Pharmacia Poetica ®

Songs and Stories from the
Pharmacia Poetica

installation view
Williams Lamb Gallery, Long Beach, California

Luna

The man in the moon is really a woman who works in a cafe
arranging lettuce leaves on luncheon plates.
Round faced and beautiful,
she has pale white skin
and dark night eyes.

Her real name is Rosa
but I call her Luna because she always wears white.

Luna's dreaming water at the salad bar.
She's reflecting silver serving coffee.
Luna sees all that occurs in the dark,
the moon and the moan of knowing.

One day her head
will somehow free itself from her neck
and ascend to heaven on its own,
joining the other stars and planets
and no one will be surprised at all.

From Luna Remembers
Luna
lips 1
Williams Lamb Gallery, Long Beach, California
lips 2
Lip Lecture, Henry Street Settlement, New York, NY

L I P S

oola sa'ya kala kin do
da ra ka sah je ko'lo
oo'la sa ya ya'ka ra do
yah sah dah...
yah sah dah...

oo'noh retza ki la ka'ya
etso dar'ka bi mi doh
dar'ka la'di so va kas'ra
yah sah dah
yah sah dah

R E A D  M Y  L I P S

The Spoon

A clue to the spoon is in the oo of the spoon.
Have some more ice cream?
ooo, yes!
In that oo is a hammock of pleasure,
a round pool of sensuality and delight.

From The Mystery of the Knife, Fork & Spoon, 1987
The Roxy
The Roxy, Los Angeles
the mystery of the
Williams Lamb Gallery, Long Beach, California

Madonna Spoon

Madonna Spoon
Queen of Tureen
Our Lady of the Dinner Table serves them all.

Blesses the world with concave eyes
with silver eyes
with ceremonial smile

spoon of memory sees the world upside down.

Soft and liquid,
the naked hand,
lovers still sleep in the scoop of her name.
Soft and liquid, she serves them all.

From The Mystery of the Knife, Fork & Spoon, 1987

The Knife

cycles and sickles
sickles and swords
knife blades curved like slivers of the moon...
He likes to travel at night
He likes to travel alone...
to truly know a knife you have to look him in the eye
that smooth, gliding eye
a finger of fire
the knife is the oldest
first friend of the fingers
a spear intensely focused
healer and hunter
a cutter...a spreader...
a folding iron root form
on a quest
He serves the mouth but never goes there

From The Mystery of the Knife, Fork & Spoon, 1987

The Fork

He was a composer...a tuning fork...a transmitter...
attractive, but sexually ambiguous.
First used by courtesans, he was banned by the church.
They thought he was immoral.
He was off in his own world...
on the other side of the plate from the knife and the spoon.
If it bothered him, he never mentioned it.
He had a face made of different pieces...it was a contemporary face.
He had a life made of different music...it was a contemporary life.
He could cut on his side and when he wanted to ...scoop.
he was really quite versatile.

He had been walking through a state park for hours...
trying to sneak across the border without a green card.
It was night and there was a thunderstorm.
With every flash of lightning the ground lit up.
To escape detection, he had to stop and pretend he was a cactus.
He had to stop and pretend he was a cactus.

The fork is the thinker's tool:
When someone is picking at their food, lost in thought
they are probably using a fork, not a knife or a spoon.

He was a composer...a tuning fork...a transmitter
picking up signals from far away...

From The Mystery of the Knife, Fork & Spoon, 1987
hands fork
Williams Lamb Gallery, Long Beach, California
My Lover
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California

My Lover

my lover uses his teeth to his advantage.
looking at his face I realize his bone structure
is beyond comprehension.

my lover looks at me with mechanical eyes.
he speaks to me in metal.
he speaks to me in the voices of the 6:00 news
and fills my bed with pine needles.

but in the moonlight...in the moonlight...

my lover was once a sailor
but now there is no evidence of water.
he is a dry man in an ominous coat.

he makes my eye twitch
and white spiders live in his ears.

but in the moonlight...in the moonlight...

From Luna Remembers, 1988

Hands

archival hands
bone colored and musty
learning litanies of fabric
with the patience of ants

hands saluting
recounting recoiling
hiding in pockets
haunted by crows

hands coughing onions
that shudder with prophecy
in search of a pencil
with unbroken lead

agile hands leaping
the turquoise of summer
clasped to the side
crossed into bread

hands that trace sparrows
into abstract designs
that want to touch flesh
but cut paper instead

inquisitive hands
specific as hunger
that fumble for car keys
with decimil point fingers

quick darting hands
efficient like virus
with fingers that snap
with the click of a coin purse

arthritic hands
mute without movement
crumpled like spiders
dressed in despair

obedient hands
the color of bees wax
clinging like limpets
yet gentle as moths

percussive hands
tapping on tables
signing like fire
curious as air
curious as air

From The Hands, 1988

I was on one of those long flights...

I was on one of those long flights from LA to New York. To pass the time, I started to read the palm of the man sitting next to me. He was a businessman from Seattle,
so I was suprised he let me do it.
When I finished with one hand, I asked to see the other.
He didn't have one.

red hand
L.A.C.E., Los Angeles, California.
hands
Dance Theater School, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Photos by Leigh Charlton, Jacki Apple, Gary Schwartz and Fred den Ouden. Hands constructed by Bart Arnold