No beauty not won through pain

Ballet: Agony of the Feet” by Tim Burton
Taken from The Orlando Sentinel, Sunday, September 6,1998
…There is grace and nobility in those feet.

It may not be physical, like dancing en pointe…


…but beneath the achievement of grace–in whatever art, there is a form of torture, peculiar to the art, that lies unseen to others, and without which–that grace will never be achieved.

I remembered that article when I read a post on my beautiful machine/danseur ignoble. Asher writes about dance–not in the abstract, not as one who is watching, but from and out of the experience of their body. Muscles. Bones. Joints. Is it that dance is to the body as mind is to the brain?

Asher’s style is direct, unadorned–it’s the language of the barre, of the pianist learning scales, of listening to the body with such finely tuned perception that the body learns to hear itself without intervention, without intention.

I think of those time lapse photos where you see the body of the moving dancer following as though pure spirit, pure dance–a veil of movement. Asher doesn’t say much about that. He writes of what you see in the image of those beautiful, damaged feet in the photo above. Of the pain, the exhaustion–and the exhilaration of learning, of stretching every muscle and joint toward the impossible: toward perfection.
This is how an artist does philosophy. Read their posts, and learn.

Illocality: Joseph Massey

IllocalityIllocality by Joseph Massey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Massey beautifully erases the distinction between nature, and the random clutter of parking lots… fragments of human artifice. One is never left with the false tranquility of contemplation of the “natural world:” The observing eye in these poems is not passive, or restorative of some lost numinosity of childhood, as in a Wordsworthian sense. Sex shop signs, bricks, asphalt parking lots, broken glass… and the windows themselves, through which the world is perceived, sharpen senses to a cutting point, prick one’s body into a wakeful anxious dream. They pry open the mind to an awareness of things–things… pregnant with ideas that exist beyond words.

View all my reviews

Art and Revolution


In a better world, there would be no need for artists to sign their work. Material support would not be tied to a competitive system, and confirmation would come from performing and making and doing, without the destructive, enervating conflict that comes from confusing satisfaction with one’s work with social approval and economic status. On that level, the distinction between craft and art would vanish—as the satisfaction that comes from work well done would fall equally to all who contribute to the benefit of the community. Art would not be a specialty of a few—but a gift nurtured and shared by everyone. Those more dedicated and gifted would serve to teach and empower others.

The capitalist systems of exclusion that corrupt the arts and those who are called to them—the gatekeeping function of galleries, critics, investors, and yes—schools of art, which combine to work from earliest childhood to destroy the seed of the imaginative impulse before it can germinate—which works to marginalize, impoverish or reduce to servitude all but the smallest number of those who survive the culling—having lost its economic and political purpose, would crumble and disappear.

Aroused from the drug of the Capitalist nightmare, every artist, poet, dancer, actor, musician… would be a revolutionary

Drawing the thread, stitching the world together, a line at a time.


Drawing calms me. It’s very physical; I don’t need the muscular strength of throwing pottery on a wheel (something I did full time for almost 10 years)–but requires every bit the control and coordination. There’s always an element of drawing in my painting–even in the most abstract pieces, and when I get away from that, something is lost in the finished work.
Even the trash assemblages are a form of drawing, not with marks on a flat surface–but in three dimensions, creating lines, geometric or chaotic forms, tonal variations.
My need for this–to return to drawing, day after day without breaks, has progressed–gradually at first, when I returned to making art in July of 2012, to the point now that if I go two or three days without drawing my level of physical anxiety increases and my thoughts spiral toward patterns of depression.
At the end of a day of shopping, cooking, preparing a canvas, taking care of this business or that–I may be exhausted, but I have to take the time–even if only a half an hour sketching figures from an anatomy book.
I didn’t realize until recently–how important this was for my emotional and physical health. It’s that integration of interior and exterior perception… stitching together the fabric of reality.
The metaphor calls to mind, my mother, who was deeply skilled at both drawing–and a seamstress/tailor. I stitch together those ancient bonds, as well, memories and the present. As with poetry. Word by word. Line by line.

