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Schopenhaur in the afternoon, the best she could cajole a sagging will to undertake, the only path the rain smears on the cloudy windows could conceivably approve. Swans before dawn, trumpets in the morning. A bubble bath in a sudsy, bubble economy, soap in the Eye of Horus burning red. The Swan Princess languished, taking to wearing her glasses upside-down in halfhearted hope that the displacement caused by the discomfort on the bridge of her nose and on her ears, as well as the slight variance of convexity in the lenses, might lead to an inversion of value, not in herself but in the world. Glasses mediated the for-itself of the illusion of her perpetual youth and tragedy with the in-itself of the illusion of the age of the world and its triumph. She didn't bother to dry herself off, and as a consequence left a trail of soapy water everywhere she went like a snail of impeccable sanitation. She looked at the pattern of the cheap, passably decorative rug on the floor through wiggling toes and all of it through a haze of wriggling narcotics which she dispassionately referred to as her "line of ascension of assumptions." Swans before dawn, trumpets in the morning. White jasmine tea with its steaming spirals like Hokusai would portray them, sans the outlines. There are no outlines in the world, the in-itself of indefinite gradation and passive membership in a brotherhood of ricocheting sameness. No, there are only outlines in the for-itself of the for-itself of thought, cognition, conception, platonic relationships, of which the Swan Princess has had her fill, thank you very much. For now a modest account of her wanderings, an unassuming memoir of sorts, a hesitant travel journal, and its flourishing assortment of notes, reflections and episodic sketches in her head was what kept her tethered to the wily world, her body serving as mediator to that world just as her glasses mediate between her eyes and the world's kaleidoscopic Kabuki with its urgency of a spectator sport with inflexible rules. Mediation abounds.

Posted by James Bradley on 10/28/12



1849, Dresden, Prussian troops advancing. The commune existed long before any particular barricades. Mikhail Bakunin advocated the looting of the National Museum, armory of the seven color spectrum, and the utilization of famous paintings, time-tested masterworks, veridical bulwarks, as parapet between value systems and color theories. Cherubim with flaming swords guard the misplaced gates of Eden, firewalls and ancient hieroglyphics of air-faring vehicles guard the obvious, in the present tense, in the presence of tents.

1889, the Eiffel Tower erected over the still-smouldering rubble and bloodied paving stones of the commune, an eye-full of modernity for the world to chew and spew. Compound army eyes halt on opposite sides of a sheet of double-sided flypaper. The conflict sticks. Wonders of the modern world wander through our conscience, and hold. The scaffolding of Babel launches rockets of galactic exploration (stellar subjugation) into the sky, exponentially.

Posted by James Bradley on 10/16/12



Anti-Earth poems, wrapped in anti-human waxed paper, transited through the postal service like kidney stones, like mail bombs through the torpedo tubes of bureaucracy, auto recite the longing lost on long, lingering localizations on a desk top, presumably. Movement is the key. Agitation keeps the pulp from settling, keeps the nutrients from dispersing. Traipsing through the chain of command, the nuisance of chain letters and their hesitation to travel upward, the hierarchy and its unwillingness to stoop to our level.

Twilight of the idols. Rosy dawn of the iconoclasts. Anti-Earth poems wrapped in anti-life regalia, ready to crash the ball with bloody dancing in glass slippers, blood on the dance floor, bits of blister earned on the arduous hike from toe to crown. Locomotion is, in this case, the alibi, and not the accomplice.

Posted by James Bradley on 9/8/12

EFFING Totally awesome bro!!

The Five Aggregates


I. Form. Shadows cast by physical obstructions of the sun's light lengthen and lengthen as the day progresses, until eventually the shade covers all, and this we call night.

II. Receptivity. The moon sometimes obstructs the sun's light, its shadow dilating until eventually it blankets the land, and this we call an eclipse.

III. Conception. Shadows cast by flashing lights and hollow promises lengthen and lengthen as the new aeon looms, until eventually the shade covers all, and this we call artifice.

