Spectre

She is there, walking the sea walls, endless array of black, coats, pants, dresses, and the flashes of red, the ribbon and feather in her black felt hat; or the whiteness of her face against her black hair and the lurid red lipstick.

When she who is a spectre, who is a vision, the invisible rendered visible, a hallucination without reality but a guiding perception of the self, whose look freezes us into self-portraits, whose look turns us into sculptures of death from which the beating warmth of our blood cannot escape, when she looks at us, our unblinking eyes:
The straining eye always resembles an eye of the blind, sometimes the eye of the dead, at that precise moment when mourning begins: it is still open, a pious hand should soon come to close it; it would recall a portrait of the dying.*
Medusa would immortalize us as art. The Gorgon is the muse whose terror petrifies us would we but look upon her venomous, spitting face.

We are no more than statues to the woman in black walking the sea wall, her hair, its tendrils and curls coiling in the salt spray. When we are marble, the pale green veins in the rock, we are bloodless, art. Upon whom she splatters red paint the colour of her fingernail polish: blood, the alabaster skin.

The soul which inclines towards meaning in the fire of life, silenced. Art takes us beyond suffering; the Gorgon creates a stage of unmoving characters who are her silent companions. She laughs at my drained creativity; I know this woman. The blood drains from my lips: I am silenced.

I, mute.

Unspeaking.

Pushing against the seawall with my inner lashing waves. Tears of salt.

Her parrot, cinnabar and virid feathers, mocks, repeating endlessly the soulless words that echo on the sea spray while she laughs.

Don't ask why. Why is there cruelty? Who knows? It is; we are.

I want to become a tidal wave but I withdraw.

How can I describe the figure of jealousy, of derision?

What is jealousy? Who feels it? How do we act from this feeling?

Is jealousy the overweening desire to upstage the other?

To cast them into stones of silence?

I evade her stony glance
with questions.



*Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 57.

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