The emergence of consciousness in humans is followed by marks, scratches in rock, then images, what we might call Glyphs. On a road in upstate New York, I discovered marks that were evidence of repairs and in certain lights they morphed into clear images, as though unconsciously the workers were making artistic interventions in the world. The words here are excerpted from a longer poem, Taxonomy, that I began working on at the same time as these images began to shape themselves. The whole sequence – words and images – is an exploration into the mystery of chthonic states.

Name it desire
Name it hunger
Name it need
Name it deed
Name it shame


Name it human
Name it invocation            
Name it song
Say, more, yes, more            

Eye of Horus
Eye of Horus

Name it the darkness before the rain
        Name it a black face painted for spirit
        Name it a boy next to a leopard
Name it vertigo
Name it awe
Name it ash
        Name it incense
        Name it smoke
Say, Ase baba, Ase.


                                                                                          Name it Tuareg
Name it Blue
                                                  Name it Tea
Name it first cup, strong like death
                                 Name it second cup, sweet like life
Name it third cup, sugar like love
                                             Name it Timbuktu
                                                                               Say, Africa is our heart


                                                         Name it the light at a tomb’s entrance
Name it dark womb inside
                                                         Name it a lone figure walking
Name it snowed in boulevard
                                                         Name it a child playing in the rain


                                                Name it sunny afternoon
                        Name it waterfall at dusk, a downward blade of flame
Name it the green gloam of bamboo grove
Name it an old woman blind in one eye
                        Name it afternoon light on a carved temple door
                                                Say, prayers can kindle light

All Heart

                                                                            Name it birds in the rain
                                                            Name it unknowable
                                           Name it mystery
                            Name it circus
            Name it white cloth
Name it staircase to nowhere


Name it Buddha
Name it Dogon
Name it Derrida
Name it blade
                                                                                        Name it baldhead
                                                                                        Name it duppy
                                                                                        Name it Babylon
                                                                                        Say, conqueror


Name it the Red Pavilion                                           Name it Angor Wat


Name it Christ of the Abyss
Name it a stone idol under a tree
Name it Everest


Name it a mountain
Name it whisper


Name it               sigh
                            Name it smoke
                                                         Say, may we never die



"It’s this life I want, this valley / between the hills and high places"

I’ll Be Your Mirror

Alexandra Grant explores the evolving role of mirroring through nearly a decade of her work.