Archive for the ‘Ryan McGinley’ Category

Dickens December: We should be the Freds who walk this earth

December 10, 2010

“Laura.” Ryan McGinley, 2010.

It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.

(Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Stave Three: “The Second of the Three Spirits.” The narrator is describing Ebenezer’s nephew Fred enjoying the company of his friends.)

I adore Fred. There should be more Freds walking this earth. We should be those Freds.

Music Moment — Nicole Atkins, “Brooklyn’s on Fire!”

July 4, 2010

Portions of this post were originally published on September 26, 2009.

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans, and, to those international friendohs from countries overseas to which our states once belonged as colonies — well, thanks for the memories. Days commemorating war always make me pray for peace. Here’s hoping that all nations can, in the words of the Beatles, come together. Also, twist and shout.

“Brooklyn’s on Fire!”, Nicole Atkins, Neptune City. I like this video here because it is made by someone in Brooklyn who likes Nicole Atkins and the 4th of july and baseball and likely all manner of things on which we could sit around and agree all day. Thank you, stranger! Your video’s view count has been dramatically affected by me since I found this last month!

Nicole Atkins is someone I stumbled over last year or maybe the year before after hearing one of her songs in a commercial and googling adtunes for days to find it. She has a really great, unique sound. She calls her music pop-noir.

She is a lion face, one of my favorite face types (all people look like an animal to me, or a blend of animals). I adore leonine women and I really love that she has a schnoz. It gives a woman character to have a big nose or a gap in her teeth, you know? It puts them that extra step past adorable into asymmetrically one of a kind, infinitely loveable. This goes for all of you. Love what you think are your flaws cause that’s probably the one part of you I seize on and fetishize most. I’m off topic. Back to this song.

Friday nights on the seventh floor
Paper backs on the corner store
Looking over the ledge,
the sidewalk traffic starts to spread

Summer’s begun across the Bay
And no bit of silence remains

Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, la dee da

And the band’s not begun just yet
Fifty names you’re bound to forget
Black and blue on the lakes
Wear badges from happier days
Late in the night, in ’84
Walked in through the old out door

Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, dee da, dee da

This would be my favorite movie if Cameron Diaz and Leonardo di Caprio hadn’t done their best to fuck it up. Bill the Butcher FOREVER.

I’m caught in the way,
of tears from much happier days
When we were young and unafraid,
of stupid mistakes that we made

Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
Ladeeda, la dee da, dee da, dee da, dee da

William Blake Month: Prophecy concluded, or, this is the way the world ends

July 1, 2010

William Blake Month ends today (unless I change my mind), and I’d promised that America: A Prophecy would be continued, so here are excerpts from the rising action and “Finis.”

The terror like a comet,
or more like the planet red
That once inclos’d the terrible wandering
comets in its sphere.
Then Mars thou wast our center,
& the planets three flew round
Thy crimson disk; so e’er the Sun
was rent from thy red sphere;
The Spectre glowd his horrid length
staining the temple long
With beams of blood; &
thus a voice came forth, and shook the temple

That stony law I stamp to dust:
and scatter religion abroad
To the four winds as a torn book,
& none shall gather the leaves;
But they shall rot on desert sands,
& consume in bottomless deeps;
To make the deserts blossom,
& the deeps shrink to their fountains,
And to renew the fiery joy,
and burst the stony roof.

That pale religious lechery,
seeking Virginity,
May find it in a harlot,
and in coarse-clad honesty
The undefil’d tho’ ravish’d
in her cradle night and morn:
For every thing that lives is holy,
life delights in life;
Because the soul of sweet delight
can never be defil’d.
Fires inwrap the earthly globe,
yet man is not consumd;

“Laura” by Ryan McGinley, 2010.

Sound! sound! my loud war-trumpets
& alarm my Thirteen Angels!
Loud howls the eternal Wolf!
the eternal Lion lashes his tail!
America is darkned;
and my punishing Demons terrified
Crouch howling before their caverns
deep like skins dry’d in the wind.

They cannot smite the wheat,
nor quench the fatness of the earth.
They cannot smite with sorrows,
nor subdue the plow and spade.
They cannot wall the city,
nor moat round the castle of princes.
They cannot bring the stubbed oak
to overgrow the hills.

“Wrath” by culcha on the d.a.

Who commanded this?
what God? what Angel!
To keep the gen’rous from experience
till the ungenerous
Are unrestraind performers
of the energies of nature;
Till pity is become a trade,
and generosity a science,
That men get rich by,
& the sandy desert is giv’n to the strong

What God is he, writes laws of peace,
& clothes him in a tempest
What pitying Angel lusts for tears,
and fans himself with sighs
What crawling villain preaches abstinence
& wraps himself
In fat of lambs? no more I follow,
no more obedience pay.

“Blood falls” by Ryan McGinley.

And the flame folded roaring fierce
within the pitchy night
Before the Demon red,
who burnt towards America,
In black smoke thunders
& loud winds rejoicing in its terror
Breaking in smoky wreaths from the wild deep,
& gath’ring thick
In flames as of a furnace
on the land from North to South

I think this is the Tacoma Narrows.*

His plagues obedient to his voice
flew forth out of their clouds
Falling upon America,
as a storm to cut them off
Dark is the heaven above, & cold
& hard the earth beneath;
And as a plague wind fill’d with insects
cuts off man & beast;
And as a sea o’erwhelms a land
in the day of an earthquake;

“Extranas formas aerodinamica” by profundorosso on the flickr.

Fury! rage! madness! in a wind
swept through America
And the red flames of Orc
that folded roaring fierce around
The angry shores,
and the fierce rushing of th’inhabitants together:

The citizens of New-York
close their books & lock their chests;
The mariners of Boston
drop their anchors and unlade;
The scribe of Pensylvania
casts his pen upon the earth;
The builder of Virginia
throws his hammer down in fear.

Then had America been lost,
o’erwhelm’d by the Atlantic,
And Earth had lost another portion
of the infinite,
But all rush together in the night
in wrath and raging fire
The red fires rag’d! the plagues recoil’d!
then rolld they back with fury.

(William Blake, excerpts from America: A Prophecy.)

*Along with the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was still a gruesomely hot topic in the overheard adult conversations of my early childhood in the Sound. I didn’t fully understand what happened in either case but my morbid imagination obsessed over the half-described tragic events and I was terrified of taking the car over the spans from island to island. I used to fold my little hands over my eyes as I sat on the couch in our trailer waiting for my dad to come home and pray he would take his car up on the ferry instead of driving over the bridge, and any loud noises from trucks going over the shabbily paved nearby highway were certainly the rumblings of another volcanic eruption which would bury us all in ash. I guess what I’m saying is I’ve always had an acute overawareness and fear of cataclysmic death. I have no idea why.

William Blake Month: Brooding cares & anxious labors that prove but chaff

June 30, 2010

Quit your job and go on tour.

“Tracy,” Ryan McGinley, 2009.

You recoil back upon me in the blood
of the Lamb slain in his Children
Two bleeding Contraries, equally true,
are his Witnesses against me
We reared mighty Stones!
we danced naked around them:

“Hysteric Fireworks,” Ryan McGinley.
Thinking to bring Love into light of day,
to Jerusalem’s shame:
Displaying our Giant limbs
to all the winds of heaven! Sudden
Shame siezed us:
we could not look on one another for abhorrence.

“Fire Flip,” Ryan McGinley.

O what is Life & what is Man,
O what is Death? Wherefore
Are you my Children, natives in the Grave to where I go

“Hanna in wheatfield in American flag chair,” Nicole Lesser. 2009.
Or are you born
to feed the hungry ravenings of Destruction
To be the sport of Accident!
to waste in Wrath & Love, a weary
Life, in brooding cares & anxious labours,
that prove but chaff.

(William Blake, Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion.)

I do believe Mr. Blake is urging you to tune in, turn on, and drop out.

Paved paradise to etc.

Are you born “…to be the sport of accident and waste in wrath and love a weary life, in brooding cares and anxious labours, that prove but chaff”? No. I have said it before as a personal manifesto and I say again now despite my despondency this month and my dwelling over death and famine, that in the final analysis I do not believe we are born to feed the hungry ravenings of destruction, I cannot take the fatalistic, world-weary view that the average man is born cannon fodder in a long war between obscure forces richer and wider-reaching than we are.

