New oneirographs

Two oneirographs, dedicated to members of Chimera

Oneirograph of a dream experienced by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras

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Oneirograph of a dream experienced by Viviana Hinojosa, after reading a poem by Mina Polen

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For more oneirographs click here.

Copyright James Knight. All rights reserved.

Perdita in pieces

Perdita’s confusing profusion of parts
     makes it impossible to know
          which way up 

       she goes.

She flutters beneath
     the camera’s shuttered stare,
   butterfly-pretty,
                 laid bare.

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     Perdita wears a new face
   every day of the week.
The old ones accumulate
        in her wardrobe,
            curling at the edges
                as they dry out.

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Download Broken Perdita!
Perdita’s foot, in a glass slipper.
Perdita’s hand, in marriage.
Perdita’s head, on a plate.

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Sugared splice of our zeitgeist.

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Perdita loses herself in
   hyperfast drowsy porno vignettes,
               mind stuttering,
   body wired,
       in pieces,
       in and out
of someone else’s
consciousness

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The empty stage.

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       When Perdita steps
       into her wardrobe
   she enters herself.

Scarlet dresses gape at her,
      fake furs paw her.

When she exits
               she’s stripped bare.

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One yellow LA morning
      Perdita wakes up
and realises she’s less real
than the smashed mirror
          by her bed.

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Copyright James Knight. All rights reserved.

 

Lights out

when they switched the lights off it was actually easier to see what we were doing I don’t mean we couldn’t see before we could it just got easier we could work out the contours and where it began and ended though there was some discussion about which end was which but that didn’t really matter all we cared about was the job in hand so not having glaring light bearing down on us and making everything white was a boon for want of a better word and we started to quite enjoy the process despite the filth and the noise well it was rewarding in a way not financially but rewarding in the sense that we were all in it together working towards whatever it was and one or two of us even managed to sing a bit it wasn’t easy to hear but there was some singing it made us feel almost normal as if what we were doing was almost natural and what you’d expect anyway it diverted our minds but not so much that we couldn’t get on with things there was a lot to do and no one to guide us or explain the plan still at least we could see things a little better now that it was darker and not so white not so bright

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Copyright James Knight. All rights reserved.

The Mannequin

The outrageously talented Chimera artist Susan Omand and I are making a mannequin, one part at a time. For each part I write a brief text, which I email to Susan, who then interprets it and paints what she imagines.

It won’t surprise those who are familiar with my work that there will be thirteen parts to our mannequin.

The mannequin project will not result in a book; Susan has had an innovative publishing idea which we’ll keep schtum about for now.

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Jaws

Put your ear to my lips. Can you hear the sea? You can only imagine my perfect teeth, my mousetrap tongue. I won’t say a word. Everything is silence, thought, hours stretched tight over polished cheekbones. Don’t mistake it for serenity. In your dream you stumbled across a pair of false teeth, grinning on a shingle beach. No one else was around, so you pocketed it. Bad bad bad. Theft is culpable, even when it’s just imagined. I’ll remind you of that later, when the grandfather clock stirs to mournful life in your hallway. Never eat Shredded Wheat. Can you hear the sea yet?

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Neck

I prefer being a verb to being a noun. It’s so easy to get stuck otherwise, don’t you think? Butchers think I’m poetic. They grow glassy-eyed over my marble veining. But they don’t appreciate the mundanity of my role, supporting the head, ensuring the state doesn’t totter. Academics consider me a liminal space, the threshold between knowledge and passion, metaphysics and belching. I think of myself as a conduit. The rats know me well.

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Texts copyright James Knight. Images copyright Susan Omand. All rights reserved.

Chimera

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I’m excited to announce the creation of Chimera, a group of adventurous writers and artists.

I started the group because I love collaborating, and I wanted to invite some people whose work I admire to form a small Internet community. To give an idea of the guiding principle behind the group, here is the brief mission statement I wrote for Chimera:

Mythology: a composite monster.

Here: an online entity comprising several writers and artists.

Children make pictures, poems and stories playfully, adventurously, unconstrained by considerations of realism, theory or convention.

So do we.

I’ve little time for the self-conscious, theory-bound formalism of the remnants of the avant-garde. But I relish free experimentation, childlike adventures in words and pictures. The astonishingly talented individuals I invited to join Chimera exhibit the intuitive creativity I value. To see who they are, click here.

The Twitter account allows all members to tweet pictures, texts, links to their work, nonsense, polemics, anything they like, except retweets and product plugs. The blog is an opportunity to post longer works.

House of Mirrors

What follows is a work-in-progress, my collaboration with artist Viviana Hinojosa. It works in much the same way as echovirus12; Viviana started the process by creating a picture, which I then interpreted freely in the form of a prose poem. My piece then became the springboard for Viviana’s next picture, and so on. Who knows where this will end?

We are calling the project House of Mirrors, to suggest the distorted reflections of text and image and the viewer-reader’s disorientating journey through an imaginary space in which she may, from time to time, recognise herself.

House of Mirrors

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Time is enjoyed exclusively by those with money or celebrity. Kept in an ornamental cage, it tweets and chirps, flashing its feathers. Most of those who strut past the cage are only there to be seen and express no interest in the noisy, nimble creature.

They say time flies, but no one dares open the cage to find out if the idiom has any basis in reality. What would we do if time disappeared into the blue?

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The night’s machinery is operated by dreaming children. Little hands pull levers, press buttons. Clouds click into place. Stars flicker as the dynamos turn.

The moon is a mechanical bride. Once a month the veil that conceals her face is lifted by a system of pulleys and her phantom bridegroom appears. On that night, the children feel the tug of adulthood and weep in their sleep.

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In the basement of the abandoned mannequin factory is a door no one has ever opened. Behind it is a cube-shaped room containing a box, wrapped in silver paper. The Bird King wrote the gift tag. What does it say? I’m not telling. But if you were to unwrap the box and lift its lid, you’d find inside a Wellington boot.

At first, amused by the idea of wearing just one boot, you’re tempted to put it on. But then, as you’re removing your shoe, you see in your mind’s eye a devil leaping at you from the darkness of the boot. So you decide against it.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the Bird King plays chess with the blind factory owner. White to mate black in thirteen moves. It’s time for you to leave.

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If you insist on wandering around in the dark, you’re asking for trouble. You could be mugged, raped, beaten to a pulp, murdered. The city’s a fucking shithole. The housing estates are the worst: thousands of boxes, stacked into impossible towers, tottering and swaying in the brown night. The people who live in the cardboard coffins suffer a variety of ailments, physical and psychological: scoliosis, eczema, blindness, paranoia, megalomania, narcolepsy.

To sleep, perchance to dream.

I’m sorry; where was I? I think I blacked out. If you insist on wandering around in the dark. If you insist on wondering. If you wonder at my insistence.

I’ll start again. Let me try to shed some light on the matter. Let me tell you what happened to me. In the dusk, something purred as it slipped by. Was it a car or a cat I saw?

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Little wheels creek and squeak. Open your eyes and look: there’s nothing there.

Last night you dreamt that you carried the weight of the world on your shoulders. You wanted to cry, but your paralysed body wouldn’t permit a display of emotion. When you woke up you realised you had no responsibilities, nowhere to be, nothing to do. Your tears blurred the bedroom.

Little wheels again, again. The routine of looking. As before, nothing there.

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On Monday she saw a burning ship, a galleon like the ones you find in illustrated storybooks about pirates and dangerous adventures. Its sails were flames.

On Tuesday she found herself floundering in a sea of red wine. The shore was nowhere to be seen. She was tempted to dive under, mouth open, and inhale the ocean.

On Wednesday the ring finger on her left hand turned into a little scroll. Pulling it from the socket, she unfurled it and read a poem that made her laugh until she couldn’t breathe.

On Thursday her home became filled with an enormous cat. She lost herself in the musky heat of its fur.

On Friday she played poker with the devil. The stakes were low: her soul, his sense of humour. They soon became bored and abandoned the game.

On Saturday she looked into the mirror and saw a girl made of pine cones.

Sunday was a day of rest. She fell asleep over a book. The girl in the story swapped places with her, but no one noticed.

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All pictures copyright Viviana Hinojosa. All texts copyright James Knight. All rights reserved.