The Red Photogram
The unplanned for trip began as I stepped back from Ellen Carey’s
red photogram; “The shape of grief is circular,” the book reviewer
wrote of Forest Gander’s new novel; and I wonder that my avidity for
procrastination takes the shape of walking in circles. I stand still before
the red photogram for which I have no words, of relevance. But those
red swirls, they are there, every day, and they make me smile
Especially there in the late winter bone-cleaving days when I begin
to feel out my circle walks, looking out of windows, returning to a
place only to leave. My own Greek chorus. First movements, away
from a mother. Stepping back from a mirror, startled by the absence
of something. Remembering and forgetting, until it becomes me.
The it of absence already staged in the blood.
Burroughs called it “the soft typewriter of the womb” the place where
we begin to make first words. Buffering ourselves from her overloud
heartbeats, I suppose. The better words, says Rimbaud, are in the
silence of color
shadows of geese
flickering ’cross tree trunks
quiet spring morning
So there it is, Art, the ultimate road trip, with rickshaw and naked feet
and kasa strung under the chin while floats a pillow of consciousness
on last night’s dream. A painter friend’s words in an e-mail, “ — the
need to reject the written word/numbers (ego) from our thought
process … When it comes to art — I don’t know anymore,” he says.
Fleeting perceptions, apperceptions. Glory of the everyday of ordinary
things that stay as we pass by them … Those classical Chinese poets,
Wang Wei, Li Po, Han Shan, minimalist in style and so completely
embodied in their endless leaving and returning. The circle.
The first time there is Loss it’s already too late — Loss circulating
in endless loops. You look and wait, look and wait, for your love, your
lost one, to return. The sound of your own blood in your ears when
you are most alone. The sound of the earth all opened up and speaking,
and the mourner, who listens; the underworld starlit darkness of the
body emerging on the horizon of birth
Li Po’s gate
If only one could look inside this dark room of the body. See the quiet,
orderly procession of blood. Contained. Purple. A royal life of its own.
Hear the soft, murmuring canals bloom. Just stand in the sunlight and
close your eyes. Those red swirls, they’ll make you smile.
– Donna Fleischer
Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey
Exhibition Catalogue 2014 Eastern CT State University