Their world is not mine yet, (likely never will be) so we can all get a good laugh from it, enjoy each other's company in an endearing way - Oh here comes that weirdo who can only leg-press 30 pounds but is so enthusiastic! - Oh here comes that macho dude who seems really insecure about how he walks, would likely jump me for my wallet if this was a different circumstance, but who's a really nice guy anyhow! - and I, on top of it, get to slowly achieve a level of health I haven't ever had. Some of the muscles that have experienced being sore over the past few days have NEVER known they were muscles. My body is Sleeping Beauty, and the gym, the Prince.

What a wake-up call. It was initially so scary for me to go into a gym, any gym, for so many reasons I ain't getting into here and now. It's been such a risk to just GO and walk on the treadmill while a guy with a boa constrictor tattoo on his head and shoulders eats pate chinois at the gym restaurant. But a commitment to messier living is all about this, the stretch my mind must make to overcome emotional obstacles. There are so many ways in which that needs improving, but it seems like, throughout this whole procedure, my brain's been through a workout too, so it's cool if it is a bit sore and will need to be iced once in a while, just like my body does.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Art Pop Fundraising Drive 2009!!! Donate to get Personal Drawings sent to you in the mail! Or someone you love!

So as one of the many things I chew on as I make my way throughout the day, one of the ones that I am most passionate about is this visual arts festival I am involved with. It's Art Pop, which is a segment of the amazing international Music Festival, Pop Montreal.

So here's the deal: I am offering, as a fundraising initiative, wee drawings like the ones seen in this post,(click on the image to get a closer look at them) for donations of $10 CAD and more. $10 gets you a pretty small (but really awesome) drawing, and if you donate $20 or more, you can ask me what to draw, (as long as your rabbi would give it the kosher thumbs-up, as I draw little lambs that are naive and don't want to be corrupted)

If you donate $30 or more, I will draw something AND also as a bonus include several images of things I find interesting, or an article I'm reading that's been inspiring, or email you an MP3 of a good song that might cheer up your day.

Anything over $40 means I will create a cake in the shape and likeness of your face, and then film myself eating it, and then send it to you.

Or make a suggestion! I am open to creative acts (again, rabbi-approved) that would make you happy. Get me to sing a stranger a song! I will get someone to film it for you. The sky's the limit. Although I am afraid of heights.

Here's the deal - you donate on Paypal, and once I see your details arrive, I will email you to see what type of gift you'd like. If I don't hear back from you, I will assume you want a drawing and mail it to whatever billing address you've filled out.

The drawings will be mailed to anyone of your choice, so this is a great fun gift for someone you love. Send someone anywhere in the world a drawing that has helped contribute to an awesome arts festival. I will send stuff anywhere in the world, with normal shipping, without any extra cost to you.

And, of course, I will also ship, in a different, magical way, eternal love to you and yours for helping us out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A good reminder

This one from the blog of Jason Botkin, who is an interesting and talented artist living here in Montreal I have had the honour of meeting recently. A person I hold in high esteem and who I am glad wanders about this earth.

A poem from Rumi he posted awhile ago, and in rummaging around his site I came across it, and it somehow seems to suit the moment, or many, a good reminder of the ways in which I can choose to look at my life and the situations that arise therein.

Oh to be so blessed to experience things with all of you, or some of you, of joy and loss and togetherness and distance and piles sometimes and tundra landscapes others. That within this mystery of a heart of mine or somesuch, lies the aloneness that makes me you and so forth. What a wondrous responsibility, to be alive. Ahem. That wee tangent aside, here's the Rumi:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stain Man

This old one is done with almost stain-alone - coffee, olive oil, flower pollen (he will grow them for you in due time!) paprika, chili powder, cracked pepper.

Take your hands and apply directly to all the things that be. As part of this whole sensual challenge thing I think I am going to try to keep this up, to create things in a way that slows down their regular processes and makes my body pay attention and notice procedures from another vantage point.

Melancholic faces can be sung up with the simplest of materials after all. Take one's own face, for example....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Of my walk towards...

And the elephant-above-recycling and favoured-water-tower and favoured-sumac-trees and fish-in-glens-park and cage-hat-in-same and all the wonderful ways in which the world unfolds at our feets each day.

It really IS part of the sensual challenge, to decidedly walk, if one can, to a place where you'd otherwise bike/auto/metro. Take an extra hour or hour and a half and walk somewhere you would never usually get to in said way, even places you think might be boring to get to and just *see* what there is to be seen around you.

This is why my hands ache...

