Saturday, June 17, 2017

Household Gods

Maybe it's odd to call the shelf above my desk an altar. It's actually a blocked-in window frame from before this cottage was expanded 60 or 70 years ago. It's not as though I have a practice that's anchored to the space--unless the whole of my time at my desk is a kind of practice. Perhaps I should just call it a reminder of some things that sustain me and energize my life, carried from winter quarters to summer quarters and set out here for as long as this migration lasts.

To the lower left, a statue of Hanuman that held the ring I received from the man I used to live with, for the year after our relationship ended.

The decorated box I worked on for two months last summer.

Above it, a poor inkjet copy of Josef Kozak's "Cernunnos," who for me is also Shiva, Jesus, and the stud of my dreams, all rolled into one.

The mala I use to count breaths during centering prayer, draped over one of a trinity of ceramic phalluses slip-cast by Abwoon.

The singing bowl I bought at the gift shop of Wildwood during Body Electric's Dear Love of Comrades retreat fifteen years ago.

An icon from the shrine of Julian of Norwich that a sometime lover and friend of thirty years gave me on my fiftieth birthday. Which was way too fucking long ago.

A Shiva Lingam given to a friend of mine by a closeted gay man in Varanasi, and gifted me in turn.

Around another of Abwoon's slipcast phalluses, to the left, a talisman made by Badger from a smooth river stone and twisted recycled copper wire.

In the foreground, the clutter of my desk.

Ask me at the end of the summer what it all means.

And the box:

Antique hardware store drawer, beachcombings, cropped Tom Bianchi photographs, acrylic paint. Slicing up Bianchi's sexy, commodifying images of buff circuit boyz helps me work through my deep ambivalence about his pictures. On the one hand, I blush to say I find them riveting. On the other hand, I find the ethics of his project deeply unsettling. Yes, his pictures celebrate joyous and unashamed male eros. But they also create very little space for those of us whose DNA doesn't make the grade, and who haven't spent twenty hours a week at the gym for the last five years.

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