(see more by this artist)
Acrylic on canvas, 75 x 60 inches.
The gate of death, around which so many of our fears become entangled. A vision of the elemental power of the abyss.
There was a place, a medical clinic where, at age of four or five, I nearly died by an experimental injection, done in a successful effort to save my leg from a disastrous infection which it had sustained in play. It was the doctor's private clinic. The clean white-clad woman nurse with a white bird-like cap poised on her head picked up the loaded needle from a spotlessly clean white porcelain tray that had straight sides with edges with a certain graceful curve, a tray over there where medicines and instruments had been set out on a spotlessly clean hard-surfaced table, with all of the edges of the things meeting by similar pretty curves, and held it up to check its level in the window light and finally thumped it gently it with a nail. A truly honest reassuring smile. Still vertical, the needle passed into the doctor's hands, my father's friend so that, the family knew, we always had special treatment there. These hands, I understood, had sometimes caught the ball out of my father's hands when they had played together for a mucky rural high school team, at a time when football was done for education. These hands then also held the dart-like needle up into the brilliant inflowing light of the clean sealed glass window to double-check its level, and then that disconcerting amber drop emerging from the microscopic nozzle of the point, insuring that the nozzle too was loaded. I began to die at once. The spotless seamless white floor seemed to open underneath the table where I sat wrapped securely in my father's arms and I began to sink as though aboard some ancient vessel of the night. Even then, before the poison needle slid into the flesh, the merest sight of that precisely calculated poison substance in itself, in its naked self, a single drop of it, had seemed to lower me, the already feverish little boy, into some lower octave. I seemed to fade out of my father's hands which now seemed like some other kind of flesh than mine. So please behold there then the portal of Queen Inanna's Great Below, entered by an innocent, descending from a chamber drenched in sunlight, cradled in his tender father's arms and with his elder brother and a woman present, and she in ceremonial garb. Behold there then inside the blinking innocent's eyes the countless white porcelain trays of varying sizes neatly stacked and ready to any needing hand on papered shelves behind gleaming glass doors of tall rectangular cabinets. Behold a place designed and made for utmost humane care and for the practice of a science. He carried me out to the car.
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