That was it, the longest night of the year. It’s over now. I didn’t send out a solstice greeting yesterday or last night because I was otherwise engaged. You might remember that last year on the winter solstice I hinted that we were involved in an obelisk improvement project:
Last night the birds and I were so anxious and excited you’d have thought we were landing a capsule on a comet! Our engineering feats were stone-age in sophistication, but considering the primary workmen were birds who have not evolved opposable thumbs, we are justifiably proud.
I think this is the coolest present the birds have ever given me, if you except the time black swan helped me get up here.
A niche! I’ve always wished I had a niche. Of course I’ve self-sequestered myself in an obelisk and an odalisque who shuns the world and makes a random scrapbook of fragments and bizarre conversations about birds, flinging that scrapbook out into a world where everyone is obviously sharing everything they make/do/think everyday in their very actual, materially measurable lives for un-anonymous readers to “identify with”, has no obvious niche. Once there was a niche, but it was unsatisfactory. It involved Moroccan tiles, a titillating fountain, perhaps a voluptuous urn, and a conspicuous absence of clothing around key body parts. Later, our niche was behind the heavy european draperies of studios and salons. Blessedly, we escaped those niches.
Where is the niche for an odalisque in an obelisk who converses with birds?
HERE IT IS. I have a niche. Right here in my obelisk. And this niche…it is VERY SPECIAL which is why I did not send you any solstice greetings to get you through that long dark night (at least it wasn’t so cold this year). I have been fixedly watching, with all birds, MY NICHE.
This is what happened when, from the longest long night, the sun crept over the horizon, slipping the first frugal but encouraging slivers through my single window:
Wait…what WAS that?
Don’t find your niche, make one. With the help of your friends.
Astronomically significant greetings to you and all your beloveds this winter season,
what lies beneath?
Side 2, Groove 4: [audible]
the stones memorialize the stones entomb
the stones are the threshold through which the beginning embarks upon its end
the stones are the threshold through which the end returns where it began.
the stones’ mass warps the field so that a journeyer setting out in any direction with any goal will quest his way back to them. the stones.
above hawk soars scanning the damp field for food.
below, a burial ground of childish things. let the rapture resurrect them with child-like wisdom.
to the east a wild horse, spiral horned, departs through the shell shellac of dawn, in search of dark.
to the north, crow remains always crow for the wolves are hungry but easily outsmarted.
to the west a stag retreats in the deep blossom of the ever-dying sun.
to the south a pleasure garden, fragrant and fruitful, walled with fire.
in the middle a stone laid on its side maybe toppled maybe placed that way who knows? and what matter?
she sits there, in her afternoon gown.
Cursus, too heavy to speak, cotton-mouthed and miserable, drags himself towards her.
The toppled stone is not hers, but she has done her best to dress its dark mourning for pleasant repast. here find flowers grown in the pot of her hand, basalt for three, silver spoons to hold tongues in place, claw-edged tongs to pick words, desiccated lumps of sugar, from his dry mouth.
She has her pitcher of cream, and knives, too for piercing or spreading thin.
Cursus heaves himself upright and collapses on his table.
his mouth is parched but his heart is drowning.
Side 2, Groove 3: [inaudible]
Side 2, Groove 2: [audible]
Castle to making art found as soot and burnt paper. Drawings, texts, and handmade books all untitled. Artists look at life, bear lyrical remembrance, fix time/narrative, now/the self, use print to produce highly romanticized portraits, indelible relationships between past and present, people and everyday objects…
That trouble real can do a lot of damage.
Groove 6: [audible]
here there are stones. stones that were books that were songs that were warm hands warm from weeping. black silk worn deep blue by years of weather, macabre tablecloth on a slab of stone. sacrifice who? it is done. stones are not hungry nor do they thirst. flesh nor blood.
where the stones are there was a forest.
the winds are harsh and the ground stays damp without roots to drink from it.
night is wholly visible, they say.
