Broadcasts: Musing with Penny Slinger (part 2)

Blum & Poe Broadcasts presents musings by artists from their homes to yours.

Penny Slinger continues her new photo collage series titled My Body in a Box—an ongoing project created during these last weeks of self-isolation, seeking to explore the psychological entrapment and fears that accompany the experience. As Slinger has done since the 1960s, here she uses her own image and body as subject to process a range of feelings and reactions. Accompanied by her poetry and prose that are evocative of states of mind and being, Slinger’s offering is one of pain and poignancy, as well as transcendence. This series will continue to grow as a living archive, during the span of shelter in place.

Photos of Penny Slinger by Dhiren Dasu.

DIAGONAL

I am going to be diagonal
Forget perpendicular
Horizontal
No more straight lines
All kitty corners
As I rearrange
The structure
Of my life
I will only bend
I will not 
Stand straight
For I see now
That was pointless
And there is
No center
Anymore
So all I can do
Is pivot
All angles
No standing beams
Just braces
Against earthquakes
now everything
Is shaken down
And all I feel
Are the tremors


TOUCH ME/SELF CONTAINED

It is unnatural
Not to feel
The sense of touch
It is stunting
To vibrancy
When we cannot caress
Or be caressed
But consciousness
Is our greatest
Erotic zone
And I stroke my being
With my mind
As a mother
Tenderly holds
Her baby
As a lover
Explores the beloved
As a virgin land
Feels new footprints
On her earth
As the wind
Moves through
And around
Everything
Touching each particle
As it blows
In this self-imbued
Embrace
I myself
Am loved

 

MY DOLL HOUSE

Welcome
To the doll house
In my house
Are many mansions
Each populated
With the roles
I play
Haunted
With my many selves
All seeking refuge
In the Mothership
In the many compartments
Of my being
I hang my marionettes
All vying
For attention
All seeking succor
And a place of rest
Yet this restless spirit
Runs through all my golems
Making mischief
Or making sense
None of them
Want to stay in their boxes
You just cannot segregate
Or social distance
The many facets
Of the sentient
Self.


SUFFOCATING

I may suffocate
Because my lungs
Can no longer
Breathe
I may suffocate
Due to the folly
Of nations
I may suffocate
Like sea life
Trapped in plastic
I may suffocate
Because
My art
Can't get traction…
But then again
I may live 
To breathe 
Another day
And there is
A chance
I'll resurrect
Ophelia 

MY LUNGS

These are my lungs
This is how
I breathe
All night and day
My bellows work
Interfacing
With the world
Taking it in
And letting it out
Breathing
Now this mechanism
Is threatened
Before its time
To give up
The ghost
To let that last exhale
Mingle me 
With infinity

I'm holding on
To my life force
I keep things
Close to my chest
Holding my breath
Until the all clear
Keeping my body
In a box.

COSMIC X-RAY

If I am transparent
There will be
Nothing
That can harm me
If I am a subtle body
There will be
Only space within
If I dissolve
My boundaries
Nothing can be trapped
Inside my body
I breathe in
Galaxies
I am a human being
But I am made
Of stardust

SUN MEDITATION

I make my body
A sacred temple
To the sun
Here I worship
That which
Disperses
All density
Heals
All disease
Purifies
My body
My mind
From all obscuration
For the light
Is life
The light
Is eternal
The light
Guides through
All shadows
As the gift
Of the gods
And blesses us
Daily
With its rising
Irradiating
Our beings
Unconditionally
Regenerating
Every cell

CLOTHED IN THE SUN

I am the woman
Clothed in the sun
I wear this mantle
As a sacred robe
Protecting me
From the dark night 
Of our collective soul
I am a priestess
In the cult of light
The cult of life
For my prayers
Revolve around 
The source of life
Eternal
I stand for
Life's preservation
In every atom
Each sentient being
All seen as sacred
Under the sun.

 

TIMEPIECE

Is time
My enemy or friend?
Time marches on 
Time stands still
And here am I
Caught in the crosshairs
Like a deer in the headlights
Eyes wide shut
Experiencing its passage
Through my body of being
Suspended
Reanimation
Tick tock

Time
To reset
Restart
Reclaim
Let time
Stand still
A little longer
So that we
May lose 
Ourselves
To find 
Ourselves
At the same time
At the still point
In the center
The zero point
Which holds all potential
Our self-created
Event horizon
From where we can view
The edge of the world
On the other side
Of time
Just in time


TIMEPIECE

Time
To turn back time
Reset
Our inner clocks
To realign
With the rhythms
Of nature
Not some artifice
Designed by man
To cut and paste
The measure
Of our lives
But a return
To the inner
Compass
Which knows
The strategic points
Of the mandala
Of being
The north south east and west
Of living organisms
The higher harmonic
To guide us from the darkness
Into the light
Where the sun
Our source
Directs
Our journey through time
According
To the tides of life
Not the dark reaper's 
Tragic countdown

FETAL/REVERTING

Curled up 
Around myself
As if position
Can protect the core
Regressed
To a primal place
Shuttered down
In my body fort
Holding on to myself
Intact
Against uncertainty
Malevolence
Unseen forces
Shutting down
Survival mode
With only the earth itself
To feed me
Through the umbilical cord
Of life
Through which
She gave me
All sustenance
In a sea of dark troubles
Man made
I am woman
I am my inner child
Unborn
Sleeping
Yet awake

REBIRTHING THE EARTH

A prayer
Was whispered
Into my body
Many years ago
Its been
Gestating
Now it has come
Full term
I hear it call
From my womb
My center
The opportunity
To start
Anew
Bring forth
From our true selves
A new future
Rewrite the manuscript
Of doom
Written with pens
Of unconsciousness
Birth a new way
Of being
With the world
For the dust
Has been lifted
From our eyes
And we see the future
As the possibility
Of what could be
Now we listen
To our bodies 
Once more
To our hearts
To the song
That sings through us
And all creation
One song
One birth
We all can midwife
And write
A new destiny
For sacred life
Written 
With a virgin plume
Gifted to us
By the white bird
Of earth's soul

My waters break
As tears which pour 
And I see her
Coming forth
Rebirthed
As hope incarnate

CAN’T GET AWAY FROM MYSELF

In this time
We must distance from others
There is no way
To escape ourselves
We rub up against
Ourselves
At every twist and turn
We encounter
Ourselves
With every move
We make
There is no avoiding
Ourselves
With life's every little 
Distractions
We are crammed into 
Self-confrontation
And its crowded in here
So now is the time
For radical reflection
As we see how much space
Who we are occupies
And we confront
The claustrophobia
Of not being able
To get away
From who we are
We have nowhere else
To turn
And turn again
Crowding like sardines
In the tin can
Of our minds

ROSE GARDEN EFFIGY

Everything is coming up
Roses
Now we are taking time
To inhale their essence
I want to bury myself
In a bed of blooms
Effigied 
In fragrance
Framed
In blossoms' bounty
Abandoning
My being
In everlasting bliss
Shrouded
In the bower
As the sweet smell
Of death
Transmutes
To a floral 
Calling
Lingering
As a constant memory
An eternal refrain
Dust
On a bowl of rose petals

ROSE GARDEN

I never promised you
A rose garden
So soft I've heard it told
In words and actions
By my lovers
And now
As culture’s norm

I want to savor
The fragrance of being
The rose garden
Of my soul
Never fading
Always flowering
A memory
Trapped
As freedom
In a box
Holding
The essence
Of eternal spring
Endless summer
In a rose garden
That exists
Outside time
I awoke
And smelled the roses
Again
For the first time
In my dreams
And felt
The supple petals
Skin on skin
Nature's tender
Interface
And life's
Ardent embrace

HEAVY LIFTING

Weighed down
With the burden
Of civilization
On my back
All this
Industrial pollution
Is a heavy load
For any back to bear
For any ecosystem
To handle
Oh mother!
I feel for you
My back is breaking
Let's not go back
To 'normal'.


HEAVY LIFTING

I lift you
But you're 
Not heavy
You're my mother.
I raise you up
Light as a feather
This blessed rock
This glorious Eden
I resurrect you
With my heart
I glorify nature
As the embodiment
Of the Feminine Divine
She is born
In every living thing
All matter
Matters
All part
Of the sacred
Dance of life
In which all beings
Of every walk of life
Belong
Every slither
Any rustling of leaves
Each fall of a wave
Dancing together
In this great rhapsody
Singing together
In this great symphony
Ahhhh, life!

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