instruments of change









by Anny Ballardini




Dedicated to Bill Lavender

for his admirable intuitions



Instruments of change

pre_ contemplation




a mirror


















light & darkness

clouds or mist

imaginative or deceptive action

hope & despair









perceptive thoughts _ feelings

intuitive speculative thoughts _philosophical

instinctive reactive thoughts _animal

technical deductions _experienced cognition

in/correct formulation of desire

synthetic chemical recovery

biologically engineered


what the price of compulsory change

the strength of meditative balance

in an ever-increasing shift to the upper/retreating - step

the next step

_tomorrow_ /_now_

_revision of the past_ re-interpretation new glimpses never-seen scenes

_remade projection of the future_

life or death

black or white






detach in distinct involvement

distant from the origin/al & from the remake of the previous


the same eyes that see

project different parts of the same

of the ever-changing static surrounding

to the receptive mind

in the pulsating head

the slowly moving skull

through its well assembled cracks



the fragility of life

its crevices

breakableness of things

fragmentation of the self

a phoenix

a phenomenal inception

a late transcription

a full Plutonic recovery

to face again

dark Plutonic algae

slashing from deepest nightmares


liquid determination

disquieting against stagnation

discrepantly in dissonant sounds

to the perturbing innovative in/action














intruments _means



les caves de Lascaux

caves to hide

to pray in fear

terrorized by human and animal beasts

heart beat deafening _blood_ can’t almost breathe



plough spade clod oxen the cold the heat


Jean François Millet’s Angelus (1859)

a pitchfork planted in the earth

the wheelbarrow resting

outlined in the distance the bell-tower

over one third occupied by the sky

the two vertical central figures are in deep prayer

they thank God for their children

for having given them this day

for their parents their relatives

for the potatoes and cabbage they will eat

she might also thank for the sky the air

the birds the light freshness & sweetness

for what she sees for what will be

for her being tired for her long vests


I don’t know what he thinks in those heavy shoes

outgrown trousers and jacket

but his shirt is white and he has taken off his hat


they are resting at the Musée du Louvre

we pass by and breathe again


Un paysan se repose sur la boue (1863)

after L’homme à la boue (1860-62)

talks of Pirandello

when Ciaula the boor discovers the moon

he was sent out of the mine

to get something they needed

stops /was not supposed to/

looks up at the sky surprised and smiles


Le paysan wears such big boots

in Félix Bracquemond's etching

J-F. Millet (Man with a hoe) wanted each blade of grass

masterly drawn

in this flat dried out land _the sky

over half the painting

is the background for his square head

short forefront big nose cracked lips

sunken eyes & cheeks

could I zoom in his hands I would see

Siqueiros’ work_ probably a better work.



Antonio Fontanesi rève in bucolic landscapes


Like sheaves of straw the women in April

on the meadows of Volpedo

Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo honored Millet




just means



501. “The purpose of language is to express thoughts.” – So presumably the purpose of every sentence is to express a thought. Then what thought is expressed, for example, by the sentence “It’s raining”?-


Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophical Investigations



The miserable life of Kathe Kollwitz

WW I and II took her son* and her grandson with them

the Nazis bombed her home

wo/men's despair

etching and emery abrasing

death :::::

in Ein Weberaufstand (the riot of the weavers)

the man on the right _hat in his hands_ can’t stand up right

one woman in front of him in black _hers the face of demise

the other curled down over the corpse of her man

_/people conspiring in dirty taverns

spider webs entwined with quick lines one into the other

to indicate levels of darkness

_/her Plowman drags in a last almost horizontal effort

a wheelbarrow, him element of the field -striped like the horizon

_/in the sky of one of the seven papers for the War of the Farmers

the black flag high in the sky wants the naked woman

scythes and arms raised

_/another woman but fiery

when they attack

the face of a kid in the first row his foot naked

another distinguishable face is sick & dumb

another the image of deprivation and mean

they are a storm of straight and curved lines legs arms

a disruptive force

under the incitement of Fury’s command

_/the vertical captives

as a bunch of matches

carved-in hands shirts pants



* Peter, buried in the Vladslo German Cemetery, Diskmuide, Belgium, with The Mourning Parents, two statues by KK. and a cross now in the Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium.

Kathe Kollwitz b. July 8, 1867 in Königsberg, East Prussia - d. April 22, 1945 in Moritzburg




It is behind the screen of the word that the truly fundamental characteristics of human language often appear. 

André Martinet

The Word



or behind a screen of paint

of watercolor or of an etched line

pencil drawn lines

lives living from the past

in extreme fragile loneliness

the written word delineating a history

several histories innumerable histories

shaping one of our leveling histories

we histories of the ones to come




… but languages, as they change the symbols, also modify the ideas which the symbols express. Minds are formed by language, thoughts take their color from its ideas.

Jacques Derrida

Of Grammatology (p. 170)




transcendental observation



a framework within another framework

within another framework

transparencies of different consistencies

the substance of which ether is

(visible to few invisible to most)


im/material coagulations stiffen structures

unnatural junctures / holes through which entities are abducted


the action of a healing hand /mind

works on and beyond what is visible /imaginable


strengthens the course of being

straight as organ pipes

inside which sequences of Self are kept

the original vertical shrine



time _present _illusion 

   of understanding

   of having understood

   of expressing

   of having expressed



the dangers      of a sign signifying a signified

 of one language

 of thinking of knowing what is inside a mind



Desire desires the exteriority of presence and of non presence.

This exteriority is the matrix.

Jacques Derrida

Of Grammatology (p. 167)



Liberty is therefore perfectibility

Jacques Derrida

Of Grammatology (p. 183)





expressive means



In Candle Dancers skin is pink hair thick red_black eyes & lips _red

moving disorderly undoing forms too long fingers to paint frenzy

Rousseau’s naïve strokes to let Mary die in Egypt a lion kneeling

his masks in still lives are faces _his faces are masks _gruesome

his landscapes are human beings his beings spots of color

green with red with white with lemon yellow with blue with orange

die Brűcke wanted him & the second Blaue Reiter _Paul Klee

saw _the falcon_ in him _the Lied the mole the dolmen

yellow or red skin for wild dances the Expressionist transformed

in etchings, the oil density of it, watercolors _unpainted pictures

violet skies and melon hills blue fields transparent flowers

the son of Caravaggio who loved Leonardo

Emil Nolde


b.8/7/1867 on a farm in North Schleswig near Nolde _ d.4/15/1956



(answer to a poem by Brenda Regan)


stylized tension running from him to her

from her to him from him to her

attraction _magnetic _touching of fingers

projection /in forceful waves _projecting

feigned detachment to keep e/motion under control

fated _when what will be is consumed at first sight




 "Matter, color and sound in motion are the phenomena whose simultaneous development

 makes up the new art".

The White Manifesto, early 1940s Argentina

Lucio Fontana



anterior _spatial



the visual master of sign

introduces the slash series

canvases torn through


vertical cuts

for an art of the space age

_first _second _third _technical Manifesto of Spatialism

Stephen Hawking’s black holes

in his eyes’ vision

dotted /trimmed his work

slits on white on red on green on blue

on dark _dark on dark _fluorescent neon lights


in ’33 a white room

with white canvases

each with one vertical slash


(see here)




the lack of means



Boccioni depicted the death of men (1908)

in the mine disaster of Radbod in Westphalia


for the magazine L’Illustrazione Italiana


the horizontally laid white corpses a plugged in

semi-circular line the slight shape of a semi-heart

women and children as if sucked by the wind

from top right _he had studied Kandinsky_

their voluminous clothes swaying

marked by heavy stripes reaching down to earth

children lost staring calling out to the void

a woman in black sustained by another crying inside

the unruly vortex of ghosts seizes the mourning crowd




the outline

the sketch



474. I shall get burnt if I put my hand in the fire: that is certainty.

        That is to say: here we see the meaning of certainty. (What it amounts to, not just the meaning of the word “certainty.”)

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations



Lorenzo’s Viani’s oils witness the cold he suffered in Paris

the bread he did not eat the wine he was able to drink to keep warm

now _one of the best masters of the early Novecento_ they say they say*

not then when he repeatedly begged to enter la Ruche, au 15ième arrondissement

finally they let him get inside the rounded three-storey building

he collected cardboards in the streets

with charcoal at candlelight he drew

broken volumes thickly bordered – black his color

they mention: Apollinaire, Chagall, Léger, Max Jacob, Delaunay, Soutine,

even Modigliani, Brancusi, the Mexican Rivera, but not Viani among the famous guests

Viani was proud _starved rather than ask

he recorded every no

every door shut

one of his books (Paris, Florence 1925) was on La Ruche

that wonderful building for painters in need.



*(visionary attitude, balance between the single and society, goes beyond truth, chromatic invention in terms of sound tones, a superior picture starting from the depth of his pictorial and verbal sign aiming at the unveiling of beauty, sentences-fluxes contained within expressive explosions, extremes of nature and anti-nature, …”)


In memoriam, Lorenzo Viani, Viareggio, November 1, 1882 – Ostia, November 2, 1936



It is not the body of the sign that acts, for that is all sensation, but rather the signified that it expresses, imitates, or transports.

Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology




il est bon d’aimer



I was looking for his book

could remember it was red

“lettres à Théo”

lettres à Théo, I started repeating mentally

as if calling it _the book, him _the author

a book I could read only outside

at a bar with a coffee while waiting for the appointment with the dentist

first shelf _second _third _chair, fourth shelf

here it is _the way I remembered it:


Vincent Van Gogh

Lettres à son frère Théo

Les Cahier Rouges, Grasset


my past reverence for books

few underlined points with a pencil


“[…] Il est bon d’aimer autant que l’on peut, car c’est là que gît la vraie force, et celui qui aime beaucoup accomplit de grandes choses et en est capable, et ce qui se fait par amour est bien fait ; […]


Si l’on continue à aimer sincèrement ce qui est vraiment digne d’amour, et qu’on ne gaspille pas son amour à des choses insignifiantes et nulles et fades, on obtiendra peu à peu plus de lumière et l’on deviendra plus fort »


Amsterdam 3 avril, 1878

signed : Vincent (121).


Antonin Artaud recorded what happened

Van Gogh: The Suicide Provoked by Society

too many interested in his death

the presence of a man disturbing

thick men’s disruptive roughness

business leaders move worlds around


a man who loved who looked for who _God

painted the brightest sky from the backyards

in Antwerp in 1885

saturated yellow & a tinge of rose

his potato eaters

in a filthy hovel charcoal burning a kerosene lamp from the black ceiling

two couples and a girl

she serving dark liquid from a teapot

potatoes and barley 

thick the impasto _ Venus’ position in his paintings

starry nights _ red vineyards _les champs de blé _les champs de blé

and Prussian blues covering half his canvas

clouds part of the earth part of the sky

earth following the atomic movement of air

shaped by it or earth in its thickness projected into the sky

le ciel orageux _sa force d’âme _his determination

le semeur au soleil couchant (1888) is part of the sun

as wheat is his home the blue field the yellow path

the sun yellower than the wheat centered and round

the third eye

and flowers _dans un vase de cuivre (1887) _shoes

_gardens _ his room _olive trees _roses _ irises _boots

self-portraits _sunflowers _lilac bushes


_miners’ wives with coal (pencil and ink on striped paper, Etten, 1881)

__young man kneeling (Etten, 1881)

_lottery office (here are our ancestors, see who they are : Den Haag, 1882)

_(disquieting) study of trees (Den Haag, 1882)

_girl at cradle (Den Haag, 1883)

look at this painting: _lane of poplars with figure (Neunen, 1884)

how couldn’t he repeatedly ask if god existed

_reformed church of Neunen with churchgoer (Neunen, 1884)

continue, it is good for our souls

thanks to Antonio Leitão, Department of Mathematics

Federal University of Santa Catarina



Vincent Willem van Gogh, b. March 30, 1853 in Groot-Zundert bei Breda in the Southern Netherlands – d. July, 29, 1890 in Auveers-sur-Oise.




for centuries to come



like a rhinoceros

robust scales covering its body

the relatively small mountain from the classroom window

stands out against the lapis lazuli white-striped sky

like an overpowering whale

(my students working on their tests)

oval, convex lines, deep cracks, unevenly broken up

now a warrior defending his tribe standing boldly out of the forest

his shield in his right arm

behind him a mute fearful congregation

etched in Campigli’s refined geometrical lines

the slightest change of light forges new shapes

now the notched corrugated rim of a plateau

with an oval jewel tucked in the middle

a stone girdle and its opaque broche to lock it

thick scales of frozen chocolate grated by a god

with a crunchy central almond boulders like nuts

gigantic bats deep in their sleep cover the fringes

or rounded almost pink Magritte’s doves at rest

one clustered to the other as if in want of warmth

against what by now seems a sunny day

preceding what will be soon spring

haggard swallows arrowing through the air

the urancient face of a lion nostrils wide open

betray what seems immobile detachment

behind him a lioness rests _shut protruding eyelids

hide us from her terrifying sight

and in the background an Etruscan profile

and behind him someone else in the opposite position

and behind again a cat

Egyptian-like the sequence in its stratified perspective

on the left of the rounded gear mating with the woods

part of the carousel of studded figures adorning it

a rhomboid rugged spinning top

the long neck of a giraffe resting against this gigantic toy

perfectly & roundly cut its spinning point

the crevice in-between forms a huge dark cave

in front of which _greeting the Sun in its mid-morning ascension

and for centuries to come

a single detached vertical slab

his right arm raised

and in the evening his left one.




 delays through means



taste of cigarettes in my mouth

sensation of lack of sleep

heaviness in walking

in my head lungs

brilliant day - sun invading _successful light

one hour and back

appointments and blocks

thousands of times

a timetable ticking in thoughts

over and over glimpsing at my watch


coming out of tunnels

from a hard encircling sandstone

from passages of years one into the other

on thawed muddy mental streets

from Xmas fake failed merriness of shopping


unsolved stories with lawyers

entangled & forced relationships


still different from yesterday

still in a hurry



running /just running and running/ cannot breathe /skidding from the sidewalk into the street to cross it without watching /climbing the long flight of steps /can’t breathe /almost sliding under the tall arcades /dragging a heavy suitcase /the loudspeakers screaming /running /pushing myself over the breaking point /the platform /7_8_  10_12 /last effort keep it going just don’t think keep it going /when I arrive the train has just left


recurrent dream in my teens and youth






Religion teaches that the soul can exist when the body has disintegrated.


The human body is the best picture of the human soul.


Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, Part II, iv.





linking rings

evolution, devolution, progression, regression

cogwheels of a clock

calibrating civilized time

coordinates sliding through associations

built on preset longitudes and latitudes

erroneous _right?



a limited personal

forged on pre-established concatenations

memorized conventions

projected representations of our selves


individual freedom

is this a notion

I am asking



"At first [the Greeks] adopted not only the characters of the Phoenicians, but also the direction of their lines from right to left. Later it occurred to them to proceed as the plowman, that is, writing alternately from left to right and right to left. Finally, they wrote according to our present practice of starting each line from left to right. This development is quite natural. Writing in the furrow fashion is undoubtedly the most comfortable to read. I am even surprised that it did not become the established practice with printing; but, being difficult to write manually, it had to be abandoned as manuscripts multiplied."


Rousseau, Essay quoted by Derrida, Of Grammatology, page 288.
















almost leveled hills a sweetly moving flatland and his feet walking the distance

Toledo caught his eye

that particular light

the river forging the land _deeply _quietly

what air was there to be breathed

by the man from Crete called Il Greco (later El Greco)

Domenikos Theotokopoulos

it was Santo Domingo el Antiguo who came to rescue him

after his passage through Venice and Rome

(Tintoretto, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Correggio, Parmigianino, …

after his masters :

his mannerism


what can catch the sight of an atheist?

the quality of forms _his preference to cold colors_

the _colors_ of nightmares

the vertical perspective _the oval verticality of his artwork

down to the repeated elongated models characterizing his lines

the same stylized development of his figures (of which he is not master)

some chiaroscuros have to be noticed


El Greco, b. 1541, Candia, Crete, Republic of Venice, 1541, d. April 7, 1614, Toledo, Spain




But the perfection of elongated forms

is not Il Greco’s creation

his Master already shone

with the most beautiful Madonna with Long Neck (1534-40)

Parmigianino his name

you can distinguish his work anywhere

look at the beauty of the child

his sweetest face

the marvelous grace of the young children

golden their curls, their intelligent eyes

the perfection of Madonna’s breast

fully rounded turgid ready to offer her milk

her longest fingers protecting her soul

to supply for the needs of her child



there is no Il Greco after Il Parmigianino




as per chiaroscuro

: : : : :







"I -ablatio or aphaeresis for _HI is used metaphorically to greet empathically because since I am talking to you - you see me and I empathically absorb your projection thus I instead of HI - this to avoid aporias

or acrostically speaking



cacozelia of

restrictio &

orcos (onomatopoeic composing)            all this might give me a

syncope                  st’tt’ring a figure of self saying

tautologia  (not a taxis but an acrostic _topographically in repetitio of title

irony in an inter se pugnantia just for the

climax climax not that I wish wish or

accimus     /to go to sleep _just do not need to sleep



Y is this a mistake? No, no figures starting with Y (anthypophora)


My antirrhesis is not an elenchus, or an erotema as the last line of the acrostic (simile) rather a metastasis that stems from procatalepsis and leads to ennoia. This as a parlipsis.


