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Friday, July 12, 2013

The Song of 81 Poems

The "Song of 81 Poems" is a work in progress, an experiment in weaving composing and performing ritual poetry.

Ultimately it will consist of 81 poems, woven multidimensionally from Muse Poems I  and Muse Poems II which were composed between 2006 and 2011.

These poems resulted from collaborative paintings made with models, who served as companions in a ritual of poetic 'listening', and helped in the composition of poetry by choosing words at random, listening for the sounds they made, and putting them in order on pieces of cardboard. 

The mythology exists in every human being alive, and so could be contacted, and given reign to 'compose' subconscious content.

As ritually composed works, both the Muse Poems, and the 81 Songs, are rule driven compositions. They are works in progress. Each is a ritual that is performed by reading. There were rules for composition, and there are rules for changing and altering the works. It is very tempting to 'edit' these works, with conscious 'mind'. But this is not the purpose of the project. My other writings are 'mind' driven but in these works I perform a ritual process, the rules of which are the only vehicle into form. I render the results here on the blog without attachment to outcome.

At some point in the future I'll write a piece detailing these rules of composition. But to those that are interested now I'll say that they are very much the same kinds of procedural steps taken when performing a ritual of any kind. Rituals cannot be changed, or shortened arbitrarily.

Some changes happen naturally in spoken language. For instance if a performer can't avoid making a mistake, that is allowed. The phrase, 'He gave then it to her', read repetitively, will reorder itself and become 'He then gave it to her.' In time the adverb may move forward again, yielding 'Then he gave it to her'. Eventually, 'then' falls off the sentence altogether. The simple statement 'He gave it to her' has enough immediacy to render the word 'then' redundant.

Ritual however insists on order. In a ritual sequence the word 'then' is likely to stay a long time. This is reason that ritual texts are so resistant to change. Remember the purpose of ritual is the preservation of order, of sequence.

Bhramanic ritual provides procedures for removals of obstacles, with the help of Ganesh. There are also procedures for correcting rituals that were incorrectly performed. So words in poems become 'obstacles'. Invoking Gansesha is the first step. After that, it's just technique.

The best analogy is untying a particularly difficult knot. Even the best tied shoe will contort the lace into a chaotic tangle. Whatever the mess, any knot may be untied, in reverse. This is the essence of Ganesh. In this era of religion bashing we forget that pagan gods stand for abstract principles. They are toolkits, ways of accomplishing ends.

For me, the chief 'obstacle' in this work has been discovering and learning the techniques of ritual modification. I've let painfully cretinous sequences of words stand in these posts. They are the roughest and crudest drafts really, far from being poems in the conventional sense. Remember, I'm not employing poetic consciousness, authority, or will, or choice in these compositions. Each change occurs through the use of a particular ritual grammar. Since this blog is the tablet where these works are composed, I've been forced to meditate for hours upon the sequences in order to learn the rules.

This means my readers have been subjected to every version of every piece, from the crudest first draft to the posts as they currently stand.

If asked the question - how did you end up with this? I would, be able to show from the moment the first Muse Poems were laid out upon pieces of cardboard, how the evolution has occurred.

How 'concrete' became 'see on Crete'.

This is an experiment in language.

Brahmanism was/is a linguistic culture; linguistic ritual dictated the evolution of Sanskrit as well as Sanskrit meter and prosody. Sanskrit most likely evolved as a ritual language in order to preserve early human technologies. Getting order, and sequence right in a string of behaviors, Sanskrit made into a science.

I'm trying in my own fumbling way to replicate this process of evolution in English.

Certain words have tended to repeat themselves over and over, in both the Muse Poems and later the Songs. These were incantations to me, the one discovering the process at work. For example, 'discover', 'understand', 'share, and 'investigate' were prevalent in early versions of these works, exhortations to the performer to learn what was actually happening with the word order and meaning of these works.

It was natural when seeking to uncover sequences that 'made sense' with my models that I would record, wherever possible, exhortations to 'understand'. Since replication, from the Muse works into the Songs, many of those uses became redundant.

