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