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Friday, 1 June 2012

Jim Dine: The Flowering Sheets


Panoramic view of a small region containing 100,000 stars inside the massive globular cluster Alpha Centauri (10-12 billion years old, 1000 light years from Earth, containing 10 million stars): image by NASA, ESA and Hubble SM4 ERO team, 2009


I flew to Kyoto
I put oil together with pepper (a crime)
Don’t do it dear, the wedding / I insist you make woodcuts
I’ve not seen yr photo, yet I’m happy it’s there,
so Conte & Calvino will be on the ocean
with the boy who is busy, with a person who
has always had the worst moments /
in case it’s necessary, don’t exploit the friendship
on these wonderful pages, please
don’t believe there is no problem
only I cut the wood myself.
God’s wish and crying is easy before using colors,
spread the gloves with soap, not under the nails
like blue or yellow raw pigment mixed with Tokio and Kyoto
and my anguish to the point of realizing I abandoned my
children for texture and brooding.
Over the last decade,
my cerebral theme has been travel.
I spend my time performing biological preferences

File:360-degree Panorama of the Southern Sky 

Milky Way arching across panorama of Southern Sky above the Paranal platform of European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (moon rising, zodiacal light shining above it, Milky Way stretching across sky; visible to right and below the arc, Small and Large Magellanic Clouds): photo by ESO/H.H. Heyer, 2001; image by Maedin, 2010


Because it creases so easily
they tore it down.
Jim only had a short while to achieve disorder amongst the paper.
A smaller format to push this time.
What’s the size of yourself what’s the
trap in the question what’s
the point of saying you can do it
if the hand can wipe us out so easily
and still accommodate the flood?
Philosophically, I grin / so had I!
Looking mystically skyward he regrets the possible
he tends to stay put because the aquatint gets dusted thru yr pants
as the rosin take to cotton like a flame.
The depths of the odd thing makes the toy typical
of my blooming drunk rose.
I deserve respect on the grounds, that at a bare minimum, the
who repeatedly turned a trick
is searching for a larger radiance.
My awesome power lies beneath the cuteness of geometry
the skeleton of time
reveals just how metaphysical a crossroad can be,
instead of foil.
There is an abstract career

File:Deathvalleysky nps big.jpg

360 degree panorama of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley at night. The Milky Way is visible as the arc in the center. A sailing stone is also seen below along with the tracks of other stones: photo by Dan Duriscoe for U.S. National Park Service, 2005


The walker resurfaces to gain
the hammer of return.
Your awesome ghostliness
and your strength thru radioactivity makes the concrete title
help our intentions and moods.
The beautiful exchange of warfare and the rueful grimace,
made the order achieve itself before John called a halt to
Tear up the screams
I continue to beat with my thumbs /
my fear of what happens when art becomes a loose gulp.
I’m doing what I think I love.
A worker’s dilemma
A virtuoso performance for landscape.
I said it’s not possible. You can blow
them up as balloons, a true story
but I get vegetables and fruit and I drag them out
like condoms
for friends 

File:Thunderstorm panorama.jpg

Panorama of a thunderstorm shelf cloud over the city of Wagga Wagga: photo by Bidgee, 2007


Caught at the crossroad of psychology
Robert Creeley and Jim Dine regret the long time running /
we wish for connections at
the point of cipher,
near zero, ok?
The increasing nuclear war between our toes, the petals of rain
on the hard crust of day old memories
here comes the pathos
the tears that make us stay with pure black.
Golem, the guest percussionist tonite.
Resurfaces in the ghost of Franz Kline.
Myself, I’m a firm member of American colonial power,
a long tradition
That will kill -- we already know this.
Confront our gossamer power
with identity as the main theme.
The Republic has removed me
from the photograph
I was the model in the window
all these years at the gate.
When did I, I ask in a drunken haze, 
begin old age instruction



Mount Carleton panorama: photo by andrew pmk, 2005


All, in generally good condition
we are busy these days.
And at night we apologize and
say, please come to Paris again
please don’t be unfortunate
please get in touch soon like
last nite Demetrio called Sara
Recordati, have a Sambucco,
oil and pepper again, black
hair on yr upper lip
For 2 years I’m in the bronze foundries casting and chasing
all the incidental paint strokes
accumulated like a pot on a stove
A long long time ago. I loved it /
A model of people and what’s in them thematically.
My Republic’s body
leaving behind a core of ironies
living in our youth --
A time of status quo / and fear of what you do to increase productivity. You inspire me to go against him.


