Archive for September, 2014

THE BORDER OF YOUR MIND


A better draft is the gift of a windy day.

The Poesie of Igor Goldkind ––– Reciting Truth to Power

Sometimes I just see patterns.

The field of endeavor; the day-to-day rhythm of endless steps towards complacency becomes too much for me.

Screens and chimes and pleasant bleeps lull me into mindless, not mindful sleep.

It’s then that the field breaks down.

into shivering, electrical abstract shapes.

Form with no narrative other than energy.

Images that just to seem to connect remote dis-relations into pattern and recognition.

The patterns, the connections; look for the connections.

Like Borders.  Lines.  Fences. Walls.

The bricks that must be removed one stone at a time.

In Gaza, along the Mexican/American frontier;

Borders seem to define.

Here’s my line:

1303941810-the_border-promo-web_2

THE BORDER IN YOUR MIND

by Igor Goldkind

 

The Border in your Mind,

The dividing line,

Between you and you

and you and me.

The Borderline we hide behind.desert.gi

 

The crying child on the dusty road without clothes,

Heading toward you,

Reaching out to you

Is…

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THE BORDER OF YOUR MIND


Sometimes I just see patterns.

The field of endeavor; the day-to-day rhythm of endless steps towards complacency becomes too much for me.

Screens and chimes and pleasant bleeps lull me into mindless, not mindful sleep.

It’s then that the field breaks down.

into shivering, electrical abstract shapes.

Form with no narrative other than energy.

Images that just to seem to connect remote dis-relations into pattern and recognition.

The patterns, the connections; look for the connections.

Like Borders.  Lines.  Fences. Walls.

The bricks that must be removed one stone at a time.

In Gaza, along the Mexican/American frontier;

Borders seem to define.

Here’s my line:

1303941810-the_border-promo-web_2

THE BORDER IN YOUR MINDdesert.gi

by Igor Goldkind

 

The Border in your Mind,

The dividing line,

Between you and you

and you and me.

The Borderline we hide behind.

 b01_85427302

The crying child on the dusty road without clothes,

Heading toward you,

Reaching out to you;  Is you.

Don’t you see?  

Can’t you see?

What causes all this misery?070312-A-6950H-002:

 

The Border in in your Mind.

That’s the only dividing line between

You and you and

You and me

And me and me.

 

 la-oe-0402-selee-immigration-mexico-20130402-001

 

F8.large


THE GODS by Igor Goldkind


THE GODS

th-1In the trees, in the trees

I can feel them in the trees!

The Gods, that is;

The ones who prepare us for the Passage Out of Time.

 

We are Osiris, you and I,

Scattered fragments of Life’s desire;

Long ago recovered from the deserts shifting sands,

     One hour glass at a time.

 We are nothing but our longing, my friend.

We are merely the sum,

The cost of our own yearning

To be tethered to the Whole.

 

Meanwhile, Isis reassembles her lover,

Carefully locking fragments of memory back into time.

Interlocking the broken puzzle of our lives,

One piece at a time.


Image

I Once Knew A Woman Thrice; in Santa Cruz, Paris and Philadelphia


recently returned some poems I had sent her from far, far ago when we ere young and in lust and barely able to bare the sight or scent of each other without fainting into reverie and floating together; clouds that had long since let go of their rain.

It is a gift to visit ancient ports and distant shores.

Time is as big as the world it passes by.

So it is with words:


mad dog

hiding in the rain.

sharp stone

never show your pain.

some kind of innocence

is nourished in your fears.

you don’t know how much

I’ve tried just to hold you near.

(there is no way out-

-there is no way out).

the poet earns his keep

from reading the pain in others eyes

while his eyes are fountains

of tear drops and shattered sunlight.

Igor Goldkind 1983


You love me, I know with your own hands

For I am faithful to your fingertips.

When you pierce me with your wide-eyed glances,

I am stilled.

The earth grows roots around my calves,

And my body is made of branches.

Your gaze shivers their leaves like an Autumn breeze.

Igor Goldkind  1977



Zen

you are

the vessal

made usefull

by the emptiness

within

Igor Goldkind late 70’s


And then Paris,  1986:

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RECALLING OXFORD


The last we knew of our hero, J.R Protagonist, he was trapped in David Cameron’s constituency in NW Oxfordshire, trying to find a pub to celebrate New Year’s in that hadn’t turned into a private party with pre-sold tickets. Newly determined to have a pint (regardless of the fact that only moments before he realised he couldn’t have one), he wasn’t really bothered, our hero treads the wet pavements on the outskirts of Witney manor. And lo and behold his stubborness is rewarded with the only open pub in Witney: the New Inn, the town’s biker pub of course.

But the door is always open in the most unsavory of haunts to the most unsavoury of clientele and our hero is guided through the door by a vision of badges of real ale casks as surely as his vessel is guided by the north star, across the lounge to the wooden bar propped up by the bent elbows of bikers .

The Liverpool Organic Brewery stout looks familiar and tempting but he settles on the Doombar ale from Cornwall where the pirates call you lover before they slit your throat and burn down your cottage rental. The pint is poured by a young raven-haired barmaid, still enough to be preoccupied with her own presence and thankfully largely oblivious to the rows and sets of cartoon eyes leering at her every move from my side of the bar. “You’re the only pub in town that’s open to anyone without a ticket”, I volunteer, as a way of saying something somewhere more than a grunt upon getting my pint.

“I know, it’s a shame”, Millie answers; as I later learn her name to be.

“It used to be nice when the parties were just parties, you know and everyone was welcome. These days, it’s got so, much more . . .” “Exclusive”, I finish her sentence.

“Exactly” is Millie’s reply and under her raven hair I detect the universal youthful look of recognition that bleats: ‘help me, I so hate my job; I am bored out of my mind’.

“Where I’m from, a party is more of an inclusive idea”. My remark is punctuated by a sharp elbow in the small of my back as one of the regulars takes off his jacket. By accident, intentionally.

“oh sorry, mate, did I get you there?’ The long haired man snorts as if he were Stephen Frye. Our hero shrugs to cover the offense as much as the pain form the jab and now that he knows he’s trespassed this far, he strides ever forwards.

“Yeah, last year you see, I was in Barcelona”, he lies. In fact he had returned to Liverpool before the New Year, but time means nothing when plotting revenge. “Now Barcelona knows what a party means”. Millies’ pupils widen.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona, you know I’m doing my degree in art and design and I just would love to see the streets, the museums”. “But of course!”The rest of the conversation is a series of holiday snaps as I cover the ground between La Rambla and Quartier Gothica. By the time I wax lyrical on Gaudi

“Who is Gaudi?! “You must go to Barcelona right now just to find out. You cannot understand design if you haven’t seen Gaudi”, the daggers streaming from the sets of eyes on my side of the bar have become sharply deadly. I realise that not only have I trespassed, I’ve pitched a tent and am selling sausages. I smile at Millie who now tells me her name and I wish her a Happy New Year.

“Oh, what are you going to do now?” she asks a little emphatically,

“I’m off shift now”, she adds

” and if you’ve got nothing better, why not tag along to this party I’m invited to, just over the road”. I fix Millie with a smile and a gaze that I only blink once during as I know my life is now at risk from the eyes at the bar. Like some kind of twee but pregnantly lethal episode of Doctor Who. I must beg off,

“Oh, thanks; that’s ok, but I think it’s an early night for me. You go on and have some fun”. Millie extends her hand across the bar.

“My name is Millie”, Millie says. And I am catapulted to the purple heathered hills of Snowden in the presence of my now gone friend Millie, the nun’s company, stradling rocks and mine entrances and talking about God and Man and Being. I smile again at raven-haried Millie and squeeze her hand knowing that age is not just a matter of a number.

Age is where your mind dwells.

Where you’ve spent your time.   PortMahonWhilst Millie’s mind races ahead to the parties she should and would go to, mine is perched on a Welsh boulder in the past: the memory of my noble seated Millie framed against the wet green and purple hills, surround me. I smile my good bye to both Millies and the eyes on the bar surrender and disappear.


CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY PART II: Context and Clairification


I had recent occasion to make public comment (below),  that was taken slightly the wrong way by someone close to Alan Moore, with whom I had worked briefly with back in the early 90’s, promoting his seminal mainstream work: WATCHMEN. In fact, it is not bragging too much to say that I played an instrumental role precisely in making WATCHMEN a mainstream success. (Note: ‘mainstream’ means not just in comics shops.)

But that’s not the point of my comment.

I have had good cause to stay out of the comics industry over the past 21 years and it is with extreme caution and trepidation that I re-enter this particular snakes bit of malicious gossip and traitorous greed.  And look, I’ve already put my foot in it!

I’ve had to raise my voice because I have wares to sell to the comics audience.  But not just the comics audience. What I do   want to at least try is to let comics afficiandos know that the medium is capable of greater things beyond which revamp of which new animal-totem character is about to appear from which of 2 or 3 media companies.

I really don’t like comics, as they are and were. But I do love comics, telling stories with pictures, for what they could be . . . in the right hands, with the right voices.

alan-moore1Alan Moore is one such voice; and at times appear to be the only voice working in comics that isn’t hampered by its own sore throat.

I’ve generally avoided talking about Alan directly or publicly  up til now mainly for two reasons: I worked with him only briefly in the early 90’s and although we weren’t ‘friends’ so to speak, we shared friends and I very quickly developed a great personal admiration, not just for his writing but for his human nature.

So I guess discretion is the sincerest form of respect.

Secondly, because the myriad of interviews and gossip orbitting around Alan, the man as opposed to Alan’s work, really reveals the bitter face of the comics industry.

Much has been made in the comics fan press of Alan’s apparent self-exile and alienation form previous colleagues and people he has worked with. I count myself among them; but that’s an issue of personality and disposition. Alan’s behaviour and response to the commercial machinations of the industry is no more bizzare’s that J.D. Salinger’s or Picasso, for that matter. Both of whom openly despised the commercial aspect of their art.

In another sense, who cares?

What I  care about is what Alan writes next.

Because that’s what he is:  a writer and damn good one.

In print however;  Alan’s remarks regarding his experience at the inception of the ‘new comics’ of the early 90’s did cause me to take issue with some of the nuance he conveys in his acount of the inception of the Graphic Novel and  I take no umbrage at his avoiding referring to me by name in his interviews when commenting on the integrity of the term and concept of the Graphic Novel, as it manifested in the late 80’s.  Not all of us were on the Time/Warner payroll

Hence my blog entry http://igorgoldkind.com/ entitled CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY, the title taken from a verbatum quote of Alan’s that I read recently.

My aim was get the recounted record straight; one that was brought to my attention by a proffessional in the business asking me my opinion of Alan’s printed comments regarding Graphic Novels since,  I was (supposedly) there.

But in doing so, I may have provoked a misunderstanding as to my intent.

So, equally to set the record straight, let me make absolutely clear that when it comes to the oeuvre of Alan Moore, both in comics and out, no other single writer to date has made a bigger impact not only in the comics medium but in drawing attention to the value and merit of the medium than Alan Moore.  Without Alan Moore, I literally couldn’t have done my job back in the late 80’s   Or at least it would have been a lot tougher without the evidence he backed up my hype with.

However, I do not consider Alan Moore to be a comics writer, although that’s how he started. Alan is an auteur with not only an incomparable mastery of the horror, fantasy and SF genres; but effectively a game changer, in persistently pushing the evelope artistically, always rattling the cages of convention.  In fact, I would not be at all surprised to find that some of his worse experiences  in dealing with the American comics publishing industry has been due to ideological differences as much as financial ones.

When I knew him, Alan Moore was an avowed  Socialist/Anarchist, who has no truck with the contemporary power structures that feed us information and entertainment (as well as food, water, fuel and employment, btw).  And he’s right and if it ever comes to it, I’ll be standing on his side of the barricades.  But I wonder if Alan’s  reputation comes under attack

not so much because he’s an Socialist/Anarchist who threatens the status quo, but because he’s an extremely articulate  Socialist/Anarchist which is even more threatening to the status quo.   

 I have never really heard anyone, much less a N articulate the reasonable necessity  of a socialist state  in common sense terms better than Alan Moore, (with the one exception of the late Tony Benn whom I also had the good fortune to hear  articulate his politics  in a social setting).

But I’m meandering off topic now.

I recall in the early 90’s, speaking to the editor of  the Economist when trying to pitch him a feature on WATCHMEN, I compared Alan Moore to Charles Dickens.

Not in terms of the craft of his writing, but as someone who had seen the implcit value of a neglected medium (Penny Dreadful, newstand periodicals in the case of Dickens; comics, in the case of Moore), exploiting the social tendance to overlook ‘trash’ culture to deliver new,  revolutionary work.watchmen-logo-550-1

I still stand by that comparison.


THE SEED by Igor Goldkind


I’d like to take a pause from buying things.

Not that I don’t like things; or buying them,

I like things, lots of things.

Not lots, but many things.

But I’d like to take a pause from buying things,

The Seed by Pawel Jonca © 2014

The Seed by Pawel Jonca © 2014

Or borrowing the money for the many things I must have

That I will never really own.

I ‘d like to take a pause from buying things,

Take stock of what I need;

I need to check my bank account and count the monthly leeches that I feed.

I ‘d like to take a pause from buying things until I know exactly what I’ll need.

Hey, would you like to take a pause from buying things,

Just to measure what is real?

Go ahead, take a pause from buying things;

Till you’re certain you have enough ground

in which to plant this seed.


CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY


My work in the late 80’sand 90’s in the British publishing industry led to the engineering and successful marketing  of the Graphic Novel genre; a new format of  hardcover and trade paperbacks of graphic fiction that bookstores would stack on their shelves.  It was my job at Titan Books to do so, for which I was paid some £7,500 a year by my employer Nick Landau, to do.

After I was given a raise by Titan Books to £8K per annum , I learnt solely by chance, that my work had increased the revenue for my employer by some 7 figure sums and that the rest of the publishing industry were all cashing in on the work I was doing in promoting 9-5, the new publishing category.   Cashing in, but not adhering to  to the implicit quality standards the likes of Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, Speigelman and other auteurs were actively pursuing.

The Medium, as we used to call it back then, had failed to live up to its own promise.

So I got out; for that and personal reasons.

Now when I read the interviews with my former partners in CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY crime in the press complaining that the industry had failed and that the term Graphic Novel  was just a manipulative tool wielded by the Moloch of Comics Publishing932f83ea7108237da3f82c1b8ec82261

(Batman in MOLOCH!  Wonderwoman in MOLOCH!  The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galazy, Superman and the Xmen are all drowning in the vomit of MOLOCH!)   

