Wednesday, November 6, 2013
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 Sovereignty.
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 arm posture.
“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 years.
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.”