19 Aug 2014, 2:54pm
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The Body Politic

I feel my inner old fogie [she is inner, isn't she?] when I see a bra strap.

Because certain women in my youth [but never men] would hiss something or give a nastily appraising eye on the morals of someone who wasn’t vigilant of keeping her bras strap hidden. It reminds me of the Muslim women who used to police each other for a stray hair slipping out of their hijab. Cover it and hair can be inferred. One props up the “happy fish” (as John Lavery put it) on cloth slings to make them more prominent and make arrowhead scoop necks and dangle jewelry to point the eye but somehow it’s the bra strap that is the fall guy of being too overt.

There was a hurried tuck and blush to correct. Maybe it was unkempt like a zipper down but I still occasionally hear “hussy” or “whore” come out of the ancient chorus in a back room of my head when I see a slipped strap or mismatched shirt so the bra shows on the outside.

It seems symptomatic of what we think the body is and what clothes do. Assuming it is not warm enough to exist naked, or that it is too sunny to not hide from cancer, why do we wrap ourselves in cloth?

Is it to display beauty, selectively show bits and celebrate color and be peahens or peacocks?

Or is it to hide shame of being born evil, but must ventilate without being too morally judged or tempting?

You may recall the Skirt length significance from a couple years ago from matronly on up. Funny, does this happen with men’s shirt cuffs? Or there’s other nonsense governing skewed ideas of mores there. Or do men police each other for being flashy and study at one shirt cuff length and chastised for a short-sleeve too long and loose?

To hit middle of the acceptable for time and place isn’t to get off the merry-go-round. To become the Suicide Girls and rewrite rules of engagement is still engaging the news cycle rather than overwriting the rules. I suppose any nudge changes the centre point.

Skin doesn’t equal sex and shape doesn’t. We know this and yet don’t any more than we can distinguish our truths from our fictions.

Sexualness is the context of the act. No one while being in public going about their daily life is likely promenading, intending to provoke sexual response. They are living.

If there is intended provocativeness it doesn’t matter what cloth or lack of cloth is there. It can’t be missed.

If it can be neutral for kids to run around in swimsuits or change their clothes on the beach, why is it any different for adults to? If kids must hide, who is it from?

We police one another for imagined of what might happen, for rules that are misguidedly reinforcing the notion that if you show your ankle, or wear non-sombre colours, or tailored clothes, or move your body in a large gestural box, this is related to morality or conflated with sexuality.

It’s understandable since people are looking for signs, for indications of interest. But the clues are flickering not constants like BMI or clothes put on hours before the context.

before and after
[Both are photoshopped incidentally.]

In a way bras are allowed to be scapegoating Eve. To display breasts is to play the game and to hide them is to refuse to play the game which is presumed as lack of awareness and intelligence of the game of gender roles and supporting the great mass of society.

The neutral human form is male as any health intake form or biology chart shows. Males can stand in for females but not the reverse. Like the news from April how the co-screenwriter of Noah explained that white people are neutral and can stand in for everyone, explaining why his picture had an Ark and no people of colour. He felt a mixing of “races” would be distracting and artificial construct. I don’t know where *he* lives but when the average face varies to a degree.

I remember riding the city bus from Palm Springs to Cathedral City to Indio. The land went from tall-walled and irrigated, people from white and tall to pure desert and shacks and all the people getting shorter and browner. I feel Ottawa is less zoned but then on the bus, I know I’m near the crossing of Somerset whenever the average ratio of asians increases. I go towards South Keys and suddenly there are people in hijabs and buildings with arabic-lettered signs. As church let out in the neighbourhood, black people came onto the sidewalk talking. I see a black person now and again around the shops, more so at poetry readings.

We still are in our racial encampments. We are still in our gendered encampments. It is more diluted and porous than when I was growing up. People are just people and yet in a room there’s a density of females clustering together and males clustering together. If it were random, wouldn’t it mix more often?

Why can’t gender be neutral? Why prevents females from being neutral? Why aren’t shapes neutral?

18 Aug 2014, 6:37pm
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Listening to the Right Inner Voice

rose parasite?
The roses have extrusions of their tissues to look like lychees. It looks something like the same blight/parasite that was in the Saskatoon berries this year. What is it that we are dealing with? Or not dealing with since I figure the rose bushes can sort themselves out.

I feel lodged in a perennial state of under-informed.

