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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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

“The skin of the face is that which stays most naked, most destitute....[T]here is an essential poverty in the face; the proof of this is that one tries to mask this poverty by putting on poses, by taking on a countenance. The face is exposed, menaced....The face speaks. It is in this that it renders possible and begins all discourse.... The first word of the face is the “Thou shalt not kill.” It is an order. There is a commandment in the appearance of the face, as if a master spoke to me.” (Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics and Infinity  86-89)

I’m home sick and my wonderful wife is taking good care of me.  I'm watching the TV show  “Criminal Minds,” a group of FBI profilers that track down serial killers.  Adam Kotsko over at “An und fur sich”  <>  wrote a book on why we are fascinated by serial killers, but I haven’t read it.  I think I am afraid of what it might discover about myself.  This killer removes his victims faces.  To solve these crimes constructing intimate profiles of the victims is as important as that of the killer.  Why don’t we give people that much care and reverence before they are murdered, while they still have faces?  A drone strike from the U.S. killed an innocent family in Yemen yesterday.  I wonder what the profile of their killers would reveal?  Meanwhile I’m following some interesting facebook discussions.  One is on whether there is a hell or not.  I don’t think there is a hell, but I haven’t had my face peeled off by anyone yet.

What did sick people do before TV?  Well, I just wrote this poem below and posted it over on the Faith and Theology blog <>   Seems that interest in poetry is growing again and perhaps my advice will be helpful.  Then I put on the movie “Being Flynn” about a failed poet and writer (Robert DeNiro) who (stereotypically) ends up broke, depressed, homeless and living in a shelter without a friend in the world.  At least he’s not a serial killer ripping people’s faces off! (although he does say things that hurt other peoples feelings a lot).  I reckon my real fear is not failing as an artist or poet, but not failing tragically enough to be noticed or make a difference to anybody.  Well, I should get my fever down and then see how this movie ends before I do anything too impulsive or post anymore half-assed poetry or comments around the blogosphere.

Oh, that painting above is a bit of an experiment combining some of my other paintings and icons, I’m not sure what I think about it yet, please offer any criticism.  Be well and obliged.

Instructions On How To Read/Write Poetry:

First, do not get a hold of yourself
Accept unsolicited suggestions from strangers
Deny every syllable of immediacy
Whatever you have been running from your whole life
Turn and face it now
Make a pile of all your dictionaries, thesauri, scrabble boards
even your alphabet cereals, soups and crossword puzzles
Burn them, burn them all to ashes before you even start
This is not pointless destruction but an offering. It proves that
You are now ready to take language seriously
Decide if you believe in free will, then
Load your pistol and give it to someone along with your poems
Focus on the most obvious questions imaginable
Do not take a college course in ‘Poetry Appreciation’
Instead study the mysteries of micro-economics and
Become a collector of things made from alligator skins
Do not look outside the text or inside the text, look for magick
If theory will not save you, neither will punctuation
Deny Christ three times in one night, then wait for grace to come
Be always ready to laugh out load, ready to love, to kill
Ever ready to let a poet break your heart, bear witness
Never pay for poetry, it will entangle you in a cycle of gift/debt to
The poet that will only end when one or both of you is dead
Never try to delve below the surface, poetry is all surface
Think of the person you hate most in this world
Then put a curse on them
Imagine that your words have the power to make them suffer
Think of the person you love most in this world
Then pray for them
Imagine that your words have the power to bless them
Now exchange those two people in your mind, in your poem
Know up front that every word has already been spoken for
So you have to seize for yourself every morpheme available
(you should have all you need by age 8)
Do not “borrow” words from other poems, totally consume them
Make it so that no other poet can ever use them again
Poetry can be made out of almost everything, and almost nothing
Using obscure vocabulary, making oblique allusions depreciates poetry
“Hemopoiesis,” (to make) is the root of “hemaTopoiesis” (to bleed)
But etymology is not poetry, neither is tagmemics or taxonomy
(a real poet would know that instinctively by age 8)
Never take any advice on poetry from a poet
They are always out to scam you
When you think you know what poetry “means,”
Then you do, so quit


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