"Words and images run riot in my head, pursuing, flying, clashing, merging, endlessly. But beyond this tumult there is a great calm and a great indifference, never really to be troubled by anything again."
The Strangeness of Beauty
Opening - Friday 6th October
Grass Valley, California
In a collaboration with 3 artists Chantelle Goldthwaite has produced, created, orchestrated and directed a beautifully rounded piece of work which binds together one enigmatic shared message of strangeness and beauty.
- digital artist: jonathan j. levine
- pomes and spoken word: michael j. rowland
- arrangements: chantelle goldthwaite
- catalogue: carly pruett
Chantelle is an inveterate beach-combing, scavenger, junk-yard, second-hand, antique, wizard's lair, Egyptian tomb raiding punker alchemist with that attractive desire to turn discarded baubles of the quotidian into enchanting visual mysteries only the viewer holds the keys to.
Carly Pruett created these kick-ass zines for the show which are filled with the images and poetry you can see a little further down in the blog.
Jonathan Levine created the wild, techno-psychedelic images which form the spiritual canvas of the pieces.
My part in all this came about by chance when Chantelle asked for some fun feedback on FB for one of her images for her upcoming ‚The Strangeness of Beauty‘ exhibition. The first 'pome' is what I wrote in response. She asked for 14 more.
I recorded myself reading them over grime beat instrumentals which Chantelle played on a video loop along with the corresponding images throughout the weekend.
Chantelle informed me after the first day of the weekend ‚open studio‘ that she could practically recite my pomes word for word after listening to them all day. I hope I haven't caused her any permanent brain damage!
And here they are : the words which may be haunting Chantelle’s sleep for the rest of her days. And along with them you will see the incredible collages she created with the help of the very talented Mr Jonathan Levine...
Within the 5 plains of existence you are the one-eyed single-purpose creature with the five arms of the senses stretching and distancing yourself from your black box of waffles and ego on the physical plain - looking into the welcoming open doorway of eternal peace and love and adventure and colourful myth-affirming Jungian inspiration.
Your featherbrained Amazon salvaged the undernest. Riches beyond words. Riches be-fore words. Scatterbrained.
Look at me. This beauty that chokes you. This three thousand yard stare into the belly of you who were too well fed and I hide and I see you too, from where the universal... from which the goddess...from when the...
Who you mailing that phony wishlist too? I am so over that shit.
Look at me.
I made it.
Go ahead and take it. The brush is all yours now, dingbat. I is magical.
The scorpion jiggled round and metamorphosed proposed that the grin should begin just around the alcopop o'clock yardarm on a Japanese joy-farm welded in the concrete playground of a long lost Bobby pin. You can only make true pink by mixing black with white and a child's toy left out overnight. And no I didnt really think I'd lost it but I did for a while, I thought I'd lost it but I knew I hadn't.
Here it is. Here it is. Here it is.
I'll put this in my time capsule with my Ska and my yard and my arms and my belief that something buried is something found.
You don't fuck with the pulchritudinous or you know what you'll get.
I stole every one of my eyes.
What I got left for you but the ghost of an in-joke? The bare bones of a show-tune. The husk of a nut-job.
The 'The' of a band's long bickered over name. Incisor sharp protection - one quarter the astral elements met and that's plenty enough for a clown like me. I'd rather drown in techni-coloured tears than sell you something we don't have.
But I will. I probably will. And I'll probably like it.
There is nothing to fear from the dusk metal chords of a paper cage fighter named 'Reaper' colluding with the balls of a bull beneath your muddied bedsheets to lift you up by the waist so you can reach the high place or hold you by your skinny ankles so you can reach the low places too and in those hard-to-reach places is where you scrape around with your darting, darling, curious fingers for the rusty make-up you use to paint the faces of your generous demons.
Choose your native tongue during a Winter woodland layover. Stretch out and disintegrate childish threats. Eat through the specrum and regurgitate your roots. Feed the children. Force the hand of peace to renounce its dependency on force. Discharge your beautiful weaponry to the tasks of the ruinologists. Egg them on with a wink if you must. But an inside wink. You know. With soul.
Lay on your back and stare opposites in the face. Melt the background in layers over great cosmological profiteroles. Live strong, the truth is long and may the forks be with you for as many as you muster.
I've carried your eagles through darker climes than this.
I thought there was only one of me and that I was wearing masks like a hundred disguises but then a hurricane happened or a fire or something like that and there, right in front of me are my masks all smashed up in the wreckage or ashes or something awful and I see for the first time that all along there were three of me for every one mask and I all look up like a purple diamond jutting this way and that but focused in the hug of my peppermint dog-arms juddering as you muffle your laugh so it doesn't hurt us and up in the sky there's a coin and I'm on the coin grinning, I all are, and I swipe at it with my paw dropping all that we had gathered and but that's just fine and so then there's nothing left to laugh at and you go home but you've got no home because its been blown away or burnt or something and so has mine but that's okay too so you can live with I now. I do.
The first and the last of the frontiersmen micro-chipping away at the cocoon-Iike tricotomies that frame our spectre - quartered infinitely - creamed indefinately - for you honey bee - only you.
Dreams of golden palaces strewn on draughtsmen's stormy floors and there's love and there's hope and there's a daughter's attention to detail in the way the miniature hallways shine and connect in rhizomes of blossoms of ecstasy.
The eternal gamble we take in putting our faith in the indulgent architecture of God's and their most exquisite inpracticalities.
The Semiotics of a Siamese Ark, nose to nose, inwards out and lingo blobs below. No word for yes and no word for no - make it across the horse-tied trough and we'll let you go. Branded and scrutinized - an alien script - a flaming dancer panther wagon scorching the sun and cradling the beauty of what we've become under the watchful eyes of an ant-like Mum - less paradise than munchkin - more parasite than kazoo. A garden of birthing delights kept neatly in the secret diary of a kleptomaniac Nancy Drew.
I am that I am - I am that shaman with a tan - I got the tan from a self-made man where there's pretend ham for the veg-et-ar-i-AN - Black fire or black rain - It's all the same when the stem of your brain is partly wired to the Matrix they remade again after interratials complained that the far right meanies took aim at the Pepperland orchestra blamed for harvesting all that superfluous chlorophyll to pay for the green party's overheads and flying persian carpets and perfect natty dreads my dream-weaver weaved without even a single lesson. Imagine that! Not one lesson.
The ocean going radical is tied to the mast with two eyes on the miniscule and one eye on the vast turquoise fingertips touching and her teeth sky-blued with pleasure. The flies of the market place take in the view of eternity, the Aztecs, the nuclear threat and you. They can't decide which text to underline, where to gloat, vote or sign - and what's even the point when the safety raft they speculated in their crummy 3 cent paper is blown out to sea, hovering like a tattooed seagull over a silver-yellow mine? There's a wall between us but thank Quetzalcoati the weather's still fine. The left-handed hummingbird armed and devine. Hermann's deckchair of ambiguous design.
You pushing me down or lifting me away? Am I the alien? And who are you anyway? Who are you to investigate me? Inveigle me in tall tales of tertiary digit-bolts of amber-fire, of lightning and saphire-roots? Of magnified elipsis cults deep in the teddy-bear's underground plan for more honey, playboy bunnies and green jam?
Cal Fire said the wildfire, dubbed the Round Fire would never reach this holy ground. Could never reach this holy ground. This shining creation story I got for one and a half million Vietnamese dong. Happy endings ruled out, but not wrong. Not if the alien you be massaging focuses solely on the pleasure of being ripped tree-limb from tree-limb from this two-moon temple planet and replanted in its own mulch.
I kept you a secret.
You didn't mind.
Wrapped in plastic.
A bellicose hug.
You let me in.
We danced for the cows.
For heaven's sake.
Disco baubles locked away for safety's sake till an annointed member of the blue-cloaked battalion of heroic, mnemonic star-trekking bastards coughed up a ring and married nature with glitter with Mother with seers with cartwheels, angel-cakes, laughter and tears.
And I'll keep on keeping you a secret for as long as it pays, or at least till our anthem is Jim's 'Purple Haze'.
While I kiss
Strike feather on flint
An infinity of monkeys
Playing with burnt gold
In a brow chakra
A caterwaul of muddy pellets
A mouthful of herstory
Burnt drummer umber
A charcoal L.P.
An infinity of gold
Feather on flint
All the rest of the night
I'll tell you a story
Of a beautiful one-legged princess who swapped religions for glory;
Celestial cheerios for terrestrial Cherokee charms; plinked her way into the pop charts all banjo and mini-skirt with a silent sigh, two Windows versus two Windows and an iron-clad promise of a better tomorrow.
Die Ant Word.
The enigma untangled.
The permission to come and go.
The innards out.
The unnameable object.
Lamenting...'The window's me world.'
The gardennial prevocation agrin with gifts. All the stuff you wanted.
All the things you dreamed. Every breath of them.
The cup of life-giving tea sitting serene in your country kitchen as the rainfall kisses the surface of your interesting moods and makes you sniffle with joy like an excellent knighted tom-boy. Glowing now. You deserve it. You know you deserve it. You really do.
This opportunity has reawakened my recurring winter whim to work on novels. I will continue my latest half-unfinished/finished, non-linear, poetical narrative book entitled 'Bild Tha Wa'. This is my third outing as painter turned wordy man.
The Refusal of Silence
... both available on Amazon
This blog would certainly be an appropriate place to mention two regular poetry reading events run by Alchemy and Literary Lavatory which I highly recommend you attend.
I attended this one last week…
Alchemy Reading and Performance Series
Open Mic evening
Monday October 2nd
The Act Prague
Na Kralovce 437/7, 10100 Prague
Alchemy currently run by the multi-talented Ken Nash
The ACT Prague run and owned by the also multi-talented Brian and Dezi
Brian and Dezi have just opened what may turn out to be Prague's go to venue for local Poetry, Literature, Performance Art and Underground theatre.
Resembling the coolest of early nineties ex-pat hangouts mixed with New York's Comedy Store, The ACT Prague has a relaxed, welcoming, homey feel without looking like they tried too hard. You can purchase beers and boozes and coffees and enjoy FREE entertainment from all spectrums of Czechia's Multi-Lingual creative world.
Go to their Facebook page and just see what they have in store for us already after only a fortnight of existence.
Debbie Liebenberger kicked off the evening beautifully with an introduction to her Scribbles & Giggles project; a creative writing group in Prague focusing on the FUN as opposed to that prickly beast 'critical feedback'.
Debbie is a journalist for Ya-Ty Magazine and as well as giving us a creative writing exercise to do she also shared some of her tips on public speaking.
Following this was the usual gamut of poetical and musical gems delivered by any brave soul who wishes to share their words with an attentive and appreciative audience.
Addictive stuff; like Karaoke for scholars...and dogs!
Best of luck to you guys and see you soon!
Secondly: expect more multi-lingual genius from the Prague literary underground at....
on October 17th 7pm
at Centrála (Jateční 39)
Go to there.
I enjoy showing people the Prague art scene and what it represents and presents to us.
Simple stories. Short messages. Quick news. Small Aha! moments, guidance, encouragement and perhaps a little exhilaration.
So if you have a group of friends who have the same interests, let them know about this blog and follow me on Facebook.