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The wild, scary, beautiful storm kicked up by taking on 30 poems in 30 days is still very much alive in me.  Expeditions for love, for cord-cutting and letting go, and for spiritual center run through it all.  So much is going on in ideas and emotions that it can begin to bring on a kind of paralysis.  I am not allowing that to take hold for long.  There is too much to do.  All of my projects – Robin Renée singer/songwriter, Robin Renée kirtan, The Mutant Mountain Boys, and various other creative drives are all clamoring for time.  Plus, some character named Devo Dan keeps bugging me to work with him.  ;- )  The many hours’ drive to and from Ohio this weekend for Mountain Boys rehearsal and kirtan at The Yoga Place was a welcome time for contemplation and decompression.  

 Writing daily forces me to get through my own crap- the lies it is convenient to tell myself- and I eventually have to get to something real.  This is where I want to live.  It is the middle of the well from which these creative impulses seem to spring.  I can’t say that I wouldn’t welcome a stable ledge on which to rest in this period that feels like a long project in unconditional truth-seeking.  Right now I am tumbling in the midst, and I choose to be ok with tumbling for now, capturing bits of the experience along the way.

 Last week, I really wanted to share the Phoebe Snow interview, so I preempted the NaPoWriMo poems.  Here are the rest of them.  Thanks for reading, for sharing your thoughts, for tumbling through. 

April 21, 2011

The New Trees Take Their Places

Evergreens stand over the yard’s back edge
And there is happy naked dancing for all seasons.
Summer will contend for the witchiest season of them all
With festival love and people who really like drumming.

I wonder what happened to the pissed off trees
And shame-riddled women clutching towels to hide themselves,
persecuted Pagans and the winter that never goes home.
No such luck for the erstwhile King and Queen of Angst.
Some of those folks never lived here, and the rest have flown back
to their lovely realms.

There must be words spoken
like tsunami, earthquake, and revolution.
I wonder what happened to those words.
They must have moved beyond the property line,
but they are remembered daily.

Evergreens stand over the yard’s back edge
Holding gallant space for solid ground,
Keeping watch over quiet growth and loud passion,
And there is happy naked dancing for all seasons.

April 22, 2011

Face the sticker-splattered wall,
part mural part disdain.
I would have endured.
Finding empty letter,
noting missing friendship ring
would have been too hard.
You’ve done me the favor.

April 23, 2011

World Café

The camera
The bit part
One toe in the drink
The harp
The sword
A pen still mightier
The listening corner
The open ears
A reverent envy
The rivalry
The spur
In the side of
New songs
Whatever it takes
To dive in

April 24, 2011

Toes recall wild grass,
Bare skin, sun, and air make love-
Nature’s Easter prayer.

April 25, 2011

A Different Ring

Regarding the ring:
You must wear it well
as you wear shifting speech.
Once your head is turned, flowery protest? Useless.
White gold or semi-precious, I don’t know. I’ve not seen
your finger or your face
in almost long enough.
Who would I be to stand
in the laced path
of the marriage of crisis to victim?
On the New Hope bridge,
you asked for my blessing on a ceremony.
It was another love, declared before meat-eating
Straight-acting, and the face of tradition
Took you on, a code of opposites.
Teacher, point your own way home.
Or not.
Who would I be to stand
in the overgrown path
of separation, mind from knowing?
Bodies- yours and mine
are not to touch again.
I take up scissors to cut the barky vine
can’t help but drop them still
thinking “Have it your way.
See you next life, then.”

I remember, to those who leave
I wave goodbye.
Somewhere in the dredged earth
is the reason to thank you
with a smile.

April 26, 2011

Which pointed buds give way to splayed white flowers,
Which dots will soon be leaves-
On the outside, there are teachings.
Inside, the chair before the desk-
Which wall needs waterproof steel blue paint,
Which bent-page piles most urgent.
Love released, received among proud dandelions,
First order of business.

April 27, 2011

If Found, Do Not Return

Empty shell
almost repaired
left for traveler
willing to give up
dense center
for hollow-handed love
or for king’s horse
in need
of sight gag.

April 28, 2011

Chocolate, Wine, & Porn

First thing I see are bed covers unraveled, like they’ve just enjoyed the ride, then there’s you, crimped brown hair, as avant garde undressed as in leopard print and vintage clogs,
I wonder if you’d let me really see you this way were I not imagining your story and you were not hiding in the arms of academia. I may be deep in the house of mistrust still
at least I imagine you, alone with dark chocolate, red wine, grainy porn, still-no-silicone video, hairy, hot and real. My brain stops here, I want to know what you do by yourself
and what with, times I’ve known you there is love and doors that close
on making love, sudden, no warning, no formula to break barriers.
Still, I believe you, once mistress of three classic pleasures, exciting
and dulling nerve endings, in your endorphin cocktail haze, lover,
may you have remembered me.
I remember your backpack at the bus stop, what your intent eyes knew,
your sleeping beauty on post-collegiate futon, how the three of us, that one time,
barely fit in the shower.
Want to fast-forward this stuck cassette, see what is now, what unstuck passion together might come beyond memory, beyond numbing, beyond the endorphin rush of running.
Pour me a pinot, I’ll bring the raw cacao.

April 29, 2011

Radius

Chant and dance move this night
Circular motion time intended
A love not actionable
Comes back around
A slow burn
Toward flame or fizzle
At any point
There is a straight line
To center

April 30, 2011/May 1, 2011

Garden earth green and floral
or warm city rhythm
If we do not drop our armor
on the eve of Beltane,
we lie by omission.

I plan to wed the summer
hand-held or solitaire,
make love in the field
of clover and thorn

www.robinrenee.com

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.

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