Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary. All text copyright authors. Images copyright Steven McCabe. Your visit is appreciated.

Distance Swimming


In her mirror

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She feels illumined by an accelerating process

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Initiated by the 20th Century.


A darkening fog.

the heroic ball and glove





de Chirico,


Arise from her in swirling, serpentine eddies. A ventriloquist.


She unties a boat on the shore. The underground river.

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Languages of illumining clarity speed into each other like blood in water,


As vast and translucent as the Northern Lights.

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 & For reasons both utilitarian and mythopoeic


The face in the mirror anticipates leaping.

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& Distance swimming through shadow-lands,


Beneath the precipice of shallow, atomic time,

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Within and without darkened chambers & coincidentally


 Light reflecting upon ancient vials.

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 & Our spines an unbroken chain of receptor cauldrons.


& Her gift. The mirror.


Paul Klee catalogue (1951), Giorgio de Chirico painting ‘Song of Love’ (1914), photographic still from Jean Cocteau’s ‘Orphee’ (1950), pictured: Jean Marais  and Maria Casarès

Mémoire by Arthur Rimbaud

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Clear water, like the salt of childhood tears:
The white of women’s bodies opened in the sun,
And truth, beyond walls or the silk oriflammes, won
Out with the valour of a maid pure in her years.

The frolic of angels in their moving blaze of gold,
Imponderable arms sparkling with the coolness of the grass,
And the blues of Heaven taking up their beds to pass
Under the canopy of shade into the arch and hill’s fold.

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The stones, under the water, extend as in a clear broth,
And depths, freckled in prepared beds of pale gold,
And frocks of girls, loosely faded, as green as mould,
And willows, and hopping birds, unfettered, woven in the day’s cloth.

Round as the eyelid, with the warmth of a gold Louis,
Blooms the marsh marigold, fresh in its wedding vows.
The mirror at prompt noon, jealous of the day’s drouse
Tarnishes into a sphere, heat-flecked and dear to us.

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Too upright is Madam in the meadow’s rippled glass.
The sons of toil are in the cotton-fields falling as a white cloud.
In her fingers she twirls her parasol, tramples it, too proud
To watch her children reading in the flowered grass

Their books in red morocco. Of what they think or dream —
As on all paths a thousand angels flare upon the day —
Of hopes lost in high mountains, she cannot follow; her way
Is overcast and cold, as is the shadowed stream.

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Regret of arms satiated and celibate,
Sainted, straight white beds on moonlit April nights,
And the tear-wet joy falling on abandoned river sites,
And the rotting evenings in August that these germinate.

Under walls let her weep now: the winds possess
Only the high poplars, their motions tremulously sown.
Underneath in lead, unglinting, weighed with stone,
An old dredger labours, the small boat motionless.

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Flotsam, plaything of these waters that nothing hinders,
A boat beholden to stillness, and with arms too short,
And flowers blue or yellow, not then ever sought,
And breath now spread upon a water dull as cinders.

And for all that there are willows, powder, the plume of blood
That would drag out roses from reedbeds of time’s jaws,
The boat stays here, unmoving, and the chain draws
On the eye, water-heavy and deep in the unbanked mud.

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Translation C. John Holcombe


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 Original photo credit: Massimo Sestini

Paul Klee and Ferdinand the Bull

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Ferdinand the Bull only wanted to smell the flowers.


My favourite book as a child. I found the story captivating and the ink drawings mesmerizing. I remember my mother in the sun-drenched living room where I would turn the pages over and over.

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‘Fairy Tales’ by Paul Klee. Perhaps my favourite artist of all my favourites. Was Paul Klee so unlike Ferdinand? Flowers too cast shadows.

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Georgia O’Keeffe: A Quote

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“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there is no such thing.

Making your unknown known is the important thing—


and keeping the unknown always beyond you…”

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Georgia O’Keeffe, in a letter, to Sherwood Anderson.

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Photo of Georgia O’Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz, 1918

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Both on the material and the spiritual planes the ark symbolizes the power to preserve all things and to ensure their rebirth.


Biologically speaking, it can be regarded as a symbol of the womb or of the heart, there being an obvious connection between these two organs.


The basic symbolism of the ark is the belief that the essences of the physical and spiritual life can be extracted and contained within a minute seed…


until such time as a rebirth creates the conditions necessary for the re-emergence of these essences into external life.


