Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coventry Carol

"Have you seen your mother, girl?
Has she gone away?
Gone away and found the pearl
But the price she paid."

Stone Temple Pilots

The safest most effective way to be harmful in this world is to do it from a distance (there are so many ways to be at a distance). Here's Roger Waters singing about the Bravery of Being Out of Range. It's an exploration of the exploiter. In this world, we're either giving it or getting it. Our grammar precludes that the subject does unto the object, and the object receives what the the subject does. That's our option. In other words, I'm either fucking the world over, or getting fucked by it. Try making love with this world. You won't fit. Even what we call success is just a judgment of how much ass we got. "I came into the world, I saw what I wanted, and I got it." Forget the whole veni vini vici. "I came" says it all. When Jesus said, "When the man becomes the woman and the woman becomes the man," the receiver becomes the giver, the giver becomes the receiver, they are contained within themselves, they are no longer external to one another. I've heard that angels speak to each other in music and tones. Motherspeak, a kind of high-toned sing-song voice used by mothers when speaking to their newborn babes, is done all over earth. Chompsky said there's a universal grammar on earth, a structural comprehension that we are born with, but that theory has been disproved by the Pirahã people in the depths of the Amazon, who sing and chirp like birds. Our structures are not inherent. Our divisions are not inherent. Our me-you-them is created, and makes us act like we're supposed to do the world, or think that the world is supposed to do us. We cry so bad about what is done unto us (from our limited perspective), when really all of our life is what has come to pass through us. We cry, "Oh lawd! I'm empty! I have nothing left! I'm full of holes!" That's the life of a flute. Add anything and the music is ruined. Like Peter Gabriel sings (and probably the Pirahã as well), "I sing through the land. The land sings through me."

This is like... a funeral wake after the Slaughter of the Innocents. That's when all the boys Jesus' age were slain by King Herod's soldiers. The Christmas song Coventry Carol (to hear me sing it, click here) tells that story from a mother's perspective. We've got innocents on earth right now, and they're also being led to the slaughter.

I painted this yesterday. It began as a fascination with this illustration by Alice Russell Glenny, and I wanted to put myself into it. Specifically, I wanted to cry into it. I made the roses pale yellow for my Nana who died a long time ago. She loved yellow roses, and I used to grow them. This piece was originally to speak to the sadness I am feeling in my own summertime of life- that as I tuck the blooming flowers into my hair I grieve. Something. When I finished the face I looked at her and felt distanced- I had created an aseptic mourner. I thought, "Shit! She's an atoning Nazi!" And where did they all go? America! America. What are we doing in America? Killing things. Killing people. Sucking up people's dreams and letting them collapse. My grandfather worked for the steal mill for 30 years and lost his pension because they went broke. As I look at this face it reminds me of the Belle Epoque beauty ideal of Western Culture. How many people got to experience the full fruits of the time? What 1% of the 1% had the harvest of luxurious fabrics and warm lovely homes? What do we build our lives on? For God's sake, what are we doing? I mourn my country and I mourn what I have done to others for the perpetuation of my self-concept. A yearly tragedy that sums up this predicament is Christmas. In order to celebrate the Prince of Peace, we slay millions of animals all over the world, remove their skins, hang them from hooks, chop them up, and eat them. For the same man that said, "Let the children come to me," we kill the children of our Mother Earth- her animals, and then we wish each other peace and love. And I mourn it.

Yet every mourning is a new morning.

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