Which I believe, the premise of the new cross over series written for DC by Grant Morrison.Tree-Man-A-1000x1000

The most admired (and crafted), writer in comics ever, in particular; (someone I worked with closely with on the presentation of his seminal forensic crucification of the American superhero genre to a mainstream audience, refrains from even addressing me by name in print when he lambasts the CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY that still pays him a living), has repeatedly condemned the  publishing category Graphci Novel, as  effectively, just another  CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY from the publishign industry.

I have news for the revered scribe:  you may have relegated me to the dark side, but take a look in the mirror, man: you’ve been here with me all along.

[Added 9.18 for context], I realise now that the above might be interpreted as some kind of opening volley against the distinguished author.  Far be it.  I will always both  personally  and publically assert that Mr. Moore was the change in comics back in the late 80’s.  No single other artist in the medium at the time was so intelligently treating the medium like a literary and artistic platform for expression.  Most craftsmen (and women), I met at the time were desperaely trying to hustle their next wok commission.  Not Mr. Moore.  His posture was different:  he related to editors, collaborators and others  as an auteur sans pretension.  Intelligent, articulate and demanding of  ones wit and focus.   And from I observed, never intimidated or swayed  by the money or more often, the promise of money from publishers.

Just to make absolutely clear about my statements regarding this author:  I learned everything I know about comics by just listening to him, during interviews, casual conversations and direct discussions.  A the time, this man was a walking sandwich board for the the new comics,  the Graphic Novels, chiefly because it was only his writing (and that of a handful of there), that even came close to qualifyng as a novel or even literature.   I never was nor have ever been a Comics Fan (Senator and members of the committee), but I have always been a fan of literature, drawn or undrawn.    Which is why I cntinue to read, enjoy and learn from Mr. Moore’s work.

Although I do take exception (mildly, not really that seriously), to his most recent public damnations of the Graphic Novel, and it’s origins; it’s not that I object to his opinion as much as I question the accuracy of his recollection of events and of the times that he was actually there.    I don’t take issue either with Mr. Moore’s take on the industry  and publishing in general; in fact the more experience I gain the more my views align with his.

But regardless of the vocabulary used (or the fact that I was being paid a paltry wage at the time), I accomplished my task to his and his collaborator’s direct professional and financial benefit.  Not to mention the real world benefits: the successfull dissemination of the term Graphic Novel into the mainstream brought to literally thousands of other free lances in the form of royalty checks for the graphic novel edition of their work; a  now standard of the comics industry throughout the world.

I do not benefit from the use of the term of from the money generated by its use.

Bird-With-Letter-A1-1000x1000But I do not regret not hiring that CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY lawyer that would have secured my trademark on the use of the term and perhaps a penny off of every new Graphic Novel sale; which is what the business side of the industry tells me I shoudl have done.

I did not “create” the term graphic novel; as an outsider to the industry, I found the term on the back of a Will Eisner book and used it as the keystone of a campaign to bring new comics, well written, adventuerously drawn comics.    But yes, I coined the term Graphic Novel; having borrowed it from the back of a low print-run Will Eisner compilation of The Spirit.  His clever NYC publisher was struggling to get Eisner’s work into the bookshops too and had tried the term connotating Literary fiction: a novel.   My use of the term was different as messieurs Gaiman and Moore can both attest to; Grant got it about the same time but more remotely, in Glasgow.  Graphic Novel  was meant to mean  NEW Graphics, new graphic literature, new comics.

Coining, (in the sense of creating common usefulness; IOW: monetizing a vocabulary term into the common currency of language of transactional communication).  It derives from the coining of money by stamping metal with a die. Coins (also variously spelled coynes, coigns, coignes or quoins), were the blank, usually circular, disks from which money was minted. This usage derived from an earlier 14th century meaning of coin, which meant wedge. The wedge-shaped dies which were used to stamp the blanks were called coins and the metal blanks and the subsequent ‘coined’ money took their name from them.

{Coining later began to be associated with inventiveness in language. In the 16th century the ‘coining’ of words and phrases was often referred to. By that time the monetary coinage was often debased or counterfeit and the coining of words was often associated with spurious linguistic inventions; for example, in George Puttenham’s The arte of English poesie, 1589:

“Young schollers not halfe well studied… will seeme to coigne fine wordes out of the Latin.”

Shakespeare, the greatest coiner of them all, also referred to the coining of language in Coriolanus, 1607:

“So shall my Lungs Coine words till their decay.”}coin a phrase

Tree-Man-A-1000x1000

The NEW comics of the late 80’s and early 90’s that derived from Moore’s early work for DC, Spielgelman’s dabbling at biography in NYC, Miller’s pushing the edges out on Dare Devil and most of all (for me), Bill Sienkiewicz’s explosive rendering of ELEKTRA ASSASIN!  I had never seen anyone take the convnetions of comcis illustration like Faugere Egg and take a sledge hammer to it the way Siekiewicz did, literally splattering the edges of the pages and frames with the remnants of comics conventions.  Sienkiewicz brought commercial  art and later fine art sensibilities to Graphic Novels, something his admirer and pioneer in his own right Dave McKean would further in his career just like in a real popular arts medium.