The ark, during the cosmic parlay, floats on the waters of the lower ocean.

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The rainbow, in the realm of the ‘upper waters,’ is a sign of the restoration of the order which is preserved below in the ark.


Both figures together, being complementary, complete the circle of Oneness.


They therefore correspond to the two halves of the ancient symbol of the ‘world egg.’

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As a symbol of the heart (or of the mind, or of thought) the image of the ark is similar to that of the drinking-vessel, so frequent in medieval mysticism.

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from A Dictionary of Symbols by J.E. Cirlot


Images: Photographs of political hip-hop artist Keny Arkana in montage with a page from The Lindisfarne Gospels, an illuminated manuscript created around the year 700.


Let’s Go To The Hop. The ‘Blog Hop.’

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The ‘Blog Hop’ format includes answering four questions about your work. And introducing two other artists. I will also introduce the artist who nominated my page .

So, we begin:


Last year I had a wordless book published. A ‘wordless poem’ called Never More Together (The Porcupine’s Qull press).

117 linocuts.

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The surveillance state intersects with prehistory.

Now reworking & morphing high res scans.

Streamlining them into ‘filmic’ sequences.

Meditations Upon a Wordless Poem.


         The music (already delivered!) is performed and composed by Japanese pianist Yoshiko Arioka.

I am creating/editing a few lines of poetry (about wordless poetry) for the text.

Soon I will sit down with the video editor.

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Also: I just completed a 30″ X 40″ painting. The beginning of a new series of works.

Also: I am working on a book about ‘drawing as meditation.’

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My digital work on this blog comes from the perspective of a painter and draughtsman.

I apply the experiences of working with hand and touch, on canvas and paper, to the non-physical, yet suffused with light, digital.


I should mention:

Between 1996 – 2007 I had four full length poetry collections published.

Between 2009 – 2013 I created 6 poetry videos.

So, perhaps I seek to infuse digital art & design with a poetic sensibility.

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Art is therapeutic.

When I make art I can ‘make believe.’

‘Make believe’ like a child proclaiming The King Has No Clothes.

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(Image: Leslie Gore, lettuce, and William Blake’s handwriting)

I experience the delight of an idea assuming form. The form of an idea assuming delight.

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As the personal intersects with history

Giving voice to the mystery.

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I discover what the image will be as the idea manifests. As I fashion the image.

I allow time for evaluation & distance from the process.

Reading something unrelated often strangely circles back to the unfinished project.


I am a technician refashioning material that comes from some source I am aware of, but cannot pinpoint the exact location.

While making and discovering connections I haven’t seen before.

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Now it is my pleasure to introduce the two artists I nominate for ‘Blog Hop.’

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First we go to Kansas and the workshop studio of Jack Baumgartner.


Jack is an artist of faith, connected to the land, tradition and the history of both contemporary and religious art. He reminds me of a figure in a Woody Guthrie song, or a brother visionary to Ezekiel. He would not seem out of place working in the studio alongside Bruegel. A craftsman of the highest order. He is rooted, also, in language and perception.

Saying he is multidisciplinary is an understatement. On Jack’s blog you find his fine music, the animals he raises, the wood he fashions, the extraordinary lithographs, his paintings and drawings, the puppetry and hand-crafted soap. He works in both a visionary and folk tradition.

One of his drawings: Go On, Adam


And woodwork: Persimmon Vessel


Jack also documents life on the land and his artistic journey with rich, atmospheric photographs.

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Now we go to New York City and meet artist and therapist Sarah Valeri.


Sarah is a licensed, registered and board certified Art Therapist. I can easily imagine how positive her influence is on the people she counsels.  Her brilliant colours and shapes reflect discovery and multidimensionality. Her drawings are in the tradition of the great ink artists. Her work reflects both technical skill and dreamlike imagination. Both drawings and paintings are imbued with intrigue.

 She also performs live, creating expressive mixed media artworks as part of the musical/visual art group Colorform. 

One of her paintings (with drawing): Our little heads will hold the last of the sky. c.2015. Oil and ball point pen on canvas, 35″ x 42″


And a drawing: Retirement Plan – 2012. Ink on card stock, 7.25″ x 10.5″


Sarah is involved in various energetic, collaborative ventures you can discover at her blog.

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Next we travel to Beckenham, UK.