Girl welder, 12, for the Australian Air Force, 1943. National Library of Congress collection on the flickr.

I can’t believe that is God’s plan for any single individual on this earth, no one can have been born for darkness and live only to push a wheel belowdecks to power someone else’s ship. I agree with this poem — shame and fear lead us to these empty lives of capitulation and lonely servitude to ideas forged by whatever money-hungry captain of industry’s self-serving philosophies are en vogue aided by the corrupt leaders of what could be beautiful religions. That is not the intent of our creation, I feel like that cannot be so, and if it keeps getting spread around that it is so, surely enough people are going to snap from their television-enhanced fast food comas and facebook opium haze and start a serious counterargument with words and deeds. I mean, they have to. If they don’t, then, my god, what is the point of existence even.

Oh, bother. It appears between this chain of thought and yesterday’s rants about Nazi propaganda that it is shaping up to be quite a week of Opinions. “I’m just a little black raiiinclouuuud …”

William Blake Month: “a Human fire fierce glowing”

June 25, 2010

“Leah bloodbath” by Nicole Lesser

America faints! enrag’d the Zenith grew.
As human blood shooting its veins all ’round the orbed heaven

Red rose the clouds from the Atlantic in vast wheels of blood
And in the red clouds rose a Wonder o’er the Atlantic sea;

Kate Moss by Ryan McGinley
Intense! Naked! a Human fire fierce glowing, as the wedge
Of iron heated in the furnace; his terrible limbs were fire
With myriads of cloudy terrors banners dark & towers
Surrounded; heat but not light went thro’ the murky atmosphere.

(William Blake, excerpt from “America: A Prophecy.”)

Damn. Sounds like America is in for it, yes? To be continued.

William Blake Month: “The Divine Image”

June 10, 2010

Robert Demachy. “Mignon.” 1900.

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our Father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is man, His child and care.

via smokeandacoke on the tumblr.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

Cairo, Egypt, photgraphed by Philip-Lorca diCorcia for W.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.

(William Blake, “The Divine Image.”)

“All must love the human form — there God is dwelling too.” We say things like this all the time, but consider that Blake wrote in the 1700’s. He prefigured all the poseur Romantics and social reformers, but transcended their work, too. And he really was disgusted by the inequities of life on earth in the Western world at that time.

Ryan McGinley, “Jake.”

Blake writes all the time about how his visions lead him to see that people truly, genuinely, are the same beneath, that plants and animals and even handmade objects hold a universal grain of likeness to people, being all made directly or indirectly by God and inhabited by a hierarchy of spirits, demons, and angels — that everything around us, ourselves and nature and all the things we make, are reflections of God because of our being made in His image.

Ryan McGinley, “Hysteric Fireworks.”

Logically, it followed to him that to raise your hand against these fellow creations was wrong and could not be God’s will; therefore all systems that enforced human governance over one another or intrusion in to nature was against God’s plan and was a sinful conception of man which had nothing to do with redemption — this included most organized religion, education, and politics, all of which he felt were offensive, grasping human attempts to control and oppress one another, which was the same as to try to bully God.

McGinley again — a Morrissey concert.

He really saw with the eyes of his heart: and almost more than anything else he truly did not understand why there would be starvation, child abuse, and especially war. And he knew well enough that he was unlike his countrymen in that way to write poems reminding them that violence and injustice were not the right paths. They all assumed he was crazy, of course. But look at his message, especially his emphasis on religious tolerance (an easy jump for him since he believed all people were equal plus his visions told him all religions had it all jacked up to begin with). It pretty obviously is still relevant and resonant today.

Ryan McGinley, “Fireworks.” He’s my new fave, if you couldn’t tell.

It is a reasonable enough message. If God created us and all things, then we must be peaceful and loving to one another and the animals and natural resources around us, and love them for being reflections of God. It is the only right way to be. So why is it such a challenge, again and again? Everyone claims to want it, so why it is always out of reach is depressing and mystifying. Kind of like how “the one thing we’re all waiting for/ is peace on earth and an end to war” to quote Queen’s “The Miracle.” I know I just went from Blake to Freddie Mercury, but I’m a maverick! Good people quote the Beatles. Great people quote the Beatles, Billy Joel, and Queen. Take it to the bank.