I have been writing some poems recently which loosely make reference to the movie Dark Water.

I wanted to take this term and broaden its definition a bit to allow for some poetic license. The American version was adapted from the original Japanese,

which was itself loosely based on an actual spooky real life story.

The writers of the American version have taken some artistic license themselves, and I can’t help but see the whole movie as a metaphor for the kind of psychological healing journey that people recovering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, undertake. I can also see in it a kind of spiritual alchemy in which dark water is a code name for some kind of mercurial catalyst. In the movie, it is a kind of medium through which a dead child makes its presence known, and seems to bring about hallucinations both aural and visual.

The psychiatrist Charles Whitfield promotes the theory that PTSD is the cause of most disease, and that finding the true self is the key to healing, and when asked what the true self is, he states that it’s the inner-child, which has been lost, or you might say “drowned” by some kind of physical/emotional trauma.

The initial part of the artistic/creative process often invokes the carefree playful spirit which can just go at it without judging. The judge enters the process later on.
As we know, many an artist has relied on one expedient or more to help them see things differently, and kick-start this process.

Dark Water could be the artistic medium: the ink, or paint, the printed word, or music score.
It could be the intoxicant/expedient/catalyst: tea, coffee, liquor, or opiate.
It could be the Jungian shadow, the Freudian sub-conscious, or the Yin to the Yang.
It could be that beautiful reflection that Narcissus drowned in.

It could be that medium through which the deadened soul can speak.

The following poem is meant as a tribute to the French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud.
I read an article recently about the photos he took of himself while in Africa, which he apparently developed in “filthy water,” the evidence of which is in the little specks you can see on the prints.
The fact that they were developed this way means that they will inevitably fade completely.
At this point I would like to call attention to his Lettre du Voyant, in which he outlines his poetic manifesto and makes mention of “the Comprachicos” which is a term Victor Hugo used to reference various groups in folklore who would intentionally restrain and muzzle growing children in order to make them look freakish so that they could then be sold to lords and ladies to used as court fools. Rimbaud states that the Voyant, or seer, must make the soul (inner-child) monstrous (a kind of intentional trauma,) which is the common trait of the Enfant Terrible, or Rebel. His idea of a “reasoned deranging of the senses” to attain the unknown, along with his alchemy of the word, help to broaden the concept of Dark Water a little further.

The process is really just a different take on the myth of Prometheus (or Frankenstein,) and there is definitely that sense of the creator as a criminal/rascal/trickster who steals the fire/light. We could also think of the Dark Water as the substance which, at the same time, fuels and controls the fire.
In the movie there’s also an interesting paradox of the below being up above.


Dark Water
in which
to develop
the vision

Dark Water
with which
to become as

Dark Water
with which
to derange all
the senses

Dark Water
with which
to detail
the descent

Dark Water
through which
the drowned soul

Dark Water
with which
to conduct
lifted light

Then delib’rately fade








THE ROBOT WITHIN (After Colin Wilson)

Anything that I can’t
be bothered
taking conscious control of,
the robot within
is more than happy
to autopilot.

The inner monologue,
the opinion forming,
the self-reflection;
they’ve all become
the robot’s dominion.

Kind of a “shock to the system”
to realise that,
without me even
being aware of it,
I have actually identified
as the robot quite a bit.

Although, I am
starting to recognise
a few of the clues;
like whenever the world
appears as nothing more
than a mechanism to be
and maintained;
that’s a dead giveaway
that the robot
is owning a controlling share
of my perception.

Here’s why a breakdown
isn’t really the worst thing;
it provides an opportunity
to wake up to such indicators.

Problem is,
you know that robot
ain’t gonna surrender control
of the faculty
quite as effortlessly
as he assumed it,
and you definitely don’t want to
switch him off
because you need him
for all of those complex
little biological processes,
so many of which are going on
from moment to moment,
that it really is the true
definition of awesome,

and makes you glad
he’s not your enemy.



When he was reaching his last days,
my grandfather was at the point
where he couldn’t even remember who I was.
You would think this might have made me sad
but quite the contrary.

You see, he and I had some
uncomfortable history.

When I was a kid
everything between us was just hunky-dory
and we had quite a bit of that
grandfather grandson kind of fun,
so the going was always easy
and I always looked forward to seeing him.

Fast-forward fifteen years
and all he saw before him
was a young man with long hair
who was still acting
like an entitled child.

From then on nearly everything
he said to me was in a scornful tone.
One such occasion was when
he decided to probe me
about the handmade Peruvian
shoulder bag I was wearing;
you know, like, “Why are you
carrying a purse?” kind of thing.

Dementia was like an angel
who wiped the slate clean of all of that.

Also, it made our conversations much more memorable.

Where all the others would persist in their efforts
to remind him of the facts,
I would just roll with whatever his version of reality was.
Where others would say “Oh, really!” in that
condescending tone of a parent talking down to child,
I would make further inquiry
and marvel at his brain’s capacity
to effortlessly substitute
the gaps in his memory
with much more interesting
versions of events.

It was like having a lesson
on how our brains are hard-wired
to mythologise the self.

Was he speaking to me from a higher plain of being?

“I’m Les, by the way. What’s your name?”
“Nice meeting you, Graham.”
“Likewise, Les, and I would like to hear more
about the fire which caused
the ward to be evacuated this morning
as well as the over-arching conspiracy
to keep you locked up in this place
when there’s obviously nothing at all
wrong with you,
but I have to go now,
so maybe next time?”


Recent Experiments in Style and Technique

Female Portrait in B and W 001 for web

Pensive Face

Oil on Oil Painting Paper


With this technique I am attempting to minimalise detail, and use the graphic power of  intense lighting in black and white. It is very inspired by the expressions on Byzantine mosaic portraits. Also you will notice the enlarged eyes and the closeness to the eyebrows.

Left hand 1 001 for web

Left hand #1

Acrylic on Panel


This is my first try at using a palette knife. I did end up using a little brush work as well. The idea is that it will be easier on my rheumatism, and strain the hand less than using a brush. Also, it should allow me to incorporate a more expressionistic style. My left hand was the obvious subject matter.


What does it mean to “Heal”?

The etymology of the the word Heal, as posted in the online etymology dictionary reads as follows:

heal (v.) Look up heal at Dictionary.comOld English hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailjan (cognates: Old Saxon helian, Old Norse heila, Old Frisian hela, Dutch helen, German heilen, Gothic ga-hailjan “to heal, cure”), literally “to make whole,” from PIE *kailo- “whole” (see health). Intransitive sense from late 14c. Related: Healed; healing

It’s important to consider that many healing methodologies pit the person against their illness, which enforces duality: