Archive by Author | The Odalisque

the worst is yet to come

 

A threat

to the immense tracts of forest

that ring the Northern Hemisphere

grim proof

the worst is yet to come.

 

Vast stands of spruce and other resinous trees

the resinous trees of the boreal zone

become more susceptible to fire

intense fires that are nearly impossible to control.

 

Forest fires are a natural part

of the history of the forest

but records

suggest they may be reaching an unnatural level of frequency and intensity.

 

“We’re kind of at a crossroads.

“We anticipate more fires, and more intense fires, in the future.”

 

The forests return to the atmosphere.

 

Fig: Yet to Come

firestag_crop

 

 

text excavated from here.

–The Odalisque

 

compressed into outer wings

 

archer compress night like an accordion

usher its scenery into outer wings

the lady wears her black mantilla

 

archer fold nightmares into paper fans

fetch fanned breezes for the mothy air

the lady day dreams.

spring_equinox_2016_qtrsz

 

archer lower your bow

the lady dreams leaves out of bare wood

 

she dreams trees for the forest where

you will have lease to shoot.

 

 

 

 

Welcome, Spring.

–The Odalsisque

happy new year (4)

Last night we celebrated the end of my FOURTH year in the obelisk.

Today, my head is crossed and quartered call it a head-ache.  Too much elder-flower wine.  Sambucas Canadensis have you tried it?  It’s one of the flowers the black swan brings and a batch I began when I first moved here was uncorked yesterday.

I have a head-ache, today, which is Imbolc, the cross-quarter day.  Imbolc means:  we’re half-way to the equinox!

Is it a coincidence that I moved into the obelisk on a cross-quarter day?

Yes.  It was only a coincedence that I moved into the obelisk half way between solstice and equinox.

But is the coincidence  meaningless?

I decide it is not meaningless.  I thank my inside-self who was, it seems, attuned to the turning earth, though conscious odalisque had no idea.  I have grown wiser in four years and when things coincide, choose to honor them.

It was right about now, half-way between the longest night  and some kind of light/dark balance, that I got the bright idea to move into an obsidian tower.  I saw it, as I stood on the shore, far across the salt-marsh.

My pagan ancestors celebrated with Imbolc the maiden.  So do I, sequestered here in black grounded stone, whole unto myself.

Here is one of my favorite scrapbook portraits EVER, of me celebrating my inner maiden:Odalisque portrait as a young girlThis new year, rather than list my favorite posts of the past (I like this one and this one and this dream song  but Owl complained that I didn’t make enough scrapbook pages here.) I thought I’d stick in some of the scrapbook pages I never finished.  Something to look forward to in the coming year?  Will I manage to contextualize and complete them?

 

 

 

exit night. enter light.

I have a long night ahead.    You do, too, if you live north of the equator.

I haven’t always lived north of the equator.  At one time, I lived in a painting which means outside of time.  I left all that for my new life in an oddly-conceived obelisk sticking irrationally out of a marsh by the shore.   My life may be odd but it is not a work of art.  It’s not timeless.  I have to live through long long nights.  Too bad I didn’t wash up near the equator.  Just think of the birds I’d have had as friends!

Stop it, Odalisque!  Stop thinking about what never was.  How easily I fall into fantasy to avoid now.  NOW is the dawn (?) of the LONGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR.  No, the CUSP of the longest night of the year.  The crepuscular CUSP.

How will you make it through?

I think I will observe my shadow.

If I sit still in the dark it will not be cast, and I can better observe it.

<Black Swan would like me to explain why Black Swan does not cast a white shadow.>

<I say ‘Perhaps your soul shadow is white.  Your soul shadow is not the shadow you see on the wall.”>

<Black swan blinks, uncomprehending.  Black Swan’s shadow is still black on the wall.>

<About swan brains:  They don’t understand that one word means can signify multiple things, especially if one of those things is conceptual.>

I didn’t have much of a shadow when I was art. I was painted to be luminous in a murky dark. If I had a shadow it vanished into the background.

