Canto 28.36: Study for a portrait of a schismatic who searches for a past self.
[This is one in a series in which I play with the idea of ‘divided-self.’ These sets are based on self-portraits I made in my visual journals of 1999, 2001, 2003 & 2005. In March, 2001, I was invited to deliver a paper at a symposium accompanying an exhibition of titled “History Past, History Present: The Daguerreotype Portrait in America”—the exhibition was in the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State. I held the exhibition brochure to my face and made the drawing incorporated into this set. I imagined the officer in the Daguerreotype was my great-great-grandfather who fought in the Mexican American War (it’s actually of James Duncan and it was taken in 1848).]
While I was all agog with gazing at him,
He stared at me and, as his two hands pulled
His chest apart, cried, "Look how I rip myself!
[Canto 28, lines 28-30, translated by James Finn Cotter.]