I work at a desk, taking scissors to centuries of imagery and pencils to pulped trunks of trees, to assemble in my scrapbook a story I am making from my life.
It was Owl’s idea to post my scrapbook in the world wide web. Is my scrapbook a carcass cocooned? Do I mildly festoon the near-invisible trap of an arachnoid collective consciousness?
Hawk scoffingly says the only world-wide-web is an opulent cosmic cloth in which I, not my scrapbook, am one of an infinitude of jewels, each reflecting every other jewel.
Owl asks what kind of jewel cat videos are.
I think Owl is being a wise guy.
Black Swan is right now two-stepping anxiously and flapping a wing. Black Swan wants you to know that CATS ARE EVIL. CATS WOULD TEAR NOBLE HEADS FROM LONG, LOVELY SWAN NECKS IN IDLE SPORT. Black swan shivers.
I don’t have a cat.
What I wanted to share today is some of the word searches which have directed people to my scrapbook. Owl brought it to me:
- recursion girl
- overwhelm falling on them
- do odalisques still exist
- love images of i will be no more
- how to make a crumple tree
- converse teapot
- sharp handwriting
- gloomy poetries
- surrealistic crow
- near ocean crypt
- drowning in the sea
- fashionable owls
- sea woman portrait
- picture of the word overwhelm
- fantasy fashion doesnt know how to fashion
- night light princess
- deconstructing feminist art
I love this list.
Do odalisques still exist? Yes, recursively, in a converse relationship with our teapots. How do you make a crumple tree?: picture the world overwhelm. I will be no more a love image. I’m a night light princess in an ocean crypt. I found myself a fashionable owl, a surrealistic crow (and some other winged friends), perfected the sharpness of my handwriting deconstructing gloomy poetry, and drowned, am drowning, in what wild and lovely sea?
I exist I exist I exist.
I am real.
Summer is here!
All winter I imagined days so long long long I would have nothing left to do by the end of them but wait, far into the evening, for the light to finally fade.
All winter I imagined today.
Let’s stir up some spirits; spirits of evergreens, angelica, ice. Blesséd spirits cool the hot temples. Phoenix fire will lure the fire-flies to the obelisk; I look forward to the show. Black Swan is undoubtedly bringing me a beak-full of beebalm, little red firecrackers just for me. Hawk is hoping to celebrate the solstice with a squirrel. Well, not exactly “with”: the squirrel won’t be celebrating. Hawk promises me the tail–I am supposed to wear it somehow. I don’t want a squirrel tail but Hawk doesn’t listen.
Owl, who knows everything I think and feel, promises to swallow the tail when Hawk, drowsy full with squirrel not-tail, falls asleep.
Owl, oh owl, the-one-who-fills-in. Owl dreams of newborn spring rabbits, velvety soft sausages wriggling through an Owl esophagus.
Dinner can be pretty disgusting around here. It’s not my fault: I only eat art, mostly painted by dutch masters. Very civilized I am, dining nightly on lustrous silver, pewter and crystal.
Black Swan floats upon the table, neatly munching duckweed.
But tonight! Beyond spirits, a fast. I will break-fast tomorrow, perhaps on a Manet bun.
Yes. I will have a Manet bun.
I can make tea from the beebalm leaves, without disturbing the flowers.
They are a favorite flower.
The days only get shorter from here but let’s not think about that now. It will be warm for some time yet.
Happy Summer Solstice!
PS: Crow is hopefully being crow, not parrot, off performing his own rituals. Crow-as-crow, upon a heap of stones.
The starlings are raising their nestlings. Lots of little mouths practically an insecticide fumigating the marsh.
ODALISQUE HAS BEEN SILENT VERY SILENT.
I HOPE YOU STILL THINK OF HER NOW AND AGAIN. NO. THINK OF HER MORE THAN THAT, PLEASE. THINK OF HER NOW. AND NOW. AND NOW. AGAIN.
I WILL WRITE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU HOW IT IS SINCE SHE WON’T MAKE A SCRAPBOOK PAGE. I WILL TRY TO SAY IT SO YOU WILL UNDERSTAND O YOU OUT-THERE.
coffee house you sit /imagine/ with blank paper and pen
listen music streams from responsive algorithms
listen there are conversations at tables with all chairs empty but one
talk talk about marketing /cause app art jeans/ marketing is a way to talk about money that sounds like sharing or making friends
listen gnat clouds of attention ghosting the nether-now of elsewhere and who
mesmerizing all the fingers on hand-held palm stones, light glass leaves. swift fingers single shuttle a miniature loom weave /bandage veil fate/
or idly scroll as if skimming skin of a dull but distracting lover, heart battery in cellophane sleeve sealed with mildly-toxic adhesive
re pe ti tive /pause/
fresh faces bathed in lightpalm glow as if looking down into unempty hands equals looking up at face of
dawn as if sky is
look up blank page
here is the future
it is very productive
what do you say
odalisque do you have anything to say
to the future
I don’t have anything to say to the past. The past was no good for an odalisque. Kindness. Gentleness. All anyone needs.
