Wednesday, May 17, 2006
A little meditation on the Allen Ginsberg photograph by Wyatt Counts as used on the front cover of DEATH & FAME: Last Poems, 1993-1997.
(Sorry I couldn't find an image better than this one. But if you own the book...)
The photograph was taken in 1996, not long before Ginsberg's death.
There's a wire, or clothesline you can see at the right where clothespins dangle above Ginsberg's shoulder at the edge of the photo. The LINE THIS WIRE MAKES just barely touches the top of Ginsberg's head as he stands in the light shining left to right.
That wire (THAT LINE) ends midway in its gentle rise, as it goes behind a wall in the foreground. BUT, if you follow that line with eye or finger, you see it just barely touches the head of Whitman in the photograph of Whitman hanging on the wall within the photograph. It touches Whitman's head THAT LINE just where it touched Ginsberg's.
The photograph of Whitman is slightly above Ginsberg, who is standing with his hands posed in mudras, or prayer, or other respectful contemplation. Whitman the father. Ginsberg's humility, his humanity, respect, Love, all here.
LOOK CLOSELY (you need the book in front of you) at Ginsberg's head and face. Amazing seeing the grooves and wrinkles mapping out canals of light. His beautiful canals.
His red shirt a split flesh red. If you LOOK CLOSELY the shirt sends the red center of his mouth forward. What had he just said before this picture was taken? And just after?
Thank you Wyatt Counts for this brilliant portrait!