deScription: Improvisations on the Mid-career Drawings and Paintings of Nola Farman

By and | 15 May 2023

I. The Limits of Imagination
The Limits of Imagination, 1971, 15 x 21cms, ink on paper

I hear old Poseidon walks on the water like his feet are backwards fish. I’ve always had this affinity, he boasts in the trumpet of my ear, devolving like a spent umbilicus. But for every fishy propensity he proclaims, my throat says bird – unstoppable incubator, and oh do I birth evermore squawking seabirds.

Teresias the prophet says, only by becoming bird can we unravel the old sea god’s wrath, shrink him back to size. Listen to the shrivelling of the miscreant. But as I hear those raspy insinuations, my hair comes semically alive, Greekly wriggling off my chest. The more the birds tug at the fringes of my being, the more I’m drawn out of myself.

I sprout! For all his metamorphic boasts, Poseidon’s drawing to an end.

My birds shriek out a parody of that backward water music, and bygones are Beigesang, our squawking babble’s another mode of travel. Brailling the tangled entrails of the old god’s demise, Tereisias says, there’re still a tale or two of women silenced there.

For seven years I was woman, he says, and I pronounce you prophet from her greater pleasure.

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