Groove 7: [audible, hidden]
stone time a dream marvel impetuous f/light streaking across night sky
deploy fire icy dust because core changed very little and still in icy depths
the mission ends [
Groove 5: [inaudible]
in childhood recall reading books that seal fate. Selections will be displayed in the MUSIC ROOM (above).
childhood simplicity: a lover of artifacts.
Mourn the commonplace. Stitch the embroideries (depicted ). Hold
the black silk, unassuming, over the beloved.
Groove 3: [audible]
Cursus tells about fire and smoke, excavated understanding operating in light and dark, day and night.:
we can now understand because we know where things are
dig holes, know what you’ve got (an excessive numb)
It’s going to take years.
Nowhere comes close. [Cursus clenches his fist, throws devastated glance at sky then lowers his head, clenching shut his eyes]
The clouds shift in front of the sun, dappling the landscape with shadow.
reaching toward the stones on the horizon, Cursus becomes
Groove 2 [audible]
below remains a mystery
a four-year virtual underground more than astonishing.
have found buried more than previously known or understood.
it was an area to which few were admitted. inside something extremely mysterious.
put a spade in the ground. verify the painstaking structures and objects below the surface.
THE JOYS AND FRUSTRATIONS must mean something BUT NOBODY CAN TELL US WHAT
each advance yields more questions, know is always dwarfed by never know.
take the big questions: was it a healing ground?
know the provenance of the stones. but cannot say, with certainty how did the stones arrive? land or sea?
(image: special-mysterious end of Cursus.
Groove 1 [audible]:
He walked the avenue, the ancient route along which the stones were first dragged.
The only hint of existence was an indentation or two in the tall grass.
We could be
were it nor for the ghostly monument in the near distance.
Faint hustle as if illuminated.
He knows this landscape as alive: has walked it, breathed it, studied it for uncounted hours.
Stopping to fix the monument and reaching toward the stones on the horizon, he becomes
Crow is a parrot. Why is Crow a parrot? To ask me regularly where I am going? Crow is the trickster of the obelisk, never sincere, always accurate. Crow caws for shiny things: broken nib, gold earring, my white hairs. Crow stole me something precious to rob me of my luster. My scrapbook recalls these things about Crow.
Hawk eyes have been spying on Crow. Hawk wishes to be helpful to me, but is also motivated by jealousy: Hawk is metaphysically inclined and feels that if someone is going to shape-shift, it should be Hawk. But Hawk does not see that Hawk metaphysics are conceptualized rationally, through the lens of personality. Hawk shape-shifts in evolution towards a true Hawk self. Hawk is rational enough to believe that Hawk can never be anything but a more radiantly manifested Hawk. Which is, after all, quite-something. It is enough.
Crow, on the other hand, radiantly-manifested black, logician of the irrationally inevitable, master of minute probabilities, infinite leverager of the cosmic shuffle farce…
knows anything is possible. Crow travels fast when looking lazy. Crow is prone to fuzzy logic: howcome time stops where mind is light?
Soaring Hawk spotted, with hawk-eyes, the rim of something hidden beneath stones.
It is a strange record of peculiar happenings. We don’t understand them. We detect fragments: stones, childhood, art, the self, the real. Disappearing. Crow is in this record. Also a stag. And a “he”, named Cursus.
Hawk and I call this found-arcanum “CROW MORPHOLOGY”.
Imagine you are on a boat far out at sea. You see a large twinkling star: it could be nearby, or very far and very bright. You sail towards it. As you steer by its guide through the black waters of night, your boat scruffs a sandy shore. Still the star is there. You see nothing else. You are stuck. You drift…to sleep.
Wake up. See, where the star was, a black impenetrable tower. The star flickers in an open window. The star is a candle fueling the work of an odalisque and her friend Hawk. The candle heats a teapot which generates steam to turn round and round a record with a pen nib riding its groove.
You, on the shore, hear from that pen what sound?
It is very hard work.
We will incorporate the bits we can decipher here in my scrapbook.