i was woken by a flash of a nightmare this morning. inga playing up in a tree and the big branch broke and she was there, writhing and making this horrible, low sound. a sound of total pain. and it was this sound, this sight of her writhing that woke me up and i couldn't go back to sleep. too full of that rush of terrified fear. i opened the door and there she was, wagging her tail so hard her whole body swung with it, and squealing with joy for a new day- everyday is the best day ever for a dog. every morning is a joyful, amazing thing. and i was so glad that it was all just a dream but the dream kicked lose some strange memories from my childhood and i've been writing all day so far as a result.
yesterday i started a new huge drawing of a tire swing. jon benet's tire swing. and i've started the second panel of it today already in between all my scribbling in my notebook. it is like this, only BIG! and in the blackest graphite.
Portrait of JonBenet Ramsey
24" x 24"
oil on canvas, 2008
it is an image i keep coming back to. an image that when people read the title they don't want to look at it anymore. and this response twists my heart but it also tells me the job is being done. it flips the switch. it achieves the movement of being "work" to becoming "text". it activates.
and i go back to it and i see myself somewhere in there... which probably sounds very strange... filthy somehow as i am obviously not a murder victim...
but there is something there, in her absence, that sends the shiver through me... like a memory than ran away. something lost. hidden in the fibers of that rope or in the shine of still leaves. i am called back. this images gives me a ground. it is Blackland as well. it is a homeland of a kind.
and it makes me think of charlotte delbo... she became a poet by having survived the camps. this chase to find a language, to find the one right word that would put the world right-side-up again... an image, a reflection by which one could know oneself, know the nature of things... the search for something that can assuage the strange and haunted heaviness of living... the guilt of having survived.
This city we were passing through
was a strange city.
Women wore hats
perched on curly hair.
They also wore shoes and stockings
as is done in town.
None of the inhabitants of this city
had a face
and in order to hide this
all turned away as we passed
even a child who was carrying in his hand
a milk can as tall as his legs
made of violet enamel
and who fled when he saw us.
We were looking at these faceless beings
and it was we who were amazed.
We were disappointed as well
hoping to see fruits and vegetables in the shops.
Indeed, there were no shops
only display windows
wherein I would have liked to recognize myself
amid the ranks sliding over the glass planes.
I raised an arm
but all the women wished to recognize themselves
all raised an arm
and not one found out which one she was.
The face of the station clock registered the time
we were happy to look at it
it was the real time
and relieved to arrive at the beet silos
where we were taken to work
on the other side of town
we had walked through like a wave of morning sickness.
(from Auschwitz and After)
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.