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Often while working on the daily pieces for NaPoWriMo, I am reminded of my experience of writing poetry in the Stone Age before the internet explosion. I would write a piece and many times it would feel like the page would burn my hands if I didn’t do something with it. Off to Kinko’s I’d go so I could make copies for poet friends or to send it off to the most suitable Call for Submissions. I would feel a kind of relief then, as if this urgent burst of energy now had some focus or reason to be.
The immediacy of my daily posts on the Facebook Fan Page and 365/365 more than fulfills that old urge, and is fairly confronting. I am taken aback at just how truly immediately other eyes are on these words. The commitment to write daily leaves no real time for revision, rethinking, retraction. I get to see my jagged edges, neuroses, loves, and incomplete thoughts. And so does everyone else. Really quickly. The swiftness of sharing this ongoing series of poems and the comments and conversations that come up around them is as soul-shaping as the writing.
I do feel shaped by what I write, as the inner and outer experiences shape me and prompt me to write. I have felt shaped quite literally lately, posing for a clay sculpture class. It is odd to feel sometimes like there are 10 voodoo dolls of me being molded before my eyes. I sometimes imagine that I’ll leave class subtly or profoundly different from the way I came in, and wonder about this as a metaphor for every interaction.
Here are the most recent poems:
April 6, 2011
I think I’ve found the perfect candidate
for The Fool
in my personal deck of Tarot.
The role of The Devil has been taken.
I wonder what The Goddess calls me
when I can’t hear Her over the music.
April 7, 2011
Where no orgasm is unmemorable
Where the walls embrace wide auras
Where books and beings point out the Heart of Hearts
Where God sings the wailing blues
Where there are clean dishes and enough blankets
Where there are spent toys of pleasure
Where I sleep late
I begin to notice things
Where the forest holds love without need.
April 8, 2011
He left her a message today
Said he wanted to make amends
A sound beating never forgotten
gets icy silence in any decade
I remember being made to hear
My face in a journal thinking
I’ll just write
No, I’ll just sleep
How do I get out Try to
Her story my story
Any woman’s story told
is a cutting of the cord
Our Burning Times
if there must be fire.
April 9, 2011
On the Lindenwold Train
On the Lindenwold train to Philly
you keep approaching to interrupt
an otherwise perfect spring fever.
Warm enough tonight
to feel cute on South St.
in jeans and short black jacket,
and at ease back home
where forsythia announce
the inevitable end to cold.
On my way to meet the poly people
same place we met once
at the inevitable start.
This train best get going.
Take me to my punk rock roots
and motley crew of a mockup family
so I forget how once last fall
I would have liked to catch you sleepy,
mojito in hand,
and me with knives in mine.
Luck held out for both of us.
Trees still bare.
I long to lie naked in the neighborhood
under natural cover,
but I will not rush this season.
It pushes me slowly along from last September,
when I lay trapped in a learning curve
of drinking and dreaming
your house demolition.
A musty man stinking
of B.O. and basement
I am annoyed by my impulse to answer,
glad to break the tumbling thoughts
of broken intentions,
that I find have left
I lap up new knowledge,
drops of blood to a ravenous bat.
I turn my head to breathe.
The box is open now.
There will be more weapons
forged with sparks of light.
I rest relieved
it is someplace else
your poisonous script will run.
My feet hit 8th & Market,
smooth in the rhythm of my streets.
April 10, 2011
Whatever ruptured yesterday
I remember or decide
there is no healing
without the wound
The wig display head
At the foot of my bed
May tell the stories better than I.
I may let her.
April 11, 2011
My bath, her shower.
Dreaming a bathroom conflict,
I caved. She’s first again.
