Friday, December 10

Murderer's Song #2

East Texas rain making me insane
Coming down like blood dripping out of my brain
Skull on fire with a dark desire
Hear my woman's been fucking the whole church choir
East Texas rain making me insane
Coming down like blood dripping out of my brain

Crosscut saw shivering in my hand
Drank a bottle of whisky until I had a plan
Come up through the back door screen door slams
Now a man without a head ain't much of a man
Crosscut saw shivering in my hand
Drank a bottle of whisky until I had a plan

Slaughterhouse skull puncher against her head
As she's lying there dreaming about the lies she said
Kiss on the lips and now she's dead
A whole lot holier with her brains on the bed
Slaughterhouse skull puncher against her head
As she's lying there dreaming about the lies she said

Like a wind-up toy with an unsprung spring
I walk through the town and make the whole choir sing
Skull punch percussion with the angel's screams
Everyone tonight is going to have bad dreams
Like a wind-up toy with an unsprung spring
I walk through the town and make the whole choir sing

The Murderer's Song #1

Used to be
She'd never come home
Sitting here in the dark
Drinking alone
Now days go by
Cut down to the bone
Used to be
I gave a shit but now I don't

This idea like a splinter
Works down deep in the mind
First there every now and then
And then all the time
Can't get away from thinking
How it'd make it all right
One quick cut into the flesh
With the edge of a knife

One night
She come in covered in sin
Could see bones burning
Under her skin
Inside of her eyes
Her beginning and end
Thought I might as well get to it
And started in

Sitting here in the blood
Bones stacked in the shower
My entire sad life
Redeemed if just for an hour
Her face in my hands
Cut into the shape of a flower
I want to call it love
But I know it's just power

Used to be
She'd never come home
Sitting here in the dark
Drinking alone
Now days go by
Cut down to the bone
Used to be
I gave a shit but now I don't

Tuesday, June 29

Black Drop Ephemera

Some recent design work for The Black Drop:

Images From A Deserted Camera PDF

Since I posted a couple of images from the Monastery, I thought I might as well post a pdf (for download, if you like) of the little book, Images From A Deserted Camera. Enjoy.

Access pdf via Google Docs.
You can choose to download it from here.
The images are much better if you do.

Monday, June 28

Flower Porn Haiku || The Interior of 含笑花 (Ham Siu fa) or Smiling Flower

Posted these as a update on The Anacortes Review. Was fairly pleased with the narrative that emerged out of the set.

Was just talking with Jonathan at the Black Drop about what happens in the gutter between two comic panels.

From Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics:

The gutter: the space between the panels of a comics; our imagination takes the two images that boarder the gutter and transforms then into a single idea. Notice how the gutter in comics is similar to the pivot between two juxtaposed images in haiku.
When I was placing these images on the page, I obviously was following a temporal sequence, didn't pay too much attention to any possible narrative. But once I went back over them, I found myself smiling, my thoughts working out this little tale of seduction, vulnerability, exposure, penetration and ecstasy. The shiver in the gutter between the last two images almost makes me laugh out loud.

Sunday, June 27

To become a stranger to the world's ways || Everything else is advertising

Been thinking a lot about The Rule of St. Benedict: The Instruments of Good Works #20:

To become a stranger to the world's ways.

And Michael Hastings, reporter from Rolling Stone, defending his publication of "on background" and "not for attribution" remarks from Gen. Stanley McChrystal:

"Hard not to respond to this without going back to an old saying. I'm paraphrasing: Reporting is what someone somewhere doesn't want known," Hastings wrote. "Everything else is advertising."

Wondering: how much of this world is NOT advertising? How much of my attention is "paid" to advertising?  How much of my time is "spent" listening to the internal monologue/virus that is the language of advertising? How to prevent it from inserting itself into the grammar anymore than it already has?

How to maintain purity? Ritual.

Three quotes from [pdf] Purity and Danger: An analysis of the concepts of pollution and taboo by Mary Douglas:

"Ritual recognizes the potency of disorder. In the disorder of the mind, in dreams, faints and frenzies, ritual expects to find powers and truths which cannot be reached by conscious effort. Energy to command and special powers of healing come to those who can abandon rational control for a time. Sometimes an Andaman Islander leaves his band and wanders in the forest like a madman. When he returns to his senses and to human society he has gained occult power of healing. This is a very common notion, widely attested."

"In these beliefs there is a double play on inarticulateness. First there is a venture into the disordered regions of the mind. Second there is the venture beyond the confines of society. The man who comes back from these inaccessible regions brings with him a power not available to those who have stayed in the control of themselves and society"

"During the marginal period which separates ritual dying and ritual rebirth, the novices in the initiation are temporarily outcast. For the duration of the rite they have no place in society. Sometimes they actually go to live far away outside. Sometimes they live near enough for unplanned contacts to take place between full social beings and the outcasts."

I once asked a monk at the Monastery in the Desert if he ever thought that he was running away from the world by secluding himself out in the Desert. I expected him to reply that he was doing the precise opposite: turning away from the superficial world into the profound. Instead, he said it depends upon where you stand. If you are on the inside then those who move outside of the circumference of the world are often seen as "running away" from their social responsibilities. But for those who are searching in the darkness, when they step beyond the pale, they see that others have come before them, that there is a path that leads them to sanctuary. Often, he continued, I hope that our responsibilities to society are similar to those of the lighthouse keeper. We have built this structure that stands upon the border between two worlds so that those within might find a measure of reassurance that there is someone out here, trying to live in a more rigorous, religious manner. But more: that those that are lost out there in the beyond can find a way home.

Monday, June 21

Just hanging out here while you are what?

"It's brilliant and charming effect while drawn through the water 
will attract game fish from a greater distance than any other bait." [source]

A down and out 21st century Walter Mitty
waging war in his daydreams
against the Bone God and the Skeletons of all the Letters
who do the voodoo dance inside all the words
while holding down the late afternoon turns at the Black Drop
learning all the mysteries of the yes/no espresso
gnostic milk foam latte acrostics
sitting at home late at night
lone hands hanging above the keys
like outlaws dropped through the trapdoors of the gallows
gasping out their last breaths
for the Usayable Word
carved into the Laughing Skull
of the Nameless God
blowing away the dust on the bone to just see it
before the lights go out
before the shot in the dark is sounded
and time unspools like an overthrown rod and reel
sitting here in the boat sorting out all the nots
every now and then nervously
looking up at the word-lure
bobbing out there in the water
looking back at me with its pathetic painted face
whispering with fear
between its fixed painted teeth
get me out of here man
I'm like a sitting duck man
c'mon c'mon hurry up with that untangling of the line
God is down there looking up at me
God is coming to lay his hand down upon all these hooks
you screwed into me while he was gone
God is going to strike down upon me
and you better have both hands on the rod
pull your anchor up
get both feet on the gunwhale
get your sunglasses on straight
your hat on tight
be facing in the right direction
balanced on the beam
have your teeth brushed
your back scratched
get all your affairs in order
and be ready to set that hook
when he bites down
cause this is it
this is the Last Chance
the Last Judgment
the Reckoning


Please please don't tell me
that you left me
poor hooked up god-catching word-lure
painting up like a fifty-cent whore on a two dollar dance floor
just hanging out here while you are what?

Taking the whole Goddamn rod and reel apart
with all the parts laid out in the bottom of the boat
and all the line draped around you
like Christ the Tailor
hemming a hymn
just sitting there whistling in the sun
not realizing that it's when you least expect it
that he's going come up and hit me so hard
that it will flip you out of your boat
and all the parts will be flying
like a pocket watch unsprung
unspringing in slow motion
stars planets frozen in rotation
time undone and undoing
as all the spools of line tighten around you
and cut you right down to your bones
strips your meat cleanaway
while you are pulled down
to the multitudinous murmurings
of the Ocean's utmost bones
down to lie and lay with pearls in your eyes
with the unrepentant Jonahs and Ahabs
and all the Joneses
Davy Charles and Bonesy
singing in the stinging arms of the anemones
clown fish skulls with ink black octopi brains
eternally in God's complete enraptured embrace.

