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Saturday, March 8, 2014

BUOYED ON THE DENSE MARINE

anselm kiefer, the red sea

Day 8 of blogathon calls for thinking about a red ocean and thinking about a blue ocean. First thing that came to mind for red ocean was this painting by Anslem Kiefer, which I have laid eyes upon. It is disturbing. It's huge. A bathtub of blood. It takes my mind to writer, Jerzy Kosinski, who sliced his wrists in a bathtub when he felt like he had nothing more to say. As we say round here, More power to ya, feller. This is where an ocean of blood takes my mind. Kiefer's paintings had a great deal to say about post-Nazi Germany with the Nazi period looming enormous in the national consciousness. I see in a sea of blood the earth wounded by international corporate indifferent excess, earth's wrists cut, waiting for spirit to rise and go on. I see what the Reagan revolution did to American democracy. I see red ocean an ending. The ocean fished out by corporate fisheries all around the globe. With sonar as advanced as it is now, the last fish will be found. I see the international economic system indifferent to humanity and all other life forms. They are a bloody danger to us. We sit back in the recliner and watch the water turn red, thinking, Cool. Punctuated by commercials. I see a society so deeply and vigorously dedicated to the false in just about everything, I'm reminded of the 1981 quotation from CIA director Wm Casey, appointed first thing by Reagan, "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American people believe is false." The disinformation campaign was successful. Thirty-two years later, I see an ocean of blood. Y'all hadn't oughta sent me down this path. I can go to some dark places and not bat an eye.
 

 
I have a very powerful feeling I don't talk about, because I can't prove anything. I'm going by feeling, that I went out last time by way of a German concentration camp. First, a psychic told me; second I did a regression on my own and saw it. I suspect it has something to do with why I've spent a large part of my life with a major grudge against Germany, never even wanted to fly over the country. In 1954 I was in the 6th grade when Life magazine published the first photographs of the mounds of skeletal corpses, their lives wrecked and them killed by arrogant Christians. Those Christians were about like what has come forward in USA as Christian in our time. It's the reason church attendance in Europe is down to 10 percent, and in USA is shrinking fast. I have strong feelings about that time, shared by nobody around me, ever, except Jews I've known. In that time when the pictures were coming forward from the concentration camps, I became obsessed with the pictures. I remember a poem by Anthony Hecht, powerful poem, powerful as the bathtub of blood, of people digging their graves and being shot. I read that poem over and over, wallowed in it. I used free time on the destroyer in the Navy to read. I found the series of novels that Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone deBeauvoir wrote, each their own series of several long, intense, novels of the French Resistance during WW2. I was in resistance too, involuntarily incarcerated by a fascist government for being born male. I don't do well with authority. It's called ODD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, a scientific way of saying Taurus. And then to be born and raised up in that very same Christian mind. We become what we hate. I had to experience Christendom from the inside because I hated it so much last time around. Of course I would reject it and run for my life. The red ocean.
 
     
 
Time now to think of a blue ocean. I recall the summer of 1960 with Navy Reserve taking a two week ride on a destroyer with missiles out of San Diego. It was my first time on the ocean. I love riding the ocean. I felt the ocean under me then as I feel the ground under my feet now. I love what Walt Whitman called, the dense marine, and Homer called, the wine dark sea. Seasickness never overtook my belly. In the very worst storms, bad storms, I loved it. I loved it. When belly would start to feel queasy, I'd say to myself, I'd pay for this! I have stood on the top level of the ship where the guys that waved flags operated, hanging onto the rail, watching the front of the ship dive underwater and the whole front end rise up completely out of the water and splash back under, sending a huge wave over the top of the whole ship each time. It gave the sensation the ship went underwater. I held onto that railing taking it in the face like a cowboy in a water rodeo. I loved it. In those two weeks out of San Diego, I saw the Pacific was a gorgeous blue as I would imagine a blue diamond to look. I loved the blue of the Pacific Ocean. I ignored the rules against gawking. Was spoken to a few times about it, but so what. Speaking of blue ocean, I have an unfinished project in the house I've been looking at getting to in the next few days. It is a chunk of cement I picked up at a building site that had somehow fallen to the ground. The print of the grass it landed on is the underside. If its mass were liquid, it might fill two coffee mugs. As it landed it did a slow splash, and folded into itself. I see ocean splashing on a rock. I soaked it in a bucket of aqua blue latex paint, half and half with water, for a week or so. It sits on the square pedestal of half a very old brick so black it looks like it had been in a fire. I'm wanting to take some white oil paint thin on a brush and touch the edges of places that look like spray, give it the suggestion of surf. A still splash.
 
 snoopy and Charlie brown contemplate blue ocean
 
Blue ocean. In those first two weeks on the ocean I was 18. The blue Pacific in my memory has the translucence of wine. Later, I rode the Atlantic, a green ocean. The Pacific Ocean I felt was a majestic unknown. Those first days of my life on the sea, I thought of whalers from before electricity, sailing ships crossing the ocean carrying passengers. pirates. A friend who had some psychic about her told me I was a pirate in the Thirteenth Century along the northern African coast, meaning Mediterranean and open sea. It may have something to do with why I only wanted to dress up as a pirate for Halloween, or an Indian for the same reason. May have had several seafaring lifetimes. I did have a need all through my early years to be on the ocean. I needed to ride the ocean. Not always, at least once. For old times sake. Lord have mercy, it's a sight how I love the ocean. I think of the Pacific and see Gauguin paintings of Tahiti, those beautiful things that look like the light is shining through them from behind. I see Japanese paintings of the Pacific in its beautiful blue. Mount Fuji in the distance. California surfers hanging ten with a great white under them in the wave they're riding. The way I see it, everything in the ocean is looking for something to eat, and my meaty substance amounts to fish bait. I'm a worm with bones instead of a hook. I stay out of the ocean. My mortal frame has evolved for land. When I used to wonder where was my place on earth, I'd start with land. The ocean is so vast, so immensely indifferent to ego. The infinite ocean of love. It's equally immense in its beauty, in its deep translucence. Like in a blue diamond, there is no accounting for where the blue comes from. It's the mysterious blue of distance. Earth, the blue pearl, glows blue seen from out in space. This is our home in the universe, the Blue Pearl.      

the dark spot is the shadow of a moon eclipse
 
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