From my vantage point, I could see everything Horace was doing. I could see the glisten of his forehead and still feel the heat from his grin. He was a man who supported a movement with his voice. I saw Horace in front of me become a martyr in his own doing. He did not die from some heinous crime, but he gave his life to show that what he protested wasn’t as much about him and the many patients that he befriended and defended when the mayor of Chicago closed half of the mental hospitals. Horace stood there for something beyond tangible attainment, which was often tested and tried in the April Spring.
The movement had intensified by then. Occupy Chicago and a handful of non-violent grassroots action committees had joined together with the vision of bringing back Chicago. On a rainy afternoon, the sound of the heavy raindrops knocking down on every white and off-white surface of the city made the condition more hectic than usual. I could recall it being some of the heaviest rain Chicago had gotten in that April. I met up with a few other activists at Daley plaza, in the South Loop. Across the street, the three of us waited for our time to join the rest of our fellow activists for a planned sit in. Read More
Where’s the ice cream?
“Joey Jo-Jo: My work is a satire/commentary on media saturation. This piece is called Exterior Semiotics. It proceeds by a series of entropic methodologies, utilising installations and live performance.” Read More
Rupert Atwell normally didn’t read notices at galleries. The written word should be an afterthought when appreciating art. That was the idea anyway but Joey Jo-Jo, whoever he was, was stood in the middle of the stage next to three stacked televisions dressed in what looked like a black hood and cloak. He was playing white noise through a keyboard sampler. The TVs were playing silent, slow motion VHS-grade montages. At one point one of the screens showed the face of a man, frozen in petit mort, superimposed over a rotting sheep carcass.
Blackness ran from her. Her shaking legs sent the cascading water down in a zigzag, visible as the blackness coalesced into thin lines, shivered, and fanned out. She reached down and rubbed her thighs in rapid strokes, trying to calm them, but they shook of their own accord. The vibration moved up into her chest, filled her with a soft tremor that made it hard to breathe at her normal pace. It demanded speed, rumbled within her.
Years later, Kip was sure, everyone would remember where they were when the shaking began. At the end of her shift, when she made her up from the mouth of the mine with her lunch pail banging up against her backside, the day had seemed almost normal. But, when she got out of the shower, and made her way down to the union hall, the men would be gathered around the scratched wood tables, their shoulders hunched with intensity, combing through the day. They would sift through the piles of normalcy for the one omen, the strange turn of phrase or unspoken ache in their bones which portended things to come. Had she felt it? Or was the relief of seeing the sunlight after eight hours of tight darkness the normal release? Read More
“What if…” he paused for a moment to fully gather his notion, “what if we say Kurt Cobain killed himself but made it looklike murder?”
There was some generous laughter round the table. The man chairing the meeting smiled and nodded:
“That’s a twist at least… go on.”
“I mean, there are a number of ambiguous and contested facts around the Death of Kurt Cobain, the heroin dosage, the fingerprints, by which I mean the lack of fingerprints, the letter, and eyewitness reports in the days beforehand. The difficulty is motive, but…” he shrugged, “when has that stopped anybody from working up a theory…? People love a mystery and once they invest in, it will do anything to defend it…”
Someone chipped in.
“There really is no question of motive then?”
“What I’m saying” he replied, “is that we’re dealing with articles of faith. Conspiracism is a belief system in the proper sense of the word. All belief systems are strengthened by mystery… God moves in mysterious ways. Kurt Cobain killed himself for mysterious reasons.” Read More
On the one-year anniversary of my mother’s death, at the suggestion of my therapist, I sat down to write her a letter. I had a difficult time starting it and I could not understand why? I had written plenty of letters before — love letters, break-up letters, letters about heartache — but for some reason this proved to be more difficult. I had known and experienced heartache before but somehow this heartache, what I was asked to write about, was harder, deeper, and wider than anything that I could wrap my mind around. But, I also knew that the only way for me to work through the depth of my pain was to indeed write the letter. The writer in me wanted to make it beautiful, make it perfect. But then I realized that the writer in me could not make sense of your death and so what you have below is the rawness, however imperfect, that I felt when I sat down to write this.
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I wondered this: what would I have said if I knew that that phone conversation was the last time, the last one. What would I have said if I knew that that would be the last rushed, “I’ll call you back” that I would ever say to you. What would I have said if I new that you would never see the complete production of the one thing that you never talked about — my novel — the one thing that I sat and talked to you about, the one thing that I knew I had in me but was so afraid to push out. I imagined that I was like you as I pursued the publication of my novel — afraid but hopeful. I imagined that you dreamed along with me, fighting for those dreams even though you were prevented from realizing yours, the faraway sound in your voice indicative of your pain…. Read More