A Message to All Members of Team J & C

I love e.e. cummings. I have since I was 18. This poem, which I could never fully grasp, has been winding it’s way through my heart all day. My heart is the foot I lead with, by the way. Some people are great with their heads, their minds… I am all sensory. Seeing you, hearing you, touching you, smelling you. This is how things in the world are made real to me. I need this to be real, whatever it is to be.

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
–the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

e.e. cummings

Inspiring Minds Want to Know

Sometimes, when I assist my amazing designer friend Ming Wong, part of my job is to shop for costumes. Right now we’re working on West Side Story for the Randolph Young Company, which is a group of incredibly talented teenagers. I LOVE West Side Story. I can’t explain it, but I’ve loved it since the first time I saw the film. I think it’s the music, or maybe the dancing gang wars. At any rate, despite the fact that this show will eat up my entire February social life, I’m looking so forward to it.

So tonight, as I’m in the Village of Value, listening to tunes on my iphone and trying to guess what a Puerto Rican teenager might have worn in 1950 something, I keep getting distracted by various emails that keep coming in. One of them gets my nose outta joint. My Leonine instinct is to execute a five digit paw swipe, claws extended but instead I continue with the task at hand. By the time I finish, it’s ten to nine, I’m starving because I haven’t yet been home from work, I’m realizing NONE of my laundry is getting done, the store manager is being super bitchy to me, and I’m now cranky.

At least the check out line is reasonable.

Ahead of me is a young-ish family. Mom, dad, boy and girl both under 11. I like to watch the kinds of things that people buy to see what sort of a story they tell you about those people. They have a couple of clothing items, and an electric fan. The dad, who is very tall and rugged, and kind of handsome in an old-before-his-time blue collar way has two other items that he pays for himself. One is a stack of pro-athletics motivational videos, and the other is a huge, never-taken-out-of-the-plastic paint by numbers canvas of a mountain vista beside a lake. I see this and tears spring to my eyes.

Such a quiet, fragile statement. In my mind he dreams of peaceful moments in a cozy corner of their little home, where he can crack open his paint by numbers and just be still, and calm. Or maybe he dreams of being an artist, and believes that paint by numbers kits are the easiest way to accomplish this, short of watching that crazy PBS guy that looks like the love child of Art Garfunkle and Beaker. Then I think that maybe he’s purchasing this as a special family treat that will live on the infrequently used formal dining table, and when the kids have had supper, finished their homework, and are in their jammies ready for bed, the whole family will turn off the tv, listen to old records from the seventies, and spend some quiet time sharing an activity.

That’s what I would do.

I have a lump in my throat. I decide that the store manager is over-worked and under-appreciated. I feel affection for the leather-faced, bleach blonde cashier who is always so sweet and friendly, who really appreciates beautiful things, and who was probably some kind of foxy in her heyday. I think of how small we all are, and how much we all feel, and hope for, and dream of.

I walk out into the dark, seedy stretch of Landsdowne and Bloor, I turn up Joni Mitchell and I feel lonely. Again.

Home at last, I sink into the comfort of my giant sofa, left over pad thai and giant glass of sparkling water at hand. Arthur curls up beside me and snores loudly. I peel off my socks with my monkey toes, and undo the top button of my jeans.

I’ve been collecting love songs all day. It’s a little project I made up for work, to add some fun to our website. This has put me in some kind of mood. Melancholic…a little…
My far-away friend who drives trains has sent me all of the lyrics to the Supertramp song Downstream. Everyone else has posted their songs fairly publicly, but he’s sent me an email. I wonder if it’s directly intended for me, and it makes me smile.

I think about my favourite love songs. They are all sad, and complicated. There are so many. Let me ponder these and I’ll post a list, with as many links as I can find.

Maybe I’ll take a bath, and marinate in warm water and baby oil. Smelling like a baby makes everything better.

Catalysts, Catechists, & the Chasm Before Us

cat·a·lyst (ktl-st)n.play_w2(“C0153900”)

1. Chemistry A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.
2. One that precipitates a process or event, especially without being involved in or changed by the consequences:

This word is frequently used in association with me by members of the opposite sex. I believe it has been repeatedly used incorrectly.

Whatever process or events I may precipitate, I am never, ever left unscathed.

In fact, I wish I were a catalyst sometimes. I could waft through someone’s world like the scent of a fresh baked pie cooling on a window sill. The process or event would transpire, and I’d be the perfect temperature for enjoying with some hand-made vanilla bean ice cream come dinner time.

Catalyst, no. Harbinger…hmmm? I liked the Wiki definition, but these terms all seem so very grand. Here’s how I can best explain:

I’m a very loving, very giving person.
When I fall in love, or feel affectionate and romantically interested in a person, no matter what their insides might be composed of, it is because they have inspired me in some way. When people inspire me, I make it abundantly clear to them that they have so affected me. Sometimes this is as simple as being incredibly open to people and giving them total permission to share whatever they feel they need to, which can yeild amazing moments. Just beautiful really. This often takes the form of me becoming incredibly supportive of their work and their passions. I like these particular qualities, and I hope to never loose them.

The dark side of this, and something that is difficult for me to face, is the fact that I think I have looked lovingly at other artists, artists who I felt to be brilliant, in part because I did not feel myself to be significant enough as an artist. The idea here is that I bolster their dreams and aspirations, often neglecting my own, because I am more confident in their ability to succeed. I’m glad I’ve realized this. Very glad indeed. This theory can permeate many levels too – perhaps I’m too emotionally supportive to others, when I should be paying greater attention to my own emotional needs, physical needs, intellectual needs…

Next time, we will meet in the middle. I will still be incredibly loving and supportive, and the partner in my life will meet me half way.

Enter Catechism…

I grew up Catholic. The very basic explanation of Chatechism is the tutorial of young children in the ways of Christ, i.e. learning how to become good Christians. Apply this to my adult life, and it looks more like “This is how to love in the world; nurture, support, trust, honour, love, seek adventure hand in hand, be gracious, seek beauty” which I try each day to demonstrate. I try to give the love I expect in return.

And the Chasm.

There are few people who can comfortably receive love. Very few indeed. The result is not pretty. It’s very imbalanced. There are also many people (and here is where I am guilty) who continue to try to give love to people who aren’t well-enough adjusted to recieve it and then give it back. It should be like a fairly slick game of ping pong. Sometimes you’ll whack it too hard and it will bounce right out of the game. Sometimes you’ll just miss it because you got distracted, or confused, or you weren’t “on it”. Mostly, it should be like Bruce Lee.

Don’t be afraid of my nunchucks. I’ve decided not to even bring them out unless I feel like you are able to give good game. Because it’s not a game, is it? It should be as fun, and as rewarding, and as challenging, and humbling, and exciting, and demanding of serious skills. But it’s definitely not a game.

I’m imposing a time out until I can guarantee that the team will at least make it to the playoffs this season. That’s better than the league going on strike, isn’t it?

Stay tuned for updates. There may be a draft coming up…

Guacamole can make you crazy if not properly refrigerated.

Who can name the Saint pictured above?

Brown Rice Takes The Longest, But It’s the Best For You.

As I’m waiting for the timer to ding, I’m perched on the edge of my seat, Toulouse snoring loudly and tucked in beside the laptop.

Perched on the edge of my seat. Are you listening?

I ran this by my brother, because he knows things about your chromosome. He says you are probably running game, which I already knew, but that it sounds like it comes from a genuine place of hurt.

Who among us has NOT been hurt? Who isn’t terrified to meet a new gaze directly? To peel off the layers and show someone your muffin top, or pot belly, or jiggly thighs for the first time? And I mean this metaphorically of course. Anything else is far too presumptuous right now.

This entry is directly for you, and I wonder if you are still reading this?

I have told you I am a cynic. You cannot imagine what I have survived in these last seven years of my life. I’ve purposely left out the facts in these many pages, because there is so much more to me than what is written here. I am wide-eyed now, and I can tell you this; I am not afraid, nor am I stupid. We need to get on with this. This is meant to be positive, and exciting, and simple, but I am loosing patience. I think you know that now.

