Bas Jan Ader ‘I’m too sad to tell you’

Brutality Between the Lines (<—click to hear the poem read)

“I don’t really like human nature unless…”

requiem for the unsung
Phillip Glass scores
obsessive tracks
drama at river Ouse
mourning, death grimace
cataleptic rigidity
art forms suicide note

Bas Jan Aders
missives of pain
I’m too sad to tell you
broadcast without expatiation
Rothko’s emanating spirituality silences

she fills her overcoat pockets with stones
sexual abuse knocks mental illness
click and add the weight
there are more
you won’t drown with less
art as consoler
doesn’t transform the pain
allures with vows of immortality

Pol Pot slaughtered millions
driving toward the tabula rasa
an entire society stripped
cinematic epic can’t revive
or ferry spirits home
from killing fields
burnishing aesthetic pall

this poem is a postcard
sugared and heating on the stove
thermometer ready
poisonous confection
Helen Chadwick’s golden locks
entwined with sow’s intestine

“You see, I can’t even write this properly.”

Ars memorativa; parlor tricks
trauma plays on the mind
positive bias memory distortion
works its illusions on all:
holocaust survivor
recovering addict
aspiring artist

schema of selective processing
regulates the current state
cooing emotional well-being
smoothes the heinous crimes

stories we tell evolve
voyeuristic titillations for consuming masses
molding the world into utopias of art
ignorant of the price

products worth infinitely more
than the life that birthed them
aftershock of naïveté

Adeline Virginia Stephen had a name before she was
“…all candied over with art.”

Notes: “I don’t really like human nature unless all candied over with art.” Virginia Woolf. “You see, I can’t even write this properly.” is from her suicide note. She drowned in the Ouse River. Bas Jan Aders was lost at sea while performing “In Search of the Miraculous”. His body was never found. Mark Rothko overdosed on antidepressants and slit his wrists. His estate was contested in a 10 year court battle know as the Rothko Case. Helen Chadwick died from a viral infection contracted at the hospital while shooting ‘Unnatural Selection’, a series on IVF embryos rejected for implantation. Killing Fields won 3 Oscars (nominated for 7), 8 BAFTAs (nominated for 13) and grossed $34,609,720 US. Haing Somnang Ngor, who won both the Oscar and BAFTA for his performance, survived the Khmer Rouge only to be murdered in Los Angeles. After the release of The Killing Fields, Ngor had told a New York Times reporter, “If I die from now on, OK! This film will go on for a hundred years.”

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