Joanna Ebenstein and Colin Dickey have put together an anthology based on the best of the Morbid Anatomy Presents lecture series, and are running a Kickstarter campaign to produce it. Subjects include “anthropodermic bibliopegy (i.e. books bound in human skin), 19th-century Diableries, collections of preserved human tattoos, death-themed 19th-century Parisian cabarets, extreme taxidermy, popular wax anatomical models, the Anatomical Venus, Santa Muerte,” and many others. The Morbid Anatomy Anthology promises to be a beautiful, fascinating, high-quality volume that you will be proud to have on your bookshelves. A pledge of $25 or more will get you a copy of the book.
“Black mandrake sprang beneath the tree as it will where the seed of the hanged falls and in spring a new branch pierced his breast and flowered in a green boutonniere perennial beneath his yellow grin. He took the spare winter snows upon what thatch of hair still clung to his dried skull and hunters that passed that way never chanced to see him brooding among his barren limbs. Until wind had tolled the tinker’s bones and seasons loosed them one by one to the ground below and alone his bleached and weathered brisket hung in that lonesome wood like a bone birdcage.”
—Cormac McCarthy, Outer Dark
And it broke my heart but I
killed every trembling thing. The yearning
spaces subsided, they were reddened, they
were convinced to stillness.
And it broke my heart but God
became God-in-exile, became
yearning spaces. I buried my demons
with a knife, and left them to it. Exile
was the new love, it was a barren land,
it took no prisoners.
And it broke my heart but the pieces
hardened, they were as clockworks,
they counted down the hours. I was
waiting, my body was a sharp plane,
a border, I was waiting, everything
had already happened, I had killed it,
it drifted through the motionless diaspora,
the hours turned on me and they had teeth.
– by saartha
These beautiful images are from the book Alice, à travers le miroir, a French edition of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There illustrated by Lost Fish (see my previous post on her).
Tags: (twists on) traditional art, alice in wonderland, children, cute little girls, dollflesh, fragility, historically inspired, illustrations, innocence/menace, lolita-esque, lost fish, neo-victorian, pop surrealism, porcelain, precious, queens, red and white, surreal, sweet/melancholy
“Hugging my grudge, ugly and prickly, a sad sea urchin, I trudged off on my own, in the opposite direction toward the forbidding prison. As from a star I saw, coldly and soberly, the separateness of everything. I felt the wall of my skin; I am I. That stone is a stone. My beautiful fusion with the things of this world was over.
The Tide ebbed, sucked back into itself. There I was, a reject, with the dried black seaweed whose hard beads I liked to pop, hollowed orange and grapefruit halves and a garbage of shells. All at once, old and lonely, I eyed these–razor clams, fairy boats, weedy mussels, the oyster’s pocked gray lace (there was never a pearl) and tiny white ‘ice cream cones.’ You could always tell where the best shells were–at the rim of the last wave, marked by a mascara of tar. I picked up, frigidly, a stiff pink starfish. It lay at the heart of my palm, a joke dummy of my own hand. Sometimes I nursed starfish alive in jam jars of seawater and watched them grow back lost arms. On this day, this awful birthday of otherness, my rival, somebody else, I flung the starfish against a stone. Let it perish.”
He loved her and she loved him
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and Sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains
Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Or everlasting or whatever there was
Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy place
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His word were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
Her glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon’s gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall
Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop
In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage
In the morning they wore each other’s face
nearer:breath of my breath:take not they tingling
limbs from me:make my pain their crazy meal
letting they tigers of smooth sweetness steal
slowly in dumb blossoms of new mingling:
deeper:blood of my blood:with upwardcringing
swiftness plunge these leopards of white ream
this pith of darkness:carve an evilfringing
flower of madness on gritted lips
and on sprawled eyes squirming with light insane
chisel the killing flame that dizzily grips.
Querying greys between mouthed houses curl
thirstily. Dead stars stink. dawn. Inane,
the poetic carcass of a girl
- ee cummings
It was a place of force -
The wind gagging my mouth with my own blown hair,
Tearing off my voice, and the sea
Blinding me with its lights, the lives of the dead
Unreeling in it, spreading like oil.
I tasted the malignity of the gorse,
Its black spikes,
The extreme unction of its yellow candle-flowers.
They had an efficiency, a great beauty,
And were extravagant, like torture.
There was only one place to get to.
The paths narrowed into the hollow.
And the snares almost effaced themselves –
Zeroes, shutting on nothing,
Set close, like birth pangs.
The absence of shrieks
Made a hole in the hot day, a vacancy.
The glassy light was a clear wall,
The thickets quiet.
I felt a still busyness, an intent.
I felt hands round a tea mug, dull, blunt,
Ringing the white china,
How they awaited him, those little deaths!
They waited like sweethearts. They excited him.
And we, too, had a relationship -
Tight wires between us,
Pegs too deep to uproot, and a mind like a ring
Sliding shut on some quick thing,
The constriction killing me also.
- Sylvia Plath, 1965
‘Darling, they’ve found the body’ comes from a series of dreams – a body is buried beside a house, a house on stilts, the body has lain there for many years, i always knew it was there but consciously obscured it from view by willfully dimming the lights, the body is my body and i have been murdered by my ‘once upon a time’ lover turned keeper, i scrimshaw this dream onto liz bonami, the blonde dream doll with pernicious eyes lest i forget (when i lived on a boat my father would scrimshaw ships and birds and the letters of our names onto whales’ teeth we bought from a danish bank robber, we would sell these to buy food and make necessary repairs), my apparent self-imposed incarceration means i scratch messages onto the walls of my cell as i wait out my final hours, i try to make sense of the floating debris of letters, unpaid bills and medical records that seem surely to be a poor suggestion of a life, i self-portrait the face that accuses me and demands that i make good my escape, while i sit ludicrously passive watching the pot boil dry…
my sewing machine enables a solipsist god complex to spin out her own creation myth, where time stops and ‘the one who knows’ will come riding by on his ship, up the iron river and i will be waiting pretty as a picture so here i am, an impenetrable snaggle-toothed old crone stirring the secrets of my omniverse…the butterflies are notches on my belt as 39 years flutter by i am reminded of a dream where i live alone in a beautiful cottage in the forest in bavaria, by day i paint self-portraits with a solipsistic narcissism, by night i hunt, i am a wolverine i am reminded of another story – a woman sitting on her roof because of the floods, the water is rising fast, she has been told by God to wait there for a miracle, three times a man comes by in a boat to rescue her and each time she says ‘no, God has told me to wait here for a miracle,’ the water levels continue to rise and the woman drowns, when she gets to heaven she stands accusingly before her God and says why did you not perform the miracle that you promised me and her God says i came by three times and each time you sent me away
- KatieJane Garside, 2007