Come out of your hiding place. Or don’t. I know you have gleaned enough from our epic missives to know that I have nothing but goodness to offer you. Perhaps that is what makes you hesitate so…

Is it that you want to be in a better place? A different place? I could draft my own list of things, and events, and accomplishments I’d like under my belt before this. Before you. For example, I’d love to have a driver’s license. I’d feel like a more realized adult. An independent woman…I could drive to a little cottage by the lake then, and make my hair smell like campfire, and maybe eat s’mores off your chest.

Our exchange has been extraordinary. I know lots of people, but none like you. It’s time to know you now. For real.


Take This Longing
Leonard Cohen
(A Weekend Synopsis by Schnoo)

Many men have loved the bells
you fastened to the rein,
and everyone who wanted you
they found what they will always want again.
Your beauty lost to you yourself
just as it was lost to them.
Oh take this longing from my tongue,
whatever useless things these hands have done.
Let me see your beauty broken down
like you would do for one you love.

Your body like a searchlight
my poverty revealed,
I would like to try your charity
until you cry, “Now you must try my greed.”
And everything depends upon
how near you sleep to me

Just take this longing from my tongue
all the lonely things my hands have done.
Let me see your beauty broken down
like you would do for one your love.

Hungry as an archway
through which the troops have passed,
I stand in ruins behind you,
with your winter clothes, your broken sandal straps.
I love to see you naked over there
especially from the back.

Oh take this longing from my tongue,
all the useless things my hands have done,
untie for me your hired blue gown,
like you would do for one that you love.

You’re faithful to the better man,
I’m afraid that he left.
So let me judge your love affair
in this very room where I have sentenced
mine to death.
I’ll even wear these old laurel leaves
that he’s shaken from his head.

Just take this longing from my tongue,
all the useless things my hands have done,
let me see your beauty broken down,
like you would do for one you love.

Like you would do for one you love.

A Fortress to Call My Home

Tonight was dancing to our favourite live band at the Orbit Room.

It was too many drinks, and all of my girlfriends wanting to be so close.

It was dancing so much to such great music, and not caring who was watching.

It was tall, sexy, bald Patrick – a stranger – dancing with the skinny girl with dreadlocks first, and then finding me when he realized she wasn’t interested.

It was me, feeling shitty about fifteen extra pounds.

It was mostly fantastic music,

And Enrique with his ear flaps and strong eyebrows. Shorter than the other boys. Not there for picking up…

Talking to me first. Dancing with me, and then closing the bar with the skinny girl. With the dreadlocks.

It was me, mohair coat from France on before the lights could come up, but not before that bongo player who took my number in the summer walked right past me to the bar.

It was me in a cab, alone, so glad to be going home to Arthur.

It was this last song, which is about as innocent and mindless, and even-frat-boys-will-love -this as a song can get, which despite my happy dancing brought tears to my eyes. Maybe someday, I can close this bar with someone who also finds these lyrics touching and significant. Maybe not. I most certainly know that my cleanse is very timely indeed. I’m starting to feel too much, when I should feel nothing at all:

I wanna love you and treat you right;

I wanna love you every day and every night:

We’ll be together with a roof right over our heads;

We’ll share the shelter of my single bed;

We’ll share the same room, yeah! – for Jah provide the bread.

Is this love – is this love – is this love –

Is this love that I’m feelin’?

Is this love – is this love – is this love –

Is this love that I’m feelin’?

I wanna know – wanna know – wanna know now!

I got to know – got to know – got to know now!

I – I’m willing and able,

So I throw my cards on your table!

I wanna love you – I wanna love and treat – love and treat you right;

I wanna love you every day and every night:

We’ll be together, yeah! – with a roof right over our heads;

We’ll share the shelter, yeah, oh now! – of my single bed;

We’ll share the same room, yeah! – for Jah provide the bread.

Is this love – is this love – is this love –

Is this love that I’m feelin’?

Is this love – is this love – is this love –

Is this love that I’m feelin’?

Wo-o-o-oah! Oh yes, I know; yes, I know – yes, I know now!

Yes, I know; yes, I know – yes, I know now!

