Sunday, 10 June 2012

Poetry, Paintings, Photography and Collage

Jan Svankmajer, collage, 'insects' (1976)

You’re standing at the metal counter of some dive
Drinking wretched coffee where the wretched live

You are in a cavernous restaurant at night

These women are not evil they are used-up regretful
Each has tormented someone even the ugliest

She is the daughter of the police sergeant from Jersey

Her hands I’d never noticed are hard and cracked

My pity aches along the seams of her belly

I humble my mouth to her grotesque laughter

- Guillaume Apollinaire, from ‘Zone’, trans. By Donald Revell

…where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I constructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality revolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one’s taking pleasure in a feeling or look or a gesture, or receiving another person’s love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term “generosity of spirit” applied to nothing, was a cliché, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire – meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface was all that anyone found meaning in … this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged…

Bret Easton Ellis, from American Psycho

Llyn Foulkes Deliverance (2007), Oil and mixed media on canvas

With this CD and the four previous ones behind it, Huey Lewis and the News prove that if this really is a small world, then these guys are the best American band of the 1980s on this or any other continent – and it has with it Huey Lewis, a vocalist, musician and writer who just can’t be topped.

-       Bret Easton Ellis, from American Psycho

Every fear is a desire. Every desire is a fear.
The cigarettes are burning under trees
Where the Staffordshire murderers wait for their
And victims. Every victim is an accomplice.

-       James Fenton, from ‘A Staffordshire Murderer’

Llyn Foulkes Who's on Third? (1971-1973), Oil on canvas.

We never live long enough in our lives
to know what today is like.
Shards, smiling beaches,
abandon us somehow even as we converse with them.
And the leopard is transparent, like iced tea.

-       John Ashbery, from ‘The Improvement’ (in And The Stars Were Shining)

While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
                        Away; take heed:
                        I will abroad.
Call in thy death’s head there: tie up thy fears.
                        He that forbears
     To suit and serve in his need,
                        Deserves his load.
But as I rav’d and grew more fierce and wild
                        At every word,
Me thoughts I heard one calling, Child:
             And I reply’d, My Lord.

-       George Herbert, from ‘The Collar’

Llyn Foulkes Crucifixion (1985)

 Those groans men use
passing a woman on the street
or on the steps of a subway

to tell her she is a female
and their flesh knows it,

are they a sort of tune,
an ugly enough song, sung
by a bird with a slit tongue

but meant for music?

Or are they the muffled roaring
of deafmutes trapped in a building that is
slowly filling with smoke?

Perhaps both.

-       Denise Levertov, from ‘The Mutes’

Duane Michals, Nostalgica (photograph)

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow

-       T.S. Eliot, from ‘The Hollow Men’

Duane Michals, photograph of Joseph Cornell (1970)


There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
commited or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

 - Fleur Adcock

Salvador Dali, Freud's Perverse Polymorph (Bulgarian Child Eating a Rat) 1939

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