I woke with a “roaring head”, noisy with accusations and readying the nerves to be jangled then shot.

For what? Yesterday was fine. Nothing particularly new has occurred. There’s nothing particularly stressful on the near horizon. Is it a nice safe time to place a little deflected anxiety? There never is a good time.

On waking I thought, maybe another dream could shake free my blood chemistry so I tried to cuddle and doze myself into a better day, but when I woke again I was screaming in confrontation against a woman telling her “I’ve hated every cookie you’ve ever bought.”

Against alertness it seems hardly the scope of the usual bad dream of being chased by the mob as a defector and bloodily killing someone to live a new life.

The climax of spite over cookies seems comic, but in the dream it was the most vile hurtful thing, and it hit its target.

All day my sense of tactile and audio have been cranked. I processed slowly as if in glue. I feel inside a skew and want to hermit because I can’t trust myself to react proportionally. And I don’t forgive myself for any other option. I feel as tho from any direction that I’m “loved despite” rather than “cherished because”. But that’s just the usual playbook of taunting of the bully depression.

I can’t just forget the set the pan on lower heat because of smoke point without recrimination from within. The noise that is as much a rhythm, an intonation of bickering more than words starts up and my energies nosedive. I can ignore it but it’s there to ignore. It’s a parasitic use of energy and it’s hard not to get sucked into its energy by lashing at it but that’s being suckered and playing by its rules of engagement instead of being the adult to myself.

I can tell from my muscles that I jump at unexpected sounds. I can tell by hubby that my face and tone are flat and my animation is shut off. I feel guilty about that but I can feel myself crash inwards. If pressed I lash and that’s good for no one. If I tongue-talk there’s no sense but when I type, my fingers-brain are partitioned to logic. I use external stillness until it soaks in. Perhaps it’s adaptive or maladaptive. I am listening to and honouring my own needs by quiet.

Of course, I’d rather be efficient than do real-life-compromise workarounds. It’s be simpler if I weren’t talking around the noisemaker like a monkey in the middle between me and the crock pot, between me and the software, between me and the cat.

Despite I made a few batches of soup for the freezer, chilli for the freezer, a few marinaded salads, edits to a proof, edits to another proof, laundry put away but little by way of writing or reading. Some days are built for physical life-running where it doesn’t matter how you feel. I wish I could will myself to a different bodily state. Finally it’s abating and I can make and make out distinct words.

I know I’ll float up again that even if I do nothing, I float, even if I feel like I’m thrashing and drowning. I know opposing the funk does nothing. Maybe focussed tasks can carry me to a new energy. Or maybe it is just busy work.

Maybe going into the sun and getting my blood pumping will do the trick but when I’m prone to overstimulation, my capacity to filter out is compromised and that can send me the wrong way to a panic attack. Which I can weather, but I’d rather not. It might equally well knock me clear of this.

My usual strategy of mental exercise is no good when I’m stuck for hours in Winnie-the-Pooh fog when simple things take large concentration and cannot get internal validation only internal criticism.

Getting myself sorted enough to have clarity to know where I am in the repeating pattern and to let go of the expectation that if I just do some magic thing right, this will never occur again. When I feel like this, I have to learn how not to jump on myself. That’s a vestigial left over from childhood. Smarten up, straighten up, toughen up, instead of listen with compassion, and give yourself love and slack enough to grow how you need to. And flow when you will.

Workoholic that I am, it’s not as if I’m at risk for becoming a lazy bum. I can give myself permission for downtime, even at inconvenient times.

Storm systems of the body make a tremendous noise but because I can write it’s a sign of the relenting of rain.

16 Aug 2014, 12:52pm

And whatever’s next will also be its own peculiar brand of awesome

you can’t judge a day by its start but when your first awareness is a crusty eye and suspect that cat slept on your head…

but at least the night before when reaching for anti-histimines in bleary hours reached the nighttimes not the daytime one like last time…

and when your first semi-conscious act is to itch your stomach, which the wired cat takes as a pounce invitation, and brings you fully awake with her fully body weight on bladder…

or when you go to use the waterpik and hit a tickly bit and laugh and spray that jet all over the bathroom…

or when you get rambunctious, heady with being able to point your arm at 12 o’clock without leaning the body for the first time in a year and a half…so lift up hubby for a swing and feel a pop in the shoulder that may mean nothing…seems to mean nothing…the small victory of not hurting your fool self…

and when you go to say “that’s rob gesturing” and for reasons known only to the arm, demonstrate “gesturing” and knock the juice box and pizza box clear flying off the sofa, but the lid was on and the pizza was gone…

and when deseeding tiny hot peppers and saying to yourself, do not lick your fingers, do not lick your fingers, donolickyorfinger until it becomes sound and then I lick my fingers…

and well, it’s just that Irish blessing, live in interesting times.

