and eyes refuse sight.
can be posed,
nor answers given. Light is
erased. Dust and blood.
The news we see now is overwhelmed with US–our own politics are so chaotic and overwhelming that what is going on in the rest of the world seems almost to have disappeared. This Headline Haiku was done by me months ago, from what seems to have been a different lifetime of everyday concerns and headlines.
But people are still dying in, and fleeing from, Syria. And the world still seems paralyzed in response.
My two previously posted Headline Haikus about Syria are currently appearing in the exhibit “We the People: Political Art in an Age of Discord” at the Barrett Art Center, in Poughkeepsie, NY. All the work in the show is posted online here; Trump is definitely there, but not always front and center.
Out of sight
eyes and ears closing
out of mind
desperate lost abandoned
Is this will divine?
Politics is local, but we are connected in humanity and survival with all the peoples of the world. We should not forget that.
A Hard Rain
has fallen shadowed
by endless endings, ghosts both
multiplied and lost
Yesterday Michael Kimmelman, in a feature article in the NY Times, noted: “Truth be told, no sane person wants to see these images….What’s happening in Aleppo is almost unbearable to look at….
Bana looks us straight in the eye and asks us to save her, please.
We have done nothing to help.
The very least we should do is look back.”
I’ve been working slowly on this embroidery, a companion to the first Syria headline haiku I did, because these images are hard to look at, hard to draw. The first piece, above and below, was done over a year ago, September 2015.
We can turn our eyes away, but that will not make Aleppo disappear.
When I saw this story on the front page of the New York Times in September, it gave me a shiver of recognition.
cut with perilous question:
Is This Life?
In August of 2009, a similar story also appeared on the front page of the Times. That one gave me a double take: one of the soldiers pictured at the grave of a comrade was a young man who grew up across the hall from me, who used to babysit for my children. The 1451st Transportation Company, home from Iraq, had experienced 4 suicides among its 175 soldiers in the space of a year.
“The ‘business as usual’ attitudes of the past are no longer appropriate,” said an Army spokesman at the time.
Fast forward to 2015. The Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, home from Afghanistan: 13 suicides in the seven years since deployment. Four in 2014.
“For years leaders at the top level of the government have acknowledged the high suicide rate among veterans and spent heavily to try to reduce it. But the suicides have continued…”
There is no antidote to the horrors of war.
The elder George Bush now claims that his son was ill-advised about the nature and cost of going to war in the Middle East by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Small comfort for the men and women who were sent into the maelstrom, whose lives can never be returned to the normal of “before”.
Waving flags and solemn speeches and marching in parades won’t bring them back.
memory fails to
stop enduring grief
face death alone
Two weeks ago the New York Times published a chart explaining some of the ways civilians have died in the Syrian War. A little research online shows that in modern warfare it is estimated that 85-90% of all casualties are civilians (June 2014 American Journal of Public Health). War also wreaks havoc on the environment, leading to more death.
Some estimates of civilians killed in recent and ongoing conflicts:
Syria 200, 000
Sierra Leone 70,000
There are not enough tears to encompass all this sorrow.
This new ground: where are
the paths for technology
itself and how now?
Once again, a ubiquitous ad campaign, this one by Hewlett-Packard, caught my eye and got me thinking. This page, from “Bits”, a technology section of the NY Times, announced that “the future belongs to the fast”.
Obviously, they’ve never read Aesop.
What do I want in MY future? More technology or more trees?
Trees grow slowly, adapting themselves to their surroundings. They need a healthy environment to thrive. They are in it for the long term, and the nourishment they give back from what they take in provides life for generations to come.
Technology does not consider or care about context. Corporations are profit-making machines. They want the most they can get right now. The court says they are people: “people” who are greedy, rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, and without morals or integrity, I’d say. (Or was that politicians?…) But I digress.
Should we be gifting our future to “the fast”? Or should we be planting trees and saving the web of life that is our home?
Once again, the words for the haiku came from headlines in the newspaper section where the ad appeared. Arrangement by me. Advertisement by Hewlett-Packard and the NY Times. Stitched tree over ad by me. And you can see my past Headline Haiku here: https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/?s=headline+haiku
After Possible Cultural Contact
Whenever an opportunity appears to incorporate an idea I’ve been thinking about–well, I’m all for it.
Starbucks to the rescue again.
So: I wanted to take a crumpled paper and stitch on the folds and see what happened. Crumple controversial Starbucks ad, smooth it out, embellish with black and white stitching. More random art….I like it.
As to the controversy: I think the desire to talk about race is a sincere one. And necessary. But asking baristas to discuss tangled issues with customers already late for work who haven’t yet had their caffeine fix…hmm. What could go wrong?
On the other hand, a coffee shop in the Bronx which was part of a Parsons thesis project somehow successfully incorporated the issues of race and class and gentrification into its reason for being. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/nyregion/before-starbucks-a-south-bronx-cafe-used-coffee-orders-to-talk-about-race.html?emc=edit_ur_20150330&nl=nyregion&nlid=59959181&_r=0 ) Perhaps it’s not a problem best addressed on a corporate level.
Race. Where to have this conversation? How to begin?
At least the Starbucks campaign produced one definite result: people are talking about talking about it.
And it gave me a chance to make some art.
art: crumpled and stitched Starbucks ad from NY times
haiku: randomly chosen headline words from same section of newspaper
“On the clear understanding
that this kind of thing can happen,
Shall we…? (at least) dance?”
invitation courtesy of Rogers and Hammerstein
I start this and wrap.
My matters overlap:
Judith Scott clearly had a rich and singular inner life. She just needed the right key to open it, the right means to express it.
all sculptures discover
opaque, parallel worlds
live beyond and speak
Born with Down syndrome in 1943, Judith was raised by her family, which included her fraternal twin Joyce, until the age of seven. At that time, her deafness unrecognized, she was mistakenly diagnosed with severe retardation. It was recommended that she be institutionalized and she remained in an Ohio state hospital for 35 years.
In 1986 Joyce decided to remove her sister from the hospital and become her legal guardian. Judith was relocated to California, where she first lived with her twin’s family, and then moved to a care home nearby.
The stimulus for her artistic birth came through the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland. Founded in 1974 by Elias Katz and Florence Ludins-Katz, the Center focuses on giving disable adults the time and space to create.
From colors to play.
How soon it must speculate
out of what. Which is.
Judith began sculpting during a fiberarts class at the Center. She took found objects and wrapped them with yarn or fabric, and continued this work with great concentration for the remaining 18 years of her life.
Seeing these sculptures is a totally different experience from looking at a photo of them. As always, scale. And because they are three-dimensional pieces with a great variation in texture, and often, color, being able to actually walk around each object is an important part of “seeing” them.
Judith Scott’s work speaks to me of something very primal, the urge to layer and embellish, to make totems, amulets, magic from the matter that surrounds us. Some of her wrapped figures were echoed eerily in the Egyptian mummies also exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum.
As the curator points out in one of the notes about the show, it’s impossible to know or reconstruct Judith’s intentions or thought about these works. But they do reflect a vision that encompasses the contradictions and mysteries of existence.
And the story of Judith Scott makes me reconsider the assumptions we make about not only people who don’t communicate in a way we consider “normal”, but about all of the web of the world. Just because we haven’t found a way to see it, hear it, acknowledge it, understand it…doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Don’t old. Leave new. Must
without largely as something
including. And also.
Joyce Scott, Judith’s twin, continues to advocate for people with disabilities.
The Creative Growth Art Center continues to acknowledge in a positive way the insights and visions of disabled adults.
And Judith’s Scott’s work will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum of Art until the end of March.
Poems composed with help from the NY Times arts section and haiku and poem generators.
Death seizes like fire.
Bombs reach inside:
The dead wind questions.
Yoko Ono begins 2015 with a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times which is a rather cryptic call for World Peace, invoking, among other things, elephants and solar panels.
She’s right about one thing though: we have to start with ourselves, our own actions and words.
And who (meaning me) could resist those eyes?
As to the headline haiku: I think I’m becoming more attuned to the quirks of poem generator (http://thinkzone.wlonk.com/PoemGen/PoemGen.htm); we’re collaborating well.
See also a more coherent plea for world unity, posted by Aware and Fair: http://awareandfair.com/2015/01/05/the-trap-of-being-divided-and-conquered/
And you can see my first collaboration with Yoko here:https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/headline-haiku-imagine/
The cold assassin
late remembers the blood. Why
does the photo weep?
Words from headlines in the Daily News and amNewYork. Arrangement by Poem Generator (http://thinkzone.wlonk.com/PoemGen/PoemGen.htm) and me.
Death by gun.
Every day, 88 people die by gun violence in the United States.