ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE

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JEAN FOGEL

The Dark Heart

Then I heard a noise, and I knew it was the sound of human terror.  It was the low sound that arises from the bottom of the soul…… And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but a kind of over-sensitivity…?  Pretend no more! I admit the deed!  Tear up the floor boards! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!—The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

According to the Chinese Book Of Life, The Secret Of The Golden Flower, a mother hen is able to help a baby chick hatch from its egg because her hearing is connected to her heart, and her heart is energetically connected to her young chick.  It is a kind of deep listening.  This idea of the heart being able to hear is something my son would understand.  He used to look at me after certain exchanges and shake his head asking how do you always know?

A mother knows the way the heart knows.  As mysterious as Poe’s beating heart, as connected as the deep listening that reaches far beyond the physical, we are at our root animals, and animals rely on instinct.  I believe the heart and instinct are related.

We refer to drawing on our instincts as intuition.  The ability to tune into our intuition means feeling into the body.  This is a quality that reaches back into our evolutionary history.  Relying on our body for information comes from primordial times and is very different from the sentimentality we are so accustomed to today.  Sentimentality leaves the dark heart untended.

Sentimentality is a superstructure covering brutality—C.G. Jung

The wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, and is capable of masking cruelty— James Baldwin

Our consumer culture cultivates sentimentality by delegating our extreme emotions to the shadows.  The very idea that one experiences dark emotions is cause for concern.  Medications are at the ready for any dip in stasis and productivity.

Strange Harmony

There is a man wearing a uniform proudly, you can find him miming
hand signals of belonging, his smile someone else’s flag. A child
caught telling a tall tale, stands holding her bird cage heart,
eyes wild with yesterday. Someone’s daughter, her pale skin
throwing light, moves through rooms of her beginning.
She is eager to please, her eyes a testament to something unknown.

On the other side of the world, a volcano is erupting.
Someone is preparing tea and everywhere,
the homeless dance for their pennies,
the amputee sings for his dinner.

What is above cannot exist without what is below.  The feminine principal embraces the dark, is often in communication with the dark and allows us to reside in the unknown.  Yet even our present-day childbearing is greatly controlled, choosing an all-natural birth is often considered unnatural in traditional hospitals.  And our fear of death hides behind our obsession with youth and fame.

Each Day Like This

A wind-blown mantle is waiting for the sun, like a train pulling
lavender through the fields. Grasses wild with loneliness bend and sway,
each shaft a strand, each strand someone’s hair, each day like this.
Bodies rising like dough, a forgotten wilderness, eyes staring
at the street laid flat like a black ribbon tongue. Beneath the curl

of bridge and mall: graffiti, detritus. The inevitable business of death.
We have bathed the body, closed all the doors. Above the city
a blood orange moon is setting, lanterns of light slowly expire.
The bird’s sleeping eye begins to open.

As the divisions of race and religion grow wider in my own country, I draw again from James Baldwin:  Humanity is our burden.  It is our burden, our collective burden that can only be dealt with by the inclusion of all.  Only by opening the door to the darkness will we find the light.

There Is No Other

I have no tears left, only the wail of bodies flung
against walls of remembrance,
or the howl of celebration;
a body being burned, a child being born.
Someone said faith and I said breathe.
Again my eyes looking through water,

Nameless before we were named,
wordless before we arrived,
what protection is there from the trauma of birth,
from the release of death?

Each hand holds the grail,
juggles without knowing,
sings without words,
lives in the hallowed genuflection
of an occasional perfect moment.

What say you death?
Saturn, God, Jesus, Buddha, Mom?

I look at you with my binoculars,
such distortion, such distance, such closeness.

A moth dives into the darkness.
No other in the flame burning ascension.

Born in New York, NY and raised in Texas, Jean Fogel Zee has been dancing, writing and working with the world as installation for over 30 years. The arc of Zee’s creative life is multi-disciplinary in form with a focus on poetry, dance, and the practice of Authentic Movement.  Zee’s performance works have been supported by grants from the City of Austin, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is presently Artist In Residence with The Historic Santa Fe Foundation in Santa Fe, NM.  Her exhibit WORD Poetry / Installation premiered May 5 – May 28, 2017 at the Historic Santa Fe Gallery in Santa Fe, NM.  Zee is currently working on her 2018 exhibition WIRED, as well as her one woman show WEEP An Existential Comedy, both shows to be presented by spring of 2018.

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