55 Days of Occupy Philly: Day 23 Angela Davis pays a visit

10/28/11                                                                 Day 23  Weather 51 – 37 Rain

I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click:  55 Days of Occupy Philly.


Thursday GA—Difficult. Assaulted by a Lone Ranger. Last night—pouring rain, in Friend’s Meeting House—much better. Tonight—our Occupy Together meeting. Information & development pouring in faster than can assimilate it. Meeting at COSI—Friend’s Center closed.

Opened an account with TruMark Credit
Union. Will close my Citizen’s Bank account as soon as rent & Comcast checks clear, and I can restore my SKYPE number. [A sandwich board sign in front of TruMark with a Guy Fawks mask, and invitation to join].


Angela Davis will be speaking at Temple & Dilworth today.

I haven’t had a whole day off from OP since before the 6th.

Friday October 28, 2011
				Angela ...
     ... arrives at City Hall
     at Liberty Plaza
     Broad Street 
     whistles in the rain
     from another time

     so little changed since then
     so much – a chance

     of snow

     hangs overhead
     waiting, weighted, heavy
     with voices --

55 Days of Occupy Philly: Day 21

October 26, 2011
60 – 42 Partly cloudy


I will be posting these for each of the 55 days of Occupy Philly on Dilworth Plaza, from October 6, 2011 to November 30, the night of our eviction.

To view all posts to date, click: 55 Days of Occupy Philly.

Letter to City/State/Nation/World…Dear Ones …
     … among the stars, winding through back alleys
     boardrooms backyards fields plowed & fallow
     shattered glass we woke 

     last night we woke to a child’s cry
     to relieve ourselves     from dreams
     to the smell of smoke      to drums
     to helicopters in morning mist      to old men 
     foraging for rags and tobacco butts rich
     men setting the alarms lockstepping minds
     vaulting secret desires 

Dear World… 
     …last night we called 
     for clarifying questions, concerns of state amended 
     wings to woolen coats defied the northern wind 
     blew our tents like flags across the square, sang 
     songs unheard since the first
     king first 
     sent our children to slaughter our neighbors
     shackled our labor, heaped 
     wheat in towers while the people starved

Dear Wheeling Galaxies…
     … your billion sons & daughters
     on this speck of earth reclaim our commons
     throw off the shame of ownership, the prison state, release 
     love’s body, make all worlds 
     a home for all, hold 
     all in common – refuse!
     to end this song, refuse – to end
     this poem, this occupation – here
     begin again, here --
     here on the Commons of a thousand cities
     to begin again we rise, we rise again like 
     Adam in the garden of desire!


Colour Me Happy – Orange, from

I love her blog. Beautiful art, and always something to learn. She must be an AWESOME teacher. Her students are very lucky.  I linked THIS, because I’m feeling bliss, having spent the whole day painting–finished #379 (photo tomorrow)… even though orange is my ANXIETY COLOR!

I love the story of the origins of Indian Yellow… the sacred urine from the cow, the lush sensual color of the mango–synaesthesia– color you can taste!

I’m convinced that synaesthesia underlies all the arts.. the bed rock. How else is it, that we associate colors with emotions? I don’t.. quite… taste color. Or see sounds. But pretty close. And what would poetry be if not for the power of words to link all our senses?

You ask–what of conceptual poetry?

What of it? I’m no gatekeeper. I don’t make–or believe in rules that say what can or can’t be art, or poetry! But I think conceptual poetry draws on something of the power of fiction/crossed with philosophy: in that it conjures alternate realities… that is… alternate to our received and habitual ways of comprehending the world.

It’s the transgressing of boundaries that all forms of art have in common, sensual, imaginative, cognitive, and in this age of our Empire of Money & Death… Political!