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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blessed New Year and let’s continue with more travelogue poetry. I looked through my old inventory and I don’t really have a painting that seems to really resonate with this poem.  In any event, I don’t want my painting to function as a pimp to my poetry, or the other way around.  So I just took this picture of my back work room where I discard unsatisfactory work, paintings I’m going to paint over or discard, ideas that didn’t pan out.  It’s also where I experiment, throw paint around, or melted wax, crayons, plastic.  Like that “Pocahontas See N Say” toy on the bottom left.  I exchanged the original pictures with photographs from the murdered Lakota at wounded knee.  Next I wanted to change the original recordings that said things like “Curious raccoons love to play,” or “Corn, the good earth gives us corn to eat,” or “Grandmother willow is a very wise tree,” with actual Native-American voices offering their own words and explanations about their experience with what we call “nature.”  That proved to be too technically difficult for me and so there it sits, still not art, not yet.  Next to it on the right is a Coptic angel of death that the squirrels that live in my studio have chewed some of the paint off of.  You would think that the sword would have kept them at bay, maybe if I was more of a realist I could have saved her?  But I reckon it’s not just painters that have places like this but also writers, poets, sculptors, duck call whittlers, even theologians, and philosophers all have back rooms where poems, theories, dogmas, and screeching duck calls are tossed away and best forgotten.  One step away from becoming more of a life's wreckage.  Behind my studio is a gully that I’m filling in and where I toss all of my organic and compostable matter.  If the squirrels keep at it, that’s where the angel of death is going to end up.    

Jerusalem, Stalingrad, Warsaw, Rome...

Like ships cities need scuppers
Means for whatever is not city to scuttle free
Holy redoubts where prophets weave our future
Sanctuaries in cliff faces, asylums
Where blood-money has no purchasing power
Vengeance is postponed
In the center of the Holy of holies
The manslaughterer purifies his hands
On the wings of cherubim

Because our name comes after the fact
From someplace outside these broken walls
Mothers keening for their children
Who are sacrificed in the bargain
Just as Shiloh and Sodom lost their glory
A women looks back
Whatever appearance held her gaze
The name of G-d still sleeps un-utterable
Encoded within babbles of consonant acronyms:
           Y  --  H  --  W  --  H
Four little peeks under G-d’s skirt

Then the walls were felled by the mean tide
All the guilty are found within--One people finally
For there is no more outside the text
No habitation or vantage to look back at ourselves
Everywhere the center is holding
Virgins were sought, none were found
Who could not be tempted to look back

Anyone with sense could see it
Was a catastrophe in the making
And never one to trust a mob
He preferred his own company and
Selling door to door
Yet after all this time we
Still haven’t given up on messiahs
We’re always searching for just the right kind of
Character, an ‘all things to all’ kind of personage
If there was a contest, a pageant, if there were a vote
At least a majority would have some satisfaction
As it is now no one’s really happy
No one that counts

Looking over the great cities one can imagine
Weeping, but not for the sake of the architecture
Which is all out of proportion to it’s reputation anyway
Stones never stay where you put them
Even when stacked high on the bodies of oracles
Kneel down with a poet’s ear to the mound
The Slightest breath escapes like tears
Between the cracks in the unmortared rubble

The panicked herd worn and exhausted stalls out
They are so beautiful, their lungs
Pumping steam into the cold morning
The lead mare paws the fresh snow, ears pricked
When the frozen trees crack like gun-shots
She bolts leading the murmuration
Instinctively she knows the herd will follow her
All the way to safety or into the abyss


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