I – I’m willing and able,

So I throw my cards on your table!

See: I wanna love ya, I wanna love and treat ya –

love and treat ya right.

I wanna love you every day and every night:

We’ll be together, with a roof right over our heads!

We’ll share the shelter of my single bed;

We’ll share the same room, yeah! Jah provide the bread.

We’ll share the shelter of my single bed

Goodnight Toronto.

Corn Smelling Paws

We had a slow, stinky ride home on the King car, in the snow. Arthur always hangs close, sits on my foot, smacks his chops nervously and rolls his big brown eyes up at me each time we stop, as if to say “Are we there yet?”

He smells ripe. He never, ever has a bath before I pick him up, and his doggie aroma offends even my very tolerant nostrils. But he is warm, and solid beside me, and as I stroke his furry vest, he heaves a mighty sigh, and tears spring to my eyes.

I lay my head against the cold window and watch the snow, and the people on the street, rushing for cover. For home. Arthur and I are displaced. We used to have a family, and now every other month, we are together again, trying to remember each other, trying to feel homey, without feeling the pain of what we have lost. Ok, I can’t speak for him…

Perhaps it’s a lack of sleep, or the residual post-new year’s eve alcohol remaining in my system, but today I feel all alone in the world, and the world feels like a vast amount of space. Sometimes I think that Arthur is one of the single threads that keeps me grounded. We are bound by a love that doesn’t require words to express emotion, and a simple desire to share each other’s warmth and quiet romps through the woods. I crave his presence when he is not here, but then when he returns, I’m reminded of movie nights with take out, and a shared blanket, and him snoring happily at our feet. He is a pack animal, and in his world, a pack is more than two.

My landlords make it possible for me to have Arthur in my life still. On my modest income, I can’t afford a dog walker, but my landlady lives on the main floor of the house, and she is retired, so Arthur spends his days in her company. If there are evenings when I have to work, she and her husband keep him, and spoil him with their love. He is rarely alone when he is here. But I worry all the time that something will happen. That he will get hurt, or sick, and I won’t be able to manage the vet bill, and then he will be taken from me once and for all.

We make it three quarters of the way home, and an adorable little girl gets on with her mum. Arthur’s ears perk up, and he stands at attention. The girl is excited, and obviously doesn’t have much experience with dogs because she grins a big, toothy grin for what feels like forever, while staring directly in his yes. He cocks his head to one side. I feel him bristle, and I lightly tell him that he’s ok. Arthur’s patience is shot. He begins to sing in protest, and the laughter of the little girl and the other riders only spurn him on to greater operatic heights. I see the driver eyeing me from his mirror, and I try every trick in my Ceasar Milan repertoire. Stupidly, I have forgotten cookies, so all I can do is try to reason with him. Which as you can imagine, is futile. I whisper softly in his ear “Shhh….we’re almost home. Then I’m going to give you a big bowl of kibble, and make you a soft fluffy bed to lay down and sleep while we listen to music and remember what it is like to be together.”

He yawns mightily, squeaks a little, and then hunkers down to endure the rest of the wet, slushy ride home. The end of the voyage includes not one, but two pack-laden homeless people who want to make friends with him. I know they are harmless because he thumps his tail in the puddle of melted snow at our feet.

Tomorrow will start with a big walk, then a trip to get more cookies, and we’ll end with a bath (for him, not us). He’ll smell like oranges, and be silky to the touch, and I’ll feel like myself again because tomorrow isn’t today.

A Hole Where Secrets Live

I know there is a myth where someone digs a hole under the cover of darkness to whisper all of their deepest secrets into.

Perhaps this is not so secret…

When I am with you, no matter who, or how many other people are in the room, all I can think about is how your lips might feel against mine.

I don’t need to own you. I don’t need it to mean that things must change, but if I can’t kiss you so very, very slowly… if I can’t taste you just once, I think I might crawl out of my skin.

And now, as I pack my baggage for dreamland, I will carry with me the idea of your lips, and the greater notion that sometime we may sleep peacefully beside each other, with nothing changing in the morning, except perhaps how quickly we can finish each others’ sentences.