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Omphaloskepsis Blog

Started a new painting, painted all day

Feb 20, 2010


This is for the Equador Bianal. All of my others are too big and the largest format allowed in any direction is 63” so I am forced to paint a new, smaller painting. It was difficult to find an image in the series that the viewer could still get in the water with and be a smaller painting (sorry for the poor grammar...tired).

Anyway. Working on titles. Here are my four choices. I’ll take your votes please!
and soon I shall know I was talking to my own soul
Nothing of us remains, almost nothing.
I am whatever beast inhabits me
Not in silence, but restraint.

The first from Adrienne Rich
That conversation we were always on the edge
of having, runs on in my head,
at night the Hudson trembles in New Jersey light
polluted water yet reflecting even
sometimes the moon
and I discern a woman
I loved, drowning in secrets, fear wound round her throat
and choking her like hair. And this is she
with whom I tried to speak, whose hurt, expressive head
turning aside from pain, is dragged down deeper
where it cannot hear me,
and soon I shall know I was talking to my own soul.

(I like how this ties into Forgetting and Remembering)

The second and third are from Charles Simic
The woodpecker goes beating a little drum.
The shadow of the hyena blackens my face.
In my legs which are to be judged harshly,
And my hands with their false fury,
The bones lull each other tenderly.
I am with all that shivers,
All that hangs limp and without life.

It rains toads. My blood runs
Past dark inner cities on fire.
I climb into deep wells,
Rock bottoms and bone bottoms
Where gall of my birth steams.

Things slip out of my grasp,
Other things come to a quiet end.
This is my song. Nothing of us remains,
Almost nothing. I am whatever beast inhabits me.

When the rain turns into snow
Every beast shall see its track and wonder.

The fourth is from Marianne Moore
My father used to say, “Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow’s grave
or the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self-reliant like that cat–
that takes its pre to privacy,
the mouse’s limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth–
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint.”
Nor was he insincere in saying, “Make my house your inn.”
Inns are not residences.

(I think the best of the three poems, and both this and the first remind me of my homes, living in Harvard Square and on the Hudson)

Category: Painting

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