Part 2-Photographs are the reason I am living....
Nothing was framed.
Just one old family standard, the one of father holding me when I'm
eighteen months old, the one my mother always called, "Sid Holding Nancy
on the Lawn On Norwich."
Preserved in its original cheap brass filigree frame from
Owl Rexall, now permanently stuck to the old glass from a trillion searing
California suns, you could not even prop it up from behind. The rippled brown felt cardboard ceased to
care, buckled with boredom, dampened from defeat, an eight by ten relic that
had sat on my father’s metal desk in a trailer where he'd once worked. My mother must have been the one who took
this photograph for she appears in a photo with me that same day, stamped on
the back in red archival Kodak ink:
"Week of March 17th, 1952."
Towering taller than tall, hair pinned up in a long straight
skirt Lucy pumps, white blouse and dark Fifties lipstick she leans
forward. Smiles. It is a worm's eye view. My father must have crouched on the ground to
get this angle. I am propped up like a
garden gnome, a fairy statue a good two feet from her. The very distance between us is
soul-sickening and will serve me well in the work I will create from it one
day. Back then I was not ready for such
sacred callings and instead focused on the photograph with my father.
"Sid Holding Nancy On The Lawn On Norwich"
He looks like a movie star though he doesn't think so. I am perched in the crook of his arm as he
smiles to the camera holding one hand over the other. I appear to be studying his face. My feet are in socks and booties. I wear a pinafore. My right arm has shot up in a long-lost,
long-remembered Female Code. I am in
Lilith-mode; conjuring back the rods and rings of Absolute Female
My Handsome Daddy and Mister Pipe do not see me but I see
the snake between his two front teeth
where he likes to whistle. His initials make the same sound a snake makes, in
the same place he makes a whistle. The
Ricky Ricardo jacket he sports is my favorite color powder blue. My tender baby legs dangle in
ankle-booties. In profile my silken
curls frame like a caplet. Above us
points the apex of Norwich's roof. From
behind the shadow of the old palm frond both accentuates and draws the eye
toward the image it presents: my sacred
“Phoetics® & Seeing Through The Eye of the Heart”
For all those decades before I saw Pat, I saw this
photograph as a sad neglected thing, an image my father ignored, my grandmother
never mentioned, and mother did not put on the mantelpiece. Yet somehow something lingered, something
reverent. Twenty years might pass but
not without the deepest of study, journaling, until one day I would find myself
writing, "There is a photograph that is both my shame and
salvation." That would mark the
beginning of Phoetics, though I would not know it for another twenty
Today I see all life and all childhood photographs through
The Eye of the Heart, The Phoetic Eye.
"Sid Holding Nancy on
Norwich," was all my mother could see. Yet here was not a 'family photo' but a sacred image, a ‘mythograph,’ an
image of my true spirit origin, character and calling...
“Portrait of a Great Bird Goddess.”