for all that, there’s a laugh track.


and among all the unexpected there are small victories like finishing a bottle of shampoo to declutter the bathroom by one bottle. one bottle = one battle.

and to have searched in 6 stores for combs and only find bulk packs of huge ones but finally secure a wee black comb to replace the one lost when travelling.

and you found that mislaid book just where you left it, used as a bookmark in another book.

and among all that, there’s the closest we come to holiness, the company of friends who are saddened at your sadness and cheer at your small yays and who share the narratives of their days.

13 Aug 2014, 2:37pm

To Do without Dally

Much on the to-do list again but it’s all doable and in motion incrementally. I even made a hot lunch. Good for the cold rain.

A poem woke me at 5 a.m. Finished it at the standing desk. (Since studying Spanish my pronouns are toast. Dropped everywhere by default. We don’t need most of them in English.)

In the early blue,

heavy rain–
first dawn chirp

Wobbly eventually I went back to sleep. By yellower later light,

waking again.
maybe first birdsong
was protest.

By noon’s mix of rain and sun, I return to the poem. Not that above, another long thing.

Light of day can be harsh but it’s not bad. The first 4 lines can continue intact. Perhaps they are not the start. The ending is a bit stuttering. I’m missing some key word. Or something. There’s a hitch in its step. Does it need more living to complete itself, or dreaming? or breathing?

morning glory will use any opening of sun
The morning glory will go for any break towards sun.

Will it be bound into unblossoming, hogtied, or tear its own leaf to open? So much suspense in gardening.

Look at the metamorphosis: caterpillars, commas & question marks.

When the door opens, the cat will race out then brake hard realizing it is still raining.

Up on the pillar is more sheltered than under a slat-table.

Even still she came in with her head dry and tail soaked.

Tails are used for counterbalance. How are cats so reliably unaware of what’s happening back there? It’s as if their tails are the embodiment of their unconsciousness.

12 Aug 2014, 3:27pm

Sleep Rhythms

In our world, the smallest cat makes the loudest snore.

She has finally stopped biting my ankles by which she means to communicate, if you can’t turn off the rain in the back yard could you at least turn off the rain the front yard? I’m bored. And it strikes me that the song lyrics “you can’t stop the rain by complaining” was written dedicated to the songwriter’s cat. Had to be.

The rainspout courses. At least a week has elapsed even as I blink.


It’s rather nice not to have to scramble for quotes at each post. It was a thorn because most quotes are by men. Any given time isn’t a bugaboo but the skew got aggravating. Nice to let oneself move away from a burr.

falling water over stone
Water is soft and gentle but can cut stone.

What other manufactured goals do I reach for out of habit instead of need?

Chocolate comes to mind, as it tends to. I’m eating it because there’s a time of day I eat it. That means I cease to taste it or consider. If I want any in my system, have to eat it before 3pm or it will interrupt sleep.

Autopilot is useful. It saves decision-energy of needing to evaluate all the minutiae constantly. What do I miss out of on if I don’t Do That Thing?

I’m a little buzzy-headed. Which is not surprising considering I went to bed at An Insensibly Late Hour because I Was Doing Stuff. Then, once settled into bed, a picture frame spontaneously fell off the wall, breaking the frame and glass and later some meowing in night of cat locked out of to our minds unswept glass to her mind, her night watchtower viewing window. Then my body woke me Obscenely Early.

Why when I go to bed very early does my body sleep in extra and when I go to bed late, it wakes me extra early?

I’d say when busy, I work later and sleep anxious so less deeply except I sleep more when anxious. Puppet strings cut. When relaxed I sleep deeply and long.

No matter, we got off for an early walk before the tidal level rains (of 20mm or so) come, and now we have plums. I ate enough to plant an orchard.

And I’m getting a new idea underway. People ask if they can subscribe. So I’ll make a the monthly or so newsletter. If you want to be on my mailing lists about my publishing and blogging things sign up here. Now, maybe I’ll take a siesta. Or more likely get back to reading what I said I would.

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