- For Shelton Walsmith

Monday, April 12

"It is bitter -- bitter," he answered; "But I like it."

From Stephen Crane's The Black Riders and Other Lines:

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter -- bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

See also:

Tuesday, March 23

Carving A Bone

Nothing is Easy

About Carving a Bone.

R.I.P. - The Canon is Dead

Canon PowerShot SD400 - 5.0 MegaPixel
[Taken with the camera on my phone.]

Haiku Upon the Death of My Camera

Morning walk with the dog
Pine branch against the blue blue sky
I dropped my camera

Funeral Blues - W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Thursday, March 18

The Story of A Bone: A Short Experiment in Narrative

A primitive attempt to tell a story with images. It is the simplest story that I know that retains meaning even through my coarse renderings. The experience made it all too clear, once again, that I have miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, March 11

The Mechanics of Nostalgia: Little Hope Cemetery

Experienced Present

Remembered Past

A Google Buzz post from my friend Staci sent me to a recent Boing Boing post on Through a Plastic Lens: Toy Camera Photography. This led to me to a search for toy camera actions for use in Photoshop. I found a link off of a Flickr page from Dave Ward Photography (see below) that produced outstanding results. When the final image came through, I laughed out loud. Makes me want to find an old toy camera and get deep into the darkroom alchemies of actual film.

The "Old Toy Camera" action gives photos a look similar to an aged print shot on a toy camera (like the Diana or Holga), or on an antique camera. This particular action is not intended to imitate any one camera's particular look, but rather to simply add some of the general elements which make aged photos and images shot on toy and antique cameras so beautiful.

The file also includes two additional actions which imitate the borders often found on vintage and toy camera images.

The action was created on a Mac using Photoshop 7.0, but should work on a PC and on later versions of Photoshop.

Download the Old Toy Camera action for Photoshop
This action is also available at the Adobe Studio Exchange

How a specific time is represented photographically is fascinating to me. I sense that this is going to become a moot point in the digital age, but not long ago you could "tell" the time period of a photograph by a wide variety of semiotic markers extraterritorial to the subject of the photograph. Types of camera, film stock, developing processes, etc. all marked or "dated" the image quite specifically.

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Tuesday, March 9

The Bone's Prayer to Death its God - The Dry Salvages, Section II

Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing,
The silent withering of autumn flowers
Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage,
The prayer of the bone on the beach, the unprayable
Prayer at the calamitous annunciation?

There is no end, but addition: the trailing
Consequence of further days and hours,
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable—
And therefore the fittest for renunciation.

There is the final addition, the failing
Pride or resentment at failing powers,
The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless,
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage,
The silent listening to the undeniable
Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation.

Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
Into the wind's tail, where the fog cowers?
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destination.

We have to think of them as forever bailing,
Setting and hauling, while the North East lowers
Over shallow banks unchanging and erosionless
Or drawing their money, drying sails at dockage;
Not as making a trip that will be unpayable
For a haul that will not bear examination.

There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,
No end to the withering of withered flowers,
To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,
To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,
The bone's prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly, barely prayable
Prayer of the one Annunciation.

It seems, as one becomes older,
That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence—
Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy
Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution,
Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past.
The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being,
Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection,
Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination—

We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness. I have said before
That the past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations—not forgetting
Something that is probably quite ineffable:

The backward look behind the assurance
Of recorded history, the backward half-look
Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.

Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony
(Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding,
Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things,
Is not in question) are likewise permanent
With such permanence as time has. We appreciate this better
In the agony of others, nearly experienced,
Involving ourselves, than in our own.

For our own past is covered by the currents of action,
But the torment of others remains an experience
Unqualified, unworn by subsequent attrition.
People change, and smile: but the agony abides.

Time the destroyer is time the preserver,
Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops,
The bitter apple, and the bite in the apple.

And the ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.

Dry Salvages from The Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot

Response to Shelton Walsmith's Hamden Series