domingo, 28 de diciembre de 2008

The Second Coming

With so much war, corruption, and governmentally sanctioned injustice on the rise over the course of the last few years-- with increasing economic distress, genocide, natural calamity, and now with the deadly events of the past few days in Gaza, this poem, "The Second Coming," in early drafts, entitled "The Second Birth," seems timely as we begin to taste the horror necessary to understand these words fully.

Written by William Butler Yeats in 1919, in the aftermath of World War I, I imagine that the cycling of destruction into potential awakening and rebirth must have been a felt visceral experience. Without idealization or illusion regarding the cycle of birth, here instead we find a humbled wretched being or "beast" trudging toward Bethlehem to awaken or be born from a self-generated nightmare and ignorance; we must feel pity and compassion for him, for he is us.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all around it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

--W.B. Yeats

La Segunda Venida

Girando y girando en el creciente espiral
El halcón no puede oír al halconero;
Las cosas se deshacen; el centro no puede sostenerse;
La simple anarquía se suelta en el mundo,
La marea oscurecida por la sangre se suelta,
Y en todas partes
La ceremonia de la inocencia queda ahogada;
Los mejores carecen de toda convicción,
Mientras que los peores
Están llenos de apasionada intensidad.

Seguro que una revelación está en puerta;
Seguro que la Segunda Venida está en puerta.
¡La Segunda Venida! Apenas han salido esas palabras
Cuando una vasta imagen del Spiritus Mundi
Me agobia la vista: en algún lugar de las arenas del desierto
Una forma con cuerpo de león y cabeza de hombre,
Una mirada en blanco y despiadado como el sol,
Está moviendo sus muslos lentos,
Mientras a su alrededor
Dan vueltas las sombras de los pájaros indignados del desierto.
Las tinieblas descienden de nuevo, pero ahora sé
Que veinte siglos de sueño pedregoso
Se revolvieron en pesadilla por culpa de una cuna mecedora,
¿Y qué bestia tan áspera, llegado su hora por fin,
Camina con los hombros caídos hacia Belén para nacer?

--W.B. Yeats (Traducción por Lorena Wolfman)

viernes, 26 de diciembre de 2008

From Soto's Class

Monday nights in November and into December, at Mary Sano's intimate studio on 5th Street in San Francisco, I attended G Hoffman Soto's improv class. Below are some examples of the exercises from Soto's class. Each exercise was followed by feedback given either by the Soto, the "audience" and/or the performer in the form of what worked or what didn't and why. The class series culminated in a class performance at Mountain Home Studio in Marin, where we were honored by the surprise attendance of Anna Halprin in the Audience.

4 chairs are placed in a row facing the audience. Four class members take a seat. Each has a role in moving the story line along. The two people on each end change the storyline, the two in the middle develop the storyline as outlined below.

Chair 1: Changes the story with no necessary reference to what has gone before.
Chair 2: Develops the existing storyline.
Chair 3: Develops the existing storyline.
Chair 4: Changes the story, but keeps one word/image from what came immediately before.

Movement, Sound and Text
  1. Move at a slow continuous smooth rate of speed. Explore space and levels.
  2. Add spoken words/text/phrases.
  3. Move in a new way with new qualities. No text.
  4. Add sound to the new movement quality.
  5. Move back and forth between the first movement/text combination and second movement/sound combination.
  6. Introduce a new movement/text combination about a time in your childhood when you had an accident/injury.
  7. Move between the three combinations.
  8. Members invited to perform a solo before the rest of the group.

Entire group moves to music. Beginning each moving by him or herself. Each mover is then instructed to become more available to other movers and to open their own movement to the other movers. As a group, everyone is instructed to be aware of the use of space and placement in relation to the room and the audience. To be aware of the resources of the place, placement, rhythm as well as stillness. In variations of this activity, sound and text is introduced. Half the class may then perform for the other half of the class.

La Beauté

La Beauté (Beauty) is from Charles Baudelaire's first and most famous collection of poetry, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), published in 1857. One of the remarkable things, now that this collection has withstood the test of time and has been inducted into the hall of French classics, thus making it a hallowed bastion of acceptable culture, is that soon after its publication, the author was brought up on charges, fined and forced to suppress some of the poems-- the claim being that with this collection, he had insulted religion and violated public morality. He was not officially exonerated until 1949, after nearly 100 years. Though there was much uproar and ridicule from some camps, Gustave Flaubert celebrated Baudlaire's work saying, "You have found a way to rejuvenate Romanticism... You are as unyielding as marble, and as penetrating as an English mist".[26]

The poem La Beauté came to my attention in the course of a short exchange between Ron Whitehead and Rinaldo Rasa on Facebook, after which I translated the poem as a way of getting closer to the text. Though the structure is that of a sonnet, I have not strayed far from the original French construction and semantics, rather than making the changes, as some translators have done, necessary to make it conform to the rhyme structure for a sonnet in English.

