The Destroyer

Dagger eyes
accusing voice
perpetually poised
to attack and crush
the one she fiercely claims
to love
to everyone else

I wait
for the sweet soft magic
of a tender look
of a kindly word
I wait
and wait

I ask
and wait
while silver tendrils
grow long
at my temples
and the object
of my desire
denies
the object
of her love
access
to her stone cold castle
where she crouches
armed
ready to destroy
the one she so fiercely claims
to love
to everyone else

Yesterday I stumbled across a poem that I wrote in 2013 when I was going through an extremely painful time. It took almost a year to grieve and let go of a lifetime of unfulfilled expectations, and to finally move forward with compassion and dignity. I thought she couldn’t get to me anymore and have continued reaching out to her, but from a less vulnerable place. It was her 83rd birthday a few days ago, and well… I guess she got to me.

It’s time to re-read my books:

Trapped in the Mirror by Elan Golomb

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

And anything by Eckhart Tolle helps a lot too. If you’ve come across any other books that deal with difficult parent/child relationships, please share them here. Thank you, and may love and kindness shine upon you today and every day.

 

 

Requiem for a Grandmother

Mother
I saw them yesterday . . .
papery hands
at euchre tables
laying down hearts
and memories of another time
when bleeding was a different colour
and young women howled fiercely at the moon
with newborn babes clutched tightly at their breasts.
 
I saw them yesterday . . .
in silvery disguises
covering their hearts
with diamonds
and thin-lipped smiles
half-heartedly masking
the haunting of loneliness
and lost children.
 
Where is the place where grandmothers go to weep?
 
I am awake in the dark
lost in raw knowing
that these scars were carved
fresh and deep
to remind me that
I am still . . .
 
A mother.

by Michelle LaRiviere

September 24th, 2014
Windsor, Ontario

Projet Sage Nu

While I wait excitedly for next week’s photo shoot with my first volunteer model, words that encapsulate this new project continue to formulate in my head:

THE NUDE has been admired, studied, and discussed for over two millennia, having made its noble debut in sculpture in Ancient Greece. During the Renaissance and later, painters took up the subject with fervour, but in 1838 the invention of photography enabled artistic explorations that had never before been possible.

In recent times, attitudes about the female body have been shaped by the overt sexualization [objectification] of women and girls in advertising, media, and the entertainment industry. Consequently, women have internalized unhealthy societal constructs regarding beauty and desirability, leaving no room for flaws, wrinkles, or aging.LaRiviere_Nude-11

The reality is that natural signs of aging have been consistently maligned [especially for women] since the advent of corporate advertising in the 1950s and 60s, with its endless brands of facial creams, hair dyes, and other age-defying products. Cosmetic surgery and photoshopped images in glossy magazines underscore our obsession with maintaining the outward appearance of youthful immortality. As a consequence, we are deeper in denial, more insecure, and more dysfunctional than ever as a society.

My intent with this project is to challenge contemporary notions of feminine beauty and the fallacy that it is the sole domain of the young and nubile. My subjects are mature women – mothers and grandmothers – with no experience in front of a camera. The poses are seated, and all compositions are from the neck down with special attention paid to the placement and character of the hands (which are closest to the camera’s lens). The body therefore becomes secondary, offering only partial views of itself with a softness resulting from the shallow depth of field. By not photographing their faces, the women are more relaxed and able to be themselves. Their humanity, strengths, and frailties are communicated through their hands.

In creating and editing my images, I explore shape, texture, and composition as a vehicle to a meaningful narrative. There is no shame in aging because the experience and wisdom that accompany it are truly wondrous and beautiful gifts. Besides, we are so much more than our outer shells.

In viewing the body at its barest and most honest, we are given a mirror with which to contemplate our own vulnerabilities, and ultimately the impermanence and mortality that we all share. My approach to the nude is considered and modest. It does not push the boundaries, nor does it demand to be “in your face.” It is quiet and meditative. It transcends the carnal and hints at deeper ponderings.