Friday, April 25, 2008

Elimination Dance

Elimination Dance
(an intermission)

Michael Ondaatje includes an intermission dance between the two sections of his poems in the book “The Cinnamon Peeler”. His particular intermission is sparkling with humor, exposing miniature moments of life that surprise readers with an unexpected novelty separating the doers from the observers. Here are a few of the elimination dances. I encourage you to add your own moments to the intermission.

Those who (while visiting a foreign country) have lost the end of a Q tip in their ear and have been unable to explain their problem

Gentlemen who have placed a microphone beside a naked woman’s stomach after lunch and later, after slowing down the sound considerably, have sold these noises on the open market as whale songs

All actors and poets who spit into the first row while they perform

Any dinner guest who has consumed the host’s missing contact lens along with dessert

Those who have filled in a bilingual and confidential pig survey from Statistics Canada (Une enquĂȘte sur les porcs, strictement confidentielle)

Women who gave up the accordion because of pinched breasts

Those who have pissed out the back of moving trucks

The person who borrowed my Martin Beck thriller, read it in a sauna which melted the glue off the spine so the pages drifted to the floor, stapled them together and returned the book, thinking I wouldn’t notice

Anyone with pain

Here is one of my own.

anyone who has taken a photo of a performing chicken, a strutting cock, in one of the busiest squares in Africa, Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakech- (envision acrobats, snake charmers, date sellers) and screamed at the chicken owner that she would not pay him for the shot

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thich Nhat Hanh: Speaking of Faith


Thich Nhat Hanh was a guest on the National Public Radio program "Speaking of Faith" this morning. Hanh is a Buddhist monk from Vietnam who administers compassion and forgiveness to the pain bodies suffering inside each of us.

His poem "Interrelationship" reminds me that I am connected to others, and that what I do to others, I do to myself.

Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh


You are me, and I am you.
Isn't it obvious that we "inter-are"?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy

Destiny, fate, chance or just life…

I stumbled across this article by Curtis Lang on the site and Lang’s ideas on self-love and ego were interrelated to the poem "Interrelationship". Destiny, fate, chance or just life…

Back to the Garden Part 3: Self-Love: The War Between the Ego and the Higher Self
by Curtis Lang
The Law of Resonance

The importance of Self-love as a lasting foundation for a successful love relationship cannot be overstated. Without true love of self, you have nothing to share with another but your own poverty of spirit.

According to the great ancient law of resonance and attraction, like attracts like.

To attract a great love in your life, you must have great love to share and that love must first of all be true Self-love, not egoistic love.

If you have not yet attained Self-love, by that same law of resonance and attraction, you will attract an egoistic lover who, like yourself, must work to overcome social and cultural conditioning, egotistical self-centered behavior, character flaws, mental misconceptions, emotional wounds, energy attachments and karmic limitations.

Self-love is the necessary prerequisite for all successful sexual relations.

Self-love is the first step up the ladder of love for any individual.

The second step is love for another individual human being, a spouse, a lover, or an intimate friend, a teacher, a brother or sister or child.

The third step is love for humanity, manifest as compassionate actions in the world.

The fourth step is a universal love that is beyond description, a mystical Unity with the Source of all creation.

So if you wish to learn to love others, and to love God fully, first love yourself. Love is giving. By giving love to yourself, you give yourself permission to love others, and to be loved.

Note: is a community website focusing on alternative health and healing, healthy relationships and global news. Satya means truth in Sanskrit. The Satya Center is in Hudson, New York.

Friday, April 11, 2008

leave the yellow bark dust on my pillow

This poem is an intimate sensual understanding between two people that is earthy and understated; I smell cinnamon every time I read it.

The Cinnamon Peeler
- by Michael Ondaatje -

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under the rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in the water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife. Smell me.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Mating Mind: Choosing Mr. Right

Men Court, Women Choose

Geoffrey F. Miller visualizes our ancient sisters in his book "The Mating Mind."

"When you picture ancestral females facing predators, do not imagine Marilyn Monroe whimpering and cowering. Imagine Steffi Graf brandishing a torch in place of a tennis racket."

One of the premises of the book is that men court (dance, give gifts, advertise and flaunt their talents in the arts and sciences) and that women choose the most desirable partner during the mating process. Fitness indicators such as height, physical fitness, kindness, generosity, witty conversation, intelligence and a sense of humor are clues to the quality of a man’s genes; Women respond to these indicators and this has helped shape the course of human evolution.

He has this to say about the male penis:

"The large male penis is a product of female choice in evolution. If it were not, males would never have bothered to evolve such a large, floppy, blood-hungry organ. Ancestral females made males evolve such penises because they liked them… larger penises led to better orgasms by permitting more varied, exciting and intimate copulatory positions."

Miller questions the traditional view that females needed males to protect them from predators because females moved around in larger groups than males while they were foraging for food. He writes that women had "many eyes and many hands to offer mutual vigilance and protection. An ancestral female would be much safer in a group of a dozen sisters, aunts, and female friends than with a single man in a nuclear family. The same group-protection effect would have guarded females against sexual predators."

The book explores fascinating possibilities involving the evolution of the human mind through sexual selection and our choice of partners. If Miller’s ideas are valid, we have the power of choice my sisters, but haven’t we always understood that reality in our heart of ancient hearts.

Miller received his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Stanford University and adapted his dissertation on how sexual choice shaped the human mind for a mainstream audience.

Finally, a male biologist who attempts to see the clitoris from a woman’s perspective: 

The inconspicuous design of the clitoris

"combined with its exquisite sensitivity suggests that the clitoris is important not as an object of male mate choice, but as a mechanism of female choice. It helps to select for males who provide pleasurable foreplay, copulation, and orgasms, and such discriminative power is just what we should expect from an organ of female choice."

From a sexual selection viewpoint,

"clitorises should respond only to men who demonstrate high fitness, including the physical fitness necessary for long, energetic sex, and the mental fitness necessary to understand what women want and how to deliver it. The choosy clitoris should produce orgasm only when the woman feels genuinely attracted to a man’s body, mind, and personality, and when the man proves his attentiveness and fitness through the right stimulation."

About Me

My photo

What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.