“He’s changed!” said Grandpa Joe, peering down through the glass wall of the elevator.
“He used to be fat! Now he’s thin as straw.” Grandpa Joe on Augustus after the pipe,
Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
As the adventurous person talks on, I am struck by a sense that they are confident and unperturbed by minor setbacks. I find myself specifically interested in the banal logistics of what it means to be that way, more than being interested in their actual stories. I feel that there’s no way for me to think cleverly about what it means to live an interesting life, or what it means to be fluid and graceful as you move through the world. Continue reading “Essay by Rosa Jones”→
The following is a brand new poem written for The Meadow, my bdsm themed poetry collection about my time in the world of bdsm as a young woman. I wrote this piece as well as the Reader’s Guide I published below to enhance your pleasure and understanding of the text. Order your own Meadow at apeppublications.com.
In the contemporary art world, it is apparent that art suffers from a perpetual crisis of meaning. Since the collapse of great cultural signifiers, the role of the artist is no longer seen as being at the forefront of revealing truth or informing culture. Rather, artists are the ones rummaging among the ruins, picking at and scavenging dead cultural signifiers, or kicking them aside to pursue a course of pure unencumbered self-exploration, only one that is stultified and cemented-in by reified identity-categories; but to what end or final terminal point does art itself reach when the symbols shatter? It is a certain attribute of the postmodern age that art, from its creation, display and execution, is anything at all which can be seen through the aesthetic lens. If art is everything then (like Arthur Danto suggestion) it is simultaneous nothing. So where does this leave the questions that drive headlong into the heart of existence itself, such as the nature of death, love, sexuality and metaphysics?
In spite of the denials and scoffing of the dower, cynical and chic nihilist art world, that metaphysical element of existence itself is the linchpin from which we can even think about the two primarily lurid fascinations contemporary art is fixated on, that being sexuality and death. So why is metaphysics, the ecstasies and haecceities of religion, the terrible and precarious beauty of belief in the wake of the absolute so glaringly absent in contemporary art?Perhaps the spiritual never left the art world, but was forced to take on numerous, inverted and even covert forms. it is also apparent that the nature of the Feminine itself is also another subject of obsession in the work of art, which brings us to our main topic of exploration, the once forgotten (but recently revived) works of Ana Mendieta; Cuban born performance, sculpture and instillation artist who worked in Iowa and then New York (till her tragic, untimely and notorious end allegedly at the hands of her artist husband Carl Andre), Mendieta embodied the postmodern artist at once in search of not only identity and expressions of the feminine, but the ritualistic and mystical. Hence Through a review of her famed Silueta or “silhouette” series, we shall discover a deep aesthetic meditation on not only sex and death, but a revival of the spiritual in postmodern art. We shall also cautiously venture away from the insipid and ubiquitous interpretation of her work through the lens of contemporary identity politics, and instead focus squarely on the spiritual elements of her oeuvre. Continue reading “Burnt Flowers Fallen: Sex, Death and Postmodern Re-Sanctification of the Feminine in Ana Mendieta’s Silueta Series (1973–1980), by Giovanni Pennacchietti”→
“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” – Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky.
Martin Amis once claimed that writing sex scenes produced only two results: comedy or pornography. Perhaps the great insight of Philip Roth was to combine these elements. At the other end of things, we are confronted with a similar problem: how to write death. This was a problem that Roth never tackled in his writings – unless one counts the social death associated with being transmogrified into a tit.
What Amis is getting at is that there are certain subjects writing fails to capture. Things that form the very fabric and preconditions of our existence, that remain uncapturable in a way that describing, say, a living room does not.
A sample page from Crow Carriage, an annotated poetic horror novel set in a Victorian English seaside village. This is the format of the Crow Carriage book, a sonnet with an expansive annotation that tells a story in prose below (the same format as my book Flutter available at my website and Twist In Time).
Human beings have a proclivity for interpreting their experiences through a dualistic lens. Maybe it has something to do with the hemispheric structure of our brains; or perhaps, it’s simply because we’re stimulated by the novelty of contrast. Whatever the reason, we can be certain that since time immemorial we have sought to make sense of the world through binary models of interpretation. Binaries act as information filters by simplifying complexity down to its most essential elements; also, the bridging and combining opposing differentials can potentially stimulate new avenues of creative thought. If they are given over to representation, binaries perform a symbolic function by embodying multiple information sets within a unified aesthetic.Continue reading “Thanatos, My Lover, by Alex Amos”→
The greens, the greys, the ocean waves—together cross.
