Martin Ramirez, ultimate outsider artist, remained mute during the decades he spent in confinement in a California mental hospital. Observers said he mostly hummed. But he did speak occasionally. He was visited exactly once by a relative (a cousin) during that time. His cousin asked him if he wanted to come home & see his wife again (in Mexico). He replied, "tell her I'll see her again in the Valley of Jehoshaphat".


Those large, pensive eyes... that gaze
goes back to Byzantium (ripple of pebbles
on a curving dome). The Emperor trembles
in her presence - offers his prize :

a little model of Byzantium. Jasper walls,
carnelian towers, sapphire gates. A rainbow
slipped like dew into its dream (tomorrow).
A teeming beehive spun from its own entrails

(immaculate and blind). It was Byzantium.
O city of sea-walls, washed in salty spray!
Here you are (Siena-California) on display -
Ramirez matrix-vortex... (hear the painter hum).

No comments: