Die Cast

military bust, ottawa

The new militaristic presence downtown is unarmed.

(Being busts after all. 😉 Did the pun come thru?)

Vid Link: Anthony Robbins at TED or you can see him live in Ottawa March 6, 2007 at the Congress Center.

At TED he talks about the ratio of resources: resourcefulness (resourcefulness being the more key one) and about how we make our decisions based on what our worldview map tells us how we meet the 6 basic human needs:

  1. certainty
  2. uncertainly/ variety
  3. significance
  4. connection/ love
  5. growth
  6. contribute beyond ourselves

The first 4 are core and different people weight them differently at different times. I need a lot of variety to be content and am more comfortable without security than some.
Does me need to matter outweigh my need for connection or visa versa?

How it all falls out in combination with the worldview informs me on how I think I can get these universal needs met. Do I get it by being assertive and winning or by being led by good people? Do I think certainty is something I create or uncover or am granted by a deity? Is the world view saying that it’s a crap shoot and the dice are loaded or the die are cast with random chance? Is it not a game at all but a predestined “cast” of self that one grows into?

All these answers impact how you grow, if you shoot yourself in the foot with ineffective methods, or move ahead intelligently and have energy to contribute where you decide you want to. They set up constraints that you can change once you understand the mechanisms of what drives you and what implications fall from the assumptions you are making.

Light Link: make decisions fast with raffle king randomizer
because, in the words of Steve Caratzas,

When you’re
Not making
You’re losing

Art Link: How to Paint with Smoke

Light Vid Link: Tequila, the Wonder Drug

Writing Link: John Baker has encouraging words around writer’s block and insecurity and the Seven myths about writing and writers

Poetry Link: Visual Poets are surveyed on the genre, including people such as Wharton Hood.

Glad Game: Memory of standing on the shade line, how the strong sun fell so that half of the face was a cool mask and half was hot.

Running up the stairs and stopping at the top feeling the steam geyser through the loose knit of the sweater.

Two Christmas parties/dinners now on the schedule.

Getting myself out to a TREE reading and seeing that nice bloke Max and chatting with a few other people too.

Glad to have actually read 3 poems at the open mic myself.

The texture of large crystals of salt or sugar on food.

A dream that let me visit with Granny.

Glad to have trimmed back the pagehalffull.com page from so many dead and out of date links to maintain.

Heat of shower. (I have a feeling heat of shower might crop up more and more as winter approaches.)

The cat plopping herself on my desk and stretching her legs out under a letter as if it were another kind of sheet.

A foray into the world of loose leaf teas with chocolate mint tea.

30 Nov 2006, 8:43am
Equity Poets Politics
1 comment

Poetry as Politics: Darwish Mahmoud

Mother, I’ve lost my hands on the waist of a woman of mirace./I embrace the sand, I embrace the shadow.”

Marcel Khalife composed music for this as the song Peace be with you.

It’s English translation is by Manal Swairjo. Manal does most of the translations of the lyrics for the classical musicologist, and prolific singer, Khalife.

The words strike me as as a lament of wanting to go home but also a disengaging of the here and now. The gaze is past the immediate, overlooking daily things. It’s a big picture and tinged with desire for homeland of dreams, past and future, yet phrased with immediate tactile and universal sort of imagery.

In another song (in translation) I love you more the spirit is that of anger-fueled revolution yet phrased in poetry as big stage drama:

I do not sing
like the rest of the nightingales
for the chains have taught me
to fight, and fight.
Because I love you more,
my songs are daggers of roses
and my silence is thunder’s childhood.

I love his phrasings, despite the growling warning of the message. This song is from poems by Darwish Mahmoud, who has 30 published volumes of (often nationalist) poetry over close to 50 years.

I realize even referencing the word Palestinian is loaded and divisive for some but his ethnic identity and cause is central to him and in contextualizing his poetic work. The poet made a film from the lumieres he gathered together in 2004:

Mahmoud Darwish asked a delegation of internationally-renowned writers and intellectuals to travel to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in part to participate in a cultural event in honour of the poet, but also to see first-hand life under Israeli military occupation.

The delegation includes

  • Russell Banks (U.S., author of The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction),
  • Bei Dao (China, famous exiled poet),
  • José Saramago (Portugal, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature),
  • and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature).

