Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poem: "Untitled" (After Hugo McCloud, "Untitled")

As part of the poetry reading and discussion "Experimentation and the Black Aesthetic" at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, organized by my Rutgers colleague and superlative poet and scholar Evie Shockley, and which included amazing poet-theorist-praxtitioner Dawn Lundy Martin and poet and multi-platform artist LaTasha N. Diggs, all four of us wrote new, short pieces in dialogue with/response to one work on display. Since I was on the panel and was unable to take photos, and was one of the participants, I thought I'd share my piece here, to give a flavor of what we were up to. All of us, it seems, chose a painting by Hugo McCloud. Rather than describe it, here's the artwork and what I wrote. Enjoy.

Hugo McCloud, "Untitled", block print series #2, aluminum coating,
 aluminum paper on tar, 60 x 60 inches, 2013.


Silver: shimmer. Sheen as clamor. Calmer, stroking it with vision: the blackground. There is an answer ground into the black. Stroke by stroke, layer by layer. Texture, here in the place of mirror. Into the surface pace. To peer into the space of reflection, the under-surface. Crossing into the space of aporia. Enter it, beyond the sign. Eyeing the face of reflection, between answer and question. Resting momentarily on the surfacing shimmer. The fragile layer which emerges as identity. What stirs in the reflection of the tinseled plane. Pressing, silver limning an opening: seeing. Identities emerging: artist, other. Compress them. What is the absence that lies behind. What surfaces beneath the surface as the event of recognition. Fragile covering as soft as armor. See necessity. Touching discourse. Reflection and absence. Axial, scene. Stroking vision in the aluminum pane. Abstraction: letting go of the metaphor. To let go of the face and enter allegory. Catching the emblem, the flights of coral. The eye as an open road, letting it pass into you. The I as route into and under the inner worlds. What echoes of the idea lingering at the crossroads. Passing through. Lateral music, not literal. To appear in the debris, the unrecovered, mind it. To you, in order to face it. Through you, making it. Peering at the symbol, calling. Beneath the detritus the glittering space. Down into the black. The call that need not ever be concealed comes back. Listen: the noise as the music of a enduring absence under the surface. Calling all viewers. Only then can you know the seeping. In the blueblackground: let it flow.

Copyright © John Keene, 2013. All rights reserved.

Me reading at MoCADA (Evie Shockley on the left, LaTasha
Diggs on the far right. Photo © by David Barclay Moore)

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