With the spirit of Theophrastus & Demetrius (see a vocative, Ah…!) leisurely seated at my right and Cicero and Quintilian (see second vocative in repetitio, Ah, Ah…! _hopefully not a battologia_) over-leisurely seated at my left ::

:: rounded blue grapes silk cushions gentle scent in descriptio ::

: stumbling in virtues and vices of style and with limited kairos at disposal, better in this hysteron proteron, this the chronographia,



I stay in prolepsis,





marc chagall


"Mario Pachi" (1943-2001)


It was difficult for me to find the money for the entrance ticket to museums


or to go to the theater, but Mario Pachi was there

one evening he rehearsed for me his Xmas farce in his bedroom _we have never been lovers

I remember pleading him to stop - tears streaming down - my belly incapable of breathing literally hiccupping to gulp some air

           _I was his Annina


that is why I cannot remember how I got to Marc Chagall’s exhibit at Palazzo Pitti in Florence (June 5 – September 30, 1978)

Marc Chagall works on people who can perceive

his is a special touch that gets through his work

or I might be wrong

a fourth dimension


: : : : Chagall, Mario Pachi, Joel Weishaus:



Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:59 PM

Subject: Re: chagall


When I was living in San Francisco, late one night, feeling depressed about how my writing was going, and questioning myself as to why I was a poet at all, walking around the city, I came upon an art gallery that was still open. There was a Chagall print hanging in the back, and as soon as I saw it all my questions disappeared, and I felt happy again, knowing I was spending my life doing the right work.





dark enormous rooms

few visitors I tried to avoid

black wooden supports as frames


and showers of colors

stories and stories

entwining one with the other


is this Chagall? I asked myself

I love it




Nobody seems to remember that thousands of American soldiers fought in Italy from July 1943 to April 1945. The first surrender of the German Army to Allied Forces happened in Italy. Many Americans died in my country, and it's very sad to realize that in almost every remembrance of WW2 they are always forgotten, also by their own country. I live in Florence, center Italy. Not far from here ran the Gothic Line, the last German defense line, against which Allies fought for seven long and terrible months. Names like Mount Altuzzo, Futa Pass, Giogo Pass, Mount Battaglia, Livergnano ("Liver n' onion"), Castel d'Aiano, and other ones had to be familiar to any American, but are not, and it's very sad. I'd like here to say hello to all GIs who fought in Sicily, Cassino, Anzio, Tuscany, the North Appennines and North Italy. Mario Pachi, Italy

Mario Pachi <>
Florence, Italy - Tuesday, August 24, 1999 at 00:03:09 (EDT)



I can remember his apartment, in a tiny street in Florence, one single car could hardly drive through, the old rounded brass bell, and those rooms - not similar to a shotgun - a more gut-like design, they opened onto a narrow corridor he embellished with long liberty style flowers, or was it me who wished to do it for him, maybe the former. And he loved history. He assembled model soldiers, guns, uniforms, tanks, cars, ambulances, horses, flags, trumpets, the First World War, but also the Second, and the War of Independence, …, and then painted them. Buried by history books he wrote erotic stories to have some income in-coming in the months he was not traveling through Italy from stage to stage, this when I lived in Florence.



Marc Chagall, b. July 7, 1887, Vitebsk, Russia; d. March 28, 1985, Saint-Paul de Vence.




The eternal return



silent, sitting on a stone

for days and years

legs crossed

he saw the eternal return

over and over again




The Neophyte by Gustave Doré



drown down by the snooze_i_ness

of repetition _habit _imprinted knowledge

day after day after day after day

the snoring choir begins


nothing but a tickling effect

for our neophyte

all light

projected in his clean outfit

smell of goat milk

beardless & callow


he’ll make of the day

more than 300 gathered for fifty years




_the impossibility of understanding_



[…] This is the paradox-- that to understand is to know the impossibility of understanding.

Bill Lavender


or to understand by glimpses

to forget

to go back and see the crater

to try to remember

with snowflakes slowly settling

to have the courage to face 

the cunningness to see

and the swiftness to escape

            this for meta-physicality and unbelief

            to continue living 


or with Thomas Aquinas

we can proceed by analogy

_similar to_


through Samuel Beckett

we have reached nothingness

lacking natural virtues: prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude

as they are set by supernatural ones: faith, hope & charity

and there is nothing determinate to its act


by forcing an end

(I know it is right for a superior common good)

I convey and am conveyed to a misleading understanding






tout-court projects us naked into the battlefield


in front of the impossibility of understanding

our rescue/survival resides in fleeing when faced with violent acts

in partaking with the good

literary criticism extends to life

and to a law/justice in the hands of lawyers

set by laws distant from truth*



What is “familiarly known” is not properly known, just for the reason that it is “familiar.” When engaged in the process of knowing, it is the commonest form of self-deception, and a deception of other people as well, to assume something to be familiar, and to let it pass [gefallen zu lassen] on that very account. Knowledge of that sort, with all its talking around it [Hin- und Herreden] never gets from the spot, but has no idea that this is the case… To display [auseinanderlegen] an idea in its original [ursprüngligh] elements means returning upon its moments, …”

Hegel quoted by Gayatri Chalkrvorty Spivak in his preface to Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida 


*“fatta la legge trovato l’inganno” (once drawn a law found is the way to infringe it)

Italian saying




The Confusion of Tongues*



I made of tongues my income

green tongues red violet blue-striped

Impressionist tongues mother & father tongues

tongues of resistant sails or Cubist ones

engraved by Doré* entwined sautées

existentialist and Chagall’s fiddling ones

Mallarmé Van Gogh Mozart Lautréamont

tongues and tongues snowing from above

growing glowing from below soprano and mezzo

Venite exultemus domino (Psalm 95)

Jean-Joseph de Mondonville


*The Confusion of Tongues (1865)







Klee and Max Ernst, this what I can see in his first paintings

a drifting and scattering _the over-abundance

when extremes meet

ok _then there’s Picasso’s Guernica

& the dripping

he doesn’t say much about it

just that _you have to be in it_

as if we did not know

the rest probably added

by those who wanted him famous

who knows _that is usually the way it goes

he drank _sordidly

maybe out of shock

or maybe his nature


that layering of drops

dripped interrupted lines

strata of holed gauze

enamel aluminum oil

string nails plaster glass

ink brush sticks he poured the entire can

onto the canvas splattered industrial color

ash cigarette butts matches

he was poisoned by it

suffocated in it



Jackson Pollock b. January 28, 1912 in Cody, Wyoming; d. August 11, 1956 in Springs, New York.




central city




central city

city lights

electric light bulbs neon billboards

movies ads synthetic sub/divisions

muffled continuous chaos noise


no grass

not a branch

to indicate seasons

mild cold hot in asynchronous movements









the heart of earth

extracted to light

in the city






_this on earth_





Let the whinny of Pigeons’ wings trigger similar strains

from elm to Triangulum.


Ronald Johnson, Beam 6, The Musics



the wings of planes follow a narrower roar in sight scanned by the ticking of time

the muffled flowing of oceans cut by acute screams of gulls


diamonds floating on crested surfaces Tethys’ necklaces twinkling

minute embroidery of Pluto’s armor


wings welcome me to sleep open wide when I wake up into the white

of wings is swift thought's ethereal substance


wings of glyphs perched on Gothic spires vertiginous in their ravenous flight

down organ pipes up to blue asteroids




Sunday morning



there are no Sundays

there have been none

Sunday the day to pick up with studies

the day to do the laundry

the day to fill in the gaps to improve on the job

the day to finish off the work of the previous week

the day to start leveling down the work of the following week

the only day to study

the day to clean up

the day to think you can still get up early because it is anyhow a Sunday


but there were Sundays

Sundays on which I put a map in my pocket and went out by bike into the city

to explore the empty streets of New Orleans while people were sleeping

to walk and walk and walk in the grey empty dampness of a Heidelberg winter

in the sunny barrios of Buenos Aires

to sleep longer into a free morning and have brunch with an English family with sections of the Sunday paper

or with an Irish one and then head out into the wind on dark wet fields careful not to step into the dung

or on the Elba Island from the balcony the sea mounting to the sky blue against blue

sweetest green figs your skin turning gold

or in Tuscany's Maremma in a house of rock that looked down onto the old narrow town of stone

or further down to Saturnia and bathing under the full moon in the warm waters of the sulphur river

there were Sundays when my father brought me to walk all the streets of New York

to say hello to the gods in all the churches of New York

and to the animals in the zoo

& to the people in the streets

or a Sunday like today

with the window already open

new tiny buds pushing out into light

a Sunday of peaceful souls




_the times as they are



my friend astrologer says:

current Saturn_Neptune & Uranus_Jupiter under stress

my friend poet sings with a chorus of the Moon's eclipse disasters

my other friend poet talks of Haitian zombies

on a poetry list vomit and witchcraft come out

the Hermit looks for himself in the darkness

Pluto from way below digs up Law

astronomers decided He is not a Planet

they don’t know _they don’t know




Me, William the Shadow


(an answer to Mollie Day by using the same character and the neck cut with a double axe)



Me, William The Shadow,

The Prince of Shadows

Today, March 4, 2007, at 00.05am

To husband and wife who detached my neck

With a double axe

I have split their members from their trunks, let them scream at the moonlight

With the precision of the surgeon that destroyed my mother I have slowly carved their forefront

And pulled off their scalp now hanging out of my window with the remains of their son

Feast for the black Ravens my friends

The Eagle lurking

For her I have a surprise, their puffy grandchildren will see the Moon tonight

This is not my revengeful Spirit

Fate the King

Dooms without soul







if you observe your own grief, which senses do you use to observe it? A particular sense; one that feels grief? Then do you feel it differently when you are observing it? And what is the grief that you are observing –is it one which is there only while it is being observed?

‘Observing’ does not produce what is observed. (That is a conceptual statement.)

Again. I do not “observe” what only comes into being through observation. The object of observation is something else.



Are the words “I am afraid” a description of a state of mind?


Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, II, ix



Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler were friends who popped in at home

benefactor of Rainer Maria Rilke and Georg Trakl

Ludwig Wittgenstein observes surrounded by suicides

He is asking and I answer

When I observe my own grief I use my sight, better my metaphysical sight and my perception

My grief hits me physically, I feel pain, it involves my perception

Yes, I feel it differently when I observe it

It is my grief observed and therefore distanced from me because I am observing it

It is one which is there only while it is being observed sometimes

Some other times I am able to perceive it and to observe it at the same time


The words “I am afraid” are a description of a state of mind

They can also be a description of a perception

They can also be a description of a physical reaction due to a specific event

Like the trembling of your body

In my case my hands sometimes shake and I stop breathing

I am also prone to states of paralysis when I am afraid






"Compassion is the foundation of all peaceful thoughts and actions."

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama



On two lines:


Compassion is the foundation

of all peaceful thoughts and actions.


On three lines:


                Compassion is the foundation

of all peaceful thoughts

                            and actions


On four lines:



                                     is the foundation

                        of all peaceful thoughts

              and actions


On eight lines:




the foundation



peaceful thoughts















the foundation







(answer to a poem by Todd Lundbohm)  




       is a name

that leads me  

                  to Sufi stories




ignorance & greed

                    is what I would compare

                                                      to the statue Rodin

never did

                             or left there in a tangle of wiring lines

on a scrap of paper trodden on by the Maestro



 almost engraving the sky /



Life seen through the eyes of Utrillo

seems just clean, windmills, bathing establishments,

white streets, white cupolas, light grey pavements,

houses the color of pastel carnation as if waking up in their teens

people walking, no cars, trucks,

the eyes two dark dots, the nose one, the mouth a longer line

the perspective of the windows and doors is absurd

like a stubborn child he makes them straight while respecting 

the zooming of streets and houses to their vanishing points

a patched sky _the branches of trees embroidering

almost engraving it


as if predestined, he was born in Montmartre - Maurice Utrillo born Maurice Valadon (son of Suzanne Valadon) December 25, 1883 – November 5, 1955




ship of rain



The groom’s amour

in the airy aura of aurora

an aroma without armor

raw from the jars iris your hour

from Japan or Spain in a raisin

in a shay of moon

morphing souring rays of ruin

from the puma’s origin

pious in impairing pains

the opus of opium in the imago

joins in a yoga union

the ashy song of wine in jays

jams the piano’s moans

on the ship of rain awash

under the Wain’s poise







the Erinyes




in their


invasion of Olympus

suck in their viscous bat wings

Jupiter’s might _night’s watchful ever-moving

serpents chain Mother Earth _a continuously fainting Venus close to

her departing point to Hades at their horrifying sight burps up beauty clotted with

blood _through skilled surgeons they cut off both arms and legs to Cupid

his arrows and bow rotting with his flesh _they lobotomize

Mercury & damn Uranus’ noble & inventive soul by

turning his genius to boiling pitch _invite

Mephistofeles to their gruesome



roasted generals


sauté meet-balls of kids


grilled entrailles of young virgins


croquettes of soldiers


according to the context of the wars half the world joins the truculent party

with the change of guards the other starved half appears hungry & smiling to celebrate with their terrifying


a good third is always present

pacifists are sliced down raw and served

as hors-d’oeuvres with a cold dry Chardonnais

in long fluted crystal glasses glittering in eternal shine



“Samuel Tuke [1784-1857], in his Report on the Condition of the Indigent Insane, gives the details of a complicated system devised at Bethlehem to control a reputedly dangerous madman: he was attached by a long chain that ran over the wall and thus permitted the attendant to lead him about, to keep him on a leash, so to speak, from outside; around his neck had been placed an iron ring, which was attached by a short chain to another ring; this latter slid the length of a vertical iron bar fastened to the floor and ceiling of the cell. When reforms began to be instituted at Bethlehem, a man was found who had lived in this cell, attached in this fashion, for twelve years.”

Michel Foucault, Madness & Civilization, Chapter 3: The Insane


“That is, on one hand madness is immediately perceived as difference: whence the forms of spontaneous and collective judgment sought, not from physicians, but from men of good sense, to determine the confinement of a madman; and on the other hand, confinement cannot have any other goal than a correction (that is, the suppression of the difference, or the fulfillment of this nothingness in death); whence those options for death so often to be found in the registers of confinement, written by the attendants, and which are not the sign of confinement’s savagery, its inhumanity or perversion, but the strict expression of its meaning: an operation to annihilate nothingness.”

Michel Foucault, Madness & Civilization, Chapter 4: Passion and Delirium

translated by Richard Howard




\\\___the difference___///

_ isolated _killed _

a repeated human tendency

whoever was blest blast by power

as ol’ crippled history has shown

will make of this rule


reaping action


together with dumbness granted by consumption

the production of desire & the ennui of it

stock markets’ targets

Pound’s bankers equaled only by yuppies



The family is therefore introduced into the production of desire and will perform a displacement, an unparalleled repression of desire commencing with the earliest age of the child. Social production delegates the family to psychic repression.

Deleuze & Guattari

Anti-Oedipus : Capitalism and Schizophrenia




AFTER Ronald Johnson



the mind become its own subject matter:

bent ambient

(all meaning is an angle)


the optimum play at any one moment spray of curvature

falling off toward the edge great gold sunflowerhead of photons

sum of sun and moon

in array the flicker of diamond-lattice pattern

against a complex dappled back-

ground also moving.


Ratio is all.


Beam 25, A Bicentennial Hymn

Ronald Johnson, Ark




the mind become its own subject matter:

missiles & tanks

(all power is meaning)


the optimum play at one moment blood of Man

falling off toward the edge great red puppyhead of atoms

sum of greed and lust

in array the flicker of hormone-adrenaline pattern

against a complex economic back-

ground also moving.


Ratio is all.




Ed elli: «O frate, andar in sù che porta?

(Then he: “My brother, of what use to mount,*)
Dante, Purgatorio, Canto V, (Belacqua)






Suicide bombers are a virtually an unstoppable weapon because they camouflage in traffic and there are no efficacious systems to intercept them. This weapon is extremely “democratic” and potentially available to all because explosive can be easily made from fertilizer and anybody can provide the means to transport it. Consequences, even if limited to just one attack, can be devastating also in terms of damage caused to economy.

A part of humanity reacts by attacking in a violent way the society that refuses them; we therefore have to deal with this social reality in architecture, too.

Mike Davis, critical investigator of social phenomena




sing for us who stay

who can still sing

after what we've seen

sing with us for us

who stay to sing






This is the way the world begins, the world begins,

wrestling the old ineffable to Bosch’s amazing white giraffe

-or St. Rousseau

intent a symmetry of whisker.

love itself is a kind of mirage nesting it all

together. Around a center



BEAM 30, The Garden

Ronald Johnson





HELL / Hieronymus Bosch

Right wing; 147 x 66cm


the head of a cat _its ears two truncated legs, better: the extension of the ears are legs plunged into the black pitch above which there is a bridge_ from its mouth two protruding naked legs are climbed up by a snake toward a swollen stomach

the card of the fool on a tiny rusted sandy island: a naked man running to the right his head turned down to see the beast struggling to bite his right hip, the tail of the four-legged monster a branch with only one burnt brown winter leaf _an ermine, its dotted coat, looks back scared at the action protecting the left leg of the man escaping

a woman is sinking in the pitch

a man turned upside down held by a black hooted man twice his size on the bridge

another naked man accompanied by a walking deer and an owl-disguised fat man maybe ten times the captive

a naked green woman, her spinal column worn on her back continues with a tail, is climbing a ladder towards an enormous bird-turtle looking down from the tower

the naked soldier pierced by a lance rides a beatific ox, a helmet on his head, in his left hand a chalice and somewhere on the ox a saucepan or maybe a black turned upside-down helmet

he is greeting with his right hand some red being inside the door with a wooden beam in his hands

on his left on the terra earth a monster with green butterfly wings, the face of a lion and two human arms and hands on all fours

behind him three figures, a buck with the snout of a cock/cat

a rounded orange/brown couple of eyes staring out of veils

and a black probably multi-winged being no features are to be seen

a green being, half siren, one wing, rounded orange head and a short viper-like tail quietly observes the scene

in the middle a naked virgin, her hands tied behind her back, dead or asleep

in the background on the left hands of soldiers _a shining helmet

the tower is peacefully being constructed by a black guy on an unfinished scaffolding

a priest / sorcerer dressed in black on his head a fish with a tail and the head of a serpent, is reading a book

another three toed black figure is listening to him while holding a stake on top of which a squirrel is comfortably seated

in the background against the sky on fire the ruins of a house with a tailed red monster visible protruding out of the outline of the building against the sky holds a long pole with a hanged man burning

in the middle foreground another black building on fire, another pole, this time with an enormous black saucepan


never be on your own: see Bosch’s joining the Brotherhood of Our Lady and The Extraction of the Stone of Madness (The Cure of Folly) c. 1475-80; Oil on board, 48 x 35 cm (18 7/8 x 13 3/4"); Museo del Prado, Madrid

animals lived with men

just boil and roast _vegetables & animals when you are hungry _human beings when at war _human beings to show the other human beings that Judgment is close


