Dream Streams 37
Amy Bassin/Mark Blickley
visual artist/literary artist
archival inkjet print
24 inches x 18 inches
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intro to trajecting trauma — Krysia Jopek [August 2019]
I don’t think anything I write could do justice to this spectacular virtual literary and visual art show featuring text-based art collaborations between literary artist Mark Blickley and three visual artists: Amy Bassin, Nancy Kiel, and Katya Shubova; short fiction from Mark Blickley’s Strange Misfits; and six videos by Mark Blickley.
I will say that it’s been my utmost pleasure the last two years getting to know Blick [Mark Blickley] and Amy [Bassin] through their text-based art collaborations because of “Excavating Dreams,” featured in Diaphanous Fall 2017. Their text-based art collaborations simply mesmerize me.
Blick is one of the diaphanous micro family members whose generosity of spirit and sheer excitement about literary and visual artists is contagious. He’s introduced me to the work of other now-members of diaphanous micro artists/writers, including Nancy Kiel and Katya Shubova, whose collaborations with him are also showcased in this virtual exhibit.
I know you will fall in love with this highest echelon of literary and visual art that I am deeply honored to curate. Please enjoy!
Sentenced to Death by the Muse–Mark Blickley
Sir, I have registered your desperate entreaty for guidance. A meaningful dialogue between two receptive adults articulates in a myriad of styles. Sensuality offers a portal to the subtle communication often not available in our daily lives.
Thousands of decades of life, love, and experimental understanding have nurtured a powerfully-feminine and wisely- balanced woman. I offer a manner of engagement reflective of another era indeed; when grace, sensitivity and the healing power of intimacy were the standard.
As discriminating as I hope my clients to be, I take very few appointments after testing our communication skills to assure a mutually-enjoyable and enriching encounter. Please offer your inquiries with a respectful metaphysical introduction and allow things to move from there. I present myself with straight-forward integrity and expect the same in return. That being said, I will simply not respond to queries that are blatantly solicitous or un-forthcoming.
I welcome mature and urbane gentlemen to my hired accommodations in or around my Temple of Trust with availability thru 5 p.m. Weekend afternoon and evening visits to your discreetly hired accommodations are negotiable as well.
Given my desire to develop a repartee prior to our interlude, I cannot accept requests for meetings with less than 36 hours prior discussion.
You will find me quite generous with my time; an encounter being about a connection and its development rather than a mere chronological passage. However, I am a very private woman and therefore, am not available for booked appointments exceeding two hours in duration.
Appropriate emolument as follows:
A. Genuflection for hour one
B. Total obedience for hour two
Please respect my professionalism and maturity by referencing my entire conditions as well as reputation prior to contact. Specific details noted within my enclosed Gyneocracy Coda will not be discussed.
Please refer to me as Cyn. I make all arrangements through petition—-without exception.
I shall be in touch soon regarding my decision to select or reject you as a client.
My rendered judgment is dependent on consultations with my Sisters as well as the honorable, aesthetic sincerity of your petition to join my ethereal chorus of revelatory arousal.
I have holistic orgasms of innovation that allow for me to achieve an altered state; men do not. Men have ejaculations of thoughts. The Olympian patriarchy calls ejaculations orgasms because they never want women to consider themselves superior in any way. Thus, they pretend sensual, artistic encounters are reduced to simple spasms that are equal for both genders. It is a fallacy that leads to the small death of visionary inventiveness.
It has been my experience that men are generally less adventurous. Most like to repeat the same things and do not budge. My tastes often change on whimsy. Boys grow up with chronic mental masturbation and too often train themselves to limit their view of sublime sensuality to strictly physical pleasure. True imaginative sensuality encompasses the enriching aspects of both pleasure and pain and is why men too often suffer pregnancy envy.
I can always tell if a man is aroused simply by looking at him. My response isn’t obvious; thus, I can make the man work harder to prove his passion by feigning a lack of desire, so he puts more effort into pleasing me. His testosterone will poison his ego if he thinks he is not as desirable or cannot please. One of my greatest excitements is when I can sense a man’s intense desire for me. That is a visual/intellectual/emotional power I can choose to withhold until he consummates his desire with an exquisite display of heartfelt, imaginative curiosity and discipline.