Many instances were removed using ritual rules. Such edits are not arbitrary or choice driven. One can make the change, but ritual sequencing may call for the removal of the word in another place, or, may insist that it stand.

Ritual naturally evolves, and edits itself once these rules become automatic. What I refer to as "round trips", sequences that repeat exactly in almost mirror like fashion, are then fodder for excision.

Palindromic phrasing thus may be simplified. For instance ABFAZBA may be shortened to FCZ. "Love to give to love" can become "give". FAZ becomes an irreducible element, like a word.

This grid of links is to each of the 30 songs that have been composed to date.

Completed? In fairness they never will finished, not as long as I read them.

Song of 81 Poems:

  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9
10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18
19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27
28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36
37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45
46  47  48  49  50  51  52  53  54
55  56  57  58  59  60  61  62  63
64  65  66  67 68   69  70  71  72
73  74  75  76  77  78  79  80  81  

About the "Muse Poems"

Before reading this have a look at the page on "The Tracing Project", where I explain in detail how the ritualized production of paintings evolved for me between 2005 and 2008. The paintings may be looked at as a chronological slide show here.

The Muse Poems were initially an experiment within the body of the painting project, but later became the continuation of that work.

First let me put out of the way the issue of 'good' poetry versus 'bad'. Such useless words! Some of these works I like a lot, others make me cringe every time I read them. This is an experiment, results from actions taken. All the results of the work are here. Go ahead and judge them. I'm past that point.

Most of the time when I painted with a model we did not produce any poetry. My objective initially was a kind of codified dance, to learn what the relationship was between postures taken, and a collective or individual mythos. As soon as I began I saw there was content waiting to be uncovered, and later interpreted. Initially it was all in lines. Later I introduced color, and began painting with other substances, such as coffee, and included ritualized  'objects', rocks, stones, and everyday items brought into the process.

Robert Graves' 'The White Goddess', introduced me to the mythologies contained in letters. Graves' letters are similarly rooted in Carl Jung's archetypes.

I embarked upon a series of lipograms, poems that employed a constrained set of letters, to see if a friend's name held the myths of that person's life. The results were astonishing. It indeed seemed as if we live in order to spell what we can with our letters. Why were letters such a driving force in our lives? The success of these poems strengthened my resolve in the tracing work, to find some automatic way to make poems that were neither the product of myself, or my model, but rather a concert, or play between three entities, the two of us and the third being whom I for lack of a better moniker, called the Muse.

We 'listened' for what she said in a fairly straightforward manner. The poetry was conditioned by the request to my model to "Listen for what you are being asked to do. If (she) were were talking to you, what would she say?"

There was definitely something of a Ouija board seance atmosphere while we worked, but one that was kept restrained by a simple question. If there is a consciousness that knows both of us, myself and my model, what would she say to us if we came to her with specific questions? I encouraged my models to bring a question with them to the session.

Not surprisingly the word order of our poems began to reflect these concerns.

We made the poems from the fabric of this third voice. Frequently it is very critical, and much to the point as regarded my own relationship with my work partner. She is hypercritical, loves sex, but hates sex without love, and sees through falsity in an instant. In each and every poem there are at least one or two anecdotes applicable to the meeting which produced the work.

I stopped work, exhausted, and went to Germany for a tour of art galleries in 2008. While there I looked back and realized to my astonishment, that I had worked with exactly 81 different women. Some I had painted only once, others I had worked with dozens of times. 81 is a tantric number, a perfect square, and the basis for much tantric and Buddhist art. It is the perfect crucible for the organization of ritual.

My wife had reminded me of the ritual nature of my work shortly after it began. In fact she even supplied scholarly references for me to read on the topic. Fritz Stahl's Ritual without Meaning and The Yogini Cult Sculptures (circles of ancient sculptures organized in circles of 64 or 81) were works which lead me further into ritual tantra.