I am also pleased to introduce the ultra-fine photographer Richard Guest who introduced my work to his readers.  Richard’s work is imbued with a sophisticated aesthetic, original visual approach, and feel for humanity. He creatively titles his works adding yet another level or dimension. He presents candid shots, street portraits, interviews, and digital paintings on his blog:


 He also collaborates with Australian photographer Ashley Lily Scarlett. Their fascinating visual and thematic dialogue can be found on the blog: https://betweenscarlettandguest.wordpress.com/

One of Richard’s works: Wonderland, 2015


And another recent work: No Language In Our Lungs, 2015


As you can see, Richard’s work is multi-faceted and consistently intriguing.

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And now we have come to the end of ‘Blog Hop.’  Thank you for your participation.

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Constructing a Self-Referential Collage

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Moon shattering upon a highway her voice inside you.


Her voice inside you, a falling stone.


Her mountain stone an echo, your mouth erupting.


Tattooed with Hittite song her skin barely visible, a windshield.


Her Hittite moon evaporating, condensing upon your windshield.


She confuses you while casting forth the vibrant song of singing birds.


Birdsong at work within you, within a song-stone breeze, erupting.


Her stone-sliding an echo.


Almost a whisper


Your voice evaporating & erupting, an engineering marvel.


Lyrics on collage from ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’  https://vimeo.com/113869969


You Send Me by Sam Cooke (& the Hamangian Cubists)

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Although cubistic, these artworks pre-date Cubism (and Sam Cooke) by roughly 7,000 years. Hamangia culture is a Late Neolithic archaeological culture of Dobruja (Romania and Bulgaria) between the Danube and the Black Sea and Muntenia in the south.

With Sam CookePabloPicasso-Girl-with-Mandolin-Fanny-Tellier-1910

Cubist image: Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), late Spring, 1910


You Send Me by Sam Cooke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNco-e2CXuo

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 I do not claim credit or copyright for original source material in this post.
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If You Decide


We need to learn an almost extinct language I will study with you.


We need to live among the people whose language is almost lost I will join you and also learn traditional survival skills.


To leave me for the shaman I will drive a stake through his medicine box, realize my grave error instantly, and escape, although barely.


To beckon and summon, seducing me with whispers that reach into my blood, I will return.


I must stand trial for my crimes against love and magic, I will escape, again.


If you decide to hypnotize me while I sleep I will seal my heart against your vibrations and embrace the crazed dream of modernity. Because I am a fool. Weary of surviving on roots. Even the root of you. Even the root of me.


If you decide I must seal my heart against the sounds you once made I will throw the window open a final time, upon your murmur coursing & drenched in starlight, intersected by a highway carrying the disappeared.


If you decide to remain quiet I will train my ear to hear the sunlight falling.


If you decide it is my duty to dig out the wooden stake I will return in the dead of night speaking an extinct language.


Photo credit: Renee Perle, a Romanian Jewish girl who moved to Paris, is famous as the first muse of the famous French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986), who is considered one of the leading photographers of the 20th century.


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Letters From Attica [an excerpt] by Sam Melville (1934 – 1971) & the Frederic Rzewski Composition ‘Coming Together’


I think the combination of age and the greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time.

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it’s six months now and i can tell you truthfully few periods in my life have passed so quickly.

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i am in excellent physical and emotional health.

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there are doubtless subtle surprises ahead but i feel secure and ready.

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As lovers will contrast their emotions in times of crisis, so am i dealing with my environment.


in the indifferent brutality, incessant noise, the experimental chemistry of food, the ravings of lost hysterical men, i can act with clarity and meaning.

i am deliberate–sometimes even calculating–seldom employing histrionics except as a test of the reactions of others.

15. Taken Aback

i read much, exercise, talk to guards and inmates, feeling for the inevitable direction of my life.

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Sam Melville (Letters From Attica)

Above is how the spelling appears on more than one site.


I narrated this text four years ago or so with professional musicians performing Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together & Attica.

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Sounding this text to the music was one of the most emotional things I’ve experienced: hypnotic, exhausting and exhilarating.


Frederic Rzewski selected this body of text for his composition.


A performance featuring narration by stage actor Steve Ben Israel with Frederic Rzewski on piano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSuuwJFw4wU  The video opens in a new window so you can follow the text here if you wish.

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Credits and information about this recording: http://incessantnoise.blogspot.ca/2009/08/frederic-rzewski-coming-together.html



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