April 12, 2011
and so I looked relieved at the black and white 32 oz. shampoo bottles lined up
perfectly on the ledge by the tub facing one direction with no more price labels
bathroom is not bad today save for some sweeping that gets left for Saturdays
Order is like meditation, keep coming back to same things same places, a mantra of stuff
at least that’s what I tell myself sometimes and I mostly really mean it
Then I wonder if it is the loving order or the allowing disarray that is the real problem if there is one, but I do know
that the closet goes by item type and order of color the way nature paints rainbows and sometimes bills get so-called filed, forgotten in front of what used to be the Zen space with the new guitar strings candles and exercise bra
It is lonely when brain is frayed, never any-questions-fried but as if a little mouse were working away nest-building
from the outside in
Putting it back together I look for the real Zen space, the one that is always there in my head find it for real without pretense no pretending something about putting in order is holy aligning with the knowing of mystics flawless grace notes and good sex. I remember overhearing Rose and Lissa laugh about my alphabetical albums, I look
for something to wear and am pleased by the disproportionate sight of purple
One of the things I have been doing over the last few years when not writing, touring someplace, or off on some other adventure is working as a figure model. When I mentioned to a friend that I was looking for an interesting sideline, she made the suggestion and I felt that it fit very well into my life. I always want to spend more time where art is created. I am also a longtime nudist, so there is nothing strange to me about posing for an art class. It seemed like a fun and fairly perfect thing to check out.
Though I am comfortable without clothes, it is more common a situation in my life that everyone is nude – on my favorite beach, camping in clothing-optional space, or at some other naturist event. Being the only one who’s nude in the room did take a little getting used to in the beginning, but is no big deal at all now. Most art class’ protocol is strange and a bit frustrating. Students are generally not to speak to the model. That feels cold to me at times, and can be the least appealing aspect of the job. I’d rather be spoken to like anyone else in the room. When there’s an opportunity, I try to ask someone a question, show some sense of humor, and just keep an easy-going energy flowing as much as possible.
I feel my Zen sensibilities more strongly while holding a pose than in most other circumstances. In sitting or standing still for long periods, I find meditation. 20 minutes of posing divided by short breaks leads me to settle into stillness, to follow the breath. Posing is a time to experience my current reality. It is a profound opportunity to release the habit of hiding. It is like saying “Here is all of me, World, with my bundle of irrational fears, body image issues, joys, aspirations, ideas, boredom, peacefulness…” Whatever is going on that day and in that moment, there I am. Exposing the body combined with time to watch the mind is a powerful exercise.
I often simply notice and release thoughts in meditation mode. Sometimes I follow the seemingly significant ones. Here are some of the random thoughts that float through my brain while modeling:
Oh! Here come some titles for the dual CDs that I am working on this season. Need to write them down on break… The hypothetical book I mentioned in The Steve Forbert Chronicles really does want to be written… and it wants to be fiction. Research road trip? … How will I manifest time to create all that the muse is pouring through me? … Grateful to have the ideas flowing… Hmm, a sexy thought – Wow, if I were a guy that thought might have just become a lot more obvious! … Will I wear the gold sparkly spaghetti strap shirt out dancing on Friday? … Sad memory of an ex – We used to meet after my Philly modeling gigs sometimes… I really want to finish painting the basement… There is only this moment, right now. Sat Nam… Why the heck did I dream about playing pool and going boating with Hall & Oates?! …
I sometimes wish I were learning to draw, too, but listening in on classes has helped me to at least see so much more. I notice the light and the shadow and the planes that make up people’s faces. I am starting to imagine drawing without outlining, but finding the shapes that make up the figure. I get how it is important to see more deeply into how the body works and the structure beneath the skin in order to render something realistic. I take so many things as metaphor anyway, and these are useful additions to ways to find life lessons.
Lately, I’ve been learning quite a bit posing in Moe Brooker’s class @ Moore College of Art and Design. I can’t say that I would enjoy being in his class as a student. He dishes out some intense critique and hardly gives students a moment’s rest. If he wants someone to add the face to the drawing or redo the knees or a make the feet bigger, he means pronto. The door generally gets shut on you if you are a minute late. He doesn’t particularly care whether or not students like him, but he cares deeply that they become better artists. I suspect that even though it’s fairly clear some students can’t stand dealing with his class, they’ll be incredible artists one day and will thank him. I have the easy job in the class; I just get to stand there and observe the varying mix of intensity and comedy.
Moe Brooker often says that there’s no point in being almost anything. If you want to be an artist, be an artist. Don’t be an almost artist. In the past, I have resolved to stop almosting. I am inspired to revisit this, find my inner hard-ass, ferret out the almosts, and achieve.