Almost as if they have a response to wood furniture similar to my heart when it's found a subject of affection (in human or other tones) to pine after.

I can barely move my arms today, and doing so reminds one of the acute awareness that comes along at times with having a body and not just spirit. Last night I tossed a rather slumberless sleep, mixing blanket with pillow and back again, due to the pain in my left arm. I think I maybe overdid it, and overtaxed its energy reserves, certainly not the first time a Malo has forgotten the boundaries of the physical while in pursuit of more mental activities.

But it's almost done. I have almost re-finished my first piece of $10 at a flea market furniture. And, judging from how I am feeling today, it might as well be the last. Regardless, I am sure the amount of care and affection I give it in the coming days will make up for my current pains.

And how beautiful wood is with its lines leading up and down into different curves of the story of the tree it did come from. Truly amazing. I can't believe people dare to paint overtop of it to begin with, and stifle its sounds.

Dante would have told you what's what.

I have always been a wee wary of what the ole' 8-ball magic and pack of tarot cards tricks can do to the psyche and the heart. Best to steer clear of the meddlesome ways of said diversions and find other ways to amuse oneself.

Yet I swear this statue, in all its marbled glory, watchful as some type of bird-like predator over Little Italy and her surroundings, I swear if he answered a question I gave him, lips opening painfully from years of shut-in stoned vigil, I would take notice, and pay attention, and likely agree.

It IS Dante after all. Oh, how he terrifies and excites simultaneously!

Eating in the Dark

This can't possibly be more sensual if it heaped on 6 ounces of the most potent perfumes and paraded around in furs and flowers. This weekend, I found myself amidst 6 friends, heaps of organic meat, loads of b-b-q sauce, no utensils, no electricity and first-time-out-on-the-barbeque as head chef. I have eaten loads of grilled things in my life but never commanded the whole show myself. Oh how life is good with laughter of loved ones and dead-chicken-that-was-hopefully-treated-warmly and direct contact with food.

Now, I know that most people that know me can attest to my rather...barbaric, at best, table manners - but I do think this stems from a desire to fully integrate with what I am consuming. I find utensils to be a sad means to a bitter end, and I have always appreciated cultures where you don't waste time with bits of metal getting in the way of a good meal. I know I would still be eternally laughed at for my uncouth behaviours with or without accessory at the dinner table on a worldwide level, and perhaps that is something I will, in do time, fix.

But oh the sensual-ness of feeling the heat of food on one's hands, to be able to commune more directly with the fruits of the earth. It makes for better tasting food, and a (I suspect) more direct interest in what you're about to digest. And to be at a table surrounded by those doing the same, and the warmth of a glow of candle. Fills you right up before you've even taken a mouthful.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

90-day sensual challenge

My friend Maia, a documentary filmmaker, has been running a project for the past 90 days that she's coined a love challenge. It's been inspiring to listen to what she has to say about it, and the ways in which people are coming together to challenge each other about what love is and how to engage with it in our daily lives.

Of late, I have been feeling completely overwhelmed and over-saturated by the intensity of images and applications being thrown at me from all sides. Today while writing an email to someone a chat-window popped up without any prompting from myself with a conversation from the person I was trying to write a message to appearing out of midair. We are more and more likely to be connected to our phones and wires and knobs and such directly, chip-to-brain and hand-to-machine. I did grow up reading science fiction, so a part of me might be a little more worried about this than parts of you, but I do feel that my concerns about the collective lack of attention span, and the shortening of said fuse by the (seemingly) day are founded, and important to pay attention to.

One way in which this is noticeable in my own life is my ability to go throughout my everyday tasks without being fully aware of my environment. When I am on the computer, I hardly ever notice the sounds of the wind, or what my cats are actually doing. Now I don't necessarily think that the humans I've grown up around have been encouraged culturally to develop those aspects of their bodies, the ones that respond to their immediate surroundings, but I do think we all have a responsibility to do so regardless, even if it means by ways of a rather painful un-learning of the speeds in which we have become accustomed to intaking certain information and ignoring most else.

What I am talking about here, on a fundamental level, is a certain cultural lack of sensuality in our daily experiences, and I don't just mean of the hubba-hubba sort. The rainstorm that poured down on me as I biked home reminded me of this, as I took the time to stand out under its heave and tow for a few minutes before going inside. The power of the plane flying directly overhead reminds me of this if I think about what its sounds represent, and the intensity of the imagery of its trajectory, a straight line above my roof quickly-disappearing-into-other-lands-and-times. The smell of dark, damp soil at night, the way your hand feels against face.

