Tag Archive | art

conversation with the crow as parrot

calling card crow/parrot

(Why is crow a parrot?)

Where are you going?  Hello.

As far as I can tell I am not moving.  Well, I am, but only because I rest on this planet, which is repeating its one path around the sun.  Each night, when the sun vanishes, I feel sad.  It’s lonely in the obelisk without the sun’s co-habitation, once all you birds tuck your heads beneath your wings and roost, at least until I settle at my desk and set to work on my scrapbook.  Then I forget to be lonely or sad.   Day breaks the enclosing dome of night and I look up with a feeling of accomplishment.

Where are you going?  Hello.

I should get more sleep.   Maybe take a walk on the shore.  Pack up my scissors, throw some buns in my teapot, and head out for some free air.   I feel there is one right time for that walk and that it should lead me to one particular place.  It’s terrible, Crow, for that thought–of one time, one place–fills me with dread.  I do not know what time, what place, and I hovel up here bitter beneath this cosmic tyranny.   I want anytime, anyplace.  I would like the cosmos to operate with more ease, to unfold like the seed-head of a sea-thistle.  I resent being a wheel in this cosmic machine.

Are you?  Hello.

Odalisques are art.   I wanted to be real so I escaped the art in which I was trapped, but still I must make of my world art.  It gets very confusing.   There is a quote by a famous artist, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”  I want to play with the world  like a child.

You?  Hello.

Yes.  My scrapbook is an expedition.  A paper ship on the unconscious deep.

Going?  Hello.

Towards no horizon.  I progress through fathoms of depth and height.

Where?  Hello.

Crow, here is the page I made last night.  What do you think it means?

I show Crow my latest scrapbook page.  I cannot show it to you because it has not yet resolved itself into a single image.  It is holographic, changing with angles of light.  In a forest looking down or at a city looking up or upon a dune looking out?  A figure, his back is to me.  No…he looks right at me, I sit on the ground, no now, behold, his arm reaches out… Crow says: 


ruined valentine

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.

my valentine has a hole in it

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.

–The Odalisque

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I now operate on obelisk time, and today is January 31…one year ago I moved into my towering astronomical clock.  To scald out the old and wring in the new, the birds and I took a bath.  Here the birds are in their bathing caps, I in my flaming sword:

bird bath

You will note that crow showed up as a parrot.  I have no explanation for this; crow delights in incongruities.   I trust that parrot-hood is only a temporary condition intended to confound everybody.  Once we’ve grown accustomed to this guise,  it’ll vanish, like the shadow of the circling bird when clouds occlude the light.

When I started this scrapbook I did not know that my measured and even conversations with the birds would become silly, intense, with fashion shows, flaming pillow notes, cupid costumes, and a very bad day for the black swan.    I had no idea, when I started, what I looked like, or that an accurate depiction of my life required a queerly elaborate picture language.   I discover my voice speaking to you.

Here are my ten favorite pages from the 72 I made this year (click to view):

  1. Beauty in ruin…a conversation with the hawk
  3. The stag & the unicorn
  4. Portraits of the odalisque as a young girl
  5. Learning to wait
  6. My swim-suit
  7. A WOMAN THERE WAS starring Theda Bara
  8. My first letter from imprisoned odalisque, Henriette
  9. Publicity photos from my movie
  10. MY MOVIE!!!!!

Which ones did you favor?

Not fare well, but fare forward, dear voyagers,

–The Odalisque

Fig. 1 (enough) questionnante

A series this week!  On the complex concept, “enough”

[click to enlarge]

[Fig. 1]

[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.]

transparent bar

Fig. 3 (enough) enough

Part 3 of a series this week!  On the complex concept, “enough”

[click to enlarge]

[Fig. 3: Perspective]

enough frayed rope flayed eel


[for years a frayed rope tied to a timber]

[floats in the tide like a flayed eel]


Fig. 16 (enough) shimmer

A series this week!  On the complex concept, “enough”

[click to enlarge]

[Figure 16: Variation]


[Emptiness, she thinks, is the reward of an open heart.]

enough she thinks

Fig. 18 (enough) bleakness

A series this week!  (Read intro here.)

[click to enlarge]



[Fig. 18]


[You were always welcome here, traveler]

transparent bar

enough (definition)

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.

–The Odalisque

Movie Night! Her Greatest Love (scene 1)

In MOVIE NIGHT I wrote about my proclivity for the lost films of Theda Bara.   I just watched HER GREATEST LOVE, a film made in 1917 which is now considered lost.  In this film, Theda played Hazel.

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.

my viewing technology

Here’s scene one!


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:)



(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.)




(Musical interlude.)

(Silence machines begin.)




desert (n) desert (v)

I am thinking about the lion roaring in the enraging desert:


What is passive, immobile, asleep in the heart creates a desert which can only be cured by roaring.

The desert is not in Egypt; it is anywhere once we desert the heart.

Our way through the desert is the awakening to it as a desert, the awakening of the beast, that vigil of desire.

the desert is where the lion lives  our guardian

“The lion roars at the enraging desert”  [Wallace Stevens]

The more our desert the more we must rage, which rage is love.

We fear that rage.  We dare not roar.

greedy paw, hot and sleepless as the sun, fulminating as sulfur, setting the soul on fire.

lion in the desert

Happy Winter Solstice.  The days now lengthen.

Live in the leonine passions of the soul.

–The Odalisque

(text excavation from James Hillman.  Read unexcavated text here from The Blue Fire.)

why does the phoenix (billet 2)

Wake up.  The phoenix staked another billet-doux through my pillow with a splinter of arrowwood.

It is on fire.

Wake up.

Fizzling like a sparkler.

Burning Door

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)

(  OH


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.

Links to:

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


Thank you for looking.  Thank you.

–The Odalisque

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