In this place you describe my unbelonging is fantastic.
I don’t know what to say to anybody anywhere. I don’t know what to offer that is worth the time my offering would require for its meaning to become apparent.
Maybe I should be somewhere else right now.
But I am always here
I don’t know what to do.
Something else is not happening. Elsewhere now was home.
the ice has melted, unchaining the cold.
do you think I don’t care? The dictionary inelegantly defines vortex as “a mass of spinning air, liquid, etc., that pulls things into its center”. it is good to be centered, but not when that center is supposed to be your north pole.
in the summer, the poles will miss this cold, and the ice will melt more than it ought too, exposing corpses, campsites, fossils of people who lived there thousands of years ago. they will decompose before we learn anything from them. they lived in the climate we soon inherit. who died and left it to us? a miniscule planet’s ecosystem, exhausted by our habitation.
so much sadness. salt waters rise.
do you think i want this? i wanted to throw open the window and throw a dazzling balcony smile at a sparkling sea. but i got hit in the teeth with cold like the sea threw up a handful of ice (or was it you, did you do this to me?). I am sitting on the middle of the earth under a lopsided arctic wind and I don’t have the right clothes.
crow/parrot and phoenix are conducting experiments. crow is flash-freezing eggs on a branch outside, then phoenix slowly heats them on the stone sill. owl tells me this is the latest in culinary technology. that’s interesting but will it be ready for teatime?
maybe I’ll burn myself some fossil fuels. put the teapot on the fire and crawl inside.
i’m so cold i think i can feel the heat reflected off the moon.
i am writing you it is the longest night of the year. there are astronomical charts and time tables which tell me this is so.
no matter when you read this let it be known: I wrote this on the longest night of my second obelisk year.
I am vigilant. the birds are asleep. crow/parrot is nesting on the teapot. black swan’s head is tucked into a wing with a hammer. hawk’s claw clasps a chisel. starlings sleep in my tree, which is perfect because they will rustle and chirp at exactly the necessary moment.
I have an obelisk-improvement plan which begins with our marking tomorrow’s first ray of light. I’ll show you what we do, but you’ll have to wait until next year.
now, now now, cold and colder (metaphysically). the obelisk receives information on its obtuse cosmic angle as it (as we) tilt far back on our polar heel, away from the atomic crematorium called sun. I am wearing my coat and holding phoenix, who burns my candle at both ends.
i don’t like these long nights.
tomorrow night will be one minute shorter than this night! every minute counts when you’re all alone in an obelisk and your friends are birds who go to sleep with the sun.
correction: owl doesn’t sleep with the sun, but where is owl? out torturing the rodents who plant seeds in my bed when I’m not looking. all kinds of seeds stashed in my bed! will they sprout to my warmth when i sleep sound?
i sleep in sound. mice eat the seeds. owl eats the mice. owl eats the trees, twice-removed. the marsh flowers and the burnet grasses.
i like my solitude, but these dark days weigh heavy on me.
are you awake, too? hush holy in the old days, before people like you and I understood the earth’s axial tilt, how it–not the sun–moves. There was a time when night-wakers-we would labor with rites and song to call back the cold sun. come back, chariot of cosmic fire! run your course directly o’er, you barely crest the distant edge of our apparently flat fields.
people like you and I, night-wakers-we, would worry about star-lit days and moon-less night. the trees are already dead and if the sun said “no, i won’t come back” and didn’t, they would have stayed that way, bare of leaf, electrical snappage in a voltless day-called-night. we would have been eaten by the night-hunters, like owl.
crow-who-is-parrot cracks one eye as if crow were wholly crow, and croaks “some day some day”. it is true. one day the sun will burn out. go back to sleep, parrot-who-is-crow.
I am glad to KNOW that this is the longest night this solar year. Tomorrow night will be a little bit gentler than this one here.
my winter solstice, 2013 scrapbook page. happy hol [ly] days.
figure (anamorphosis) was my 100th scrapbook page! One hundred is a special number because I have ten fingers and a hundred is ten to the second power. I will have to publish 1,000 pages before I reach another power of ten.
