Pain

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Pain is interesting. Realizing that, is useful. Becomes a way to deal with it. A test of one’s powers of disassociation, among other things. I’ve not been taking this seriously enough today and it’s taking over. Radiating from my foot up my leg. As a poet… one would like to find words. Words adequate to the provocation.

Only marginally helpful to remind myself, that it won’t last. It’s now, that’s the problem, not the future. It could be worse. It can always be worse… and then you’re dead, and it doesn’t hurt anymore.

Imagine having gout at Abu Ghreb, or Guantanamo? So simple… all they’d have to do is step on your foot. But then, they can do that by breaking a bone… and twisting your arm. Hey, cops do that all the time in America.

I think of those implements of torture in the dungeons of the Inquisition. I feel this, feel in my imagination… and wonder what my breaking point would be.
There’s so much to think about, when our bodies are in pain. So much to think about.

Then you wonder, what.. .how, do you you express it… or repress it? Yell out when you step wrong.. or grit your teeth in silence?

What are the protocols of pain? Expression of pain? Is there a right way? I’ve been in pain with people I loved, who cared for me… and it was overwhelming… to them.

Unless you’ve experience significant, prolonged pain, you’re not likely to get it. Is that person over-reacting? Drama queen? Using it to get sympathy? Attention? But if you keep silent–how will anyone know how much you need their help?

That applies, of course–to more than physical pain. Think: depression. PTS. The thing about pain that makes it hardest to deal with–is that is cuts you off. You no longer live in same world–the world of the comfortable. You become a kind of alien.

Once you recover (hoping that you do), if it doesn’t change your life, change how you deal with people cut off by their pain… by whatever kinds of shit.. if you can’t take a deep breath… and be there. Be there for them…In what way that you can. There’s something wrong with you. Something more deadly than pain.

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Pope Frank in Philly

Pope Frances elects to share his dinner with 300 homeless in D.C.
Think about this. What makes this so moving? I see in this, the power of religion … as essentially, the power of poetry. Of narrative. Of myth. Dogma and theology are its decomposition… not, as in: deconstruction. As in… of a corpse.
Fuck the hierarchy, the real estate empire of the RC institution–I see no validation of any of that in what he’s doing. But I can damn well feel and recognize the power of the narrative he’s living out before us… a pageant infused with life… or life, enriched in it’s becoming, pageant. This is theater, someone told me, to dis it.
If it’s theater–if that’s really what it is: theater–than we should fucking celebrate it.
I spent the afternoon walking around Center City, talking with people of the streets (I really dislike, “homeless”… a condition, is not an identity). There may or may not have been plans to round up these Philly citizens and incarcerate them for the weekend. There were at least rumors to the effect.
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility–but I think Pope Frank’s theater piece in D.C. made that way less likely. How could Nutter look him in the eye, if he’d okay’d that shit? The playback publicity would have crucified him.
At least I hope so.
I don’t buy your religion, Frank… but you’re damn good at theater… and making the best of where you are.
I tip my glittery hat to you.
Welcome to Philly. But fuck Saint Serra forever and ever.

Notes toward a Critical Realism

This is from a post I left on my old blog in 2009–a review of Alice Monro’s Some Women. Reposting for the introduction.

No artist tolerates reality.” says Nietzsche. That is true, but no artist can get along without reality. Artistic creation is a demand for unity and rejection of the world. But it rejects the world in the name of what it lacks and in the name of what it sometimes is.
Camus, The Rebel

When I first read this, I noticed an ambiguity in the English translation which I assumed would not exist in the French. As the likely pronominal antecedents (une exigence, and le monde) are of different genders, it would be clear in French that the first refers to ‘artistic creation,’ or rather, its ‘demand,’ and the next two, to ‘the world.’ But {this demand) rejects the world in the name of what ( the world) lacks and in the name of what (the world) sometimes is. However, I find that there is something to be said for the ambiguity and for the creative misreading it allows. If we understand ‘world’ and ‘reality’ as synonymous (as Camus apparently does here), make ‘artistic creation’ the subject and turn ‘demand’ into a verb with ‘writer’ as its object, we will have pregnant formulation of the problematic of realism and representation. .

Artistic creation demands of the writer
that he/she reject reality
for what it lacks
and for what it sometimes is.

To this I would add, that artistic mimesis, what we think of as ‘representation,’ the very possibility of artistic realism, arises out of an encounter with what reality ‘lacks.’ What constitutes realism–what any work of art represents ( pictorial, dramatic, literary, musical) is not ‘reality,” but its ‘lack,’ the artist’s endeavor to complete reality, to make real what was not…to give to Airy Nothing a Local Habitation and a Name. Which means the distinction between ‘realism’ and whatever name you would give to its antithesis, is false. There can be no distinction, and any criticism over-determined by the assumption that there is, will fail in its encounter with the work. With this in mind, let me turn–or return to, the story I’ve set out to review.
In an EARLIER POST, I wrote that writing:
is a process of negotiation with the material at hand and every act, each engagement with that material translates both material and intention. … because the author’s intentions have been in a continuous process of translation along with the writing as it evolves, what existed in the beginning, and at every point to the completion of the work, is a continuum of difference that moves both forward and back.
We can’t recover the process or recreate the stages as they evolved in the continuing encounter, but I believe we can identify imprints of that encounter, evidence of the reality which shaped the elements of the writing as it emerges in its final form.
————

Link to the review, in 3 parts, H E R E

 

Nietzsche: The Insanity of a Security State

Dr. Rinaldi's Horror Cabinet

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…as things now stand, with everybody believing he is obliged to know what is taking place here every day and neglecting his own work in order to be continually participating in it, the whole arrangement has become a great and ludicrous piece of insanity. The price being paid for `universal security’ is much too high: and the maddest thing is that what is being effected is the very opposite of universal security… To make society safe against thieves and fireproof and endlessly amenable to every kind of trade and traffic, and to transform the state into a kind of providence in both the good and the bad sense – these are lower, mediocre and in no way indispensable goals which ought not to be pursued by means of the highest instruments which in any way exist – instruments which ought to be saved up for the highest and rarest objectives!…

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Artists as… tricksters of the real

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I came across this cleaning my room… from 2009: two years before OWS, and 3 years before I would begin making visual art again.

…poets and artists are the ultimate subversives. Not prophets and seers, as the Romantics thought, not hermetic guides blessing humanity with visionary truth, but…
tricksters of the real,

Marxists …
of Night at the Opera, destroyers of painted sets ripping away the masks of power, tearing down the curtains of the Corporatocracy–all that makes it possible to believe in the American Hologram–the artifice of the military/industrial/prison complex. By using the stuff of our collective illusions as raw material for… play,

for delight,
for life

—they…we… poke holes in the artifice that everyone might see, that the vision be not for the few, but for all.

#368, #369

22×25 Assemblage, trash wood wire aluminum paint
Collectively, my trash assemblages constitute a kind of post-disaster, post-human world. From the remnants, a new reality emerges. Sometimes I wonder about carrying this art trash theme I’ve been exploring too far… the assemblages, the jewelry, the pavement series… then I listen to Bach’s chromatic inventions…there is no end, till the last contrapuncta of the Art of the Fugue
#369 22x25 assemblage, wood wire alum paint