Hieronymus Bosch (real name: Jeroen van Aken) c. 1450 – August, 1516


Saint John on Patmos

by Hieronymus Bosch after 1490                                                      


see the difference with Hans Memling’s St. John (1474)


the younger of the two sons of thunder

James the Greater his brother

on the Greek island of Patmos

to write his book of revelations

where the Roman convicts were

_the exiled_ like him

by Titus Flavius Domitianus (95 AC)


with his eagle


1:9. I, John, your brother and your partner in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience in Christ Jesus, was in the island which is called Patmos, for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus.
Ego Iohannes frater vester et particeps in tribulatione et regno et patientia in Iesu fui in insula quae appellatur Patmos propter verbum Dei et testimonium Iesu

I, your brother John and partaker in sorrow and in rule and in patience in Jesus was on the island because of the verb of God and the witness of Jesus (Apocalypse Chapter 1) (my translation)


according to :

Hans Burgkmair (1508)

Hans Baldung Grien (1511)

Titian (1547)

Tobias Verhaecht (1598)

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velàzquez (c.1618)

Nicolas Poussin (c.1644)

Gustave Doré (1866?)


the vision comes from the right


Giotto di Bondone (c. 1267 – January 8, 1337)

has him seated leisurely in the center of the island with allegorical figures rotating around him


by association

see the sky

see the browns

see the colors : rust and icy blue

when observing St. John on Patmos by Bosch

my attention goes to The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo (c. 1491-1508)*

Bosch’s work is more diluted

daylight in the Netherlands compared to the one in Florence

the sky is wide and open

a square triangle

1) the apex is the full moon embroidered by clouds in which the Virgin is sitting on a newly-born moon

2) the angel with futuristic butterfly insect-like wings the features of an ephebe

with a girl-like suasive pose holding a scroll

her right hand indicating the sky

3) St John traces with his mantle part of the oblique side ending

4) with the small coleopterous: two skinny legs with feet & numerous toes

an innocuous sting prologed into a thin tail, rounded belly, wings

the white face of an old man wearing glasses

the square angle, bottom left wants 5) the eagle

between the eagle and the small monster on the earth

6) a fountain pen

the triangle is also outlined by the shape of the central hill

7) one tree frames the painting on the right

dark greens, blues, Prussian blues for the top of the sky

his long cloak on his long garments - light red

he is writing, his eyes turned to the vision, as if deciphering

or as if conversing _receiving, his facial expression relaxed

his eyes confident, his posture at ease.


the painting is also horizontally divided

the upper part with cold colors, the lower warm

in two perfect halves on the right side

earth rises towards the sky on the left


John the Divine



The painting has a painted reverse side

the use of colors as if it was a photograph on sepia paper


John the man is in his cave

trapped in the earth against his vision

on the right of the circle

the first of the seven scenes

in the center _circle within the circle_ the eagle _its wings spread

landing on the rock-island from the womb-cave of it a fire above the water

above the center the triangle of the mountain with the three crosses

and Christ in the middle against the sky

starting from the right scenes with the life of Jesus

up to his burial _top right above John’s cave


John the Evangelist



*not to confuse St. John the Baptist with St. John the Evangelist, the former beheaded by Herodias after Salome’s request, as her mother wanted.

An excerpt on Leonardo's interpretation of the Twelve Apostles and the Last Supper .



From the Book of Revelations or the Apocalypse by Saint John the Divine:







revelation and signified

the word and the testimony

soever seen

prophecy peace

seven spirits witness

the earth clouds an eye


alpha and omega

the beginning and the end

an island


write a book

seven candlesticks

golden girdle

flame of fire

fine brass in burning furnace

seven stars

sharp two-edged sword sun shines

first and last

have the keys of death and hell


hand labor patience evil endured

tried tribulation ten days

crown of life

children’s manna a white name


a rod of iron vessel of a potter broken

morning star

ear hear

what the said


watchful full

observe life before

shut a door open



your crown

a pillar in the temple

of heaven

of creation



rainbow round about an emerald

four and twenty seats

four and twenty sitting

gold lightnings and thunders

as sea of glass



a lion _a calf _ a man _an eagle

six wings of day and night




the right hand in seven seals

worthy the root

of ancients

fell harps

sung saying a tongue on earth

thousands loud faces


opened a bow red sword

scales the wine and the oil

Death  ___souls of slain___ dwell

earthquake black sackcloth

green wind

departed dens

come to stand?


a tree ascending from the sun

living with the sea

a hundred forty-four thousand signed the children

twelve thousand

twelve thousand

twelve thousand

twelve thousand

number of palms


they? they?

they robes them white

day dwells

waters wipe away


censer incense ascended

fire cast sound

hail mingled with earth


star a torch

of the fountain

the moon for the night

one eagle flying through reason


locust power scorpion power struck

horses running over

Apollyon the sixth

loose the bound in


in the vision

hyacinth of brimstone

heads of lions

horses to serpents


silver and stone

see hear walk


clothed with a cloud

pillars open


in the days



a reed

two olive trees

will finish the abyss

in the streets of sepulchers

in the birth of diadems


the dragon the desert

carried away upon the sand


a leopard in admiration



the book

ear hear

sword sword

a lamb spoke as a dragon



unto earth in men

signs  in sight should

give life to image



the number of a man + him

six hundred sixty-six

sescenti sexaginta sex


harping no lie


follow them

the Son in his hand

reaps the harvest

the clusters of the vineyard

the grapes are ripe


ways ages

magnify art

judgments are open

for ever


pour out



dark tongues of kings

in Hebrew angels

Babylon exceedingly




have one design

are called




the cup mingles a queen in one day

the smoke

precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple and silk, scarlet

vessels of ivory


the fruits of soul

gilt with gold

shipmaster and mariners



the supper of words

are the spirit

white judge

a flame of fire

sprinkled with THE WORD

birds gather


a chain

first camp


a bride for her husband

the light

as crystal


on the east

on the north

on the south

on the west

the first foundation

jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx,

sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, amethyst

transparent glass


the street yielding the leaves

light of the lamp

the words of prophecy



to render

the morning star






 I followed the translation on this site and cut out words (See Ronald Johnson's PALMS or RADI OS):