IV. Volition. We stand now on the cusp of an inescapable eclipse of the graven image.

V. Consciousness. Artists of the world, beware.

Posted by James Bradley on 6/7/12



The shackles itch. The mask itches. Ineffable wisps of pure love and undying sentiment occupy the sensory deprivation of my forgotten life and I am becoming as blind as Milton or Homer as they recorded the pulsations of the universe and its ungainly beatitudes, as all-seeing as Hildegard of Bingen as she cast her gaze to the mountain's summit and glimpsed the angel in her cloak of eyes, bathed in a music so serene one could scarcely resist, upon hearing, curling up and backpacking forever through the lucid flora of dreaming's unmarred continent. My eyes stave off, as best they can, the atrophy of my worldly failure. Buried alive for one year. Valentine's Day, that humiliating heartbreak of a holiday, was the anniversary, the S.S.S.S.S.S. must surely have marked their calendars with a crudely etched heart, using my own blood if those weekly drawings were any indication. A month ago, after countless pleadings, they let me take my mask off for a precious afternoon in the dark, my face's chapped skin soaking up the uncirculated oxygen through dried sweat like a piece of stale bread dipped in wine. The secret identity long since compromised, what was a mask, a face stripped of its vitality and baby fat, polka-dotted underwear, a social security card, bank statements (obtained through their nefarious agents at the Chase Manhattan Usury), when the true secret still lies buried deep within, in another type of darkness, the one place they cannot invade with their sterile syringes and rubber gloves?

February 15, 2012

Posted by James Bradley on 5/13/12



The solar plexus, for the purposes of our current inquiry, will henceforth be referred to as the chink in the armor of a garlanded, stratified guild of thieves and sun worshippers. Night in their temple of luminosity is the respite from usury which others call day in the temple of straw. The kindling of our repressed interaction, like the exhibitionism of Dogma, Inc. parading glints in an infant's emerging subservience, the miracle of unfolding cognitive development of a rock dropped from the spiking peak of Nasdaq's hour of triumph over the second hunger of blood advertised, is becoming an all-too-apparent embarrassment to the cause with which they have aligned themselves, namely the cause of the downtrodden, the dark matter of the third world of this solar system of supply and demand guided by an invisible claw, the ineffable cause of all that does not exist.

Individualism has gone too far this time. It has become a threat to the well-being of every man, woman and child in this enduring fallacy, and as such it must be put down, but humanely, of course.

"Nothing can burn the sun" is what they tell us in the spaces between missteps, the interstices of halted progress which is, of course, perpetual. Slogans, they say, slogans make us human. Slogans point the way to the joys of simple things, the birthrights long since copyrighted and patented down to the smallest itch or chuckle. The genome is mapped, slogans are the cartography of our information landscape, slogans are the last rites administered during this, the final hours of the society's long battle with a metastasized cancer which defies all chemotherapy and reason. To brood is to exclude. Slogans, yes, slogans.

Posted by James Bradley on 5/6/12



The torture of a turning phrase, which I, in turn, have turned withal. Danger in the solitary cell tucked away in a corner of a nearly forgotten wing of the dungeon city of Saint Francis! What torments await the one who presumes to while away the days of boredom and the nights of horrific visions and condemnatory apparitions of abstract transgression with the soothing balm of pen and scraps of aloe leaf smuggled into my traitor's cell by the hand of a sympathetic sentry, moved by the eloquence of a terrorist's forbidden locutions? Thrice-crowned, candy-striped antenna transmitting invisible beams of sound and sight, panopticon of an encyclopedic yet elusive mind, hurling globs of homogenizing circus manna onto the wilderness of hills and trollies below, a reign of terror broadcast nightly from the blade edge of the guillotine, slicing succinctly this age of consent into equal halves of fervor and farce, your will is closely guarded, like this contrabandist's prison, but your intentions are as opaque as the steel tripod bracing your colossal insolence. From the archer's slit in an otherwise hermetic chamber the torture of a turning phrase rides my line of sight directly to your triple coronet, your tripartite aspiration of the subjugation of past, present and future which I, in turn, have aspired to turn without, and which has left me nameless in a land of compulsory cross-references.