The project never evolved through design, only through intuition. My scholarship followed behind, and often had me perplexed until a later break occurred in the work.The work had its own momentum.

The poetic works within the tracing project usually consumed an hour or more of composition. Transposition onto the paper or canvas and usually occurred in the middle of the work. If A = painting, and B = Poetry then the sequence of work was usually ABA. This is a typical ritual structure, and possessed a symmetry. Rituals are symmetrical because that is how they are created and remembered. It is a journey that is then retraced. Ancient rituals often seem asymmetrical because the retraced steps become abbreviated over time.

Ritual is the basis of all learning. To speak we must learn first to open our mouths then close them. Make a sound, then cease. Go on a trip, then return. No direction that does not retrace, is sustainable. Ritual actions are a 'codex' for remembering language and preserving culture.

Initially and with some of the works, the poetry is short, and written across the face of the painting, sometimes at the beginning, or the end. In later paintings the poetry is embedded in the middle. Painted poses leading up to and away from the poetry are highly structured. In the most ritualized works pose sequences were memorized and repeated in reverse sequence after the poetry composition.

I've written in a number of other places about the mechanism of poetry composition. It was not possible to compose with every model that I worked with. Many helped me produce inspiring images, but on mention of poetry or composition the air in the room went dead. I listened. 

In all about half of models helped me in composing these works. They are co-authors in every way. My record keeping during this period was not perfect. Some of the poems survive only because I hastily recorded them on a scrap of paper, or photographed the cardboard before cleaning up after work. I never imagined these would evolve into a serious poetic voice.

While painting I moved the ritual along, encouraging my model to imagine, ask questions, seek answers. Their intuition about word order influenced the outcome enormously. In every case it can be felt, and sensed. I never pushed my work companions to string words together in ways that left them feeling challenged, or behind. This can be seen particularly in Poem #1, Raw Raw Words, which is just what the first line of the work proposes, raw. However the work is highly sophisticated, and one where I played less of a role in composition than many of the other simply because my model was so confident of what she was doing. I've subsequently subjected the words in that work to aural, and linguistic analysis, and have discovered that embedded in that work lies a life history of the model herself. [I had asked her to tell me of her past, but she had not]. Yet is there in the poem. Did she know she was telling me as she composed these words? Not at all. The intermediary was the Muse that I speak of. 

The Muses of Ancient Greece were supposedly the 9 granddaughters of Zeus (Dios). Their grandmother, was the original Muse, and the Goddess of whom I speak now. She was the ancient Goddess of Europe, the most powerful of all deities, until she was usurped by Zeus and his metal-wielding pantheon of warriors, smiths. This Muse, Queen Mother of all Creation, was extremely powerful, and combined beneficence with cruelty, justice, Death, and Birth. She was all forces beyond the ken of mankind, in the form of a woman.

According to Graves the Muse was the source of all creation. It was her voice that we struggled to 'hear' in these works. Her analogue in India is mixed up with Kali, except Kali had had beneficent aspects stripped from her by late Vedic culture and given to Shiva, when male gods ascended the thrown, again, about the time of metals and organized agriculture.

While working we composed words onto shirt cardboards. During a productive session often 4 or more 'cardboards' would be created. A natural break in the process occurred at the end of the first or second cardboard. The paintings reflect this by painting the text in the opposite orientation. This explains why several poems were composed on the same date, and are embedded often, into the same painting, Many of these works remain divided, and are labelled 'Part I' and 'Part II'

When putting the poems into shape for publication on this blog a number of liberties were taken and are still being taken. They the same liberties taken by speakers learning a new language, or a child learning to speak, or an experienced speaker memorizing a text. Language changes, rounds and morphs over time.

