March 29, 2006

fiery pianos wash up on a foggy coast


tracey emin, just remember how it was, 1998

This work is typical of Emin’s confrontational and uninhibited style. To make her monoprints, Emin places a sheet of paper, or cloth in this instance, on an inked glass surface and spontaneously scrawls out words and images. This technique produces single, unique prints. The artist is required to draw and write in reverse, making the process awkward. The use of stitching in this work connects it to Emin’s large-scale blankets and other appliquéd work. When seem from a distance, her art has a child-like simplicity which belies its raw expression and directness. It has an immediate impact on the viewer.

Marching
-- by Jim Harrison

At dawn I heard among bird calls
the billions of marching feet in the churn
and squeak of gravel, even tiny feet
still wet from the mother's amniotic fluid,
and very old halting feet, the feet
of the very light and very heavy, all marching
but not together, criss-crossing at every angle
with sincere attempts not to touch, not to bump
into each other, walking in the doors of houses
and out the back door 40 years later, finally
knowing that time collapses on a single
plateau where they were all their lives,
knowing that time stops when the heart stops
as they walk off the Earth into the night air.

O Captain! My Captain!
-- by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

-- related: Watch David Berman and the Silver Jews perform O Captain My Captain (from the Baltimore show)

The First Twenty-Five Years of My Life
-- by Frank Stanford

I met my father in a library in Memphis, Tennessee.
Bees flew out of the sun.

The strange country of childhood,
Like a dragonfly on a long dog chain.

This is the signature of the doctor, the money from home.
Before, when each star was a minnow
Dying naturally in a tub, we slipped off
From the others in our boats.

We left in the mornings.

The mosquitoes were in our coffee
And the snakes broke ice for our journeys.
The crickets wanted to die.
Your head was in my lap.
We trolled twelve poles.

Like the owls you bulldozed into the woods,
I called you many names.
Your voice was a log under the water,
Blue channel there.
Do not reach into this wood.

Butterflies hover under the bridge before death,
I take my shade in the borrow pits of the moon.

Cloud making shadow, I cover my body now buck naked
With light, calling my name in my sleep.

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