Tres y Muerte


Tres y Muerte

Tres y Muerte by Clinock. 17×14 in. 43×46 cm. Acrylic on paper.

Xochi Quetzal Artist and Writer’s Residency. Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. October 2019.

“there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space

and even during the
best moments
the greatest

we will know it

we will know it
more than

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

we will wait

in that space.”

―  Charles bukowski








Blog Tour!



I have been greatly honoured by a nomination from Ina ( ) to participate in the Blog Tour. This is a journey through the blogs of poets in which each writer shares his or her insights into the hows and whys of their work.

I admire and have been deeply inspired by Ina’s poetry so for me this nomination is akin to being invited to leave the sand box and go skinny-dipping with the big kids.

The process of participation is to answer four questions and to nominate other poets.

 1. Why do I write what I write?

I am a visual artist as well as a poet but wrote ‘poetry’ long before I made art. I still have poems I wrote as a teenager in England, endearing and precious to me but too embarrassing to share. I wanted then to be a writer but was discouraged. In the 1970s, after coming to live in Canada, I lived communally with visual and performing artists and writers. Their energy and work inspired me again to create. I began to tentatively write again and, for the first time make art. Many years later I studied visual art seriously, taking my BFA and teaching degree at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Throughout this time I continued to write, most often inspired by the intense emotions of relationships, the challenges of poverty and hard times and occasionally by my art. I discovered that the poetic form of expression came more easily to me than prose and danced well with my painting. A 25-year career teaching art and raising a family took a toll on personal creative work and it wasn’t until I retired that I once more had the luxury of time to write and paint with any viable focus. Deep relationships, love and the loss of love through divorce and other agonies, existential questions and the paradox of spirit continue to inspire my writing. However, it wasn’t until I began blogging on Word Press that my art and poetry began to fuse. I now consider them to be almost a single entity.

2. What is my writing process?

Sometimes my art evokes the poem, sometimes the other way around. I work hard at both as I wasn’t born with inherent talent for either. On rare occasions an artwork or poem seems to slide effortlessly into existence but mostly I struggle/dance to reach an expression that resonates with integrity in head and heart.

For many years I needed the tangible reassurance of pen and paper to write. I still need to get my hands dirty making art, however, I now mostly compose poems directly onto my laptop. I enjoy the ease of editing on screen rather than scratching out and rewriting on paper. The work I publish in my posts I then save in the blog page I have created for this. But I write much that I don’t publish on the blog, very personal poems to people who are close to me.

I am an owl by nature and the moon is my mistress. My time is my own now and I like the silence and mood of deep night. This is my creative time.

3. How does my work differ from other genres?

I never consciously follow any form, classical or otherwise. I write as I paint, intuitively and open to the whisperings of the muse. However, having said that I admit that after the first draft given by the gods I read my words over and over, usually out loud, because I honour the tradition of poetry as spoken word. If it doesn’t sound right to me I rewrite and rewrite until it does. I have no formal background in poetry as I do in visual art. I confess that I often feel I am forever a beginner when I read the accomplished poems of writers I admire. But a beginner’s mind is not such a bad thing and I continue to grow. I do what I do because I must, as I must breathe and love and feel.

A dear poet friend recently wrote this about my writing:

“I admire that you so unabashedly put yourself out there. ….. It’s like it pours from the well of whatever is going on in your life and this is your language…rough, refined, complicated, colourful, lyrical, chaotic, luminous, dark…”

It is words like this that inspire and balance me and remind me that I am heard and do touch others. This is my genre and my passion.

 4. What am I working on at the moment?

I have exhibited and sold my art but have never published. I have long contemplated putting together a book of my art and poems, hard copy or eBook. I slowly play around with the idea of this. I wander out there on the web looking for a shining portal but always get lost in the jungle. I understand that I need to work towards this on my own in a real way before I can submit to anywhere. I have developed enough confidence in my work through feedback from blogging and other friends to consider this as a possibility, now I just need to do the legwork. Meanwhile I paint and write with my next shared post in mind. My art and poems are born from love, a belief that magic is real and that anything is possible.

I initially hesitated at paying this forward as it reminded me of the blog award system that I abandoned some time ago. However, this is not an award, subtly different yes, but different enough for me to feel okay about the following nominations. In fact I am proud to share these poets who have filled my heart and head with sensuality, deep feeling, fascination, wonder and inspiration.

My nominees for this Blog Tour are five poets I admire very much. They are all very different in their approach to poetry. They may or may not choose to continue the Tour. I hope they do accept but in the end I understand that this is not what it is all about.

 Carl, brilliant writer and poet sharing his dark challenges with words that pierce to the bone.

Ese, Empress of haiku, Priestess of sensual writing, Queen of the camera.

Jana, gentle explorer of who we are and why. Sensitive poetic and philosophical wanderings through deepest essence.

 Mari, voice of profound and masterful poetic expression. Metaphorical searchings into the very heart of what it is to be human, in words and art.

Steven, amazing poet, artist, film maker…unique approach to combining words and images within the limitations of a blog…dream weaver.

Remembering Mum

Joan M Clinock 17

Joan Margaret Clinock. 1915 – 2004.

 In January 2004 I was in my mother’s house in England. She had recently died, age 88, and being a single child I was sorting out her home alone. I sat at her dining room table, the same table I had sat at so often as a child, and wrote this for her. I post it today in love and memory of love given without limits for so many years. I will always miss you mum, always.

 The cyclamen still blooms

on your windowsill,

in colours of a Canadian sunrise

covered in tears of rain.

I want to tell you how beautiful it is

but I can’t find you.

I suppose that I am an orphan now,

an old gray child crying for his mum

in a house empty of you.

Yet I embrace your life in me

as once you embraced my life in you.

I am who I am because of you

and who you were.

And all you gave to me

I now give to my sons.

And they, in turn, will pass it on.

And so the circle is unbroken

and you will live in us.

When I was a child

you dispersed my shadows

with your light

and my sadness with your smile.

And after every storm

You were my sunshine.

You hated cold and dark,

loved the sun and long summer days.

But although it is winter

on this windy coast

you would like it here today

because the warmth and brightness

of your dearest friends

and their flowers of farewell

have touched this place with spring.

Soon you will join your husband

under the wild Cornish sky

that you both loved so much,

and your spirits will be free

to wander the ancient sea and hills

in the wind that lifts gulls

above the rocks and heather.

And I will think of you

there together

and be still.

One Year of Blogging…

Image 1 by Robert Crumb.  Painting and Poem by clinock.

Today I celebrate One Year of Blogging. During this year I have connected on-line with many wonderful, creative people. I have been inspired, entertained, informed, educated, enlightened and sometimes moved to tears.

I began art rat café as an assignment for an art course, never thinking that I would continue past the first few posts. Now I am hooked and look forward to the ‘blogging hours’ of my day – to travel the blogosphere and read what you are all up to and comment on your various contributions and receive comments on mine is still a wonder to me. I am so curious about you all and would love to be able to magically bring you all together for a blogger’s party in my beautiful city – to look you in the eye and touch your hand and feed you Italian wine and Vancouver salmon. Blogging is so frustratingly cerebral and although I love it my approach to life is ever a sensual one.

The Other. 15" x 11". acrylic and oil on paper. (Ptg # 28). SOLD

As I live my days and make my art my thoughts are always how I will create my next post so it will be of interest to you. This becomes as much a creative act as making my paintings and drawings and keeps my brain alive and kicking. Back ‘In the Day’ you would all have been my ‘pen-pals’, (anyone remember ‘pen-pals’?).

Time is so strange – it is the Trickster in our lives – it is the accordion playing at my table in a Parisian café, compressing and expanding as it serenades my heart with the music of bitter sweet nostalgia.

After all is said and done

It’s just a rainbow ‘round the sun,

Another ring toss around a star,

A bear stuck in a honey jar,

An ancient number scratched in rock,

A ticking tap, a dripping clock.

Years pass like apes in papered parlors.

Time is their hunger

And we’re all bananas.


I heart you all and sincerely thank you for your comments, likes and support of Art Rat Café. My connection to you means so much to me.

Here’s to you, dear friends, and to another year of bountiful blogging.

With peace, love and good vibrations – Keep on Truckin’

Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award…

I was surprised, delighted and honoured to receive a nomination for this award from Kelly Graham, a mixed media artist blogging from New Zealand. Check out her colourful and whimsical Kiwi artworks –   Thank you so much Kelly.

The ‘ABC Award’ asks the recipient to name 26 alphabetical things about themselves. Well – I explored past recipients and found that this requirement was, not surprisingly, sidestepped in favor of more creative interpretations.

My own approach is to use my blog name, art rat cafe, as the first letters of words that describe some aspects of who I am – so, here goes, but I warn you that unless you are a Scrabble or Crossword aficionado you may have to work for the meanings. As a modest reward I will list, with effusive praise, the blog addresses of all of you who send me the correct definitions of all of the words by June 30th, (what else do you have to do with your time?)…

Apterous, Rapscallion, TemerariousRaffish, Apotropaic, TardigradeConcupiscent, Anthropomorphous, Fervent, Effulgent.

There, now you all know me better…BUT WAIT, there is more. To play this forward I get to nominate 6 wonderful bloggers for this award. I love this because I can now mention some of my favorite blogs that I had to miss out for the Liebster Award. So, in no particular order:       Amazing seascape paintings, art issues and life stories from Australia.   Brilliant art, writings, photography, poetry, family and meditations on life and spirit.   A different viewpoint on art, Andy Parkinson’s own work and exhibitions attended. Precise and philosophical meditations on the creative process. Abstract art and systems thinking.   Contemporary art by Gregory. His own art and explorations of the psychology of the creative process.   Incredible black and white photography – moody and evocative.    Mari Sanchez Cayuso – surreal poetry with beautiful images – will take you into other realms of reality.

Go see what these people have to offer – I know that you will connect to them as deeply as I do. Happy Solstice…

The poet waits as the surfer waits

The poet waits as the surfer waits,
Open, alert and drifting
On the scintillating surface
Of the deep,
Floating between the double mysteries:
The dreaming depths of lunar sleep
And the burning eye of god.
Poet and surfer, twin magicians
Conjuring the Mother Wave,
(The birthing surge of inspiration
And the promised ecstasy of flight),
From the sunken shadows
Of moon -mind night
Into the dazzling day
They rise with the rising,
Merging with ancient lines
Of singing surf and
The rhythm of the timeless sea,
On crests of liquid light
They skim the churning fingers,
The white and curving filaments
of Hokusai foam,
Feathers in the ocean wind
Dancing the sacred dance
Of breath and word and fire
Onto sands of spent desire
And fallen stars.

(poem by Clinock)