Posted by James Bradley on 4/29/12



The street is night, only when the questioning of the location of the night is pressed. Otherwise the street is hypertextualized, flowing ever and ever outward, like rivers and streams dead tired in the search for ocean. It all happens if you allow it, that, in any event, is what I would tell those serpents of water digesting pebbles if I had the heart, but I know that to deprive a system of its systematizing is a fate potentially worse than death, and certainly worse than dead tired. The geometry of the street lends itself to contrast, to an embracing of the supporting role it was born to play in this world overrun by organisms, moss and vine. As the sky sinks lower and lower, the children of Theseus and Ariadne, with public transportation as midwife, talk in low voices amongst themselves about the inevitability of the street taking on the literal, physical characteristics of night. "What would these characteristics be?" asks a teenage girl sitting on the sidewalk with her school uniform twisted and tied into the most indecent of coverings, like a snake forming an infinity loop around her goose-pimpled skin.

"Well," begins another girl with a small computer balancing on the top of her head, "we have to consider that night and day are phenomena of light and positioning, luminosity and relativity, and as such this is obviously an instance of consciousness attempting to snake itself out yet again." The girl, wanting to be a model, had fallen into the continual discipline of correcting her posture through various techniques. She knew as an article of faith that she would soon grow the extra seven inches required of her by her profession of choice like she knew that the sexualizing of the public bathhouse has led to the current population explosion, quid pro quo.

Seven billion with baited breath for Daniel's seventieth week, the streetlights have come on so we know the passage of time is functioning in some capacity. They believed some weeks ago that the abomination had entered the temple, but came to understand that the heart of a compromised and discredited priest is no temple. "Stealth. It comes quietly, intangibly, seeping into even the thinnest of cracks," said the girl waiting for the black lipstick to seep into her lips permanently, like the oil spill she had seen on television.

"Sleep, fatigue. Where the night comes down, the eyelids of the world droop with the weight of all they have seen throughout the course of the day," added the girl in the printed dress both three hundred years too soon and three hundred years too late for her in cyclic time.

"Density. Slavery."

"To what?"

"Dualistic thought."

"Oh that."

The girls supposed the street to be a garden, splintering and shooting in such diversity and generosity to the eyes, mind and touch that the flowers they took themselves proudly to be had but every right to enquire into the mystery of their roots, as a natural allowance of their privileged position at the apex of the rusty pyramid of their adolescent fancy, as well as their representative position within a race in its adolescence. The direction the barbed wire points atop a chain-linked fence tells the orientation of a harvester's heart like the bend of corn stalks tells the will of the wind. The lines of yellow shadow cast by street lights streaming through such a fence on the bodies of the girls coyly yet openly courting these mysteries serve to ground them all the more firmly in the soft, fertile earth that follows like shed skin along the edges of the path the street carves. The girls continue on in this fashion until daybreak, their voices growing fainter, shrinking into smaller and smaller cubes of space until eventually nothing is left but the street itself, swelling and retracting with mathematical fidelity to the pulsations of the day and its many possible locations.

January 18, 2012

Posted by James Bradley on 4/24/12



Painting is a highway to low ideals, base physicality and redundant mimicry, or else it is a "low way" to high sentiment, subtle metaphysics and jarring revelations. Or else it is neither, or both. By nature of the very process by which a painting is created, that of building up layer upon layer, each willingly subsumed by the subsequent, the painted surface is a locus which reveals as it conceals, which diverts attention as it instructs, which withholds in order to present. In this the art of painting parallels the larger visual culture which, rather than withholding, supplies us with such an overabundance of information that it collectively becomes one unified moment of truth and falsehood. In fourteenth century England an anonymous Christian mystic wrote that a "Cloud of Unknowing" forever separates us from direct knowledge of God, and today this innate barrier is supplemented by an artificial one, the seemingly impassable hall of mirrors of the culture itself. It is within this climate of epistemological quagmire that I situate my paintings and drawings. Visual representation, abstraction, simulacra, and subjectivity all come into play and intersect as information attempting to know itself, while paint, as rarefied mud, serves as the carrier. Images and motifs from various mystical religious traditions such as Christian, Hermetic, Gnostic, Occult and Buddhist interact with those from art history and contemporary popular culture to engage in a discourse on the nature of illusion, the politics of representation, personal responsibility, and the possibility of truth. In this way I am attempting to pursue a "Mysticism of the Spectacle," by way of a "Mysticism of Paint," which addresses these issues without disregarding the attributes of the medium itself.