The documentary is entitled Writers on the Borders, directed by Samir Abdallah and José Reynes, the narration is in many language, among them: English, French, Italian, Chinese, etc.

Certainly poetry on page, air or wrapped in music has the power to move the heart, and when set to melodies people sing from a different part of the brain, without fully registering the meaning or understanding the implications. Logic can be bypassed which makes it a particularly effective tool.

Poetry as song is perhaps where oratory is best experienced these days, to be spoken to and moved such as the crowds who sang Khalife’s lyrics and caused governments to intervene and say he was perverting the Koran. (He was found innocent and 2000 people sang his song in trial in solidarity. In 2005, Khalife was named UNESCO Artist for peace. [source:answers.com])

The force of words is powerful for solidarity. It creates, when spread, a common language, common points of reference and rallying, common feeling among swathes of people who are moved, or who are cynical or dismissive. It, as popular poetry or song, can be used to leverage, or embed deeper, a sense of identity and belonging.

Can it incite revolution or escalate violence?

I don’t think a line can be drawn between responsible poetry, responsible songs, responsible communication broadly. The potential is there in every communicative act to push someone away or bring them near, to wave off as wrong or to listen long enough to begin to grasp.

But what are the rules of the sport vary. If I know I can spout invectives and sorrow and large scale range of emotions, but it’s game and we both understand that, we can enter the histrionic opera and not be incited to violence. If it’s sabre rattling and performance and striking poses, we can understand each other because the battle is bloodless words.

If you’ve plowed all your efforts into a narrower range of expression, of not being so gauche as to directly oppose or “emotionally blackmail” by “guilt tripping” or invoking even guarded threats, rules of play make it hard to interpret nationalist fervor.

To put my bias on the table, around nationalism I get apprehensive, whether it is for Canada or against any nation. It’s an inward looking huddle that requires tying together people with incidentals of geography or who are put in the same box by outsiders. It dumbs down diversity and has an inherent them vs. us that often works against commonality and understanding.

In this way, the political poems cleave me. Almost bodily temptation responds to the rhythms, words, images, the net effect of the oratory. At the same time my brain and heart get alarmed at the nonsense. So long as it is a finite game I can deal but whenever the idea of national loyalty gets drummed up, or what we must do as a nation, as if that were or could be a monolithic entity, I get pause. It needs intellect as well as heart or else we become proverbial lemmings.

Quote: “Poetry sculpts the writer as much as the writer sculpts the writing.” — Jim Larwill

What does it do to spend your life absorbed in the framework of struggle, of identifying with an inheritance of being disenfranchised and refusing to live together? Chest-beating pain for the homeland, bitterness, crying together can be done but it stops dialogue. It needs a balance of huddling together and a reaching out.

Is it a calling for a life, or condemnation of a life to write poetry as politics?

Quote: “I thought poetry could change everything, could change history and could humanize, and I think that the illusion is very necessary to push poets to be involved and to believe, but now I think that poetry changes only the poet.” — Darwish Mahmoud

Link: About the Tradition of Kindness and Partners in Kindness mailout

Poem Link: Another poem by Darwish Mahmoud

Poet Link: Naomi Shihab Nye’s Letter to terrorists including in conclusion:

Poetry humanizes us in a way that news, or even religion, has a harder time doing. A great Arab scholar, Dr. Salma Jayyusi, said, “If we read one another, we won’t kill one another.” Read American poetry. Plant mint. Find a friend who is so different from you, you can’t believe how much you have in common. Love them. Let them love you. Surprise people in gentle ways, as friends do. The rest of us will try harder too. Make our family proud.

Oh, and just to be ornery and offset my own peaked argument?

You are 100% Canuck!

You rock, you are an almighty Canadian through and through. You have proven your worthiness and have won the elite prize of living in a country as awesome as Canada. Yes I know other countries think they are better, but we let them have that cuz we know better than they do, eh?

How Canadian Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

28 Nov 2006, 3:43pm

Not Helloise’s Household Tip

Can’t get the bottle open by tapping, or running under hot water or herniating yourself?

Psst, look under the rug. The No-skid pad/sheet might just give enough grip. Guests don’t need to know. (Unless it would delight them.) 😉

Parting thought: Do text writers for pasta boxes know where their writing goes? Why does it always say, see package for cooking instructions. This is the package. Why not insert “elsewhere”? Why not say turn over box? Or just put the cooking instructions with the other recipe instructions? Is that so hard?

btw, I probably won’t blog or go online tomorrow.