It occurs to me that when I was a work of art I was the light casting someone else’s shadow.

I am very fortunate that my obelisk is well-lit.  I have a shadow and it changes size.  I will see my shadow again in the morning, when my window is passage for the first rays of dawn.

My niche objectifies that blessed event.

Stop Odalisque!  Stop thinking ahead.  First, I must get through tonight.

Maybe a stew of bitter roots and powders.  Sun powders: paprika, tumeric, cayenne, saffron, the colors of heat and warmth ground fine and digestible, enlivening to blood.   Or, foods rich in iron, as if this night is a furnace in which swords and anvils are forged.  Or,  tubers of Helianthus: all summer that plant grew high in the marsh, well over my head.  Whatever sustained stems, leaves, pods, the root has sucked dry and stored, earth-white-crisp, inside.   Let transubstantiation feed shadow tonight.

Drink red wine from a quartz cup.

Beat taut skins of drums or thighs with the palms of hands.

Cover yourself in cloth that catches the littlest light.

Or don’t, and let your eyes sparkle.

If the sun were a king and not a star, if you thought the earth was flat and the sky a dome, tonight the king would almost die.

The king is not dying.  Unless the king is like a shadow:  conceptual.  My bringer-of-light.

Do not let your sun king die.

It is a long night.   The sun is not dying, (at least, not on a human scale).  The earth is just moving like earth-mass moves in a sun-scale gravitational field.   Starlings move like starlings in the twilight sky.  Grasses move like dry grasses in night-fall winds.

The king does not die.  Neither does the shadow.  Both will be weak for months now, but come spring, the earth will be pummelled by roots into abundance, solar powered.

 

 

wintersolstice_2015_halfsz_noborder

 

Merry darkness.  Happy soon-to-be dawn.

–The Odalisque

of late

My scrapbook, of late, has looked like this:

notebookpaper - horizontal lines

Lines.  Pale blue lines.  Blank paper.  With lines.

Having spent most of my life in works of art, I know all about lines:

Horizontal lines suggest a feeling of rest or repose because objects parallel to the earth are at rest. Horizontal lines delineate sections which recede into space.  The lines imply continuation of the picture plane to the left and right.  [Elements of Art]

Please orient your screen so every line is parallel to the earth.

notebookpaper - horizontal lines

Do you feel rest do you feel repose?

Imagine the lines extend out of your screen, infinite continuation, left and right.   Let’s walk towards the blank paper’s beginning.  Or do you prefer its end?

Maybe these horizontal lines do not begin or end, but circle like latitude lines.  We walk inside a column of paper, round and round.  The white space, delineated, recedes.

Here I am, stuck in the middle of a cyllindrical blank-paper drum.

Hit my head, see if I thrum.

Turning the page the other way changes things a bit:

notebookpaper - vertical lines

Vertical lines often communicate a sense of height because they are perpendicular to the earth, extending upwards toward the sky. Vertical lines suggest spirituality, rising beyond human reach toward the heavens.  [Elements of Art]

My obelisk is a very strong vertical line rising from the earth’s horizontal plane.  I’ve conveniently positioned myself between heaven and earth.  I don’t want to ascend any further (like the birds) or go down to the shore.  I like it right here.  For now.  I can see the sky and I can see the shore and the birds come into visit, bringing seeds and grasses from the out-of-doors.  I open my window.  The wind carries in its light arms molecules of pollen and salt.

Would you rather face heaven, earth or a the delineated white page?

Of late, I’ve shown my back to the conceptual page, and faced my little world.  The kettle’s on!  We’ve buns for tea!  The weather is unseasonable, but the starlings will flap their wings to create a gusty breeze so phoenix can blaze pleasantly for the rest of us.  The warm weather has made black swan molt.  I’m collecting the downy feathers to stuff a new bed.  Crow has flown north on the annual spiritual strengthening retreat, but will return on the solstice, through my new niche (remember my solstice niche?)  May crow return as crow, not parrot.  What celestial bodies must I implore to bring that about?  I don’t know who crow listens to, so I implore crow:  be black black crow, not flashy parrot.  Stop asking me where I am going.

