Ghosts – Dreams for Sale

bed1Ghosts sleep

behind this window glass,

their memories confused

by labyrinths of iron

and caresses

of prospective buyers.


Their spines and cheeks

leave no impression

but I see them,

layered deep in time,

all who slept and dreamed and loved

on this Baroque and dislocated bed

embraced in the arms of Morpheus.


The antique sign says

“Dreams for Sale.”

Outside looking in

I am inside looking out.

My face reflects

on haunted pillows.

I pause,


“You are loved”

and walk on.


 Photo and Poem by clinock. (edited redux)

Ghosts – Joan of Arc

joan of arcSeeking sanctuary from the pyre

beneath her cold and holy dance

I am unmasked by shredded arcs,

frozen between invisible armor

and tundric nakedness

as she surrenders to a higher love.


She moves in fires I cannot enter

and consumes my night in flames.

She pours herself through me

a radiant and smoldering lava

burning a charcoaled path

on which I follow her bright beauty.


There is a mystery in her conflagration

binding me with smoky tongues

and releasing me in blinding light.

Her immaculate impossibility remains

and I am fused forever

to this silent ghost of ash and passion.


painting (enhanced) and poem by clinock

Ghosts – the flayed

FlayedAching to be clothed

in warm flesh again,

feeling it tight and smooth

against muscle and bone.

Hating this cold nakedness,

exposed to the core.

Waiting beyond time

for another skin to slide across

this osseous frame,

liquid, soft and trembling,

smelling of sun,

a fitting sensuality

once so tenderly touched

by a lover’s hands.


It is desires such as these

that binds a spirit

to this physical plane

of sweat and body,

this glistening intimacy.


Under the chill September sun

I deadhead the hydrangeas

and geraniums with shining


The withered blossoms fall

into my hand

and soon enough the foliage

will follow, dropping,

brown and wrinkled

onto the palm of earth,

and the garden will become

a murmuration of skeletons

waiting for new growth

to golden on their surfaces.


It is not so easy to face

this bone racked spirit in my night.

Its rattling visage is not pretty

and its pleading cries

come howling through my dreams.


I peer beneath desires

it breathes,

beneath its mask of dying,

into an endless nightmare

of longing,

reaching to be whole again,

refusing to accept

the flaying of time,

the peeling away

of the surfaces of care,

layer by layer

until there is nowhere else to go

except the beauty of the armature

flying free, released.


And you, my haunting,

whipping my heart

with cold filaments of silence.

It hurts, but you are freed now

and covered

by the bleeding veils of love.


mixed media painting and poem by clinock

Ghosts – the alone

ghost1Cracked and whispering,


across frayed and faded

veils of memory,


fractured interstices

of stained days,

the one alone,



Loss and paradox


dried bones in dank tunnels

beneath a burning bridge

where bright darkness

casts an eye,

staring down my soul,

stirring my cells



Intimate spirit


struggling for escape

but chained

to rusting remnants

and luminous ice,

a nameless shadow

craving release,



to be loved into

tree skin,

sleeping rocks and gulls,

wolf and worm,

petal and seed.

To enter floods and dust,

and the rising moon.

To let go.



Mixed media painting and poem by clinock.

Farewell Douglas Coupland and Slogans 9,10 and 11

last blocksThis ‘monument’ of children’s lettered blocks were a component of a full room symbolic  representation of Coupland’s brain brilliantly conceived and executed by the artist using found objects. This is my final example of text-based art from this summer exhibition. The show closed on September 1 and I close this series today. It has been fun sharing Coupland’s art with you and I thank you for your comments and ideas.

Here is a view of downtown Vancouver as one leaves the VAG. (Click to enlarge).

downtownand here are Slogans 9, 10 & 11 chosen from so many more I haven’t shown:

Slogan 9Slogan 10

Slogan 11Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts and of photo below: ‘Gumhead’. Also see my first ‘Slogans’ post to understand #9, 10 & 11.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions used in this series.

Gumhead 2

All photos by clinock.


Penguins and Slogan #8 (Douglas Coupland at the VAG)

Penguins 1

The crowds were thickly gathering on the final day of the exhibition as I captured these photos, I apologize for the poor quality, shooting between dozens of heads. The wall description photo was totally out of focus so I paraphrase it here:

‘The collages forming Coupland’s Penguins series are centered around the Penguin publishing house’s familiar orange and black paper backs. Over the covers of these iconic cultural tomes Coupland has applied vinyl texts. Some of these, read across several splayed paperbacks, form short phrases such as “Love Will Tear Us Apart” a song by British post-punk band, Joy Division or “Blasphemous Rumours” the title of a Depeche Mode song.  These phrases layer additional cultural references to the books beneath them.

In my photos I have edited the sequences for brevity.

Penguins 2

Penguins 3

I admit I haven’t read all of the novels referenced. I know there are those amongst you that have. I believe the vinyl overlays probably connect to the underlying theme of each novel. Am I correct in my assumption?

Penguins 5

Penguins 4

I nostalgically connect with the distinctive design of the Penguin covers, remembering them from my early years of reading. I think I understand some of the textual relevance of the overlays. I enjoy the formal qualities of the juxtapositions of Coupland’s text over the Penguin covers, the blocking off and letting through, the casual use of duct and painter’s tape. How do these collages work for you? What memories are evoked for you by these Penguin covers?

Slogan #8:

Slogan #8

Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts. Also see my first ‘Slogans’ post to understand #8.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock.




Tokyo Harbour and Slogan #7 (Douglas Coupland at the VAG)

Tokyo HarbourTokyo Harbour description

Tokyo Harbour detail Above: a photo of full work, Coupland’s description of the work and a detail.

Yes, echoes of Warhol here and not surprising because Coupland’s past and present art is infused with Pop sensibilities. Like the artist I too was drawn by the colours and “bold graphic treatments.” The text for me is in a language I cannot read but can enjoy as textual cryptograms. Arrayed as they are in linear formation I can also appreciate the sculptural qualities of the containers.

I admit to a few disturbing thoughts and feelings evoked by Coupland’s description. There are karmic links and confluences here that don’t sit easy in my head. What do you think?

Slogan #7:

Slogan 7Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts. Also see my first ‘Slogans’ post to understand #7.

Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.

All photos by clinock.