Quiet, please, quiet.
Let me sleep.
Let me pull this darkness (this darkness that is still natural in many places of this world) over my face like a black hood wrung in cool water.
Let me be blind inside it.
Let me sleep as deeply as sleepers in the dark regions.
Let me sleep, fists curled like a skinned animal who dreams of the moldy earth, of thick plush fur.
A dream that closes on waking like a heavy door heaved against a beast who wants to tear my bones away from themselves with its jeweled claws.
Why does the phoenix want to garb me in fire? Another pile of ash on my pillow. Phoenix fiery billet-doux. “Things unintelligible, yet understood.”
do you know what but not how?
you will lose the path
in the fog of your emotions.
do not regret the past.
you are the mud in which a stone is sunk.
clear your mind.
pick up the stone.
wetness skeins it like marble, smooth sculpted on
where did you find this artifact?
what you call your life
is how you avoid living.
living–the outrageous adoration, absurd affirmation
of is’ness amidst all-vanish-es.
throw the stone of your heart
into the fire.
it might be an egg or a seed
that must be scorched
before it will hatch.
Odalisque sits at her desk. “WHERE ARE YOU GOING.”
Odalisque steeps her tea. “WHERE ARE YOU GOING. HELLO.”
Odalisque leaps to the window when Hawk or Black Swan or anybird, anybird at all, blessedly arrives in the window to save her from Crow. “WHERE ARE YOU GOING,” says Crow.
“Hello,” says my bird guest friend. “HELLO,” squawks Crow. Shut up Crow! I don’t know where I’m going. I’m in an obelisk for solstice’s sake, and it was a lot of work to get up here. (as portrayed in my movie.) Leave me alone!
Despite the fact that I did not choose Crow’s vocabulary, Owl, in an attempt to be helpful, brought me this: Things to keep in mind when choosing your parrot’s vocabulary.
1. Avoid Profanity.
Profanity is the use of profane language, and profane language is that which is not concerned with religion, unholy because not consecrated, or that which debases what is holy. I was once considered profane, especially as compared to, say, a Madonna. So perhaps I should not try to teach Crow my name, The Odalisque.
2. Stay away from “catch phrases”
It’s always cute when talking birds chime in with something to say, but you want to make sure that what you teach them won’t get old or annoying after a while.
I take a book from my bed and flip the pages. How about:
I would like to step out of my heart, and go
walking beneath an enormous sky.
From you to you I go commanded. In between
the garland is hanging in chance; but if you
take it up and up and up look! All becomes festival!
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror,
which we still are just able to endure.
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.
Is love: a murderer without a knife?
She moves the way clocks move.
I can’t imagine even lovely, ravenous phrases could preserve their dewy hunger if repeated as often as Crow says “Where are you going.” If I teach poetry, will Crow use it sparingly, with the wisdom & ken to perfectly brim a fine distillation into each moment’s goblet?
3. Think long-term!
There are many things that will remain constant in your bird’s life, and these are often the best sources for inspiration when trying to decide on the types of words and phrases that you’d like to add to your bird’s vocabulary. For example, your or your birds name…
CROW! squawks my parrot. ODALISQUE ODALISQUE ODALISQUE! No Crow, you can’t say that it is profane. OBELISK OBELISK OBELISK! Nor do I want to encourage any creature in my care to believe that anything in its life is constant. OCEAN OCEAN OCEAN. UNIVERSE UNIVERSE UNIVERSE. No Crow, all is in constant creative & destructive flux. MATTER MATTER ENERGY! MATTER MATTER ENERGY! I do not know, crow. I do not know. It is best to assume all, all will pass but nothingness, from which materiality and warmth may inevitably emerge.
4. Choose songs/music wisely
It’s best to select songs that are “classics.” Popular choices for many bird owners are nursery rhymes like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and various oldies from the 50’s and 60’s.
This guidance is very intriguing. It reminds me of Beckett who imagined mothers squatting to birth babies into their graves. Nursery rhymes & oldies…everything in between is tedium.
Twinkle twinkle little star how I wonder what you are, up above the sky so high. Like a diamond in the sky…
Crow before he was parrot would definitely have thought of the stars as diamonds, and coveted one for his stash. But Owl would bring us a book on astronomy, show Crow that the stars are luminous bodies of charged particles held together by gravity and fueled by thermo-nuclear fusion, and that would have been that for everybody but Phoenix who would know, as if in ecstatic vision, the nature of heaven.
True singing is a different breath, about
nothing. A gust inside the god. A wind.
5. Avoid alarming phrases.
Even if it seems like a humorous thing to do, there is a genuine risk that your bird could incite a fair level of panic given the right situation.
There are so many things that should incite a fair level of panic, but fail to. Related to number 3 above, perhaps I should teach Crow to regularly incite panic with words that remind me of my impermanence.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING WHERE ARE YOU GOING. HELLO.
Oh, hermetic Crow. Even as parrot, you outpace me.
Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were behind you, like the winter that has just gone by. For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter that only by wintering through it will your heart survive…
…To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb creatures in the world’s full reserve, the unsayable sums, joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.
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.
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
Cans and shells are both abandoned when no longer useful.
One, when empty (by man). One, when full (by glob-footed organisms).
Glob-footed organisms cannot live inside aluminum cans.
Shells do not litter the streets of major cities.
Broken shells can mulch flower beds.
Crushed cans cannot be flower vases.
Neither makes a tasteful ashtray.
Neither illustrates prayers or sells in tourist shops.
Neither is likely to be gilded, to impress ladies at a luncheon party, or to evoke true love.
Either might evoke memories of an ex.
Neither can nor shell should be clutched too tightly to the bosom.
Neither is an apt metaphor for the muse. Neither inspires odes. O cracked bit of shell O crushed aluminum can
And so forth.
The shell, broken, reveals a lustrous encapsulation of roseate dawn. It is pleasing to the thumb.
The can, crushed, is illegible. Its crinkled lip flashes in the sun like a razor.
More sea trash (read bones, candy wrappers, a winnowing basket here).