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from Weathered Reports–intro by Mark Blickley
Weathered Reports: Trump Surrogate Quotes From the Underground is my collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin. I matched quotes from many of history’s most infamous tyrants to Amy’s funereal sculptural portraits to produce spins by DJ Trump surrogates from Genghis Khan to the Koch Brothers. Each quote (report) echoes a distinct Trumpian thought, issued forth from the weathered patinas of plein air cemetery sculptures. We consider the Trump administration to be a graveyard where each day we are forced to attend daily burials of American moral conscience and civil liberties.
We gratefully acknowledge: Idi Amin, Koch Bros., John Wilkes Booth, Osama Bin Laden, Caligula, Charles Manson, Roy Cohn, Joseph McCarthy, Jefferson Davis, Josef Mengele, Muammar Gaddafi, Benito Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Judas Iscariot, Vladimir Putin, Jezebel, Josef Stalin, Genghis Khan.
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from Dream Scenes–Amy Bassin/Mark Blickley
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short fiction from Sacred Misfits–Mark Blickley [Red Hen Press 2004]
P.S.—An Epistolary Tale
8836 Blvd. E.(Apt. 3K) W.N.Y.,N.J.07093
March 24, 2004
OCCUPANT of Apt. 2K
8836 Blvd. E.
W.New York,NJ 07093
Just because I HAVEN’T(any) APPROPRIATE TIME to speak ORALLY to you, therefore I took the liberty to write directly to you in the hope that you’ll be kind enough to take into consideration the following request:
Consequently, if you permit me, I’ll ask you(right now), as follows:
Did you(ever) anything hear considering someone, or(did you)see) somebody who was looking for me(in front of(my) Apt. 3K, (in the hall) in connection with any message, news, or information) in the past days, weeks, or during the last months, or within the past several years,(somehow, somewhere in the building), ANY TIME?
Thank you for your very kind attitude toward the matter.
In expectation of your reply IN WRITING EXCLUSIVELY in the near future, I remain,
I would not want to create the impression that you’ll not do me a favor that I just requested.
If you’re interested regarding our ORAL CONVERSATION AT YOUR AND MY EARLIEST CONVENIENCE, if that is the case, I’ll be glad to talk to you as one gentleman to another, to exchange our views, to discuss about subject that you and I wish.
Your(eventual) any FRIENDLY remark, CONSTRUCTIVE objection, LOGICAL observation, RATIONAL comment, etc., WELCOME!
It’s not only an APPROPRIATE, BUT HIGHLY DESIRABLE
March 25, 2004
Dear Mr. Q. Shabraya:
Thank you for taking the time to write me a letter and to slip it under my door. I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, as we have been next door neighbors for close to two years now and we’ve only met three times in the elevator. I’ve appreciated the hello you’ve given me on those three occasions.
I find the uniform you wear quite fascinating. As we descended the eleven flights to the building entrance, I inspected your uniform for some insignia, some identification to its origin. Am I correct in assuming that it is the military uniform of an officer of a foreign country? Is it beige, Mr. Shabraya? Its color is quite faded though you’ve kept it in superb condition.
I know it must be an old uniform and the proud manner with which you carry yourself when you wear it must mean that it is a uniform that has participated in some grand historical event. Am I correct, sir?
Many a time I’ve been tempted to ring your doorbell, Mr. Shabraya, during harsh storms or when the ground is covered with ice. I am much younger than you, sir, and on the three occasions that we’ve shared an elevator ride I couldn’t help but notice your pallor. Although you look fit and strong, and by no means do I think of you as someone not able to take of himself, I’ve wondered if I could not be of assistance when the weather rages. I help out a few other residents of our building during such emergencies.
I have not contacted you to see if I could be of assistance because of the typewritten message taped over your doorbell that firmly states – DO NOT RING THIS BELL UNDER ANY CONDITION OR OVERSIGHT. LEAVE THIS BELL ALONE! LEAVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH SUPER OR RECEPTIONIST ON FIRST FLOOR. THANKS!
Mr. Shabraya, during my nearly two years in apartment 2K I have not come across anybody seeking to deliver information to you. Sir, I couldn’t help notice the typed message you taped to your mailbox requesting that your mail be delivered to the floor mat outside your apartment. On two occasions I’ve seen the mailman honoring your request.