Great White Lake, Mongolia: photo by Doron, 2000


Typical of me and my impatience
growing more complex
to assert a less corporate view of the monkey in our sights
just above the taboo of ghetto feminism & pure saltwater swimming,
in a vehicle of lyricism,
other times in a state of flight
and the full significance of a free man posing as a gentile
for the safety of sticks and nuances of dark hearts & rope /
this physical dominance,
this new work fixated.
And mown like branches on the ground
rebellious like the sun, the ethos of a smile.
Colleges come forth and join the detachment of words from
make homely shadows / introduce tools to each other
the clamp has always demanded
a primitive chord
to be sexual about.
Get personal and frolic
make drawings of muscle and salt.

File:Walloon Lake panorama.jpg

Walloon Lake, northern Michigan, winter
: photo by Moxfyre, 2008


Wiser and with a far
wider variety of response
“A Famous Fall” every other year to cross this barrier
of modern truth and cosmic age,
hard to get over
to the other side of however you are now
while reading or hearing this and a
true self to be tried and touched with apologies.
(fragile swords)
A boy under pressure and --
us boy! Under the loser
with money to pay for the
phone call to Paris to treasure
the blunt / and coax a twisting line of faces demeaning
the effect of this war.
Overwhelmed by densely
compressed costumes at
their most fundamental
the society is but a corrupt
Pilate and I yawn along
with late friends who exemplify,
the fastidious

File:Gewitter Thunderstorm.jpg

Thunderstorm with lightning (panorama photomontage): photo by Franz Mattuschka, 19 June 2009


Frontier whiskey
come coax another twisting line /
on Yakima Street
I treasure the burnt and famous,
blowing apocalyptic lithographs
onto a, yet to be tasted, killing field.
Dear D,
I used to love cowboy movies
I always wanted to write immediately,
vis-a-vis the garlic, oil and pepper on the
“other” hand.
Sometimes whenever I’m
in Italy she reads a tale-a-night.
Europe and Asia don’t want to give up the cousins
again, 2 bodies
a penis entering a vagina
  1. I need more information    
  2. I need to be paid in kind    
  3. Not like a farmer
but as an aphrodisiac. My sagging
neck calls to be airbrushed.
I may have the same passport
but I’m not entering the misunderstood
brotherhood of dreamers


The Rhône Glacier in Oberwald (Switzerland): photo by Ikiwaner, 28 July 2007


Once brightly painted
I am a southern Italian singer and prophet
listing to the left of my companions /
lured by sailors dressed as singing beauties
seat the string player
despair at his open mouth along with
the beautiful hands of
the sirens.
My eastern way of dressing
seems to protect
a sense of the dead.
A mortal man
and murderer
standing on each of our outstretched arms
emoting the loss of childhood and trying to
become the promise
of life as a group of heroes.
Enraptured and drawn,
the voices of the women
gasp and murmur sacred mysteries about each other. We thought of you and --
“A child in winter sings” “A child in winter sings” 

File:Morteratsch glacier 1.jpg

Panoramic image of the Morteratsch glacier in the Bernina Range: photo by Daniel Schwen, 21 March 2006


The Republic,
your newest work.
A fingerprint of stars rushing down the
Maximilianstrasse in negative,
handpainted as a cathartic root
to celebrate the blood in the third movement.
To translate is to compose atonally so --
I reach for my horn and
make concentric sounds,
visual clues used as a glaze to keep it solid and water tight. Do you agree to send some poems to a
person who has always been
A few good oxen, what a great idea!
I don’t believe we can wed before the weekend
I won’t be home till sunday.
I’m happy about the poems,
Let’s call them “KIDS AT SEA”
Is that clear?
....Does my exuberance give way to a style of itinerant living?
Ah well...
....It’s the end of the evening and we’ve not explored the minerals yet.

File:St Mary's Island Nature Reserve - - 

St Mary's Nature Reserve, near Hartley, Northumberland: photo by Christine Westerback, 2005

Mai Po Nature Reserve, near Yuen Long, Hong Kong (panorama view): photo by Baycrest, November 2006


TC said...

This is a brand new poem by the great Jim Dine, fresh from Walla Walla.

See also:

Jim Dine: Fresh and a warning

Jim Dine: the downfall / of your eyes

Jim Dine: We lived once in an ideal kingdom

Tom Raworth said...

Always a pleasure to see/read anything by Jim, Tom.

TC said...


Thanks, and those are my own sentiments exactly.

(BTW Tom this is more living masters than I've almost been in the same room with, I think, since the opening night performance of The Emperor of the Animals.)

Hazen said...

The magnificent sweep of things . . . and that includes Jim Dine’s panoramic. ‘A fingerprint of stars rushing down the Maximilianstrasse in negative . . .’ Yeah! Over this way, after yesterday’s bowl of clear blue sky, spangled with cloud swirls, we find ourselves on the first official day of hurricane season. Weather sweeping in.

TC said...

As always, Hazen, you got it.

Anonymous said...

The opening magnificent flourish of a sentence that begins the sixth stanza, "Typical of me and my impatience," and doesn't stop until several lines later, "this new work fixated" -- this wow'd me.

TC said...



Close attention in setting this one up produced many a Wow, here.

William A. Sigler said...

As with Yackulic, the painter sees inside words without frames as the poet sounds out images without context. This result is very interesting, full of transcendent vistas and incantatory lines:

"drawings of muscle and salt"

"the misunderstood brotherhood of dreamers"

gasp and murmur sacred mysteries about each other"

TC said...


I sense that ongoing lineage here (and there) too; and feel that something real inhabits it.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

"cuteness of geometry"
"abstract career"
"loose gulp"
Jim Dine, Yakima Street holds you dear, swaddled in its onion skin dust and huge river not far away.

-K- said...

I'm not sure why these are my favorite lines:

For 2 years I’m in the bronze foundries casting and chasing
all the incidental paint strokes
accumulated like a pot on a stove
A long long time ago. I loved it /

But they are.

TC said...

Thank you Susan and Kevin for widening the panoramic sweep,

From East of West LA to the Sandwich Isles to Yakima Street.


I'm never sure about the reasons why and always trust to the mystery of not knowing when I enter into Jim's poems, which handle language the way no one else's do. His own way.

I think about his early tool boxes, his hardware store blood.

Robert Creeley related that the early memory of his father's having been a doctor who went out on house calls with his kit, everything he needed right there with him, was important to his own later sense of the tools of one's trade -- the idea that one could carry what one needed, light and portable.

That personal kit one has, trusting it -- that one can see with Jim, also. He brings the words he has, and uses them.

(He travels a lot, and travels light -- when we talked about this last year, he said, I don't have a home, where I am is home, as long as I have my working materials with me.)

Hazen said...

Speaking of home,NASA reports today that our Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy are on course for a head-on collision . . . in only four billion years. The smash up will take another two billion but we'll come out okay, so they say. Just in case, I'm not planning anything for that weekend. You?

Nin Andrews said...

Wow, amazing. So interesting. And I love those tool boxes.

TC said...

Not to disrespect others, but the penetrating, unflinching self-observation and honesty of Jim's poem -- comprising at the same time an earned clarity about what he calls "the Republic" -- make it stand out from other work by survivors of our generation. This is a writer who is not standing behind a projection of reputation, and expecting respect to follow automatically therefrom. To stay relevant an artist must stay relevant. At no time is that an easy task for anyone. JD manages it because the bs of celebrity is alien to his nature as a working artist. He is a working artist, not a celebrity in retirement. In this there is a dignity. For this he is owed respect -- as is the work, which stands on its own merits.

For me it's "old age instruction" of the most valuable kind.


I deserve respect on the grounds, that at a bare minimum, the
who repeatedly turned a trick
is searching for a larger radiance.
My awesome power lies beneath the cuteness of geometry
the skeleton of time
reveals just how metaphysical a crossroad can be,
instead of foil.
There is an abstract career


Myself, I’m a firm member of American colonial power,
a long tradition
That will kill -- we already know this.
Confront our gossamer power
with identity as the main theme.
The Republic has removed me
from the photograph
I was the model in the window
all these years at the gate.
When did I, I ask in a drunken haze,
begin old age instruction

TC said...


No weekend plans beyond an anxious looking both ways; if I were able to turn my head, I'd add in a backward view as well.

And by the by, a bit of useful knowledge re. the photo sequence comes in back channel from John Tranter, Down Under:

"Panorama of a thunderstorm shelf cloud over the city of Wagga Wagga: photo by Bidgee, 2007

"Did you know that the name of the town Wagga Wagga is pronounced 'WOGG-uh WOGG-uh'? It's not that far from the hamlet of Grong Grong. Funny place, Australia."

TC said...

I've said Jim is a great traveller, but I have neglected to say that at this time of year he is busy working the earth. He and his wife the artist Diana Michener are "tilling the fields," as he wrote yesterday.

And another pertinent fact I have neglected to mention: the poem posted here was begun as part of a multi-media project a few years ago. Photos of the project in its construction phase can be found in a book from Jim's publisher, Steidl. Here's their announcement:

"American Pop pioneer Jim Dine was asked by Los Angeles' Getty Museum in 2007 to produce the first contemporary project for the Getty Villa in Malibu by responding in some way to its renowned antiquities collection. Dine was drawn to the collection's ancient Greek sculptures and was given a room in the Villa for which he created three new monumental wood sculptures that he painted brightly in the Hellenistic tradition. Dine also wrote a long poem, which he installed alongside the sculptures, on the gallery wall. Jim Dine: Poet Singing (The Flowering Sheets) documents the entire process with photographs by Dine, Diana Michener and Gerhard Steidl."

Eight shots from the book can be found at Jim Dine: The Flowering Sheets (Steidl).

A close look will reveal bits of the poem in process. In shot # 7 the opening lines can be seen.

TC said...

In this extraordinary video one can see Jim at work on the sculptures and poem that comprise the project -- the poem "with its Orphic themes of travel, loss and the possibility of art", taking shape on the walls behind the sculpted figures.

"There's nothing so comfortable to me as making marks with the hand... The hand has, to me, a kind of memory."



There is an abstract career

we wish for connections at
the point of cipher,
near zero, ok?

I was the model in the window
all these years at the gate.

Great to read all this just now, set together with all these pictures -- thanks.


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
plane of ridge, bird moving to the left
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

through which setting moves,
landscape seen moving

leads to “zero,” atmosphere
“abstract,” alongside

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
cloudless blue sky to the left of point



Fabulous video, Johnny and I just watched it, and all those photos of the shapes of clouds, mountains on the planet --- yes!

ACravan said...

Living with this -- Dine's poem, the images, and the comments -- has been very moving, something I've taken around with me since you posted it. I knew nothing about Jim Dine's poetry before seeing examples posted here and this example continues the relevancy you describe, the live-wire nature of the work. Your description/tribute to Dine is very moving and accurate. I've been aware of and interested in Dine's visual art for a very long time. One of its very positive aspects, apart from its beauty and the artist's facility, is its depth. It always seems at least one step ahead of me and it keeps me in pursuit, which is great. Curtis

TC said...


Thanks very much, and I'm right there with you re. "the live-wire nature of the work", the surprising sudden depths, and that "one step ahead" quality". I too am kept in pursuit (if not left in the dust!).

And further from the poet John Tranter in Sydney. This is all not only highly curious but eerily coincidental -- Walla Walla / Wagga Wagga.

"Of course everyone should know: Wagga Wagga is the hometown of history's most contentious litigant, the so-called Tichborne Claimant:

"[Wikipedia » ] The Tichborne case was a legal cause célèbre that captivated Victorian England in the 1860s and 1870s. It concerned the claims by an individual sometimes referred to as Thomas Castro or as Arthur Orton, but usually termed "the Claimant", to be the missing heir to the Tichborne baronetcy. He failed to convince the courts, was convicted of perjury and served a long prison sentence.

"In October 1865 Cubitt informed Lady Tichborne that William Gibbes, a lawyer from Wagga Wagga, had identified Roger Tichborne in the person of a bankrupt local butcher using the name of Thomas Castro.[21] During his bankruptcy examination Castro had mentioned an entitlement to property in England. He had also talked of experiencing a shipwreck, and was smoking a briar pipe which carried the initials "R.C.T.". When challenged by Gibbes to reveal his true name, Castro had initially been reticent, but eventually agreed that he was indeed the missing Roger Tichborne; henceforth he became generally known as the Claimant.[19][21]"

The Tichborne Case

TC said...


Thrilling to think of Johnny watching the video of Jimmy doing his thing. This must be the tradition -- and to paraphrase Dr Faustus, we are not yet out of the woods of it, Insh'Allah.

The video, in case some have not seen it, is telling in several respects.

First, the salient role of physicality in the work. The making by hand. The beautiful shots of Jim drawing -- a great skill, to which many are called, few chosen. The lovely immediate free flowing of the line.

And this relating to the total/gestural quality of the work in its wholeness, image and shape and words not finally distinct, all for one, all for all; yet made by one.

And finally, the point in the proceedings where Jim says, Take off the paint -- it's too smooth, we want to see the roughness of the finish.

Crucial moment. Where the original conception opens up, as in the parting of veils, and the brilliance of the imbedded diamond begins to glint forth.


Also thinking further about Curtis's comment on depth.

The work at this end was to bring width, expansion, so that the impact of the depth charges would ripple out and around the hull of the (craftman)ship, as well as in.

The graphic matching plan with the images here is probably obvious enough -- the gently humped cloud and sky images gradually flattening out as we scroll down -- again taking the signals from the work itself, which spoke, which speaks, which will go on speaking.

gamefaced said...


TC said...

And another take on that