Monthly Archives: September 2006

Deer Hunting Poems

*I’m reposting my hunting poems those readers who have requested them.*building the blindI use your eyesand think as you. I see the old placeas newtreading familiar pathwayscarefully leaving no traceno scent of my presencein our shared territorystepping back breathing it inobserving the executionof your ancient habitscomprehending the logicof your journeysand the reasons whyyou movefinding your shapes pressed in the grasswhere your kind haltsbefore stepping over the break in the rusted wirewhere you scrape the soft earthwhere you pass and have passedfor milleniayour prints still freshthe raw rubbed treesall the feral signs of your dangerous are drawn hereby the fallen chestnutsthe white oak acornswhere the autumn sunwarms the sideof the southern hillwhere you hide at noonby the quenching waterwaythe cool places whereI spot you beneath the moonthe old paths converge herein this enfolding valley.this is whereI’m building the blindon the earthen dam above the small stream behind two treesI tie branchesto brambleslay a cover of twigsdrape brown grasslevel a spot.when I returnI’ll sit for hourswatch the frost evaporateadmire the morning mistnote the insistenceof the woodpeckerand wait for the flashing instantI end your numbered days.this ineffable special placeis not so uniqueeach foot of living earthis after alla place for dying.*whitetailfour million yearsmoving through this hidden placeit has always been yoursbut I share your secret nowdeep in your bloodyou know it by heartand your heart is my targetyou’re everywhere these barren dayssex-crazedleaving traces on hard ground, on treesmaking mistakesshowing yourself is your fatal flawyou’re giving yourself awayand you don’t know thatyou can not help yourself I understand this behaviorin my own flawed heartsensing mein your spaceI sense you in mineyou’ll die hereas will I one daybut you are more beautiful than Ithis is why you will be the firstto die*running, bleedingblood’s flying out of you like a flock of red birdsfreed up from pressured spacesyou’re weakening nowrunning for your lifeas life leaves youmarking the trees with inner scentthe dry woods soaked redleaf and root will grow anewwarmed and fed by your passyour deer heart, unawarecontinues beatingpumping out your life as if you are the world but you are not the worldyou are yourselfand you are dyingyour bright tail signals surrenderI’ll make this up to youthis beautiful murderyou will continue onwithin me*Words by TFD

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Each year, the Reading Riverfest, on Riverfront Drive by the Schuylkill River, reminds me that it is one of the best public events in Reading and that it has great potential for bringing us together in peace, harmony, and fun. I say this because it is real. It is simple. It has universal appeal. It is inexpensive. It brings the community together on a human scale. And it is a good time.Riverfest brings crowds to downtown Reading during daytime and evening hours. In fact, it does all the things that big-bucks arts projects (in which millions of dollars are spent on the gamble that some gentrified pre-fab version of an art scene will automatically arise here) are supposed to do.The upper classes are in the habit of spending big money to make themselves feel good and to increase their name recognition doing things they think the community needs. That’s acceptable for human services projects but what ensues from the prodigious expenditure of funds to erect large-scale construction projects as centers of culture often does less for the majority of citizens than simple fairs and festivals such as Riverfest do for us.Friday evening was wonderful. All ages, cultures, and classes of people moved through the event spaces and I didn’t see anyone who was not smiling. Splendid entertainment was everywhere present. I had the best time with the euphonious sounds of the tight, soulful, and funkified dance band, Burning House. That scene was the most vital, energetic, and entertaining I’ve experienced in quite some time.As I move through my life-as-art world, it occurs to me more and more that the most common things are the most beautiful.

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ARTology Evolution

Since day one, my intentions for ARTology have been singular. In fact, my aesthetic intentionality has been the same since the day I scribbled/wrote on my grandparents’ wall before I was two years old. My art is about the idea of the self as art – and therefore by extension, life as art.In the many decades since that memorable experience with my grandparents’ wall (it is my first memory) I have worked to hone this intention. Through various stages from creating work that involves my interaction with the world via media, total-environment, writing, teaching, performance, collaboration, and conceptual art I have stated and embodied the same intent. At times, it has been clear to many and at other times, it has been clear only to me. Operating independently as a working artist, writer, and teacher, I have emphasized particular aspects of conceptual existential aesthetics at particular times and in specific situations. For the past decade or so, working collaboratively, anonymously, and with pseudonyms seemed to me the most direct method of addressing the exploration of aspects of identity integral to the overall project. More recently, I have reoccupied the local, regional, and global spaces with my birth name in order to approach the thing from the outside in again.This year’s purely conceptual projects include my contribution to the New Arts Program’s Exhibition of Small Works, where I exhibited a brief description of doing nothing as art. I created the web site as a global instance of the nothing-as-art project and published conceptual work here and elsewhere. In addition, later this season, I will do a video dialog as collaborative concept art with James Carroll on New Arts Alive TV.From this point forward, it should be clearer to ARTology readers that this blog is – and has always been – an ongoing collaborative conceptual project executed by my readers and me – because life is art.

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Man and Manatee

*The image above is a representation of the experiences described here.The difference between the image and my experience is that I was equipped with only mask and snokel.*Last week, just off Sombrero Beach in Marathon, Florida, I had the rare opportunity of encountering a full-grown manatee while snorkeling in about 10 feet of water. Very warm currents were moving through the Keys that day and evidently, this sea cow had followed them to about 75 yards from the beach.I was with five other snorkelers. We swam along side of the manatee, dived down to see her entirety, and observed our huge visitor for about 15 minutes. At that point, we lost sight of her and headed back toward shore raving about our thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experience.I stepped back on to the beach but the possibility of encountering the manatee once more motivated me to try again. I returned to the sea and swam out to where she had been. After about 5 minutes, I dove down six feet and saw her. We were face to face.For the next half-hour, we swam separated at times by only a foot of seawater. I reached out and touched the back of the ten-foot, thousand-pound, submerged mammal. It felt like the bottom of the sea. Layers of grit, algae, and microorganisms covered her thick skin. Barnacles, snails – all sorts of little creatures – were embedded in that live substrate. The manatee was accompanied by a school of small silver-and-yellow fish. Occasionally one would take a nip of sustenance from the living encrustation that covered her. When I lost site of her, I could locate the brilliant fish and follow them to their mammoth host. Twice I headed back to shore and twice she followed me. We spent about 25 minutes together. I always will remember the experience.The sea cow also carried three long and deep scars from encounters with boat propellers. Manatees are an endangered species. Docile and trusting, they have not fared well during the rapid encroachment of human civilization upon their ecosystem. Seeing a manatee in the wild today is very uncommon. I spoke with divers who in many years of pursuing the avocation had not spotted a manatee during a dive.I write about the natural world because it is the source of all art and aesthetic experience. Inspired by Mother Nature, her astounding creatures, and infinite universe, I move toward an ever greater appreciation of her all-enveloping transcendent beauty.*Image: USGS

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Keys Drawing

*Image:Tullio Francesco DeSantisUntitled ink on paper drawingFlorida Keys, 2006

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