Enveloped within infrastructure, like an orb with swirling insides: the waters settle in the center as trees surround them. Three oceans connect through a narrow river; these oceans huddle close. The architecture: high-rise. Sky-high, arching over the oceans, shielding them. The buildings reach out to one another through pathways (connected, like the oceans)—and these know no time. Similar to skip travel, almost. Each piece in this machine of a home fits and functions as planned, always.
The fresh breeze, the silvers, the tides—these are what make up home, and yet, home would be incomplete without its inhabitants. This Realm has always been known for its residents’ hyperosmia: heightened olfactory senses. Other neighboring Realms are known for other things. Hyperosmia plays a vital role in the circulation of energy.
All this Realm’s energy is generated from its very own oceans. There are the tides: natural, relatively predictable, but insufficient and intermittent (the oceans cherish their quiet time, too). There is the concentration of salt: with hyperosmia, energy management poses no challenge. In other words, apart from the tides, the oceans must have an exact percentage of salt for the energy to be distributed evenly in the Realm. An exact percentage, a very specific scent. Each piece in this machine of a home fits and functions as planned, always.
Amidst distinct realms, here lies Elesphal.
The Oliques and Their Ancestral History (Log A.0028)
Elesphal was once led by the Scentress for ages and ages as tales go. Essentially, she was the founder; the scholars of the Realms speak of her oneness with nature and how she foresaw the need for Elesphal to live upon such providence.
The Scentress began, along with a few others of her time, to construct the Elesphal of now, from its architecture to its energies. She is the sole reason for the inhabitants’ hyperosmia; from her the idea of mastering the sense came about and hence, her name.
However, since her passing, the Olique family—the Scentress’ descendants—had taken over. The Oliques maintain order in and ensure the needs of Elesphal. All have equal roles: mother Morea takes the general governance over the Realm, father Lesthe takes interactions with the other Realms, older brother Iressen takes infrastructure management, sister Midence takes energy monitoring, and younger brother Alsgne takes nature development.
Even in the seamless machine of Elesphal there exists widespread rumors of the Scentress. As indicated in the records, she has transformed into an ancestral ghost, roaming around Elesphal, soul stuck for reasons unknown. As much as all inhabitants sand the Olique family would like to further study this and assist in sending the Scentress to fulfill herself into a higher, more peaceful being, everyone fears what she might do to them or their Realm. She later on became detached from the residents after achieving hyperosmia herself, tales tell.
The Scentress Herself (Log C.0147)
The oceans are off, Midence mutters.
All seems well to me, sister, Iressen assures her.
I agree with brother. It might just be your nose, sister, Alsgne has a light laugh.
Midence ignores her little brother, looks away. Had all really meant well, her nose should not be twitching as it is now, should it? Midence tries asking around, but to no avail; the rest of the inhabitants seem fine. Not even her mother and father side with her.
Midence sets her eyes on the oceans once more; she tears away from the waters almost immediately, the scent too powerful for her to even look.
If the oceans are unwell, might this lead to overconsumption, and possibly ruin Elesphal? The worry rings in Midence’s heart. She leaves her brothers and rushes to the records hall, in hopes that the scholars might shed light onto this disruption. As quick as she can, she goes through any and every log in her immediate sight—she fears no time can be wasted.
Midence, nearly drowned in all the books, discovers an eccentric dent in the brick walls. When she touches the dent, a slip of paper falls into her hands and it reads:
If someone were to call for me aloud, or if these very lines were to be found out,
I assure you—have no doubt:
Visiting one, you have my blessings. And now, to you, I shall call out.
Midence resumes her research to look for more answers. She finds that those lines are a message from the Scentress herself. Further research tells Midence that the Scentress, at certain circumstances, chooses to appear to whoever calls for her or discovers that particular message. The scholars inferred that the Scentress appears to the chosen in either episodes of erratic voices and visions or through her unique aura projected onto ordinary objects in the Realm.
Never had Midence feared knowledge until this moment. The Scentress might—oh, the thought alone is awful, Midence winces—play around with her, haunt her, torment her. There is no way to rewind, and Midence is well-aware of that fact. She continues on, averting the ocean crisis while convincing her kindred of the Scentress’ words.
I’ve never heard of this before, Iressen says.
The scholars might have made mistakes, too, sister, Alsgne taps his finger on his chin.
And in those moments of skepticism, obscurities arise: glitches, bright sparks appear before Midence’s eyes. At first only she was directed by the Scentress, then the latter began making contact with Iressen and Alsgne as well. Obscurities—yet clearly of the Scentress’ mark—and other times the most ordinary objects in the oddest of ways: tree branches intertwining, reaching out to them, intertwining, and repeat, and more. The three siblings share the same fright in the beginning. Her motives incomprehensible beyond compare, they believe the Scentress made her presence a curse for having found her message, a supposed secret.
Midence continues with the oceans. Moment after moment of the Scentress’ calls upon the three, at long last, she appears fully to the siblings.
“Visiting one—and her company—you have my blessings.”
She is…at best would be to say: light, albeit a dim one.
A silent nod, a greeting from her to the three. The Scentress proceeds to explain the behavior of their oceans:
“Our marine energy has been fluctuating—too strong or too weak for the established scent—due to the lack of light. Have you ever considered the light?”
The three shake their heads in sync.
“Elesphal, truly, and I discovered this only upon my passing, is a world of light. Elesphal…comes from light sphere, you see? For our Realm to continue with its marine energy at normal levels, we must intersect it with our innatelight capacity. Both energies must work alongside each other, yet this light energy has been neglected for so, so long. And that is one of my deepest regrets as the Scentress—not having utilized our truth.”
The three siblings look at the Scentress in awe, still trying to process her words.
“This architecture is my fault. Too completely enveloped, trapped, shunning ourselves of our open sphere and the oceans that yearn to sparkle.” The Scentress looks upward, then down in dismay. “Midence, and Iressen, Alsgne: you have always been doing well—the Oliques truly never fail. And so I must ask of your assistance to set this all anew.”
“Elesphal has,” she tries to disguise her brokenness with soft sobs, “it has become a machine, all too rigid. We directed our focus to the oceans…if we do not solve this, I foresee the oceans may lose their power and Elesphal will, in turn, fall.”
“Here, visiting ones,” the Scentress says and this time, faint and friendly glitches surround them. “What we must do is make use of both light and waters. With the warmth of direct sunlight, we will utilize the temperature of the surface of the waters. In other words, visiting ones—”
“Now, not only the scent matters, but the heat from the light as well,” Midence interrupts.
“Indeed, indeed,” the Scentress smiles.
Elesphal, with the guidance of the Oliques, turns anew: the architecture opens up, allowing light to spread onto the oceans. The energies return to the usual, but with a faint—warm—change.
Elesphal lives with the ocean and the light, now a true home to its inhabitants, to the Scentress, to itself.
The Scentress to the Olique Children (Hidden Log)
Every exhale is an act of devouring space and time.
Now, it is one hundred percent clear. Absolutely.
Visiting ones, here I must send my deepest thanks, and bid my farewell. I shall rise.
The ancestral spirit of the Scentress disperses and brightens, light above Elesphal. She is finally fulfilled into a higher being.
The Scentress is dearly missed by the inhabitants of Elesphal. Scholars say she makes appearances from time to time, to those who call out to her, or to those whom she wishes to call out to.
⑆ka⑉t⑇ is a BFA Creative Writing student very much into unreality. She tries to channel unreality through her works and her fashion. She can be found as typeflux on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.
After Morticia Addams describing Wednesday’s role model (“Wednesday’s great-aunt Calpurnia. She was burned as a witch in 1706. They said she danced naked in the town square and enslaved a minster .. but don’t worry. We’ve told Wednesday: college first.”)
Young girls require a patron saint — aunt’s
abysmal ashes antiquate entwined,
Massachusetts grave, with God’s servant
whom she enslaved. Impious mind
in clerical cravat a town square dance
(performed in only raven plaits) bewitched Continue reading “Womannotated – Calpurnia”→
. . . at seven o’clock in the evening, the light begins to fade and anguish begins. The light marks the frontier of something new, a border more dangerous than that of noon. This is the time of day when it becomes clear who is happy with life, and who can’t settle into it. At hotels and restaurants the waiters’ shift changes. For photographers it’s the magic hour when one can capture the most beautiful glow. Rohmer watched the green ray appear. Tanizaki set about penning his treatise in praise of shadow. This is the time it Continue reading “at seven o’clock in the evening by Jessica Sequeira”→
Καρδιά. Kardiá. The heart. We think of it ruling emotion, when it was the ancient physician Galen who thought the liver was where passions lay. Maybe this is truer than we think—I go back again and again to the idea of drinking to countermand heartbreak, drowning one’s sorrows. Diana Vreeland telling the story of how Clark Gable locked himself in a room with a case of whisky after the death of Carole Lombard, Jean Rhys’ protagonists—the grimy, hard-learned wisdom of the café and those endless fines, pretending to be light-hearted when all the while you feel it throbbing, on fire in your throat; the Sisyphean act of swallowing beats as you drink your memories…