Some of those rules were:

a) tense could be changed at any time.
b) singular could become plural or vice versa.
c) pronouns could be introduced when absent and obvious.
d) words combine or divide into other words. I.e. 'be come' becomes 'become' or at a stretch divides into "back home."
e) words could morph on the basis of spelling. Imagine a speaker not knowing a word, but knowing it's spelling. 'concrete' can then morph into 'See on Crete . . '

Outside of these rules, the word order in these poems is exactly that drawn (and reordered only within a line) by my models. I've made the sequence of those words the basis of my work in all these poems and in the second derivative of these works, "The Song of 81 Poems" which I'll explain in a moment.

When putting these poems into shape, always referring back to the original for fidelity of word order, I realized that I was nearing the magical number 81 once again.

I am written with Niki Rubin in 2010 as we prepared to paint and perform in a Manhattan club, was one such late work included in this early body of work. Niki and I had worked together many times during the early period and this piece I felt needed inclusion to mark our continuity into the present. 

Poem 54-2 was one of two composed during a painting performance Niki Rubin and I did together in New York. It was linked to Series I poem #54 Him  for no other reason than I was born in 1954. My co-author, Grace Fantechi, claimed to have spent a number of years of her childhood living near Alpha Centauri, after being taken aboard an alien spaceship.

Tantric structure is organized, but not rigid. A form is decided upon, and adhered to, precisely so that it can be made flexible afterwards. The poems selected for this grouping were the ones that seemed logical. Other poems written using the same methods were excluded.

Russian Poets II, and Russian Poets I, are works written for a good friend, poet, and model Natasha Romanova. We shared a lot of poetry during that period. Our sessions were filled with conversations about poetry. She read her own works, beautifully, and I read back to her. I realized that the Muse Poems needed something about poetry, a stand-in poem, something regarding other poetry in our era, rather than just questions phrased, as to the ancient Oracle at Delphi. After all the work is a transcription of a conversation, but what of the questions posed to her, the Muse? It was said the Muse liked poetry, and that poems were suitable offerings to her.

I realized it was essential to incorporate the masculine element into the work. So I dug up a series my email correspondence with a Russian computer programmer who had designed software that helped in writing my lipograms. At one point we engaged in a short exchange about famous Russian Poets. I copied the vocabulary from those emails, sorted an alphabetized those words using his software, then composed those word lists, into a poem. That further deepened my access to the library of Mnemosyne, and all her content.

Why include a piece of experimental writing in a perfect square series of 81 poems? The number of 81 is of no significance other than a sentimental coincidence, of noticing I had worked with 81 different models before my first major break in activity. I could easily have excluded these from the sequence, and substituted others. After all the work produced more than 81 poems.

In the months before this work I dreamed about Hermes. In one dream I saw his name spelled "HerMuse" . . . He led me in one to the grave of my father, which turned out to be a large canvas. The name for the God of guidance was transformed at the end into something feminine. A short time after this I began hearing voices, women's voices, in places that were empty and deserted.

Here we come to Hermes, that rogue, that motorcycle messenger, that terrifying giant whose knock meant some change, some shift, some new world.

The Muse, whether she is Robert Graves' goddess of ancient Europe, or the classical grandmother to the nine Muses of the arts whose name was Mnemosyne, 'memory' . . . must be found. She must be given offerings, before she will speak. Not all are granted access. So the guide Hermes comes into action. And here I refer not to just Hermes, but to all of the mythical spirit guides, Quetzalcoatl, Ganesha, and Raven.

The Russian Poet Poems are my thanks to Hermes, my offerings of Russian poets tribute to the Muse herself. Natasha was the one Russian who participated in the work, as an actress of the Muse during some of these sessions, those poems are dedicated to her.

On most of the poems I kept records of the content, but lost my connection to who helped me write it. All I have is a photograph of the cardboards with words, the inevitable result of work that was rushed. An equal amount of composed work was lost altogether.

The act of composing and 'fitting' into perfect squares, (8x8=64, or 9x9=81) occurs by accident. Once the mind provides a structure for content, content fills it. The subconscious rushes to inhabit every nook and cranny, wherever it knows it can make a statement. If you doubt me, create a structure, conceptual or physical that is empty and can be filled. Watch it. Nature will find something to put there.