La Beauté

Je suis belle, ô mortels! comme un rêve de pierre,
Et mon sein, où chacun s'est meurtri tour à tour,
Est fait pour inspirer au poète un amour
Eternel et muet ainsi que la matière.

Je trône dans l'azur comme un sphinx incompris;
J'unis un coeur de neige à la blancheur des cygnes;
Je hais le mouvement qui déplace les lignes,
Et jamais je ne pleure et jamais je ne ris.

Les poètes, devant mes grandes attitudes,
Que j'ai l'air d'emprunter aux plus fiers monuments,
Consumeront leurs jours en d'austères études;

Car j'ai, pour fasciner ces dociles amants,
De purs miroirs qui font toutes choses plus belles:
Mes yeux, mes larges yeux aux clarités éternelles!

— Charles Baudelaire


I am lovely, oh mortals, like a dream of stone,
And my bosom, where each is slain in turn,
Is made to inspire in the poet a love
Eternal and speechless like matter.

I preside in the azure like an unfathomed sphinx;
I unite the heart of snow with the whiteness of swans;
I hate those movements that skew lines,
And I never weep and I never laugh.

Poets, before my grand poses,
borrowed from the proudest monuments,
will consume their days in austere study.

For I have, in order to fascinate these docile lovers,
Pure mirrors that make all things more beautiful:
My eyes, my large eyes of eternal clarity!

— Charles Baudelaire. (Translation by Lauren Wolfman)

Solstice Score

Part of the Level One training at Tamalpa Institute is learning the art of scoring. Scoring makes up part of the RSVP Cycle, a creative methodology co-created by Lawrence and Anna Halprin. A score is basically a recipe or a particular way of laying out a creative plan of action. I developed the score that follows to celebrate Solstice this year.

Theme: Winter Solstice - The longest night of the year.

Explore the somatic experience of darkness (and light as it
relates to the darkness)

Ann and Me (This is a score for 2 or more people.)

Place: Ann's studio

Time: Solstice Evening, December 20, 2008

Resources: Movement, Music (didgeridoo), Sound, Text, Breath, and the time of year!
[Musical selection: Into the Dreaming by Dreamtime, Noorooma: Myths and Magic by Spirit of Uluru, Working For World Peace & The Human Heart is For Kindness by Nawang Khechog]
1. 2-3 minutes
Setting the Stage: Start music. Dim lights. Light candles.
2. 20minutes--
Explore the somatic / felt sense for darkness and light using any or all of the following:
- Movement
- Stillness
- Sound
- Breath
- Words / Phrases
3. 10 minutes--
Write and/or draw an aesthetic response.
4. 5-7 minutes (each) --
Share the aesthetic response and your experience of the exploration with your partner. The aesthetic response may include movement, poetic words or a verbal descriptive response. For descriptive verbal feedback, use the I see, I feel, I imagine (three level physical-emotional-mental) model.

martes, 23 de diciembre de 2008


Arriba, esencia
de estrellas,
espacio y ausencias;
Abajo, el cálido abrazo
de la tierra-mar.

Primera ausencia:
Olor a mi madre.

Segunda ausencia:
Voz de mi padre.

Tercera ausencia:
Sonrisa pícara de mi tío.

Cuarta ausencia:
Ladridos de mi Lila.

Quinta ausencia:
Historias sólo recordadas por mis abuelos...

Ausencias cada vez más presentes
en su ausencia diáfana
que las formas boca, seno, frente, anciano, joven, mar, tierra,
son cada vez más fluidas,
y nuestras voces suenan cada vez más en coro,
y el cielo que nos separa es cada vez más transparente.

From the dark

Resting in an expanse of earth and darkness,
resting in an expanse of night and dreaming,
holding my no-face in intimate confidence
at the doors of darkness and light,
above, far away, the light beckons me to rise
from the dark primeval waters of origin.
After washing my no-face in her waters,
after returning repeatedly to her breast,
I am called to a delicate arising into the light
and to reveal my face, my eyes,
my breast bone to the manifest wind—
Upon waking from luscious oblivion,
forms begin to appear.
I am called— yet the call of the dark
pleas too for heedence—
Calls— calls to which I return and rise again and again.
Then, receiving starlight in my arms
like a mantle of grace,
I advance softly into half-light,
into the implication of light
that recalls its origin,
sweet like honey vapor.
Gently forward...

sábado, 20 de diciembre de 2008

Winter Solstice Night

Above me,
abiding starlight,
space and absence;
Below me,
the warm encompassing
dark earth.
All around me,
a transparency of meaning
cloaked in forms
of seeming dichotomy,
you, me, he, she, it--
lapping like waves
at the shore of the absolute.