If I should observe someone trying to contact you, is there some procedure you’d like me to follow in order to relay this information to you? I shall only be too pleased to oblige.
Mr. Shabraya, as the walls to these apartments are paper thin, I cannot help hearing you from time to time. I think it is healthy for a man to scream occasionally. I believe it purges the soul the same as water purges the body. Your screams are never disruptive as I am a sound sleeper.
Mr. Shabraya, I was wondering, do my screams disturb you? I try hard, very hard, to muffle them with my pillow, but I don’t always succeed. Your screams are never whimpering outbursts of self pity like mine. Your screams never seem to deteriorate into tears. I know- it is unmanly to cry and I hope I have not embarrassed you on the occasions when this has happened to me. You never cry, do you? I have the utmost respect for you because you do not. Please don’t judge me harshly.
Every morning I take a walk down Boulevard East with Charlie Turner from 5E and Dr. Sussman. Dr. Sussman is such a nice man. Do you know him? or are you affiliated with Dr. Cantrell? He’s a nice person, too. I was formerly affiliated with Dr. Cantrell. I love walking down the Boulevard and looking over at the Manhattan skyline. I always stroll in my civvies. Do you ever wear civilian clothes, Mr. Shabraya?
Once again, thank you for your unexpected correspondence and I look forward to hearing from you again.
P.F.C. U.S.M.C. (Ret.)
138-96-1792 – A positive
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The Captain’s dead but hard to forget. He has to be dead. Nobody¹s liver could survive all those years of poisoning.
That’s the word he used. Poison. Never drinking or booze or alcoholism. It was poison that ruined his life.
The Captain was a romantic. So was I.
Years ago I tended bar in a flea-bag dump called The Second Hand Rose. I wanted to experience life and write about it so I dropped out of Rutgers for three semesters and poured the vinegar that my boss called wine into small cups for customers like the Captain and his mates. Mates. That’s the word he used for the sour smelling people he drank with.
The Captain was different, though. He had enough pride not to make excuses unless he thought they’d be believed. When the Captain spoke he nearly always made sense.
Last week I found a sealed letter the Captain gave me. I was supposed to deliver it to a woman customer who came into the Rose every Tuesday night. She always stayed for about an hour and sat at a table by herself, never saying a word. She told me she liked Scotch and that was the only time I ever heard her speak. But we communicated. She sipped Scotch until her glass was empty and then she’d nod in my direction and I’d bring her another one.
I never knew her name. But then I didn’t know the Captain’s name either, until I opened his letter.
One day she just stopped showing up so I wasn’t able to give it to her. I tucked it in a vest pocket where it lay crumbled for years. How many years? I’m not sure. There’s no date on it.
I give this note to Big Bob to give to you cause I know Big Bob’s gonna be tending bar Tuesday nights. You ain’t been here in weeks. For a year now you been real important to me and now you ain’t here no more. Please come back. I’m ready for you Miss. To meet you I mean.
The Second Hand Rose ain’t the same place anymore. Your perfumes gone and now piss and farts is all you smell on Tuesday nights. Even Big Bob said so. I miss you very much.
Hello Miss. My name’s Eddie but friends call me the Captain. I ain’t a real Captain or nothing. I mean I’m sorta a Captain. I’m the floor man on the Scrambler at Coney Island. I mean I use to be. I’m the guy at the bar with the sailor hat on. To be honest with you Miss I wear the hat all the time cause of my bald spot. It ain’t that big you know.
You look real pretty Miss. I mean there ain’t been no lady in Rose’s looking like you in years. Not by herself anyway. Not alone. I hope you ain’t sad or nothing. I ain’t sad. Being a little scared don’t count right Miss?
You like music? I’m musician. Play harmonica. Grandfather taught me when I was a kid. I’m what they call a street musician. Mostly old Italian songs. I play across the street from S.P.Q.R. in Little Italy. Ever been there? The Arabs in the kitchen treat me real good. On Saturday nights when its warm there’s a lot of bucks to be had.
You gotta come back to Rose’s Miss. I blown too many chances. You can’t take my Tuesday nights away like that. You can’t Miss. Your making me scared.