These were the Makers of New Works.  I’ve forgotten everyone:  Brendan McCarthy, Jamie Delano, Pete Milligan, Frank Miller, Joe Sacco, Harvey Peckar, Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez . . . .  they all were making, new different work outside the stulpifying conventions aesthetic conventions.  So like superheros, they need a new name and Guardians of the Galaxy was taken, so instead you got Graphic Novelists.

I resent nothing.

It was my own fault for being more naive and less carnivorous than my employers.

So instead I have to work for a living; for which I have no complaint as at least I have work to do.

I did learn something valuable (whenever someone fails, they  always say that they learnt something valuble),  and that is to sell a product whatever it might be, you have to create a place in people’s minds and desires where they want that product.  The most intimate and subjective of products: the books we read, the music we listen to , the films we watch: you must give people a reason for looking an understanding for what they may see.

That is why a coded term like Graphic Novel works; it’s a cut through, short cut signifier that puts anyone who wants to know or needs to know in the picture immediately: you know what you know and now you know what it is.

In the case of Poetry, we have a different problem.

Everyone knows what  Poetry is, right ? It’s that stuff you had to memorize in school and  analyze with Mrs. Humphries who always crossed the naughty words out like ‘sweat’ and ‘blood’ and ‘toil’ with a thick, black, fascist marker pen.38_image_v2

Or it’s what you penned to your wife when you were courting her; or received form your husband, your boyfriend, you lover.  Anyone one of those people in your life who felt such passion, such ardour for you that they could not tell you, they had to find words from some magic place to convince you, to persuade you, to seduce you into the beauty of the passion they could see in you.

Perhaps a Poem was the only form your shattered thoughts could take at the loss of someone so precious to you that you would choose the pian of being hewn by swords than endure the truth of their permanent absence from this world.

Perhaps you have nearly gone mad and found Poems, like steps out of the abyss of self-loathing into the stark light of realisation and hope for your self.

There is no greater hope to lose than the Hope for Yourself.

So Poetry has a signifier, a pretty universal one; unfortunately it doesn’t point towards anything like what Poetry actually is.

Poetry is an art form, not a craft.

Poetry an aspiration to derive music and pattern from our deepest thoughts, the language of our dreams and the whispering, the lamenting, the singing, the moaning and the laughter of our souls.

Poetry is Liberation.  The words will set you free.

I am a Poet and to sell my ware  (my GRAPHIC POEMS ;~),   I must show people what it is that I do, that others do that is so far removed from the common currency of the term Poetry.   So this is not only a CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY, but a sinister sales strategy as well!   To get you to read my words, I must first who you what they are ouside the barriers of  your preconceptions.

So, come to a picnic and hear what Poetry is and the vital importance it has always played in our social and political lives.

*Poster for Marathon Rimbaud-100-THOUSAND-POETS-4-CHANGE-by-Henrik-Aeshna

September 27th, 1 pm Balboa Park, World Beat Centre/ El Centro Cultural de la Raza

Come One and All, Come All in One, Come to the 100,000 Poets-for-Change Marathon!  (Picnic & Reading)

79-penseefasciste-mauriziocattelan-fotopedia

It’s your duty ;~)


A SHORT STORY FROM MY BOOK: CLAYBORN


Clay Born

By Igor Goldkind

 The Saturday farmers market in Little Italy lines 6 or 7 blocks intersecting India Street with fruit and vegetable stalls, fresh fish and flowers, Burritos and tamales, flavored salts, garlic presses and shimmering kitchen knife displays. It is a trajectory from the old world crossing into the new. It is here that I find myself wandering up and down the pedestrian road hunting supplies for tonight’s evening meal.

I am back in San Diego after half a lifetime at sea, sailing past foreign shores, exploring jagged islands and visiting shining cities. I have returned to San Diego because my mother no longer cares for herself and her needs are such, (fluctuating, altering day by day), that I must be on hand to administer the correct exact dosage of TLC. Tonight is my respite, a meal with friends, one old, and two new. There will be wine and food and laughter. But most of all there will be the familiar comfort of intelligent conversation in American accents.

I woke up this morning not feeling well, something in my lungs was not right as if I had never bothered abandoning cigars; and my joints were aching from fights I couldn’t remember. I was out of the house under an azure sky, the brightness of the San Diego sun smiling down on me, the toy boats in the bay gliding over the silver surface of a perfect day. A Mexican girl sits with my mother, making her meals, helping her reach her walking frame. 95 is an ambition to reach and my mother has surpassed herself. She is old and blind and wandering near the exit door. As it should be, as life has meant it to be, as everything leads up to be.

There’s a chicken in my bag and some asparagus, Parmesan, olive oil, smoked paprika; all the ingredients I have gathered from my travels I have brought back to my port of origin to cook a meal in a present gathered with two hands, from the past.

 My foot falters, the bag weighs down; my hand reaches my wet face covered in sweat. I wipe my brow. I am feeling worse. I must find some soup, a stall ahead has soup and I zigzag across the market looking for soup. I am on a quest for soup.

It’s 2 o’clock and the stalls are packing up, I look down from the top of the market and see the entire world receding from me as it folds up for another day and I’ve only finished half my shopping.

 I’m walking down the incline now, rolling up the market like a colorful rug. The soup stand is gone; it’s disappeared into tomorrow. I stop and stagger onto India Street, all hope of soup abandoned. My head is boiling hot, my ears tingling. The road is swimming with Italian fishermen. I turn on India and giggle. There’s only home to get to now. Home and a bed and a duvet to sweat under. My private lodge. There went my dinner plans, I must call my friends and cancel. Cancel my respite.

And then I remember the clay. The clay I had promised my mother.2014-02-07 17.19.38

 

 

Yesterday, she had complained to me of boredom. Day after day of waking, coffee, lunch, dinner and bed with no easel to set up. No tubes to squeeze, no palate to mix, no brushes to wash, no canvass to stretch. No image to dredge from her mind to the surface of the world. Her boredom was her prison and I suggested I might bring her some modeling clay, something she could use to fashion toy figures for her grandchildren.

 

My mother approved the idea and my mission was set. Somewhere on India Street is an arts supply store filled with paints and canvasses, watercolors, pastels, charcoals and erasers and of course modeling clay. The right mix of magic I needed. But not just any modeling clay would suffice. What I needed was red clay; clay, the colour of blood and earth. Not dark earth, not rich, fertile mulch but paler, redder, coarser mixed with ash and sand. The colour of flesh covering tendon and muscle. It was this clay that when fired adorned the kitchen tables of a thousand homes; terra cotta—-­‐ the colour of the earth’s flesh.

 Now my legs are shore leave sailors propping me up the avenue, as I look for a bar to lean on. My head is on fire and my ears are singed by the flames of hell. I’ve lost my way on India Street. But my mission is clay and missions are the source of all courage and strength. I see the word ‘Art’ painted garishly on the large front window of a store: The Art of the Masquerade. Surely, if they know Art they will know where the source of art lies! I push in the glass door that tinkles the silver                            bells that hang down the other side, the other side of the door I am opening. The face of an angel immediately meets my entrance. The girl behind the counter by the door is a vision of Italian beauty, poised pale arms; a waterfall of chestnut curls overflows her shoulders. She is wearing a Comedia del Arte Masque across her eyes. I imagine, to amuse her customers. But she fixes me with her eyes and her blood-­‐swollen lips smile carnivorously at me. I know now that I have passed into the other world. But as I said before, my mission makes me bold.

 “Do you know of an Art supply store, somewhere along this street”?

 The masked creature curls her red lips even more and sucks the air in sharply as if I had just suggested a seditious seduction. Strange Love and her eyes dance behind her masque. She speaks with Sophia Loren’s voice and says: “Just two more blocks down on your left; not too much further to go.” I must look like I’ve already come a long ways. I turn away from her eyes and her red lips, thanking her and push open the door to hear her voice following my back: “Of course, you are always most welcome”.

Now India Street has become a river, the breeze blows ripples in my field of vision. The other pedestrians lean in and bend to the wind, Lowry-­‐like stick figures passing on my left and my right. This is a street like any street, a path paved by the footsteps that preceded mine. An every street, in every city, in every country, everywhere-India Street in a Little Italy swollen so large that I am just a speck, a buoy bouncing on the surface of its whimsy. And then I find my port.

 I push the glass double doors of the art store open and walk into the early 1960′s. The floor is a speckled, yellowed linoleum, the wooden counters, the walls; the shelves stretching beyond my horizon, cemented in another time and place. I walk past the sales counter where a silver haired man smilingly takes change from a customer; he moves in a subtle way that I notice, he lives in another world. I walk into the belly of the store. I see a young, dark haired man arranging items on a shelf who looks passably human.

 My ears are burning, hellfire licks my cheeks and I see little, twinkling twists of light hovering around my peripheral sight. Faery lights, angels or tiny floating demons; they are chattering to each other as they bob and bounce around. I ignore them. “Excuse me, can you tell me where you keep your modeling clay?” The human boy nods and points “Follow the green aisle down all the way to the end, then take the final flight of stairs to the next level”. I say ‘Thank you’ while wondering if his instruction might double as a cheat to some computer game.