Posted by James Bradley on 3/24/12



A stranger's recalcitrant glance across a room full of frightened children, unrepentant as the day is long. Swans of the east, guilty of the crime of not acknowledging Christ, as well as of brandishing those flaming swords on hallowed ground at inopportune moments, feathers all akimbo like a woman who knows what she wants. "My scalp is all sore, I miss you tons;" the sweetest, most innocent text message of recent memory, and suddenly the feeling of smallness is inescapable. My focus on the green diamonds of early December, still shining keenly in this nascent winter chill, is abruptly shattered, though Golden Gate Park still shimmers with more gems than the mind can conceive, like the sands of the Ganges slipping silently through a monumental hourglass. I sit on a tree stump and attempt to forget the roar of traffic, the day-glow orange glint of park workers seen fleetingly through the trees as they follow their Ariadne's threads to maintenance sheds. Swans of the west, I fear for you most of all. Though yours is the most sublime of beauties, within the steel trap of your violin contours lies the dormant promise of ultimate betrayal, that of becoming irretrievably lost within the sensation of sliding your own finger along the vein path of your pale forearm, a subtle pleasure trailed along behind it like streamers, to the exclusion of all else, forever. A still point of acute sensation, and all around, blood, black as the unbridgeable gap between mind and mind.

Posted by James Bradley on 3/13/12



There is a sense in which it can all be attributed to the dreamers and the wanderers congregating at the "Occupy Wall Street" protests down in the phenomenological part of town. There are book hauls and gandharvas, public libraries and karmic traces, returning heavenly bodies and signposts that don't leave a trace. There is presence and there is radioactivity. There is uncertainty and there is melancholia. There are technicians and galactic clusters, absence and hyperinflation, superfoods and turpentine, the breath, conceptualization, discrimination, social media, manic depression, subtle lighting variations covering the corner of the room like waves, clarity, mud, interaction, AT&T, death, hyperbole, black eyeballs of kitchen mice, and all of this held within a thought. The trees twinkle and bulge, float on invisible currents of air as they breathe, the sunlight fades all plastic, the loose vine clinging as it counts the decades. Wall Street is alive with the sound of dialectics crumbling.

Posted by James Bradley on 2/5/12



Movements of the night, waves of sound swell, on your blood-purple stirrings and songs of the latent spark of the east I rest my sight.

Who among us dare discover the way of the principalities, the wrath of the void?

Posted by James Bradley on 1/16/12



It swells, it churns and it boils as it waits, this diabolical ocean of faith and cowardice which men call 'Global Governance.' To be honest with you, I have had enough dreams in which overturning a large rock to reveal a thriving colony of writhing, kicking insects plays a paramount role, and this repetition of symbolism of such obvious pertinence has caused me to shy away from the larger public discourse, opting instead to pursue my own investigations into the cyclic nature of the moon's erosion with regard to the topmost peaks of its most prominent craters, combined with a long standing fascination with the Sanskrit word sunyata, meaning 'emptiness,' and much more than emptiness.

The earth empire is doomed to succeed, and for that reason, and that reason alone, I have deemed it prudent to step back at this time, let evolution take its course (by 'evolution' I mean, of course, devolution), and draw what I see. Phenomenology of the pencil and of the brush, a snail's trail of an inquiry, to be sure, but as of this writing the only path I can trust even provisionally. There are certain fail-safes in place, a network of Dwellers on the Threshold, and against their restricting grid I see diminishingly few options.

Erosion on the moon, erosion on the sun, erosion on the human soul, despite the scientists' hollow claims and disingenuous cries and charts is, indeed, a possibility. Erosion on the earth, on the other hand, is a mere bureaucratic whimsy away.

Posted by James Bradley on 12/3/11



She glanced quickly toward the dusty cardboard box marked "Art Supplies," knowing the neglected contents to be the last thing a girl in her circumstances should concern herself with, here, in this room, in an age of darkness. Like an ill-advised message smeared with an unsteady forefinger upon the frost of a winter window pane to a forbidden lover who waits, wandering the urbane streets below, she must wipe such fancies from her mind. She must be the strong one. She must be the one of character, of integrity. She must renounce Faith and turn away from the sleek, seductive sheen of Artiface. She must not capitulate. Still, the celestial music was there, cascading through the corridors of her mind, and as long as she knew its profound yet gentle song, she'd have nothing to fear from the black magic peddled as "the status quo," from the sorcery cynically dubbed "the American Dream." She knew there'd be nothing to do tonight save comb the kinks out of her long-pigtailed hair, to train them out of that childlike mould with a thousandfold regular rhythms of the wrist, no more, no less. As she pondered this, the form her immediate future was taking before her eyes, she thought of the moon, that orb of reflected starlight, which even the Earth's demonic overlords had yet to wrench from its stability, its calming journey in the night sky of the girl's battered hopes and dreams. She thought of the moon, which she could not see, as she reached for the brush which lay alone upon the bedside table.

Posted by James Bradley on 7/7/11




Witchcraft grew up in the night time, skipped days completely, and emerged fully formed after a comfortable gestation period into the adolescence of its days. Now there are teenage witches everywhere you look, high school warlocks in the subway stations, sorcerers with iPods bumping into each other on the busy streets. It's such a mess, sorting the lovers from the fighters, the winding wordiness of the western wordsmiths from the generally well-meaning yet incompetent bookworms of the ever-changing American landscape. They're out there, the Swan Princess knew they were, but they were hiding. It was reasonable to expect not to find a single one. It was in line with their character. On the magazine racks at the grocery store there were nothing but eyes, eyes with secrets, eyes forcing you to admit your own secrets after a few brief seconds of the combined might of their glossy stares.


This was the human contact allotted one not versed in the shortcuts and special privileges of modern witchcraft. This was the Swan Princess' lot in life.


Being-in-the-world. Being-in-debt. Being-laid-off-from-her-beloved-and-oh-so-appropriate-job-at-the-public-library. Maybe it was for the best. After all, that building was nothing but one big Masonic monument, with books inside. A Masonic concentration camp for books. Books with barcodes on their foreheads. Very soon now they would be wanting to put a barcode on her forehead, and telling her how convenient it will be to download books directly into her brain. They'd probably use her pigtails as handles to more easily hurl her down the chute once the transaction was complete.


Lost in thought, the Swan Princess attempted to create an equilibrium of words and images in her head. She attempted to divide thought itself into its constituent elements. Let's see...there was words, images, feelings, beliefs, that ticklish thing that happens at the back of your head when you can't quite remember what it is you're trying to remember. She thought that just about covered it.



Posted by James Bradley on 1/27/11


There is a shift in the paper which lies on the tabletop by the east-facing window. It rises, hangs suspended an inch above its former resting spot, and gently descends. It is the tug of the wind, strong enough to be acknowledged, weak enough for its attempts at disruption and disordering to be tolerated with a modicum of good humor. The paper is a lined sheet of notebook paper with 28 thin, horizontal blue lines running across its surface and one long red line running from top to bottom on the left side, just beside three evenly spaced, circular holes. Just as the paper begins another wave of gentle stirrings, like a lilypad floating on a nearly-still pond, I snatch it with my left hand, which happened to be closest to the window, and with my right I write, in circular script in black Magick Marker,


and this somehow sets my mind at ease. I then allow the wind to continue to have its way with the sheet, and within seconds it is swept up and away, like a wisp of smoke from the tip of a thin cigarette.


Posted by James Bradley on 5/28/10

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