-ini is a common suffix

ballard has music and dance

baller=dancer / from high violin notes

in twirling beams of assonating vowel sounds 

as _socia _tions from far away times also in tragedy our

humor _keen ear seizing dumb false notes tickles us into laughter



from Lion Heart

valiant & trustful your Crown

Courage with Mars Juno in action

many coats of arms depict your Lion

he looks ahead _danger from the left_




Lionardo da Vinci



I almost make myself laugh

to write a poem on Leonardo

I did read his notes

copied his self-portrait

copied some faces made by him

his precise repeated quick

intelligent concentrated stroke

years ago

last night

I enjoyed going back to Vasari

and to his                    marvellous and divine Lionardo da Vinci :


He delighted much in horses and also in all other animals, and often when passing by the places where they sold birds he would take them out of their cages, and paying the price that was asked for them, would let them fly away into the air, restoring to them their lost liberty.

he was

                                   variable and unstable

in arithmetic he surprised his master _ played the lute _ a good geometrician _ modeling _

making while a boy some laughing women's heads, and some heads of children which seem to have come from a master's hand

mills _ presses _ tunneling _ levers _ cranes

inventing inventing

and many of these drawings are still scattered about


Lionardo was so pleased whenever he saw a strange head or beard or hair of unusual appearance that he would follow such a person a whole day, and so learn him by heart, that when he reached home he could draw him as if he were present

an improviser


oh _ but lazy !

It is said that the prior of the place was very importunate in urging Lionardo to finish the work, it seeming strange to him to see Lionardo standing half a day lost in thought; and he would have liked him never to have put down his pencil, as if it were a work like digging the garden.

Leonardo went to the prince:

He reasoned about art, and showed him that men of genius may be working when they seem to be doing the least, working out inventions in their minds, and forming those perfect ideas which afterwards they express with their hands

Leonardo, the man whose genius was undisputed

and wanted things sooooo big

He began it, but made the model of such a size that it could never be


precise _ exacting

would not let murmurs spread



and work


he couldn’t stand Michelangelo


the anatomist

converted to religion

shortly before

he died at the age of 75


we have been mourning him so far






The town is getting empty_ cars flash by in their rushing sounds

school is off for the Easter holidays


kids in the street_ their voices heard through an open window

a gush of wind with smog blows in the scent of spring flowers perfume on my hands


as if the blackbirds were playing on the meadows along the river

jumping their black round eyes alert from clod to clod their beaks picking earth


the big black austere crow on the tall tree when seen

spreads its black blue shining wings and mysteriously hides under the leaves


villages on the side of the mountains seem bucolic pictures in children’s books

the tall belfry green around patches of blossoming trees white pink rose


an explosion of yellow catches your breath bunches of forsythias against ancient walls

saturated blue milky violet heavy clusters of wisteria hanging from old twisted branches


small aedicules with their smiling saints curled up under a tiny protruding roof

niches for icons niches for wandering souls who still have time for a couple of violets


our outside façade in these days that leaves space for liquid sounds in dry air

comfort of a solid table of warm air of projections of promises without rain






in aedicules

flash for façade

wings pink explosion

street clod picking earth

mountain leaves projections

clusters violet twisted ancient walls

breath blossoms by blue black spread

solid sounds seen green scent along hands

picture warm souls violet without under promises

mysteriously rose smile seeming round sides

and yellow saturated tall against comfort

crow tree from river clod liquid curl

rushing hanging in branches

patch pink roof protrude

air space scent

milky niche















































My acknowledgments go to: the primitive men, Jean François Millet, Pirandello’s Ciaula, Félix Bracquemond, Antonio Fontanesi, Pellizza da Volpedo, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Käthe Kollwitz, Peter Kollwitz, André Martinet, Jacques Derrida, Emil Nolde, Brenda Regan, Paul Klee, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Lucio Fontana, Stephen Hawking, Boccioni, Lorenzo Viani, Apollinaire, Marc Chagall, Léger, Max Jacob, Delaunay, Soutine, Modigliani, Brancusi, Siqueiros, Rivera, Vincent and Théo Van Gogh, Antonin Artaud,  Antonio Leitão, Campigli, Jean Jacques Rousseau, El Greco, Tintoretto, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Correggio, Il Parmigianino, Theophrastus, Demetrius, Cicero, Quintilian, Mario Pachi, Joel Weishaus, the WW2 American Soldiers, my father, Gustave Doré, Bill Lavender, Samuel Beckett, Hegel, Cayatri Chalkrvorty Spivak, Cubism, Impressionism, Mallarmé, Mozart, Lautréamont, Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, Max Ernst, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Ronald Johnson, Pluto, Mollie Day, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Rainer Maria Rilke, Georg Trakl, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rodin, Tod Lundbohm, Maurice Utrillo, Suzanne Valadon, the Erinyes, the Olympus, Jupiter, Mother Earth, Venus, Cupid, Mercury, Uranus, Mephistopheles, Hades, Michel Foucault, Ezra Pound, Ronald Johnson, Dante, Belacqua, Virgil, Mike Davis, Hieronymus Bosch, Hans Memling, St. John the Divine, James his brother, Titus Flavius Domitianus, H. Burgkmair, Hans Baldung Grien, Titian, Tobias Verhaecht, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velàzquez, Nicolas Poussin, Giotto, the Virgin, St. John the Baptist, Herodias, Salome and her mother, Apollyon, Mars, Juno, Leonardi & Ballardini, Giorgio Vasari, the saints in the aedicules, Wikipedia, and to all those who have loved me and have shared part of my way through.


The title: Instruments of Change is taken from a line of Ronald Johnson’s ARK. Several links bring to my blog, for each painting quoted I tried to respect the relative acknowledgments or I direct you to the main page.


© Anny Ballardini