28 Nov 2006, 12:05am
Memes or Quizzes

Looking at Myself Quiz-ically

You are The Tower

Ambition, fighting, war, courage. Destruction, danger, fall, ruin.

The Tower represents war, destruction, but also spiritual renewal. Plans are disrupted. Your views and ideas will change as a result.

The Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. The Tower stands for “false concepts and institutions that we take for real.” You have been shaken up; blinded by a shocking revelation. It sometimes takes that to see a truth that one refuses to see. Or to bring down beliefs that are so well constructed. What’s most important to remember is that the tearing down of this structure, however painful, makes room for something new to be built.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.



Two sides to your personality, fiery but fragile, often indecisive.
Colors: male: yellow, female: green
Compatible Signs:
Isis, Thoth
Mar 1 – Mar 10, Nov 27 – Dec 18
Role: God of the afterlife
A green-skinned man wrapped up like a mummy, wearing the Atef crown and holding a crook and flail
Sacred animals:
What is Your Egyptian Zodiac Sign?
Designed by CyberWarlock of Warlock’s Quizzles and Quandaries

(via Suricattus)

Light Link: The bullshit watch [via Squid]

Extraneous Sidenote: Thing to Avoid: Editing photos with the screen brightness one notch above black at night. Boy, does that make for surreal contrasts when the light is normal.

Poem Link: Robert Peake’s O’Brien’s pub (mp3)

Poetry Link: Canadian women poets, Atwood and Marlatt (and 3 others feminist poets).

Humor Link: Rules for Writing

Book Link: Pearl and Dotty have a book about a boy who wants nothing better than to become a girl named Pearl for Christmas.

Photo Links: Portraits of Craig’s list users, including An Xiao.

Flash Humor Link: The (henpecked) man’s song [via Presurfer]

Glad Game: Architecture lecture was great. Far more than a brainful. (It will be fun (in one sense of the other) deciphering what I wrote in the dark.)

Cold berry juice wets the winter dry lips. For my hands, what hot heat? Maybe going to bed would work as well.

Between now and (later) morning or night my small headache will probably wither from whence it came.

Quote: “March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.” — Kahlil Gibran

27 Nov 2006, 9:09am

Unnoticed Changes

As I was brushing my teeth I realized something — I have been leaving the water run while I do. When did I start that?

I remember I used to one step below testy (ok, honestly, maybe even a step below teeth-gritting, tense and righteously indignant) at the wastage of water “when it’s not even being used”.

Now I do it.


And when did the cat start responding to any rattle like a pill container and expect food instead of giving me that are-you-kidding look when her food may have been pilled? Now pills are associated with the canned stuff.

And the pillows. I used to punch and fluff them to maximum marshmallow and now I prefer a thin flat one or none at all. When did that old way stop?

There used to be words that Hub and I pronounced differently because of region. What were they? /film/ or /filem/ but there were others maybe something like fortunately but not that, a grammatical word, long number of syllables where we each had a different word stress. That invariably led to ribbing and tittering…did the noticing stop or difference?

I remember the whole toilet paper roll direction was terribly pivotal at one point and we both were absolutely right, as a friendly jibing back and forth for months (years?). I forget what “side” I was on.

Distance travelled.

It’s hard to think of gladness because everything is pleasantly flat. Thought seem to be unfolding in slow-mo.

Soundtrack: Hank Williams Sr., Honky Tonk Blues and Jason McCoy covering his Old Chunk of Coal

Glad Game: For acceptance that there is movement and staying the same is impossible.

Progressing with work project. Fear the fear; fingernails bitten; bullets bitten anyway.

Profound sense of my own ignorance is humbling, uncomfortable but I’m glad for the opening of vistas so that I can see how much longer the road could be and appreciate how incredibly knowledgeable a particular few people I’m thinking of are.

The soothing sound of the washing machine go round.

The persistance of cat in taking over the lap even when it’s restless.

Casting my mind back, the temperature last night as we walked an hour having unmemorable but pleasant conversations.

It was feeling the distinction Elizabeth Gilbert had drawn in Italy betweeen entertainment and quiet enjoyment having met the Italian phrase bel far niente (the beauty of doing nothing).

Hours to go until I sleep.

Before that, work, architecture lecture and who knows?

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