One thousand scrapbook pages! Taped in a line on the walls…or bound into a book? A record of the evolution of someone called “I”?…or ever-more intimate layers, papery tissues, peeled off with each page turn? If the pages only reveal what was always there, what will be unveiled when the last obfuscation is lifted, the last page turned?
A funny endpaper, the edging of a book. The knobby surface of my old desk, slid up beneath the window of the obelisk. For you…a still, illuminated screen? What lingers in the mind as our eyes lift to the view…who will sit, unveiled, in our thoughts, perplexing and welcome, when the scrapbook is at last closed?
of my favorite pictures
can read an odalisque primer, hear my dreams, watch my movie, and browse some of my favorite pages from each obelisk year.
All this, and we are not even finished with year 2.
I have so much to say it’s hard to say anything at all. So many loose threads:
- Where is Henriette?
- What’s up with my teapot?
- Why is crow a parrot?
- Where am I going?
- What happens in my favorite movie, HER GREATEST LOVE?
Plus my visits to outer-space… I am having a hard time organizing all these threads.
So, to sea with the threads. Let’s talk about something that isn’t a thread but IS very popular:
Fashion is a pleasant distraction from most critical issues. (To browse all my FASHIONable posts click the FASHION tag). In my first message about FASHION I listed all the clothes I own. I’ve shown you my SWIMSUIT, but not my PARTY DRESS.
Here I am in my party dress:
I made it myself.
If you miss me while I’m cocooning in loose threads, you can watch MY MOVIE
which debuted last year right about NOW.
Now now now now…
Maybe I should make another movie out of thread.
No. That won’t help at all.
A reader has asked if buying an obelisk is expensive, or if I just rent.
Obelisks are like Brigadoon; they appear at the moment needed, but otherwise are unattainable. That’s why I am reluctant to leave–if I do I’m not sure I could get back. I really have to be convinced that it is worth the risk.
Some people would feel stuck in this situation but I like it fine. I’ve stopped expecting anyone, besides the birds. So now, I guess, I could really be surprised!
Which is evasion: staying or going somewhere else?
- Some people stay where they are to evade what they could be.
- Others keep moving to evade who they are.
- Does it matter where I am?
Here’s a sentence I read recently:
Thoughts like these are the price one pays for living in an obelisk by the sea shore. Their consideration is the cost of rent.
I’m curious if any of you live in similar structures. Perhaps in other shapes or materials?
A chunk of the obelisk fell out when I was painting, and it sits on my desk. Do you know what obsidian feels like? It is dark, glassy, a mirror cast in blackness, not in light. The obelisk is very grounding. It channels atmospheric and astronomical energies into the earth out of the sky. Kind of like a lightening rod during a storm, but it works on more subtle energies, as well.
The tree that can sometimes be seen growing out my window, flourishes upon that same earth and air.
Soon it will be the equinox! We are going to conduct an experiment on that day. I’ll post the results next week.
Sorry I’ve been so absent these last few weeks. I was tending to the tree.
You can ask me anything anytime as a comment or at
I came to my desk to write you about my teapot. I set my teapot on the desk and sat myself at the desk and lifted my pen from the desk to place it upon my scrapbook which sits upon the desk.
Then my teapot spit-up a postcard.
At first I thought it was steam, which was a little odd, even for my teapot, as I had almost finished its now-tepid tea. But the steam unfolded like a leaf, and drifted down upon my scrapbook. It was not a leaf. It was a postcard:
I don’t want to write an ode to my teapot anymore. Summer is almost over and I haven’t gone to the shore…soon it will be too cold, which will be a great burden off my shoulders. The burden of “maybe now?” is unendurable. I’m tired of being asked where I’m going. When the grasses change and the ocean foams upon the shore like the maw of Kerberus dragged up from hell, maybe crow will stop being a parrot and the birds, wistful for longer days and safer climes, will be happy to fluff up their feathers and stay inside.
Flipping through my scrapbook, it’s evident that last summer was much nicer than this summer; last summer we had fashion shows, I sported my swim-suit and drank fizzy beverages and learned how to watch movies. This summer has been one long avoidance of crow-who-is-parrot’s persistent questioning: WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Now my teapot, my abiding paraclete, is spewing forth postcards. SPEWING FORTH. Like the ocean spews forth the drowned and the dead.
Why, why would I want to go back there?
I want a real postcard from Henriette, soon.
I love getting messages from you, even though I sometimes don’t understand them. This one, for instance, which Owl brought me today:
JOIN SEXY WOMEN IN THEIR BEDROOMS
Name: Jocelyn Age: 19 Turn Ons: horny gentle men I love to please and willing to do anything to satisfy and make your visit one to remember! Hey Hun I`m giving away free passes to see me naked on my webcam! All you have to do is click the link below and you can start chating with me INSTANTLY!!
JOIN SEXY WOMEN IN THEIR BEDROOMS suggests that this is a new liberation movement that supports odalisques in pursuit of their own obelisks! Come be one of us! My obelisk is even better than a bedroom! It is a living room for all that living requires! For me, that means a decadent bed, a teapot, my desk, an easel, pen, paper, glue, a glass bottle for flowers from the black swan, and a window to look out. I would love to be part of a world-wide liberation of odalisques into self-sequestration, the privacy and comfort of their own rooms!
But the message itself suggests no such solidarity. Jocelyn is only 19, and although revolutions generally start among the young, she loves to please which isn’t a desirable characteristic in a leader for social or aesthetic change. She turns on when horned men appear–satyrs, I guess. Or fauns. She must have some kind of button or switch, and it is apparently connected to a “webcam” which she reclines naked upon. Webcams must be webbed, (cane?) récamiers, as all odalisques recline on elaborate furniture.
Why does she call me Hun? I have nothing against any group who terrorized conquering Rome, both treated odalisques barbarically, but I don’t think Huns had much use for odalisques, seeing as they were nomads and we are very stationary.
Dear Jocelyn,I am always happy to hear from fellow odalisques! I imagine you reclined in your sumptuous web cam. This would be a soul-cheering image–if your letter did not make me worry about you. When love is escapism…you are trapped. It’s a common problem for us odalisques–mal-using “love” to make us feel real, to pad the emptiness we cannot face in ourselves. Will you let me advise you, as an older, if still un-wise, comrade?I know it is hard to believe now, but we all encase an emptiness which it is best not to fill–not until we can populate it wisely. Let your emptiness compel you towards a wholeness which escapes the confines of your ego. Let the emptiness fill you like air fills a balloon. Eventually, it is true, you may burst. But then–oh yes, then–you will truly be in this world!Thank you for the free pass to unlock your door (that’s what you mean by ‘click your link’, right?) and chate with you. I stopped chating when I gave up frenemies. It happens too INSTANTLY like cheap coffee or a merciful death. The world may not be white (friends) and black (enemies), but everything, blessedly, is not a shade of grey. My friends are very colorful. And they fly!“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” A wise odalisque cultivates rarity. She will be treasured, or she will be alone. Either is preferable to an easily clicked link. Lock your door!When I read the title of your message, I thought it was a rallying cry for odalisques worldwide!Just a thought.Your friend,–The OdalisquePS: I am not a Hun.
If you write me, I will reply. Ask questions etc. as a comment on a post, or at:
Last week the owl posted my dream about outer-space: click to listen. We’ve been talking a lot about space here in the obelisk. The birds think I am too sheltered. They nag me to go to the shore. I distracted them with hats, but fashion bores birds as quickly as it does people (I’m so glad I don’t wear clothes!), so I’ve devised a new strategy…I am regaling them with tales of outer-space.
Little did the birds know of heights that are not sunny or blue! Of regions too vacuous for sheltering clouds! Of volumes so vast our sun–which could hold one million earths–is but a miniscule, ordinary prick of light! Little did they know that odalisques in ships of the imagination can zoom far beyond the flight of birds, into outer-space!
It is my favorite place to go when things get rough for me here on earth.
I tell the birds of strange phenomenon: impotent white giants, doomed red dwarves…
I have not yet told them about the dangerously attractive black holes:
Black holes are one of the most intriguing and mysterious of all astrophysical phenomena. while astrophysical theory has long supported the existence of black holes, it has been hard to fathom an object that is so incredibly dense that nothing, not even light itself, can escape its grasp.
Black holes are intense and powerfully attractive. It is good astrolisque practice to steer clear of them. This can be difficult as black holes are invisible. Mere light-seconds after you feel an intense attraction towards nothingness, you find yourself spiraling towards an oppressive, inescapable doom. The savvy astrolisque must be wary:
How does one go about locating an object that can’t be directly observed?…this can be accomplished by observing the effects that a black hole has on its surroundings.
Whenever you see a celestial object moving in an odd way…beware! It is probably under the influence of an invisible black hole! This celestial object was moving fast enough to not fall in…but you may not be so lucky! Nor do you want its fate to befall you: aeons in perturbed orbit around an obliterating absence? No astrolisque desires sinister stasis!
There’s nothing an astrolisque can do about a gravitational field that overwhelms all other forces in the universe, funneling space-time into its own interminable darkness. There is nothing an astrolisque can do about astronomical facts.
But she can use astronomical facts to her advantage. Basic physics tells us that an astrolisque traveling with enough speed through the cosmos will never ever be trapped by a black hole. The astrolisque must prepare herself for space travel with a lightening quick imagination. She must craft her coat to spirit her swiftly on breezes of suggestive thought.
What happens if an astrolisque is sucked into a black hole? Time drags. The astrolisque’s bottom is stretched out of proportion to her head, at least until she reaches the black hole’s interior singularity–a volume-less place of infinite density, where time ceases and she is squashed into one dull dimension.
Beyond the singularity, results vary. One astrolisque came-to in an alternate saddle-shaped topology in which she was saddled with a mini-van, 2.5 kids, and a closet of unending despair. Another astrolisque resurfaced in an inverse universe where everything switched sign: her positives became negatives, and vice-versa, causing an crisis of morality which could only be resolved by quaffing moonshine. Another leapt into black hole after black hole, each time desperately hoping things would turn out different. He eventually became a black hole himself.
These are your average black holes. But there are super-massive black holes that are not sinisterly invisible…they emit tremendous amounts of energy and light (including radio waves, which I pick up in my sleep). They are the brightest objects in the universe.
I’ll talk more about quasi-stellar radio sources some other time.
These tales discombobulate the birds. Their spirits are dampened, and they can’t soar carefreely through the sky. They are afraid their wings will carry them through some unseen membrane of blue, into inhospitable outer-space.
I assure them that they can’t possibly fly that high…they would soon suffocate from a lack of oxygen and fall back down to earth.
This does not comfort them.
Astronomical facts are not for everyone.
Though I spent my formative years as an art object, I’ve always wanted to be an artist.
I like to be looked at so I decided that my first artistic project would be myself.
I have concluded, based on the information that Owl brings, that I must, therefore, be a PERFORMANCE ARTIST. My performances are primarily observed by birds; you, fair readers, witness my documentation of the event, via my scrapbook. The performance artist, Marina Abramovic, lived behind a glass wall for public viewing, and writes that the energy of the audience helped sustain her through the ascetic, ritualized ordeal. I have to sustain myself through my life without an audience, drawing energy from other sources.
The record of my performance is, in the tradition of the odalisque (rather than the whore), not promoted. It lies here, awaiting you, who might be interested in me. Maybe I am a CONCEPTUAL performance artist since my scrapbook stimulates an idea of me, my life, in your mind.
The definition of performance artist observes that we typically come from varied disciplinary backgrounds. My background hasn’t varied much; it’s usually exotic and luxe, though I have been reduced to a line upon a flat field of color. Usually, my background suggests an interior, like the obelisk. Generally, the interior exists only to couch my nakedness, the hushed lustre of my body with its inviting apparency.
I might be a multi-disciplinary performance artist. Like the movies I watch, my work exists in two dimensions + time. My life doesn’t move as fast as movie film, but, then again, I have lasted for more than two hours. I work with several types of imagery–visual and textual. Plus, according to the birds, my dreams are all in sound.
The birds are not convinced by all this. They feel they are important, independent aspects of my life, which means I might not be a performance artist, but a character in a play.
They are my existential dilemma.
They say there is no existential dilemma because this is not a play. They are wildly interested in FOOD, FASHION and FUN. They have asked me to post more on those topics, which were so popular last summer. They want me to leave the obelisk and go hang out on the shore. Ok, Ok, I say, but what does a work of art DO on the sea shore? Every time I go out there, I’m assaulted by sirens and nereids, phantom ships shooting fireworks and giant seashells whose glossy interiors sigh sad circular themes, stuffing my heart full of feelings, padding the perfect punching bag.
Black Swan says, “Put on a bathing suit!”
Hawk says, “Take a sandwich!”
The starlings make a giant beach ball in the sky and spin like a celestial globe.
Phoenix found me on the shore (see my movie), and doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. Obelisk, sea shore, o’er the hills, any place has fuel to burn. Crow-as-Parrot still says nothing but “Where are you going?” (shut up Crow!).
If I put on a bathing suit and packed a sandwich, if I hung out on the beach and caught some rays, would the sirens go away? Would the seashells consent to being silent souvenirs? Would the ship sail back to shore with treasure to share? Would the nereids turn out to just be bait, the sirens the wiry hang-overs of a half-starved, worn-out crew?
When I ran from my former life as a decadent odalisque, I imagined being anything, anything native to the shore…not cheap toxic trash or the phantasmagoria of some sailor’s mind…I wanted to be real.
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
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- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
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- July 2013
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- January 2013
- December 2012
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