This being said, I feel like in order to begin to reinforce some of the desires I have to unlearn the speed at which I wizz past so much and the obliviousness I often have to the things I have time to notice, I am going to engage my whole being in a 90-day sensual challenge. To remind myself of what it means to really *feel* out my environment, and to ask my body to be less lazy about the gifts of the senses I have been given.

In honour of the painting I chose here, by Georges de la Tour, a dude who was very, very much into subdued and mysterious lighting, the challenge will start tomorrow at sundown. I am going to only use candlelight for the next 3 days once the sun decides to go elsewhere, and act like there's a power failure in the house. I will explain more as to why later, as right now I need to experience the sensual activity of getting into bed and going into the land of nog-nog. Goodnight one and all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I promise to tell you all if you promise to tell me some.

I am shortly getting in the shower (imagine) to then go to my friend Maia's to discuss with her my ideas of love for her 90-day-love challenge.

I love things that sound more cliche then they are. They usually only sound cliche or cheesy to my ears because part of my being is afraid of the fact that in the end, talking about such things really isn't silly after all.

Should be an interesting coupla hours. What's YOUR idea of love? Come know you wanna tell me.

Comittment to messier living

I went camping this weekend, only for a day and during a rainstorm no less. The thunder rolled around the tent, as if the world was an egg it was trying to crack open in its entirety. I believe it almost did.

And I do love the smell of fire and dirt on the hand and the sense you get of being *clean* even if you haven't washed in...some time, but I do want to do that further from all of you and away from these plastic things, I must say. No offense, I promise. Well, perhaps to some, a few here and there, but if so it is by accident or by mistake or on purpose and I take it back, it was foolish of me, and I didn't truly want to.

There's just so much of the camping experience now, at least in the ways I've seen it and been close to it, that is about highlighting the *experience* part of it. CLIMB this with these 200 accessories, BIKE this with these 300 bits of clips and batteries and and CANOE but don't go without these fundamentals. Not that I mind that folks are going outside and moving around, I'm doing it with them, but it all seems a bit staged, somehow - we're having a play about camping and these are the funny props we got from here and here and here.

When everything is so sanctioned (down to the exact amount of logs in the bag of firewood you can buy at the hut that also has nanimo bars and cans of bug spray) the communion with things beyond sanction becomes a bit blurrier or the reception, fuzzier.

While I am truly not trying to be ultra-puritanical and perhaps I am simplifying the deeply rooted ways in which the un-sanctioned things rumble their rumbles to us, I do feel that there's something to be said about looking for a way to commune that has a more direct vibrancy at its heart. Toss aside the restrictions, live with a bit more mess, go with a little less.

Not that I am very good at doing that, a stick drops in the woods behind me and I am convinced that a bear that has been stalking me since birth has finally caught up with me and we must fight, immediately, and I must die soon after.

But I feel that lately, since quitting my job outright, I have been pondering about my inherent values again. And I've begun to realize that I want to attempt to love that fucking bear regardless of what it might do to me, and live out my life with a little more mess, and a little less. An artist friend recently gave me a coin she had, well, coined, that is the shape and weight of a quarter. On one side it exclaims, "security" on another, "courage". I feel like the tension in that dichotomy is one I relate to deeply these days.

Sp put your oars down! Kayak with your hands! Wrestle your morning oatmeal out of the hedgehogs of the world! Go off that path and when you get lost, as Mitch Hedberg says, build a house. Seriously improve your predicaments in life and don't be scared to have them in the first place.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Newfound photo of Old Grafitti

I did this next to one of my favourite underpasses a wee time before leaving the beloved St.Henri...

On the reasons why

I read somewhere of a shepherd who, when asked why he made, from within fairy rings, ritual observances to the moon to protect his flocks, replied: "I'd be a damn fool if I didn't!" These poems, with all their crudities, doubts, and confusions, are written for the love of Humans and in praise of God, and I'd be a damn fool if they weren't.

Dylan Thomas, Note in his Collected Poems

Monday, July 6, 2009

Flower Bonanza 2009 PT II - The Roses


Flower Bonanza 2009

Brought! To! You! By! the! Great! Wonders! of! the! Soils! and! Such!


I was never much of a pot-head growing-up, but hung out with a large variety of different types of stoners in high school and so was asked if I was "selling herb" for the greater part of my teenage years by random strangers in hallways I'd rather not think on.

Now I DO feel like I'd sell you the herb, or at least sing you an awesome rap about it. Hammer time for coriander, curry, dill, basil....