Archive | August 2012


Those of you who regularly read know that I occasionally watch movies in my obelisk (here’s how I do it).   Most of the movies I watch no longer exist.  They star Theda Bara, she for whom publicity agents invented the word “vamp”.  To be a vamp, as I understand it, an odalisque must possess magnetic powers of attraction coupled with:

1.  stagnant, voluptuous  repose: to immure a fascinated victim in slavish inertia, resulting in his eventual decay

2.  seductive evasion: to lure an obsessed victim into fruitless pursuit, resulting in his eventual collapse

An exceptionally gifted vamp might employ a combination of the two to completely destroy her man.

It is a lot of work to be a vamp, something they don’t teach you on screen.  Imagine yourself submersed in sultry repletion, an abysmal vortex into which all light, love and true happiness are absorbed.  Your insidious repose, your oppressive sensuality and its opiate effect on your victim,  inspire an image: an enchanted, dismal swamp.  You are quite smitten with this simile  (yourself as swamp) and are seized with the need to write it down.  Immediately.    You scramble across the bed for your notebook and your feather, scribble some words, pick up your scissors, pop open a new pot of glue, and before you know it hours have passed!  Hours have passed in happy absorption and you’ve made a brand-new scrapbook page!   You smile,  satisfied.  You look up from your creation, eager to share it with your fascinated victim, only to discover that he, in his boredom, wandered away.

It is hard to be an enchanting, dismal swamp every minute of every day.  It demands focus and self-sacrifice.

Your formerly-fascinated victim will never get to see your scrapbook page –which you were, after all, really excited to share with him–because he will sail off and smash to smithereens at the first sound of sirens.   If he survives the rocks, they’ll turn him into a mute, docile pet, fed on mangled sea-claws, vicious taunts, and the occasional nauseatingly arousing caress.

But I meant to tell you that I am making my first movie!  It will be epic, an odalisque crashes to shore and all, aLL ALL IS LOST.  Except…

It’s also low-budget: it was shot entirely on paper.   I hope it will make sense.

Because of this movie, I don’t have a scrapbook page to share.  But I do have a movie still.  In this shot I am not a swamp.   However, I am in something that looks like one:

Thank you for looking.  Thank you.

–The Odalisque

teapot abyss

Despair transcended by null.





recursive figure

Figure [recursion]: a figure approaches

I’m reading about art and the abyss.  The book was first published in France in 1955.  I read then gaze–longingly,  futilely–into the depths of my teapot.  I struggle to disclose in dissimulation some ceaselessly murmuring silence, some infinite-far which cannot be arrived at, though it entombs me.    If only, I think, suffocating in the extremity of my super-abundant exclusion,  if only I could SPEAK, not of art and the abyss, but of odalisques & the abyss, which is practically the same thing.

But first I have to answer the question that one amongst you– oh creatures of flight known as readers–posed…how did I get into my obsidian obelisk?  I will answer that, in my first attempt at popular entertainment, very soon.

Questions for me, The Odalisque?  Comment or email me here.

“In this communication it is obscurity that must reveal itself and night that must dawn.  This is revelation where nothing appears,  but where concealment becomes appearance.”–Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, tr: Ann Smock

–The Odalisque

my refrigerator

When cicadas hum and green things spoil themselves for autumn,

let’s go to the kitchen and stand contemplatively in the light of the refrigerator door.

Let’s grab leaves and roots and pulpy ovaries, throw them on the counter and make choices.

Let’s use sharp knives and pull with our fingers.

Let’s put things in pots and boil them.

Let’s stir and sizzle and poke until they’re done.

When they are, bring out the earthenware and a bottle of something intoxicating!

Let the night burn like sugar!

Let the days be warm and crisp as a salad!

Let us be bountiful with each other and sharp.

Let us labor and be well fed.      (    oh

it’s  nice to smell oil burning

to cut into gourds and hearts

to come inside when the sun gets all teary-eyed

and sit close in the last bit of warmth.)

my refrigerator

%d bloggers like this: