Thursday 12 April 2012

A Forest

James Luna told me a story about his time in art school, about a teacher of his who showed his class a film or performance or filmed performance. It was a head shot of his teacher and the teacher began crying on screen in the process of telling something but not being able. James, even in the telling of the story, was very moved and clearly very influenced. Because of the teacher's name, I imagined a man of bold invention, an Indian man who'd achieved a fusion of self and history and who was creating significant gestures in contemporary art (much as James himself was to do and has done.) The teacher's name, strong and solid, evoked for me a round-shouldered Mohawk or Hopi, someone with deep lines in their face, someone with deep compassion and strange knowledge: Boss John Otter. The name sounded like it came straight outta Indian Country.
But upon doing some research, I found Luna's teacher's name was not Boss John Otter. It was Bas Jan Ader. From the Netherlands. That's funny.
Even still, there was created in me a pull or a direction. The triagulation of myself, James and Ader (or even, or perhaps especially, a "quadulation" if one puts Otter in the array) created something new in the telling and in the reception of the story. The pull or direction, the velocity, are all still there and I'm referencing it as I write this.


So there's a pulling and perhaps it's called desire - and because it's a desire related to art, it's about making things - and because making things relates to making value and values, it relates to ethics, this desire - René Girard speaks of mimetic desire - "Mimesis" is old - copies, models, origins: these contribute to a very particular ethical mood (in a musical sense) in terms of values and value - when making things, recall Borges: "The original is not faithful to the translation"
This desire of mine is not legible without the relationships that have founded it - it isn't "in me" like a possession, broken off from relation - because the idea of mimesis has in it some governing idea of distance or separation - the idea of mimesis has in it an image of truth founded on separation that real value is in the original and that whatever value resides in the copy is somehow borrowed - which is like saying that the distance between things is decidable
My quadulation (Arcand-Luna-Otter-Ader), that is a pulling and that is perhaps desire, is dynamic - distance or interval is irrelevant as a guarantor or descriptor of its value - it's the relationships that matter - the desire is dynamic - it belongs to me, sure - but where do I keep it? - how far away is it from the supposed model? - here I feel the sweet burn of indeterminancy - desire creates art creates value creates desire


We do things without full reason - we make things in a kind of automatism - I want to speak like others - or speak the others as they are in me - I want to speak what others are in me - what is risked? - do I offend the spirit? - where is this spirit? - is it getting closer?


The night before last

In the trees, in the trees, in the trees

Almighty Voice rang out, night before last

His great body sparkling broad as the sky
His hot body thick in the air
His wet body dark with earth
The salt on my lips, his salt on my lips
The sound thick and hot
Strung like entrails through the poplar trees

There is nothing I can say that will bring him back
Nothing to say that will call him out from the trees
Down from the hills

I know they want to kill me
I knew it for a long time
It will be a good story
But not tonight
Not tonight

What do I have?
A gun, some water, my hands, the trees, the night, the day, the moon, the sun, stretching over my head, and in my dreams, the love we had, the love we made
A knife to dig a hole
A meal of crow
But no horses 
This is not a horse's time

Tomorrow this will start
And I will be elsewhere, some way for sure
But we fed that time, didn't we? 
We had love then 
And that is ours

What do I have? These hands, this gun, and knowing how to feed you, having loved you, loving you
This is why they don't know how to fight
They're just killing
They look for me all year and it's only because I'm tired they find me
Just so tired and out for a walk
So it was time to be tired
So it's time
No shame

I worry about the boys
They've come with me
To be with me
The boys think they only have this
I try to chase them off but they stay
It's always such with boys
I was the same way

The trees are close
The wind is close 
I see the sky through the fingers of the trees
and there is no pity in the sky, nothing reaches down for me

But it is good to be out
Let me braid my hair as I think on that.
Being on the run is only one way only one way moving is what really matters
I am not on the run to be on the run I am put on the run, and it is for me to be with that which makes me run, of the thing in me that wants the run


Return it
return what you took
return me
return the thing you took
make it smile

Only the creator knows what lies over the hills
and yet I strive on

Only the creator knows what comes tomorrow
And yet I strive on
Only the creator knows what

is it raining yet
are they coming yet
Is it time yet
yet there is time
while there is time yet


Only the creator knows the trees the leaves and their number 
and yet
what lies over hills the pending weather
and yet
there is no answer for it
there is no reason for it
is it in waiting is it in giving 
is it in wanting


I've been this way once before 
I see by the marks
I left to remind should I be this way again

But why remember such things when there are better things to do
and yet
I worry about the boys the hunger in their eyes
I love the boys and have come to feed them
I love my boys and am here to feed them


Better than marks and walks and the movement in the trees

Better is the waiting for you
in the moonlight shade 
the cottonwood

I heard the owl come and land above 
my back against the trunk
looking up I saw nothing but felt her eyes on me

You there in the trees 

A rustle and a rush and she's gone 


I came this way once before just yesterday I thought
Here I saw a mouse in the grass giving birth
She walked away afterwards so slow and proud

I could cry but how would that change
cry in the world still the world
the son's fingers grow longer
sweet summer's frail body shivering for heat
after a swim

All this will go
but while it's here it's here
so clear your mind and stop playing at murder while the thing is happening
If you keep on with your selfish meditations it will truly be gone and you'll be the fool for missing it

No reward for the one who betrays his eyes

Nothing golden about this

I'm hungry and cold and about to die
there is no glory in murder
there is no life in there
yet it's still true
yet it comes, the day
Yet I rise to greet it
let them come
let them come
let it come

I will burn that which burns me
I will shoot that which shoots me
I will kill that which kills me
If it is a man I kill the man
If it is a train I kill the train
If it is a river I kill the river
If it is the Creator I kill the Creator


Nietzsche by way of a Cree thing = neechee

A bare residence, quaking on the ridge
the wind, the wind passes through
naked candle tremble
shiver in the eyes of the beloved
listen, darling, she tells me


The wolves are in the trees, running alongside. They are in the trees, flashing now and then through the trunks as we move. There's two of them, running through the poplar trees. Running like lovers.


Homage: who is it for? What is it for?

Thursday 5 April 2012

Diary of a Performance Artist: July, 1990

We stopped en route to Barkerville - on the road for a video production

Weeks in a motel room with my colleague a woman of power - we wrestled - no introduction, no transition - maybe we got sprung from the blood orgy of Francis Bacon the mattresses shot and soaked the rust and mold of our bodies emptied celebrated our efforts - hide the knives before we sleep dear as the battle will continue into our dreams and I'm a practicing somnambulist - and because at times I don't know where the orders come from - they come from on high, they come from below - I am nothing if not compliant reliable and exacting - there's nothing I love as much as completing an assignment - so hide the knives and gird your loins - when we met you didn't expect this did you, she said

We spent the night playing Oka - she put up her barricades and soaked a rag with tequila which she used to disinfect the scratches on my back - she looked them over and giggled, reminding her of "In the Penal Colony" - she wanted to take a rubbing but it was too wet so she freshened them and laid a thin piece of linen across my stretched and weary back and made a fresh impression of what she found there - who knows who writes these things - she said - there is a zomba spirit that sends us these messages - it's good to not judge, to not look into the dark from where these messages come from - like she said the whole body is an ear and it perks up erect when That Thing whispers 

We practised submission holds - we played the game where you flip a coin and whoever wins can put the other into a submission hold - we took a break and went for drinks at the local bar - we sat hunched over our drinks giddy and exhausted listening to each other's wearniess and excitement - Oka on the television - the horror of the locals they talked aloud not caring about the Indian in the bar about the coming insurrection - we found a modicum of peace in our mutual dissatisfaction and in the trust that our words and actions would never leave the room - as I write I feel the hawks of her revenge target my skull from far angles and distant shores - Penthelesia is alive and well with the spear in her chest jigging up and down chest full of rancour and revenge like a strap-on with my name on it - she's got a sharpened strap-on with my name on it, etched deep and, and, deep

She will come for me for betraying her to the sisterhood - but with my collapsible vagina it shouldn't be an issue I said to her then and I say to her now - besides it wasn't fucking like that because it lacked that certain intent plus it was democracy in action - besides the political field will always be undone by the people we sleep with - it will always be this way 

I turned on the television and there we were, Indians in battle garb

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Dog Boy

I had a friend, when I was a kid that was a dog boy. His head was a dog's on a kid's body. Like a German Shepherd mutt. Dark hair, but ears not pointy like a shepherds. He would stare at you with the hope that dogs have, but with the unwillingness to love that angry boys have. We played together occasionally and I was bad to him. I would hit him. I knew his parents trained him well and that he would never turn on me. He would simply turn his sad eyes away from me whenever I started hitting him. I just wanted to play fight, like kids do, but he was too well trained and I guess that made me mad. Then I started taking advantage. As kids do.

I wondered what the other kids thought of him. So I called him over one day to play ball. That's what I told him. He came, and the other kids, a boy and a girl from the neighbourhood, hid in the hay loft. We played catch. He always caught the ball with his mouth. I could see that catching the ball was starting to hurt him. I threw it harder and harder. The ball started getting bloody. I became angrier because a sensible boy or dog would have stopped as soon as the blood came. I finally threw the ball so hard I knocked a tooth out. He caught the ball, but then he just let it fall out of his mouth and into the dirt, followed by a string of bloody spit. He spat the tooth into his hand, looked at it, then put it into his pocket. The kids hidden up in the hayloft started snickering. He pretended he didn't hear but I knew he did, could even smell them, I bet.

"I'm kinda tired. I better get home." Then he left the barn, slow and sad. I didn't care. He always came back to play because we were friends.

We followed him at a distance as he moped through the dust of the dry lanes. A cat came up to him. Nice farm cat. Friendly. He stopped and looked at it. I thought he was making friends, since he's part animal. He picked the cat up by the scruff, stared at it hard, then crushed its skull in his jaws. The cat clawed at his head, trying to push away. He dropped it. The cat tried to walk away, it's head flattened sideways. He jumped on it with both feet. Then he fell on top of it and started ripping at it with his teeth and hands. This all happened real quiet. He didn't make a sound and neither did the cat. Blood, guts, pinkywhite bones. The girl was crying. The boy stood up and left. We all stopped playing together after that. I can't even remember their names. 

We all got older. I heard he started stealing hubcaps, hanging out with bad kids. Then I heard he got kicked out of the house. He moved in with an older guy by the airport. He ended up killing the old guy, for some reason.

Friday 7 October 2011

I Have a Crush on Emily Brontë

I've heard how you were in the woods
under the crag
And now it makes sense
of my own sense-leaving

eruption and emergence
the flesh-tearing rapture 
overcoming me
that only the trees can bear
in their season-long orgasm
hold me in massive limbs
took me in with a teething sob
the way into them I found
by absenting myself
driven like wind

to hear of you now
your eye cutting through the gossamer 
of family who would surround you
awed and shamed by glimpsing
the cavortions in your poems
awed and shamed
by what they see but cannot do
lacking certain teeth

family who brought a trembling match 
to a corner of your pages
after you'd gone, 
but couldn't stretch that awful gulf
couldn't make that thing happen
for their love for you must necessarily
include this too

But there you are, there you were
and the trees that humbly reach for me
as I reach for them
glamouring in the soil breath
I emerge erupt and moan through
gripped teeth and the thrill of the mandible

Late last night I climbed the oak
I found your teeth marks
and added mine so that
it was a strange animal, they'll say
that took this limb

what pads soft towards me
looking up dark and loving
how do I glow in those eyes?

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