You may or may not be looking at a photograph of an offering received.
An interior transferred. A thumb between a lower lip and tongue ensuring the aim is true. A viscous truth susceptible to being bent in a breeze, but in this moment the wind understands and does not interfere.
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of an aubade.
A morning love song. A soft twist in the air.
To thirst gothically, to want — like a spire: no discernible object but more sky. (1)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of ten legs.
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of vaporous mobilisation to obscure light.
Consider it. Consider consider. Etymologically, this once meant ‘to observe the stars’ (sidere). Considerate. Siderate means ‘to blast or strike down’. Its Latin root siderari means ‘to be struck by a star’ or ‘to be sunstruck’.
There’s a celestial root to desire too — desiderare — to long for, or await, what the stars might bring.
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of a jagged annihilation of light.
An abyssal loss, a blooming emptiness.
We wanted to speak about subject/master and object/slave. Bataille showed us that loss of self and attainment of nothingness is a group activity. He supplied the essential negative, a zero planted in the midst of community. (2)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of a raft.
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of a pluck.
Between thumb and forefinger there is a pull and a lift. Perhaps a small noise of severance. Perhaps a smell released into the air in the moments after. Perhaps this smell lingers on the thumb.
All it takes is to tilt our gaze at a certain angle & our belief in what we see snaps like a cracker. (3)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of a holy union.
Poetry and sex have this in common: they are the instant consumption of energy, that is, they do not accumulate, they do not have a value dependent upon the consequences of furthering anything outside themselves ... Thus the act becomes sacred. (4)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph which is not yet titled.
A title may unfurl in some unknown future. It may be descriptive, it may be poetic, but you won’t know until it arrives. At that point you will probably no longer be looking at this photograph, so don’t think on it too much.
I stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; gold chains from star to star, and I dance. (5)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of explosions.
Blades of grass jitter and spark around the rubble in sharp, geometric bursts.
Let him put his mouth in the dust, there may yet be hope. (6)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of a connection.
In the friendship whereof I speak...our souls mingle and blend in a fusion so complete that the seam that joins them disappears and is found no more. If pressed to say why I loved him I’d reply, because it was him, because it was me. (7)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of love, overlapping.
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of a promise.
Pylades: I'll take care of you.
Orestes: It’s rotten work.
Pylades: Not to me. Not if it’s you. (8)
You may or may not be looking at a photograph of a transfer.
reconstituted down to its innermost seed protected
by white thread, in case you are thirsty, which
does not at this time seem like such a wild guess
and though there will be no poetry between us then,
at the end of time, the geese all gone with the seas,
I hope you will take it (9)
- Eoin Dara, 2022
(1) Carl Phillips Perfection from From the Devotions (1998)
(2) Robert Glück Long Note on New Narrative (2000)
(3) Padraig Regan Our Personal Papers from Some Integrity (2022)
(4) Mary Ruefle On Secrets from Madness, Rack, and Honey (2012)
(5) Arthur Rimbaud Les Illuminations (1886) trans. John Ashbery (2011)
(6) The Book of Lamentations 3:29
(7) Bruce Boone A Narrative Like a Punk Picture from Poetics Journal No. 5 (1992)
(8) Euripides Orestes (c.408 BC) trans. Anne Carson (2009)
(9) Mary Ruefle Kiss of the Sun from Selected Poems (2011)
Mark McKnight (b. 1984, USA) lives and works between between Los Angeles and Albuquerque where he is an Assistant Professor at The University of New Mexico. Recent exhibitions include The Mistake Room, Los Angeles (2022); Paul Soto / Park View, Los Angeles (2020, 2021); Klaus Von Nichtssagend, New York (2020, 2022); Aperture Foundation, New York (2019); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson (2020). His photographs are in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. McKnight’s first monograph, Heaven is a Prison, was published by Loose Joints in September 2020, with support from the Light Work Photobook Award. Current projects include inclusion in 87 Franklin Inaugural, Klaus Von Nichtssagend, New York and the production of a public artwork commissioned by The Mistake Room, Los Angeles (Fall 2022).
Eoin Dara is an Irish curator living on the east coast of Scotland. He works as Head of Exhibitions at Dundee Contemporary Arts, where he collaborates and learns from artists, poets and writers to produce exhibitions, publishing projects and public programming.