 

I follow the green aisle and reach the stairs. My legs have now been transformed into lead by the dark magic of this place. But my mission pulls me up the steps and I reach the aisle and the shelf with the clay, just where I had been told it would be.

claybornJust a little further. I look for red clay and find a 4-­‐pound box and then I stop. Next to the box of red clay I have been hunting is another 4-­‐pound box of red clay, in a different box, for one dollar more. I hesitate; I read the labels on both boxes. They are identical, so why is one box one dollar more? I take the cheaper box, but what if I’m overlooking the value of the one-­‐dollar more? Which box should I choose? And then the light comes on and I am enlightened: this choice is not more freedom, this is merely more confusion. I pick up both boxes, grab a handful of palate knives and descend to the sales counter in triumph.

 The silver haired devil is older than me, with close-­‐cropped hair, a stud in one ear and a well-­‐groomed demeanor. He smiles at me and I think that he seems pleasant enough for a demon of the underworld. I speak to him directly although his details are by now, bleeding into the background and my peripheral is intruding into my focus. “Can you tell me please, what is the difference between these two boxes of red clay? They seem identical to me but one is a buck more than the other…am I missing something…?” I steady myself with my hand on the counter and I wonder if I appear drunk. The demon doesn’t seem to notice, conscientiously leans over both boxes and unbegrudgedly begins reading the packaging. Just a little bit further and then I am gone. The store, the silver haired demon, the floor have vanished.

SONY DSCI am in my grandfather’s workshop. The heat is coming from the wood fire heating the cauldron of bubbling beeswax he uses for casting molds. I breath in the familiar sickly sweet smell of bubbling bees wax. I’m standing on the concrete floor covered with plaster of Paris dust ‘Gesso’ he calls it. My grandfather stands behind a giant slab of granite, chisel and hammer in hand. His pale horn-­‐rimmed glasses cover his concentrated squint and he taps the chisel carefully with his hammer. Chink-­‐chink-­‐ chink. The music of the universe toiling.

 My mother, my young, beautiful mother stands beside him and when I see her, she sees me; she looks and smiles her seeing smile at me. She leaves her father’s side and comes closer. In one hand she carries a stool she places in front of me. Her eyes so bright, burning like a million suns set in the midnight firmament, smiling down on my upturned face, the pure unconditional love of an eternal mother for her child; the love that moves the earth, that spins galaxies; the love so immense, so encompassing that the universe must keep expanding just to accommodate it. She touches my cheek with one hand and places a mound of red clay on the stool in front of me with the other. She takes my tiny hands in both hers and pushes them into the cool, wet clay. I am mesmerized. She is Prometheus and she has come to make me a man. She lets me feel the clay squeeze between my fingers and I am kneading, I am squeezing, I am kneading the flesh colour earth in the rhythm that she shows me.

And her eyes, a million suns are shining on me.

 

I am back in the art store and the silver haired demon is speaking to me. “There really isn’t any difference I can see, just different companies.

“Although this…”, he gestures to my first choice, “doesn’t set until the clay is fired”. I think of my mother’s increasing dementia, a stone rolling down a hill and her forgetfulness. She’ll forget to wrap the clay back in plastic, letting it dry out, wrinkle and crack before it’s finally formed. I choose my first choice.

“Thank you” I say.

The demon smiles benignly and tallies the clay and the palate knives onto the 60′s cash register.

“I appreciate your help”‘ I continue. “It’s not for me, its kind of art therapy for an elderly artist”. The silver hair smiles

“That’s nice”. Shut up.

“Yes, well she’s 95 now and she can’t really see”.

Shut up Igor. Shut up. It’s too late; I’m a runaway train.

“She used to paint allot, and sculpt and make stained glass windows. Her whole life she’s worked.”

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

“But she can’t see anymore because of the Glaucoma she didn’t treat in time and see, I wasn’t around, I was in England and I couldn’t take her to the eye doctor and now she’s half blind because they didn’t treat it in time. I mean, I didn’t know and she always does things her way…”

 And now the runaway train crashes in the middle of the art store sending everything flying. And I am melting as the tears stream down my face and form droplets on the wooden counter and I can’t stop talking, please stop talking! “She’s bored now because she has no work to do and she can’t see to paint so I thought if I got her this clay that she could see with her fingers and make something to keep her busy, to keep her alive, like some toys for her grandchildren, little red clay toys I could fire for her”. And I can’t stop crying but I do stop talking and I stare at the silver haired man and I know everyone is looking at me and then I just say,“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”. The demon who is really a man looks at me and leans forward and quietly puts his arms around me and just holds me. And I sob and I sob and I keep saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”. And the man holds me until I stop sobbing and I straighten up and rub my eyes and the demon hands me a tissue with my change with which I wipe my eyes and blow my nose. He catches my flitting, avoiding eyes and says.

 “There’s nothing more you need to say”.

I grasp my bag of red clay and walk back out into the clear, azure day.

 2014-01-15 11.29.13

clayborn 

Painting of ‘Cerro’ by Margarta Zuniga


EVERYTHING IS (IN) EVERY THING: the phenomenology of identity.


William Blake

William Blake

“To See a World…”

(Fragments from “Auguries of Innocence”

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.

He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar’s Dog and Widow’s Cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer song 
Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
The poison of the Snake and Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.  

To hold Infinity in the palm of my hand and Eternity within this hour.d51ae2162d8f8d5fdad185a7c4c33f06

This is the small gratuity I ask from this existence in part exchange for my having been thrown into this, my own bewilderment (like a dog without a bone).  Forced to navigate my senses, follow my faculties like distant stars, through the patterns they find in the cosmos,  along the paths of meaning thrown up by the backwash of sensations that bombard and ignite my senses.

I 'find' myself sitting, often.

I mean, that I find the awareness of my self as my Self,  generally  recurs to me when I’m sitting.

Occasionally standing, if overlooking a view or gazing at the horizon beyond the sea, past the mountains, towards the limits of my imaginings.

The visual persistence of the horizon, a clear razor edge slicing existence into the upper half and the lower half of my perception.  Between the two,within the cusp of duality emerges events, like ships rising from the edge of the world.

This curiosity has been my meditation since I was first aware of my own awareness.

My brain in the background, is a clockwork organic, a steam spunk mechanism that maintains my essential monotonies  unaffected by the passage of time.    Work-earn-pay-repeat.

And then I will die, like my father died 2 years ago; like my mother wll within these months.  Like my daughter died when she flew away to her other life without me.  Like my sister died; and David and Gamma and Meryl and everyone else I have known.  the price of awareness  is loss.  

th-1We dream that we are immortal all the way up til the moment that we die.

I have paid all my bills this morning; my rent is up to date.  My credit rating is sound: I am a good citizen.

So I can afford this self-Indulgence, this amateur excavation of my  Self, my sense of this world in which I find my ‘Self’.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

These sense are my prison cell, the box of concrete and credit worthiness that boxes in my wild madness; my inner demonic desire to rape and kill and own; and then regret.    But in the pause comes recollection.  the resident of the box is real.  My restlessness will not abide illusion or the rhythm of mindless repetition.  

Reason is a motive.  

Understanding, an incentive.

The Red pill or the Blue?   And who exactly is the Pharmacutical in this particular reality shift?

What about the purple pill where I can dream the dream of others and still remain half awake?   If I can maintain my passive gaze through the coloured glass of this kaledocopic dilation of my perception.  If I can see the light through the glass aidst the colours that fragments this spectrum.  If I swim the sea of signifiers towards the other shore, the one I started swimming from; will I go mad?

Unlikely.  

The mad and magical largely travel unnoticed or intentionally ignored amongst us.

I will not go mad, instead I will try my utmost to drive you mad.

noema-pencil-sketch-loveWalk this way with me …

Every belief, desire, etc. has an object that it is about: the believed, the wanted.  The expression “intentional inexistence” to indicate the status of the objects of thought in the mind. The property of being intentional, of having an intentional object, was the key feature to distinguish mental phenomena and physical phenomena, because physical phenomena lack intentionality altogether.  In order to study the structure of consciousness, owe have to distinguish between the act of consciousness and the phenomena at which it is directed (the objects as intended).  The bridge, the door the passage betweent he apparently iner world and the apparent ‘outer’ world of physical reality is through our intentionality, that violition that derives from us and provokes our action-in-the-world.  image001Therefore the “world of objects” and ways in which we direct ourselves toward and perceive those objects is  conceived  in what we call the “natural standpoint”, which is characterized by a belief that objects exist distinct from the perceiving subject and exhibit properties that we see as emanating from them.   This is our default perception of our selves and the world we inhabit.  A turbulant sea of tense dualities; Good & Evil; Wrong & Right.  

The Mindful strive to calm the sea in order to see the currents better.

The phenomenological way of perceiving objects by examining how we, in our many ways of being intentionally directed toward them, actually “constitute” them; from the Phenomenological standpoint,  objects cease to be something simply “external” and cease to be seen as providing indicators about what it is, and  becomes instead, uncovered as merely a grouping of perceptions belonging to me, the subject. 

So we begin to understand out perceptions, our understnading of the reality we inhabit as a result of interactions between the objects that we recognize and our intent towards that which we recognize as us or ours or part of our world.basicconcepts If we recognize the perceptions as our own, then we begin to identify the components of who we are.  

These fragments, like Osiris’s dismembered body, when reassembled, resurrects the Self that has always stood behind the curtain, tweaking the shapes and lights of our illusions.

My claim is that these are also the fragments of a reality in which the cypher of our existence, the Who in Who We Are, can be found within every moment, every fragment of profound reflection.  Each acknowledgement of our irrevocable impact on our own world.   Perception is an act of assault by our senses.  

images

  The keyhole through to the world as it is, is available at every given moment of consciousness.  Each and every one of our perceptions holds the keys to who we really are.

 

Just take a look .  .  .  :~)OE_51_6_060901_f016