Knowing and believing this, it was only after I had finished editing all 81 Muse Poems that I simply linked together the first lines or words of each Muse Poem into a single work. This is Tantra of 81 Titles of 81 Muse Poems. If you read it alongside the list of muse poems below you will see it is exactly the list of poem first lines/first words of each of the works, read in order. 

I ordered titles again, after my tantric tea-bowl experiment after 36 Tea-bowls (6x6=36) each from the same firing were given away, and a small couplet or quatrain composed for each piece. These short poems were then linked together to form a single work Tea Bowl Tantra

There is some editing and manipulation done in order to obtain a smooth reading of the tantric orderings, but not much. Making the individual works, putting them online, editing, etc. is too much work to be concerned with how a title (invariably the first 1-5 words of each work), lines up with the next. Any content there again, is accident . . or is it? Could our subconscious simply be looking for places to express itself?

Now that I'm assigning slots for the second series, I do have some leeway as to where I put the works. But so far I haven't exercised that manipulative power. Why not? Because I just noticed it was there.

Such is tantra. Structure becomes a vessel for the subconscious to put content into. 

What dictated the order of the Muse Poems?  I initially tried to group them by model, but I noticed right away that would be impossible. So I began filling up the empty slots.

Fidelity to the original cardboard ordering of words is paramount. The differences between what is here, and what was originally composed, are very slight. 

Order therefor, is only that which seems to happen. Like cause and effect, order is an illusion. It is into this amorphous void that the Muse intrudes herself at the last minute. Beating these works into publishable shape took time, with a lot of reading out loud to myself in times and places when no one else could hear. The rules of reading, and transformation, allowed me to finish these works.

I've continued work on the project, and begun filling in a second square, Series II. Dates are approximate. Some of the later pieces from 2011 are included in Series I, and also a very few of the earlier pieces from 2006-7 are included in Series II but for the most part Series I is early, Series II is recent.

Overlap is the way of Hermes. Structures are meant to be made porous.

  Muse Poems Series I:

   1  2   3   4  5   6   7   8   9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54
55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72
73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81

  Muse Poems Series II:  

   1  2   3   4  5   6   7   8   9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54
55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72
73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81

       Tantra of Poem Titles        Title of each Poem
       Song of So Many Poems   Collage of Lines from each Poem

1     Raw Raw Words                Jennifer Feliu, 12/13/06
2     Secure your last Thought   Danielle Dube, 5/9/06
2-2   Good Boy                         Niki Rubin, 2/15/11
3     Perform Observations       Alex McCord, 1/10/07
4     Over Me                           Tiana Hunter, 1/7/08
5     Start                                 Brooklyn Suicide,  5/18/06
6     I must see when               Layna Roberts, 6/2/06
7     As you and me                 Jennifer Hughes, 5/31/07
8     I am                                   Niki Rubin, 12/20/10
9     Understand                       Amber Parker, 1/5/07
9-2   Understand again              Brooklyn Suicide, 5/18/06
10   Fiery Film                         Rebecca Kilgore, 5/19/06
11   Picture Above                   Brooklyn Suicide, 7/27/06
12   Dust                                 Brooklyn Suicide, 7/27/06
13   The Other                         Niki Notarile, 5/30/07
14   Muscly Men                      Layna Roberts, 6/2/06
15   Offer her Unity                  Layna Roberts, 5/12/06
16   I could learn                      Layna Roberts, 5/12/06
17   Only                                 Alex McCord, 1/10/07
18   Bird of Black                    Tiana Hunter, 1/7/08
19   See I hold you yet             Layna Roberts, 7/5/06
20   Filmy aesthetic                 Pareena Lim, 7/8/06
21   She still has                     Layna Roberts, 7/17/06
22   Look                                 Layna Roberts, 7/17/06
23   Hard Thin Language        Pareena Lin, 7/18/06
24   Question                          Layna Roberts, 7/5/06
25   He crept around . . .         Bianca Moscatelli, 10/3/07
26   Our Master                       Rainbow Girl, 11/30/10
27   Appear                             Ona V, 5/25/06
28   East                                 LB, 5/3/06
29   Find more Music              Jasmine Rituper, 6/8/07
30   Kiss me                           Co-Attribution lost, date unknown.
31   See Romance                  Jojo Monson, 9/6/06
32   Stop the Night Sky           Jojo Monson, 9/6/06
33   I See Sculptures              Jennifer Chicheportiche, 9/5/06
34   Draw Always                    Jennifer Chicheportiche, 10/11/06
34-2  My Curse                        with M__ M__, 12/4/10  
35   Model                              Jennifer Feliu, 12/5/06
36   If Silhouette                     Ona V, 5/26/06
37   Don't Suffer                      Danielle Dube, 7/24/06
38   First Memory                    Kayla Jo Berley, 7/13/06
39   They Know                       Kayla Jo Berley, 7/13/06
40   Here Howls                       N_____ N____, 7/15/06
41   This Mare above Him        Jamie Matson, fragment, 10/18/06
41-2 Her Situation                    'Cake Knife', 6/8/11
42   Speak Out                        Jessica Crandall, 8/16/06
43   You and Her                     Brooklyn Suicide, 5/18/06
44   Russian Poets II               for Natasha Romanova, 2006
44-2 Russian Poets I                for Natasha Romanova, 2006
45   Let Her Use It                   Evgenia Radilova, 12/15/06
46   Smother us Black             M___ M___, Date unknown.
47   Always scratch . . .          Pareena Lim, 7/19/06
48   Somehow Forget              Ona V, 5/26/06
49   Improve                           Stephanie Landwehr, 8/30/06
50   Please Comfort                Tasha Lebron, 8/31/06
51   Joy                                   Jennifer Chicheportiche, 10/11/06
52   I never chose . . .             Sasha Magdelevich, 12/7/06
53   Breathe                            Eva Moll, 7/21/06
54   Him                                 Grace Fantechi, 11/13/07
54-2 The Way In                      Co-attribution lost, date unknown.
55   You won't cover all love    Tiana Hunter, 7/7/08
56   Young Headed                  Niki Notarile, 2/15/08
57   How Will You Go?            Niki Notarile, 3/6/08
58   Part II is Lost                   N_____ K_____, 6/26/06
59   Lead Her                          Eva Moll, 7/21/06
60   Seek                               M____ M____, Date unknown. 
60-2 Take Health                     Kerri Taylor, 3/1/12  
61   Such a Wild Chant           Tasha Lebron, 10/16/06
61-2  Every Monster Bird          Niki Rubin, 6/23/11
62   Many said . . .                  Audrey Ellis, 10/14/06
63   Art Crush, Twinkle Boy     N____ K____, 3/13/07  
64   Then                               Jennifer Feliu, 1/5/2007
65   All Motion                         Layna Roberts, 6/6/07
66   Patience, Know time         Leslie Garrison, 2/3/07
67   This Impulse                    Niki Notarile, 2/27/08
67-2  Puny Companion             Niki Rubin, 2/16/11
68   See that studio                 Rebecca Cousin, 5/23/06 
69   Follow the Language         N____ N____, 5/31/06
70   Sense a B'line Character   Layna Roberts, 7/20/06
71   If Time Could Think           N____ N____, 6/12/06   
72   Important Music               Joy Voelker, 2/7/07
73   Feel More                         N____ K____, 1/29/07
74   Muse                               Joy Voelker, 1/7/07
74-2 Make . . Other Commune    Natasha Romanova, 10/10/07
75   Make Cooking                   N____ N____, 6/18/06
76   Balance                           Jasmine Rituper, 6/8/07
77   Open that                         Jasmine Rituper, 6/8/07
78   Empower                         Niki Notarile, 2/2/08
78-2 Her Identity                      Brooklyn Suicide, 5/18/06
79   Come and Manipulate       M____ J____, 7/13/06
80   Carp Us Down                  Natasha Romanova, 10/10/07
81   Take this . . .                    Leslie Garrison, 2/3/07

What of the work, the process, the ritual itself?

