There is a room full of young women lounging in or at the edges of inviting pools of water. The room has an otherworldly atmosphere, with dim, colored lighting and biomorphic curves in the walls and ceilings. It feels, looks like a grotto; like some ethereal rendering of a subterranean brothel. On low ledges all around there are sleek bowls containing delicate and beautiful shapes that look at first inspection as if they are made of glass, but they feel gelatinous. There’s liquid or water in the bowls. The shapes float like jellyfish.
They are ornamented in impossibly-detailed patterns. I ask one of the women what they are, pointing to one near her; bell-shaped, and small. She informs me that this particular model is for cutting off one’s arm. I ask “Why on earth would anyone want to do that?” She doesn’t answer, but nearby I suddenly notice a bowl of fingers, small and red; transforming the liquid like ink blooming in water.
Insistent with my inquiry, I ask her how such a thing could possibly cut through an arm, or anything at all, as I lift one of the instruments out of a bowl and display its gelatinous quality, how soft and malleable. It has only enough density to hold its intended shape. This seems to interest her, and she looks at the object as I hold it, but doesn’t answer this either. I wonder if there’s some quality about the material of which I’m unaware— if sudden pressure is applied, perhaps it becomes more rigid, like quicksand, but maybe fine or sharp.
It remained a mystery, as did the nature or reason for the room itself, the girls, and the the other instruments. It struck me that some of the glass tools looked vaguely like those long-ago diminutive shoes for the footbound.
One of the reasons I enjoy poetry is because it comprises all of my favorite ways of making. It’s creating images with words, yes; a kind of storytelling. But it’s about so muchmore than just the correct or precise words —more than denotation or connotation— it’s also about design.
It’s about how the words interact with the space around them; make a composition, make aural and visual rhythms; remainders as important as omissions.
As in any kind of composition, the negative space is crucial.
My subconscious has been working on a thesis for me lately; broadcasting things which on the surface (flattened and simplified by my waking mind) appear disparate, but on closer inspection are stitched together by a continuous thread.
Its thesis is about crafting sensible (or at least legible, recognizable) solutions, guides,codes to amorphous and unformed problems. Striving to find concrete solutions to riddles or puzzles only hinted at. Trying to map a place whose geography and even location is ever-shifting.
A reminder that, sometimes, the answers one wants or needs are unattainable because one is asking the wrong questions. It’s telegraphing this to me visually; that’s how I best understand the world. And the message coming through: I must widen my frame of reference, my view, in order to ask the right questions.
‘Maps for cephalopods’ is perhaps the most obvious— my subconscious’ version of hitting me over the head; a wry attempt at a movie-montage or voice-over exposition— and its point at least two-fold;
WordPress Discover did me the honor of sharing one of my recent posts yesterday, for which I’m grateful. I’m happy to say Hi! and thanks for reading my work. It means a lot when my words or images connect with people. So, thank you again.
As a number of you’ve just arrived via the portal of a recent Thunderstorm*, I searched through the archives to find other posts that have a similar tone, timbre, or general feeling. Below— a few bits n bobs that may also resonate.
Enjoy! Also, if you like drawings, urban / rural photography, explore the rest of this site.
*It is odd timing that a post I wrote about a thunderstorm gained a wide new audience so shortly after the dreadful Hurricane that has done and continues to do so much damage in Houston. I’m sure the last thing anyone there cares to think about is rain, or storms, for a very long time— my heart and sympathies go to all who’ve been affected there.
Here’s something that I apparently saved as a draft last spring. I found it a week or so ago, and I don’t think I’ll spend any more time on it, but as it was just recently Imbolc, and we had a 60º day Wednesday (despite the blizzard since) I thought I’d post it as a welcome to nascent Spring.
Rain replenishes groundwater,
refills the well
for creation after a fallow.
When looking results in seeing
and metaphor puts pretense aside—
you can pull focus,
delineate the shapes of things.
Eventually, the miles catch up with you;
in some way you needed them to.
Some things realign and make a sense that’s
Sleep refreshes; the coffee works; neurons fire.
The sun; the rain—
it could be molecular, or down to a change
in the weather.
So long as the waltz repeats.
The mythical rituals in Autumn, in Winter— for Spring,
for Summer. Everything is rooted
in something ancient.
Repetitions are inherent, genetic.
With or without a destination,
walking is never wasted—
You always arrive