I know you don’t like talkin’ to people Miss. You don’t like being bothered. Me too. Big Bob’ll give you this. Its sorta like a letter of introduction right Miss? You gotta show Miss. Please. I’m the Captain the guy in the sailor hat at the bar. Or you can call me Eddie.
I wanna see you smile Miss. You don’t drink that much. I mean your never blitzed after your hour on Tuesday night. I respect that in a woman. You got all your teeth so I know you ain’t a tramp or nothing. Your a lady Miss. A real lady. And you ain’t fat at all.
Forgive me Miss but your real important to me. You make me feel like a man again know what I mean? Last year before you started showing up Tuesday nights I sorta let myself go. You know relaxed myself.
I dream about you Miss. I ain’t dreamed about a woman in three years since that Puerto Rican jerked me off behind the control booth at Coney. She didn’t like me or nothing just wanted a free re-ride.
I gotta be honest with you Miss. I ain’t much. I’ll tell you a story that might help you figure out who I am. Its something my brother told me. He once said I was the type a guy that sits in his room masturbating and thinks its an explosion. I ain’t exactly sure what he means but it sounds truthful.
I don’t know if you noticed Miss but I been cleaning myself up a bit each Tuesday night. I seen you looking over at me but I don’t think you seen me. You gotta come back to Rose’s Miss. I’m starting not to like myself again.
You make me feel like a man Miss. No disrespect Miss but my prick feels alive. I mean it kinda sings to me now. I forgot about that. You know after a while it just pissed all that stinkin’ juice I drink.
I dream about you Miss. I dream I see you with nothing on. Your beautiful woman Miss. You gotta return to your table at Rose’s. You gotta. I ain’t dreamed about you in two weeks. I need that dream Miss. I need to dream about me rubbing my nose against your belly and you laughing and smiling. I never seen you smile Miss.
Listen Miss. I don’t want this note to make you nervous or something. You don’t got to see me if you don’t want. Not right away anyway. Things take time sometimes. But give me back my Tuesday nights ok Miss? Sit down at your table and have some drinks. I’ll spring for some. I won’t spin around and stare at you. I like watchin’ you in the mirror over the bar. Lots a times I got to tell Big Bob to move the hell outta way cause he blocks my view.
Miss please please come back. Tuesday night I left Rose’s with pee stains on my pants. That don’t happen when your here. I’m real careful Miss.
Thank you for reading this note. I miss you Miss. That’s sorta funny ain’t it Miss? Missing you Miss. I wanna make you laugh.
The Captain (Eddie)
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video art by Mark Blickley
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< < <artist photos // biographical notes
Amy Bassin, is a multi-disciplinary artist from New York City whose work encompasses artist books, altered books, drawing, collage, ﬁne art photography and video. In 2018 she participated in a collaboration with Container, a Baltimore based independent object/art book publisher as well as an Art residency and group exhibition in Lisbon, Portugal. Last year her video, Speaking In Bootongue, was a CUNY Film Festival nominee for best Experimental Film and she is the co-founder of the international artists cooperative, Urban Dialogues.
Mark Blickley is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Scholarship Award for Drama. He is the author of Sacred Misfits (Red Hen Press) and a 2018 Audie Award finalist for his contribution to the original audio book, Nevertheless We Persisted. Last year his video, Widow’s Peek: The Kiss of Death, was selected to the International Experimental Film Festival in Bilbao, Spain, His latest book is the text based art collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams. https://www.claresongbirdspub.com/shop/featured-authors/amy-bassin-mark-blickley/
Nancy A. Kiel lives in Sydney, Australia where she’s an award-winning musician, songwriter, writer, and founding member of the New Zealand band Baby!, Party Girls and various Sydney bands. Nancy is Founder and Managing Director of Miss Nancy’s Dried Berries. She now spends as much time as possible creating, meditating, traveling and hanging out with dogs and librarians. http://missnancy.com.au/mn1b.html
Katya Shubova is a former competitive gymnast who grew up in Odessa, Ukraine. Her true passion is dance and she travels internationally to perform Tango. She has studied improvisational performance and sketch comedy at New York City’s Upright Citizens Brigade and stars in the upcoming short film, Hunger Pains, written by Mark Blickley and directed by Iorgo Papoutsas for Wabi Sabi Productions.