Just when I thought I’d gotten used to being smacked on the
chops by the poetry and art of Bobby Parker – SLAMB!
Parker is the hip priest of high jinx remixology. Responding
to an invitation from Steve Roggenbuck to rework his book, Crunk Juice, and a New
York Times article referring to Roggenbuck as a “prophet”, Parker shredded the
text and drenched it in lamb’s blood acquired from a local butcher. The result,
posted at his blog, is a visual slaughterfest with a nod to Hermann Nitsch and the
Old Testament Levitical priests.
Here, the word becomes flesh, ink is mixed with blood, paper
is saturated in liquid life force. Are we to surmise that Parker is sacrificing
his life for art, or offering his art to life? The poet is sacrificed, then
sanctified, words and pictures are ripped up, soaked, made ugly, in order to
acquire that whiff of absolute holiness. I thought about the countless
sacrifices offered to Jehovah of Hosts, Quetzalcoatl, the mad frenzied processions
of the Bacchae.
This is poetry as religion, not theological, philosophical, or
wearily evangelical, but visceral; a spirituality of body, blood, flesh, and form
belonging to the ancient Hebrews, the Druids, the Roman warrior cults. Or is it
something purer? Are we to imagine the poet as Lamb of God, the poem as
Visually, the fragments of text, the torn paper, are smeared,
smudged, ruined by blood, and so we witness the simultaneous destruction and
salvation of a life in full blown ecstatic art ritual. There is a whiff of
flesh, a stink of blood, an aftertaste of carnage, but still a purity, a
cleansing, a washing away of sin. There is immense beauty in destruction.
It’s well worth working your way through the whole blood
stained text, and remembering Parker’s written work. The elements of his poetry
inform this work conceptually because we know what stains are being cleansed,
what sins are being purged. I imagine this was an exhausting act of atonement
for Parker. I imagine a clean heart and washed hands. I see him now climbing
the holy hill to art paradise, with a sacrificial lamb on his shoulders, a
poet, a prophet, hip priest for a new world.
“Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy