I’m not writing anymore about love, but I did make a Valentine. My valentine has ruins in it. Owl tells me there’s a fetishism for ruins called “ruin porn”. Amidst the outer-world’s compulsion towards youth, development and progress, there is a counter-fascination with what has fallen apart somewhere so unprofitable it is allowed to remain-an aesthetics of inevitable capitulation, a poetics of collapse. The stones that have crumbled, the rotting curtains, the empty rooms, the sunken roofs, all, all are ephemeral garlands upon absence. Absence: the presence of what is no longer present remains, a meta-monument to impermanence.
This valentine reminds me of an early conversation with the black swan:
…Is there a love otherwise made? Of stone?
Its architecture, yes, toppled in weeds,
though an entablature on slipped columns
remains to frame the inorderable sky.
I could think: Marking a grave. Or
Its austere grace! What time cracks falls away
to reveal a more essential beauty.
The ruins memorialize themselves.
Two might still walk among them hand in hand.
“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” Let love, in its ruin, grace forgotten spaces, defy the spirit of our age which points, it would appear, only to annihilation. Its shrill, destructive euphoria spares no room for soul-deepening ruins, lovely and bittersweet.
Happy Valentine’s Day! May your love exemplify grace.
A series this week! On the complex concept, “enough”
[click to enlarge]
[Fig. 1 DETAIL]
[With words a beautiful, strange creature, all scales and song and shimmering fins, I bring out of the deep]
[for you to give you con ]
[The beast sings in the air then submerges. The sea folds over it.]
Each time I publish a scrapbook page, I feel I toss it from my high window. Its conceptual origami catches an earthly wind. I watch it disappear, blown far from my obelisk’s shore into a virtual populace. Over a frantic boulevard it floats, settling on a concrete median beneath a floriferous tree, there on the packed dirt amongst chicken bones, leaves, plastic cups. How is it it you reached down to pick it up? How is it, amongst fumes, glare, pedestrians in tight pants, honking horns (so many dangerous vehicles) you even noticed my scrapbook page?
If my scrapbook page pleases you, orange stars and plus signs shower my desktop (like like like), confetti tossed in friendly appreciation from you, out in that fleet & fleeting world.
I am grateful for your appreciation.
One year ago today I flung my first scrapbook page out into the world–a piece of notebook paper with some scribbled words (read it here.) I’ve found an earlier piece of notebook paper, excavated and illustrated it with figures about the complex concept “enough.” I’ll publish these figures + torn text one-at-a-time this week.
To start, I give you a graph, and a definition, of the word “enough”:
Is it enough? I think so. I think you are. Enough.
Thank you for looking. Thank you.
This is my favorite Bara movie so far. I may transcribe more of the scenes. In my opinion, years of non-existence have increased this film’s power–it seemed so relevant to me today! Changes in viewing technologies between 1917 and my obelisk also deeply affected my experience of the film…in this case, my experience of the plot. The inter-stellar resonance introduced by the image transmission process became the epic content of the film.
Here’s scene one!
HER GREATEST LOVE
SCENE: Exterior of library on small-town Main Street.
(HAZEL, eyes upon earth, arms around books, approaches.)
(Her worsted wool coat, blue, true blue, because she is.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL looks up, revelatory lustre of dream-dark eyes which see which see–)
(–gang of her peers in which a white-eyed BOY laughs, his arm around a pony-tail GIRL. His coat? Blue, like forsaken, because HAZEL is.)
(White-eyes spy HAZEL, quickly evade.)
(Jocular jostling. Elbows jab ribs. Pony-tails spray fiber-optic fountains of static.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL’s face, unable to appear OK.)
(Meanwhile, the library portico where vestal virgins bear lamps to light the way.)
(Meanwhile, arithmetic problems of distance, angle, pace, demand immediate solution.)
(HAZEL, eyes upon earth, continues toward library.)
(Obstacles. Boy legs stuck in soft shoes, pocket-books full of mirrors, the glare of lip-glossed smiles. Pony-tails hum with electrical potential, wisps stray from rubber bands, filaments for electrocution.)
(HAZEL, at last upon library steps, stumbles. Her books spill.)
(Behind her, chirping girls barred and flickering like a television frequency intermittently received.)
(Above HAZEL, the library pediment, engraved:)
HAPPY IS THE MAN THAT FINDETH WISDOM
AND THE MAN THAT GETTETH UNDERSTANDING
(HAZEL gathers books, feels absence of white-eyed boy’s arm upon her.)
(Where arm is absent, bruises swell to welts which pop, pierced by sticky, keratinous extrusions that tunnel out of her back. Bow-shaped shafts. Unfurling to horrific span & splendor.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL’s eyes shudder shut as wings test themselves: open, closed.)
(Passionate shame. Ludicrous endowment. Appallingly displayed.)
(Meanwhile, the eternal heaps of uncataloged books, frenetically searched by the light of stars.)
(Meanwhile, consonants excised from penciled passages, admitting nebulous vapors amongst wide a’s, arched e’s, long o’s.)
(Meanwhile, forgotten charts of starry populations fall from flipped pages: monsters, beasts with wings from where, from whence they soon shall come…)
(HAZEL beneath pediment, monstrous winged beast, bereft of white-eyed boy.)
(BOY disconnects himself from pony-tail GIRL, hands trembling as if he would weep.)
(Compacts rapidly issue from pocket-books. Crystal blue eyes retro-flash signals through the recesses of mirrors into the far regions of space.)
(Pony-tail GIRL tilts her head coyly, smiles all mother-sweet, enforcing blithe, oblivious complacency.)
(A car, chrome-cased like a spaceship, approaches at a super-sonic speed. All pony-tails flare in a unified direction, aligning the inescapable magnetic field.)
(Ionic dusts assemble, obfuscating judgment and vision.)
(CLOSE-UP: One half of BOY’s face twitches, involuntarily.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL opens her eyes.)
EVIL FORCES CONSPIRE.
THE EMPIRE IS DIVIDED.
ONLY LOVE CAN TOPPLE THE IMPENETRABLE WALL.
EARTH’S ONE REMAINING HOPE.
(Silence machines begin.)
END OF SCENE
Wake up. The phoenix staked another billet-doux through my pillow with a splinter of arrowwood.
It is on fire.
Fizzling like a sparkler.
Billets hard to hold through waking. They sizzle at the edge of dream. Wake up. They burn themselves out. Pillow ash brings intense, peripheral feelings, mis-sequenced, uncertain, numinous.
(click to read the first billet-doux)
BURNING DOOR. IN AND OUT AND IN
LET US BE WITH EACH OTHER
THE DAYS COUNT THEM]S[?]
IT IS NICE TO BURN
INTOXICATING THE LIGHT
One of you, fair readers, wrote: “Odalisque, your obelisk is very tall, and you say it is made of obsidian–a glass-like volcanic rock–with ‘no chinks for the intrepid to grip‘. So how did you get into it?”
I rested my chin in my palm and got all misty-eyed, gazing towards an empty sea.
Why do I hate the ocean? What good are bird friends? Why does every odalisque need a fantastic coat? I, The Odalisque, reveal all (even my head) in my first very low-budget movie (shot entirely on scrapbook paper): everything I remember about HOW I GOT INTO THE OBELISK.
Rated X for cerebral exposure and unexpected violence.
See the movie poster
See the publicity photos
Read about my heads
Read about my coat
My feelings about the ocean
How I avoid type-casting
BONUS FEATURE: my SWIM-SUIT
Thank you for looking. Thank you.