Hawk is reading Adorno.  Eyeing the ethereal blue lines on the blank pages I’ve taped one-by-one to the obsidian walls, Hawk quoth thus:

In her text, the writer sets up house.  Just as she trundles papers, books, pencils, documents untidily from room to room, she creates the same disorder in her thoughts.  They become pieces of furniture that she sinks into, content or irritable.  She strokes them affectionately, wears them out, mixes them up, re-arranges, ruins them.  For a woman who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.  In it she inevitably produces, as her family once did, refuse and lumber.  But now she lacks a store-room, and it is hard in any case to part from left-overs.  So she pushes them along in front of her, in danger finally of filling her pages with them.

..In the end, the writer is not even allowed to live in her writing.  [II.Memento, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life]

I hope you bear well the shortening days!  We’ll celebrate the turning very soon.

‘Till then,

–The Odalisque

I look out my window

I look out my window.  The moon is inside.

 

 

The veil is thin.

 

–The Odalisque

 

(can’t see the movie?  try here.)

mooning

I know.

I did not make an equinox page.  Did you miss it?

Here we are again.  Dark days.  I mean nights.  I mean LONG nights.

They are coming.

I’m depressed.

Maybe I should move closer to the equator so I don’t have to go through this every year.  Otherwise, I’ll have to go back to being an unravished bride of happiness, i.e., art.  Oh happy happy art!  Music unheard is sweetest and in truth, beauty such as an odalisque’s may be eternally still, fading century-by-century to fall at last in entropic decay.

You may have noticed I don’t make so many scrapbook pages anymore.  At first it was so exciting to be out and about in my own obelisk.  But everything passes so fast.  Like starlings sweeping the sky time is, a hypnotist, and I, Odalisque, am hypnotized, with a soft focus dream-floating in all the flux.  Why stamp myself upon this flux of time?   Why afix myself to the pseudo-permanent?  Why art?

I miss crow.  Parrot-that-is-crow doesn’t talk anymore, doesn’t ask me where I’m going.  It’s obvious to all us birds that TIME is what’s going.  It’s a sensation, round and round.  Parrot is plucking her own feathers.  Maybe beneath all that caricature will step my black crow.

Crow would know how to party in this mad, strung-out scene.  We’re all exhausted and too paranoid to  get out o <f/i>n time.

eq2015_owlhereeq2015_oisstupid

OWL HERE.

ODALISQUE IS STUPID.

ODALISQUE!eq2015_become

YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE OR WHO TO BE

THERE IS A PLACE TO ARRIVE AT IT IS NOW TO BECOMEeq2015_mooning   owl_signature

 

 

 

My face is like the moon /the night grows long /long reign of moon.

Don’t moon about.  Wane.  So you can see the stars.

Here we go again.

It never stops does it.

 

–The Odalisque

 

 

 

 

 

pre/se/rve || e

August, die she must, minute by minute.   The hour, in July, appointed for tea now lingers too late for dinner to be prepared before dark.   Rush I must to get myself fed without burning some light.  Like most of my birds, I prefer to be active in sunlight; as the days shorten I slowly become overwhelmed by routines and chores, my working hours constricted. Imagine how most birds feel–fewer minutes each day in which to find their requisite calories.

I say “most” because though Hawk’s hunting days are waning, Owl’s are on the rise.  Owl looks forward to the equinox when time-dominion tilts in favor of Owl.   Owl pities Hawk, who had hunting good when the weather was gentle and pleasant.  When hunting is hard, and most necessary, Owl has time.   Hawk shrugs.  Always, somehow, Hawk, also, stays alive.