It was a stage of sorts, the principal players, my model, and myself:

During the painting she usually laid down on the canvas, though for some of the works we danced literally, together, while holding the brush. We took frequent breaks, drank tea, played music. The poetry was composed at a corner of the workplace, the model usually sitting in a chair with the cardboards placed on her lap, and a supply of random words to draw from in a bucket to her left. During such episodes I would pace about muttering the words as she read them to me. After five or seven words were drawn we would put them into some kind of order, reading them aloud and hearing them together. So the meanings evolved. I then would load a brush with paint and record them onto the painting.

This scene was theatrical. At all times we felt there was an audience present though this was only occasionally true. What made it theatrical was not the two players, myself and my employee, but rather the presence of the Muse, whom we had invited to attend. 

A ritual process and all the steps that led up to it, were an invitation to this facility. In modern psychological terms by setting up a construct for content, we had already invited the Muse to be present. Layna Roberts will be coming today at 4. Incense burned. Tea concocted. Workspace made spotless. Colors mixed. Model arrives. We drink tea, eat grapes. Work begins. She takes a sequence of poses. That sequence is ordered, and temporally symmetrical. Time for poetry.

At the time words were first drawn there was a charged atmosphere in the room. Conversations covered multiple subjects, yet actions of the participants were remarkably free since they were preplanned, and predetermined. Ritual work empties the mind. Therefor upon drawing random words it becomes apparent that they seem anything but random. They seem precomposed, or predetermined. The Gods are brought into the room through the removal of Logos.

Belief systems are essential to logical thought.  Our myths exist. They are patterned with us, the molds of our being, our actions, our past, our culture our creativity. We live them every day. They build reality. Without them our universe is a vapid meaningless source of sense information.They structure imagination. We use them to create, imagine, tempt, love, contemplate, foresee. The disarmament of our current belief structure, i.e. belief in cause effect, science, and logical outcomes, does require fundamental postulates. Most of us live and breathe this manner of thinking every day. 

A ritual approximating the rehearsal of an earlier belief system, disarms or turns off our current manner of thought. The most scientific of minds when rehearsing actions that took place thousands of years ago, return to that state of mind effortlessly. The point of this work is not about the existence or non-existence of God(s), but rather, about the existence of belief systems, which are in all of us.

The scene was that of an ancient Oracle, or the proscenium of a Greek stage, less than a modern artists' studio where a models appearance is being painted. Our attentions pressed flat against our night, against the possibilities of dreams, not one participant ever mocked this process or grew bored with it. Something was there. 

A continuation of work necessitates a continuation of ritual. But what is the core ritual that brought us to this state? I have in a cumbersome way, tried to define it, but many questions remain.

What if a larger audience were brought to participate and witness the drama? 

What if some of the linguistic elements in transcribing the poetry were made more codified, and rule driven?

What if models were prepared for this interaction?

Some of the poems were remarkably short, and clumsy. Others were longer, highly evolved in syntax. Indeed there were days when obtaining 'language' was difficult. I've remarked to myself how the simplest of the works, with the clumsiest of word orderings, often contains the densest amount of meaning. For instance Jenn Feliu, was driven to work with the words she drew, even though it was only a few, and managed to condense into a few lines, what appears to be a unique personal history. Other models returned to particular themes again and again. 

And my themes, are ever present. Again I hear elders and loved ones berating me for my behavior, but also lauding me for restraint, and ability to investigate difficult subjects.

What if all the poems were 'read' by a chorus of 81 voices?. Model 1 would read part of her Poem, then Model 2, etc. Once all had finished, reading only a line or a word of their poem a new poem would be woven. With that thought experiment I embarked on a project of poetic 'weaving' that I've dubbed the "Song of 81 Poems". 

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