Last Stop

Self-Deceit #1  (Roma) 1977 – 1978, Artist Francesca Woodman

 

Last Stop


Placated by your parched overtures

Wooed by your smooth-talking tongue
Enticed by devotion
Deserted by emotion

 

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”     *
― Søren Kierkegaard

 

The Kills – “Love Is a Deserter” 


Originally posted January 24, 2016

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Benzodiazepines

Imagine by Sammy Slabbinck

 

Benzodiazepines
Higgledy-Piggledy Sleepwalking

I am allusion, illusion, a figment of beautiful:
yesterday’s forty-ninth parallel, the anniversary
march of one thousand predestined millenniums yet to be.
I am the distance between a lone point and a counterpoint:
righteous red dissidence. When dark, I am the cosmic weight of
an imploding black star and the buoyancy of nothing, the
separation immeasurable, its equivalency:
the gravity of silence — heavier than Uranium,
the element of unfounded intention that eludes the
square seventh face of a cube and the fourth primary color.

 

Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.

 

Gesundheit

The Alligator People — Film Still 1959

 

Gesundheit


Heil. Heil! Herr Alligator! Look at you
and your accumulation of pretty:
all shiny trinkets, sparkling bobbles dressed
in disguise as flesh and bone. Your coos, woos,
escape a deceitful craggy mouthed grin
speaking in sanctimonious tongues, lips
smack: plenitude of servitude. You’re green’s
envy, ego and duality, eyes
slits of gold truth, yet — the rest — lies, lies, lies.
You goose-step in treacherous unison,
two by two, zwei mal zwei, four feet do that
as your arresting heart quips telltale beats,
got-cha, got-cha. Achoo, shoo-shoo, I’m through
with you, you’re best suited tanned and hard-pressed
as some forlorn baggage or lone lost shoe.

 

Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.

 

The Padded Pool

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Boulder, Colorado, 1972-1975

 

The Padded Pool


Birthed from merciful brine
And a primal language of silence
Deprivation soon realized as enduring loss
The warmth of weighted water gave freely
A harbor for emotions: sad and very sad

 

“…she didn’t do a lot more for you than give birth to you. In case you’re wondering, we—the family—were always aware of this, but there wasn’t much we could do…”
— Anon


Two Feet – “I Feel Like I’m Drowning

 

Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.

 

I’m Waiting For You

Yves Tanguy — Je Vous Attends (I’m Waiting For You) 1934

 

I’m Waiting For You

 

“I have always been intrigued by the bizarre landscapes of the French Surrealist Yves Tanguy, paintings that demand a creative response far beyond the standard art historical entry.”
— Mr. Cake

I believe the very talented Mr. Cake to be a mixture of a modern-day André Breton and Balthus, King of Cats, with his well-read sphinxlike demeanor, impeccable eye for art, he’s also the curator of the fabulous, “Cake or Death” site, a place to find all things surreal and all things cake. He approached me to compose a piece for the above painting, Je Vous Attends (I’m Waiting for You). The painting has played such an important part in the personal mythology of Yves Tanguy and his wife, Kay Sage. My poem, Last Call Before You Go, can be found following Mr. Cake’s brief essay, The Dictates of Chance, on Tanguy, Sage and the concept of the chance encounter within Surrealist aesthetics.

 

The Dictates of Chance


The concept of chance was of vital importance to Surrealist aesthetics. Taking as a starting point the beautiful chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella upon an operating table of the Comte De Lautreamont and Stephane Mallarme’s enigmatic dictum that ‘a throw of the dice will never abolish chance’, the Surrealists came to believe that chance was the force necessary to change art, life and indeed transform the world.

Maybe because they were finely attuned to its workings and therefore always on the look-out for its unexpected arrival that chance encounters do seem to have played a disproportionally large role in many a Surrealist biography, especially in the life and works of the two best exemplifiers of Surrealist scorched earth strangeness, Yves Tanguy and Kay Sage.

In 1923 Yves Tanguy was an ex-Merchant Seaman from Brittany leading a rather aimless Bohemian lifestyle in Paris. One day he passed a shop window displaying a painting by Giorgio De Chirico, Le Cerveau L’Enfant (The Child’s Brain). This random, chance encounter had an electrifying, galvanising effect upon Tanguy. He there and then decided to become a painter, despite the fact that he had no formal training whatsoever. It was an inspired decision. Tanguy was possessed of a unique, singular vision that defies all explanation and would greatly influence later Surrealists (especially Dali) and the Abstract Expressionists, notably Pollack and Rothko.

Tanguy’s great contribution was to paint irreal figures that are neither animal, vegetable or mineral, in a painstaking, precise naturalistic fashion, therefore adding to the illusionism of the extra-terrestrial landscapes with their depthless horizons. He would render this strange realm that could be interpenetrated as either a collective memory of the pre-organic origins of life or as a prophecy of the distant future or maybe a mental photograph of the unconscious, obsessively throughout the rest of his career.

In 1938, the wealthy American Kay Sage, who had recently, began to pursue an artistic career after the failure of her marriage visited the International Surrealist Exhibit in Galerie Beaux-Arts. She was so taken by another one of De Chirico paintings, La Surprise, that she bought it and it would remain in her possession until her death. Another painting she noticed and admired immensely was, I’m Waiting For You, by Yves Tanguy. This exposure to the works of De Chirico led Sage to change her artistic direction from semi-abstraction to Surrealism. This change of direction led to a solo exhibition that Tanguy attended and he was so moved by the paintings that he decided to seek Sage out. A meeting was arranged through mutual friends, the result of a series of chance encounters that led to their marriage in 1940 in Reno, Nevada.

They moved to Woodbury, Connecticut shortly afterwards. Their marriage was by all accounts difficult and tempestuous; however Tanguy’s death in 1955 from a stroke devastated Sage. She almost completely stopped painting her own eerie, dread-filled and depopulated surreal landscapes, instead making small sculptures out of wire and bullets.

In 1963 Kay Sage left this poignant and heart-rending suicide note: “The first painting by Yves that I saw, before I knew him, was called ‘I’m waiting for you.’ I’ve come. Now he’s waiting for me again-I’m on my way.” She shot herself through the heart. Tanguy’s friend, the art dealer and brother of Henri, Pierre Matisse scattered their mixed ashes on a beach in Tanguy’s beloved Brittany.

 

Last Call Before You Go


Within a blinding sanguine flash
Escaping the unbridled muzzle of destiny
I find myself riding a scorching bullet,
The train of deliverance, to a place of remains:
Human cairns, les piles de vertèbres
Unrecognizable, yet familiar skinless parts
In this: historic, prehistoric, futuristic,
Post-apocalyptic landscape
With perpetual dinner parties’
Sunsetting shadows: 7 pm
All in search of the multifaceted singular you
Chasing craggy friction, smooth from tracing
A longing desire for all your bigness:
That which fills the heat of any room,
Your fanfare flames a come-hither awareness:
Clarity: the drive for scorn:
Perfection that leads me here
I sense your startling presence
Larger than life, surrounding, smothering
A gyration of hovering stillness
With its annihilating posture: verbal trysts:
Cruelty and misunderstandings:
The heaven on earth I cannot live without:
Effortless drunken brush strokes:
Wire and bullets, forever holding us together
Alas, I have found you: a gaping hole of loss
Collecting plundered eons
And inconsequential landmarks:
The keys to nothing — home to everything

 

Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Remember

Swan, 2017 — Louis Carreon

 

Remember


You enticed with your light
Refused capture in silhouette
Front and center, full throttle
Even the pitch-black feared
The luminescent evil you exuded
Your siren pose
Plié between 3rd and 4th
Positioned your patrons perfectly
Your featureless face
Twisted smile of demeanor:
Paris under the occupation
Cruel tilt to a coveted almond shape
The pulp, bitter and biting
Hid your two left feet well
As it did your religion
Your own form of high yellow:
The Gentile Ashkenazi
You, Eva Braun and Stella Kübler
Kissing cousins
Thought no one would know
The repulsion of caustic betrayal

 

“Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.”
— Arthur Miller


Marlon Brando – “Paul Monologue Last Tango in Paris

 

Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Revival

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963). Photographer Unknown

 

Revival
Death of a Messenger

A never-ending performance
Of the darkest night
Has its swan song
With vapid glee
The black curtain’s enormity
Comes down
To an ovation, withstanding
The joys of life
Culminating in pulpit suits
Hats and bourbon
Decent and indecent
Upright and lipstick
Face down and flat out
Clouds of camphor and hypocrisy
Waft through stale air
As ghosts in need
Slip through cracks
Empty-handed, giftless
Greeting Gods
On the other side of tomorrow

 

“I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems


Sylvia Plath reading ‘
A Birthday Present * *

 

Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.