In Owl-time I will have to attune myself to other productivities, the less active and quickly satisfying.  The obelisk will be grimier but in dark Winter I’ll hardly be able to tell.  As long as I can keep the window clean, to let what light there is in.  I’ll remember how to attune to other chores, tasks of the mind cupping itsself around a dim candle, confronting cold space, recalling how to preserve, a word which looks an awful lot like “persevere”.  I will remember how to persevere.

handwriting_preserveperservere

Why do I worry for winter?  Now is summer, late summer, to be sure, but the flowers all blowsy, gold, purple and white, the colors of royalty.  August is an august time, leonine.  Nature, regally bedecked, processes nobly towards decline.

These days are pleasure-full.

I just paused to appreciate that fact–NOW is pleasure-FULL–and bright crow-who-is-parrot (I’m so sick of parrot, repeating himself), landed on the sill, dropping a red feather.

I like collecting the birds’ feathers.  I pick it up.

first_leaf_of_fallIt is not a feather.

Parrot-who-is-Crow brought me a leaf.

The first autumn leaf.

–The Odalisque

 

 

trade (dreaming odalisque)

[Shhhh.  She’s sleeping.]

[Listen:]

 

owl radio static

I’d trade this song for you.  Unless…it’s going to be remembered.  Who’s going to remember me?  Who’s going to remember you? 

Throw it all into the combustion of history.  Throw it up against the annihilation of stars.  Back yourself up in the cloud….racks of machines o’erheat the desert.  Before everything.  Powers.  Down.

 

zenith

Here we are again.

sun top high shine shine shine the live-long day.

long live the sun king.

–The Odalisque

other marvels

I made a grid and titled it THE SHADOW UNIVERSE AND OTHER MARVELS.  The rows and columns are labeled with shades of black.  There is a storm blowing about, strewing  fury and frustration.

Outer-space is where an odalisque escapes (read odalisques in space if you’re curious about that), but universal is all.  The witching hour is the hour in which things are made.  Look at a clock whose hands are stuck how they stutter stutter at what-o-clock don’t panic.  Kill the clock.  Clip the coil, pull the plug, flip out the cylindrical case for reactive chemicals, all toxicity (cadmium, mercury, lead), these mechanisms that have the power to drive hands.

When you’ve incapacitated the clocks, give your hands their work.  Soon the birds will whistle, churtle, stir.  Black becomes grey becomes white, even blue.

Clouds will pass.  Sun time is gentler, more subtle,  than numbered dials.

textexcavation_shadowuniverse

day’s end

space: absence [storm at sea]

universal: constant connection  (expected to listen passively)

midnight

space: you describe the world

universal:  stop.  lost.  [clouds]

witching hour

space: i should be right now [black iron fence or gate?]

universal: I am reclaiming.  The writer always triumphs.

the writer always triumphs.  I am betrothed to the stars.  each pierces me like a pin.  identify me for future generations: Saint Sebastian, beloved of art.

–The Odalisque

else is over

kernel

This is my coast my shore.  The sea crashes, shapes, heaps, carries away.  My coast.  My shore.  Here a wrecked shipman would long for fresh water and hot food.  I weep salt and speak-sputter wet wood.   My house is built apocalyptic on sand there is no rock here.  Shifting sands.  Nomad- I  of miniscules, foot by foot my house moves, between dune and shore.

The jewels of my country are secreted.  Secrete/secret the thick glossies that mollusk thumbs fist.  Spiraled, scalloped, with fishy smells.  A captain landing here would find no treasure except what the ocean will break and cleanse.  My wealth is all paper on a standard of feathers and shell.  I’m worth nothing without irrational faith.

Here no ships but maybe.  Here no sails but maybe, too far for hawk-eye to see, one trawls, nets too knotted and tangled to sail home.  Better to be a boatman in the hollowed trunk of a tree, steadying his gaze, hand to a spear.  Better skim the deep waters armed with knives and spears, sharp and precise, than drag behind a powerful vessel indiscriminate nets.

Feed me.  I will eat gold kernels out of my hands and sea eggs, grey yolked.  No more nets, knotted and tangled, in constant need of mending, They dredge the dark living sea dusts up I will not feed on its bottoms.

Gold grain and grey yolks.  Feed me things that might be born.  Feed me the raw germ of wanting-to-be-born.

shore egg–The Odalisque

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