Red Third Eye

Oils on 40 x 60 cm stretched canvas.

This poem isn’t going in the book, but goes with this painting that is apparently going on the blog.

Both were inspired by that time I developed sphenoid sinusitis after pitching paintings that not a single gallerist in sub-zero Cologne would even look at this February, and subsequently: lost my wallet and stuff in the station right out of my hands cos I probably had blind spots I didn’t know about, cried all the way home on the train from the pain, went partially deaf, and generally had a medical emergency without it occurring to me I was having a medical emergency. (I thought it was a migraine, and then a cold, and then…) Then socialized medicine saved my life with a surgery that didn’t bankrupt me because I have subsidized health insurance as a freelance artist. (It was about ten euros. Germany is cool. Charité is awesome.)

Silly poem, silly story. Still, I liked the metaphor enough to write and paint it. I think we all have snakes inside us capable of striking when we don’t see them coming. And experiences or times when we need help but don’t actually have the expertise to convey what’s going on, to get it. It’s just a particular instance of one of those universal experiences that art is supposed to convey, in order to drum up empathy among humans for humans. (Humans are ok.) Not bad work, if you can get it. Better, perhaps, if you can’t… And do it as an outsider for its own sake.

“Sphenoid Sonnet”

The gravel road behind my face
leads to my red third eye.
The bucking snake there rises up
to strike and kill the sky.
What fire kindles behind my eye?

Days from dead
inside my head
sparks alive
with pain and dread.

Raising scales that throb and pound,
the rattle makes its warning sound.
Help—at last I cry and moan.
That was its poison, and my koan.

It was my voice it feared the most.
I killed the snake. I am its ghost.