The Ladder Quartet

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she taking her space (after Michael Joyce’s “he taking the space of”), 2004
Mixed media on paper
120″ x 80″
Collection of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

A._Grant_-_Let_s

let’s (after Michael Joyce’s “ladders,” 2004), 2005
Mixed media on paper
120″ x 80″
Private collection, Los Angeles

Alexandra_Grant_conspirar_-_final3

conspirar (after Michael Joyce’s “conspire,” 2004), 2005
Mixed media on paper
126″ x 80″
Collection of the Orange County Museum of Art

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contender (after Michael Joyce’s “contend,” 2004), 2005
Mixed media on paper
126″ x 80″
Private collection, Los Angeles


The Ladder Quartet by Michael Joyce

AG_she_taking_her_space_detail

she taking her space, detail

After:

he occupying the space of

“he occupying the space of a certain masculinity capable of femininity, and she occupying the space of a femininity capable of masculinity”

The whore of abbylon was weary so she lay beneath the ladder.  Bad luck?  Who can say since she passed under it only in dreams, otherwise staying transfixed. The angel, a feminine fellow, lingered briefly over her before once again ascending the rungs, babbling: babyln, babyon, bablon, baylon, bbylon, babilon, baby1on, babylom, babylno, babyoln, bablyon, bayblon, bbaylon, abbylon, babylo, abylon

The whore of abandon lay spread out in dreams and the epicene angel rose above her, his skirt flaring, labia unfurling.

The rose of the angel spread in a banyan grove. New roots descending from the branches, pushing through the loam, wove a gnarled web in cracks and crevices between the soft mounds of granite. Dust on his lips, the damp smell of pith in her nostrils, and in the whispering breeze petals settling upon the stone forms like feathered aureole. A single tree eventually spawns dozens of trunks until it is impossible to tell which is the original; the three Theological Virtues are disposed in a triangle; while beneath architectural canopies Prudence holds calipers and a mirror which reflects one of her three faces, and Justice balances a pair of gold scales.

He crawls in and out of her like a crab in coral caverns, she slides the slick coxa outward, the swimmeret ascending, blindly groping the bulbous flanks of the predator, softly swaying, the salt sea washing over him, in him, out of him.

I   63875

let’s, detail

After:

Ladder

“he occupying the space of a certain masculinity capable of femininity,

and she occupying the space of a femininity capable of masculinity”

Let’s consider the bigger picture, let’s move in together, let’s move in

circles, let’s move slowly on this, let’s move on this immediately, let’s move

to a new place, let’s sleep on this, let’s let bygones be bygones, let’s go,

let’s go for it, let’s face it, let’s fake it, let’s fuck with him, let’s fuck with

her, let’s fuck them, let’s fuck. Let’s hear it, let’s talk, let’s blow it off, let’s

get closer, let’s climb up, let’s play, let’s play for keeps, let’s have a

party, let’s dance, let’s have a baby, let’s sleep on it, let’s fall in love,

let’s take our clothes off, let’s take a vacation, let’s take our time, let’s just

take a moment to think about this, let’s hear it, let’s see it, let’s do it, let’s

get this straight, let’s moan, let’s mumble, let’s whisper. Let’s consider the

facts, let’s consider the possibilities, let’s urge, let’s utter, let’s shudder,

let’s lick, let’s suck, let’s simmer, let’s swim out, let’s loll, let’s linger, let’s

laze, let’s roll over, let’s go over this again, let’s last forever. Let’s get

going, let’s get real, let’s eat, let’s sing, let’s stop seeing each other, let’s

stop fooling around, let’s stop going in circles, let’s stop this nonsense, let’s

look at this sensibly, let’s, o let’s, oh yes let’s, let us let’s yes, why not, let’s

J   63875

conspirar, detail

After:

Conspirar (para H.C.)

Que curioso que la palabra menos atrayente abre ante la mas agradable, Helene (una verdadera subjuntiva, creo que la ultima, dijo K. la visitante).  Nota al “big man”: respiramos juntos y el cielo se aclara después de llover y sobre el mar no esta ningún de tus hombres de Gloucester pero canoas de guerra o kayacs oceánicos (¿A dónde se fue? La diosa mas o menos, ya no grabada sobre sus proas) ¡el azul!  Respiremos juntos donde el cielo esta soldado al costado del horizonte, “sans” comparar estamos donde somos estos cuentos asumen el ritmo de las rimas del brinca-cuerda a la hora que se cae el sol, un niño de nuevo, un lloriquear a la vez que pienso que el papel respira y el mismo espacio conspira para arrinconarnos, inspiremos profundamente y a ver que sobra de nosotros después del ultimo suspiro y que las sabanas nos envuelven como telas sepulturenses o como la complicidad de amantes desenrollándose mientras que respiran la húmeda bruma marina, tu cara H. empezó todo esto, el regalo sin devolución – escrito o leche – otro panel justo en face, a la vuelta de la esquina solo nosotros una justicia poética.

Trans. A. Grant

Conspire (for HC)

How curious that the less appealing word opens before the more congenial one, Hélène, (a true subjunctive, the last I believe, K. the visitor said). Memo to the big man: we breathe together and the sky clears after the rain and out at sea none of your Gloucestermen but war canoes or ocean kayaks (where did she go? the goddess more or less, no longer carved on their prows) the blue! let’s breathe together where the sky is soldered along the seam of the horizon, sans compare we are where we are these tales take on the rhythm of a jump rope rhyme at twilight, a child again, a whimpering as I think the paper breathes and the space itself conspires to corner us, let’s take a deep breath and see what is left of us after the last gasp and the sheets entwine us like grave cloths or the complicity of lovers rolling off each other breathing the damp sea mist, your face H. launched this, the gift without return–write or milk– another panel just en face, just around the corner just the two of us a certain poetic justice

(N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, October 2004)

contender detail

contender, detail

After:

Contender (para N.B.)

Ella tende ser otra de la quien contende ser o no a cual piensas cuando tu marcas el espacio con tus palabras para ella (sus palabras) pre-

tenden conspirar pero tenden ser quien eres cuando ella ve que dices lo que ella intenta ser contenta de ser cualquiera (tu) eres te invita a escribir

es a en o donde

uno dos son y

no el espacio que piensas que ella propone ser marcado por el beso de la criada que tende sus vaquitas el balde una campana en las montanas esa vez que la viste (Nora) una sombra en la habitación de la masilla blanca en Iowa y de nuevo en Galway cuando las señoras arrullaban a tu nombre como si fuera que un caballero contendía (los muertos) para su mano con los fantasmas de jovencitos del pasado y las casitas de colores pasteles al lado del quai a Claddagh, O donde esta la escalera al cielo, Jim, el no tu no eres quien contendes ser ni quien ella propone pera ella te invita escribir todo bien todo blanco toda la noche.

Trans. A. Grant

Contend (for N. B.)

She tends to be other than she contends to be or not who you think when you mark the space with your words for her (words) pre-

tend to conspire but tend to be who you are when she sees that you say what she intends to be content about being who ever (you) are invites you to write

is   to   in    or   where

one  two are   and

not the space you think she intends to be marked by the kiss the milkmaid tends to her cows the pail a bell in the mountains that time you saw her (Nora) a shade in the white farmhouse bedroom in Iowa and then again in Galway when the ladies cooed at your name as if a gentleman caller contending (the dead) for her hand with the ghosts of young boys of the past and the cottages pastel along the quai at Claddagh, O where is the ladder to heaven, Jim, not him you are not who you contend to be nor whom she intends but she invites you to write all right all white all night

(N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, October 2004)