Exhibits in the ‘Afrika’ Gallery


the pale fox

The Pale Fox

is always
and in everything
to a thought of it
where is the sky
and its strange
if all that we thought
we knew
were on
the crumpled membrane
how many elsewheres
with palimpsest of metonyms
being recedes
to its own
a slice
in an in-
and will it pass
and will we pass
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 11.01.10







Axial Music

a pulse flexes spooking the elements

George Quasha

It has now been some time, since we evoked in ourselves concern regarding what anything whatsoever looks like. To look is sufficient. To look again, and that which had some sort of presence in the first instance, or that which waited patiently in arrears of co-apparency to be glanced at-well there is and was and will be nothing ontologically reprisable, in such gestures of return. There is nothing to return to, ever. It cannot be done. Not that there is some sort of “nothing,” some Miltonic Darkness Visible to be oggled at or pried into. But what a comely darkness does resume here.


That Afrika is the name for what Europa and Amerika cannot imagine, coheres, I think, with this absence of likeness, of recursion, of the possibility of what in these two complementary if antithetical continents-(dual not to each other but to Afrika)-trust as “observation” at all. For Afrika cannily observes the inversion of the latter day destinies of your standard of Mediterranean mythologies: bodiless radiance above; roiling somatic miseries down there below. As if the entire elaboration of the figure of anthropos were the invention of the exodus of Afrika. The road behind. The terror of falling back again. Back there, in that place, all that mixedness and streaming, all that miasmatic chromatism; all that agony of Life. Here, in Afrika, the earth gods happily obviate any mediation before the The Good. And the Sky gods are properly tolerated: (precisely what Heraklitos must have sensed when he uttered darkly, that up and down are one and the same).

The absence of Everything is received as a kind of “posit” in Europe and Amerika with an oscillation between delirium and consternation.

Consider, for instance, the mark of the single Splice that rivets the two vertical sections of this picture. What is the energy that performs this action; is it a cut to severe or to join? For the very jointure of the picture plain cleaves it; and the two parts forever cleave to exhibit the jointure like two famous etymological tributaries converging on a single morpheme.

Afrika will bear considerable exercise of the “zoom” function. To have recourse to detail behooves. Two clicks (on my device) and a certain prescience of activity excites a certain curiosity. Three and the matrix begins to portend the approach of image breakdown. But it takes Ten clicks for the image to resolve to its checkerboard of pixels, each square, colored sensibly, as comfortable and comforting an evocation of a matrix as I am sensible of.

As for animal life and white hunters, I count the full taxonomical library and then some: the rage of speciation with its outcroppings: twenty-one hominids, co-presence of such facticity as ruins all history: whatever is happening anywhere, is happening in some closely contiguous paratemporality whose origin, not to say whose inauguration, revisits Afrika.

The point is that the paratemporal obviates return or progression neither.

Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 19 November 2007~~~


The Jewelled Tablet of Ifa

When the energy lines return upon themselves,

it is certain that the circulations and periods are perfectly neutralized.

It is a secret history indeed,

in which the Medicine Buddha recoups Afrika.

Most open is the Mouth.

Of what complexities and their perfect neutralizations shall it speak?

The stillness of the only eyes

resumes the blackness that disposes them as fountains.

The geometries these imageries revisit,

dispense their informations along trajectories

dispersing all abjection.

In such ministrations,

the absolute poverty of the grave disgorges

inexhaustible riches

lost within the cockles of its laughter.

Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 27.09.08

15 Minutes of an Ifa ceremony recorded in Ile-Ife in 1978




A White Painted Lady with a Shango Staff in the Court of Yemija (08/2008)~~~


Babalawo (07/2008)

The Wrappers of Egungun

This poem was first published in Tarasque II, edited by Jim Burbank and Sharon Niederman, in 1985.

The text from the Ifa Divination Corpus rendered in the poem was translated for me from the Yoruba by a Babalawo in Ile-Ife in 1978 for 3 chickens and a goat.




Before Bwiti are the ones who came from the Stars




Sirian Starship

Though this thinking is thinking in passing, long about NOW, something seems to be getting serious-the light-routes around the body-serious, serious. The body-electric, serious. The dog days, Sirius. The guy in the virtual reality machine holding the purple gears’ box hand controls…however fantastic the presets, however unlimited the scenarios…not


It is a pleonasm to state that the bozos who still think we all come from Sirius aren’t serious, is serious.

The light-wires attach to your very heart, your thoughts constrained to the finest Chinese circuitries, you keep them swirling in their ferocious orbits, more affined to their motion than to that of which they are internally concerned.

I just noticed the guy in the red coat holding the gear box is actually facing away from the image plain, that is, away from US

and into the sparkling miasma of gray and silver and black I thought was just like….

If that is so, the gray black silver background is foreground for him. He is sailing into scenarios and ethers, the hoops and orbits of colored force he concentrates propelling him ever onward, as if the course of time required some sort of propulsion.

Parts of this image are fleshed out, material-like, atmosphere-like, thing-like…and parts of this image are schematics floating across or through all that.

Once again our prepositions toy with our prepossession. If we are treated to an agon in which we cannot know the epistemic type of the space we commune with, the asyncategorematic termoids in our armamentarium simply lose their capacity to “loose and bind,” I think the ecclesiastical formula was.

But the schematic that actually is the substance of this image scene-we have alluded to this problematic in an earlier missive-is not even salted through the schematic that appears in it. Though there is no scene behind the scenes either, so the wizard that thinks himself into the picture might as well be the wizard who causes the picture to appear as not. Schema and thing schemed being schemed as one. Like I say. It’s serious.

Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 23.08.08




Izi Wigi Ley Ba Nana

The title of this piece comes from a southern African guitar song of the mid-1950’s.




Every Mask Save One

(mice have nests of stolen fur…[unquote

The problem with beings that just show up is that they have come to expect that they shall

Have been CALLED


And all this reveals is the cloud

In the stone


The tedium

of existence

As such

The truly animate does not anticipate its own occurrence AT

All for it is gone

Before it has a chance

Apart from the chance

Has IT

To reflect upon its being [da]

Let alone its nature

And it is not that we have some sort of bias favoring the transitory, not at all, not



We never tire of repeating

Eternity is so precisely bedight

Where the radically impermanent


It Aint

Even thar

((at all))

when anticipation whines anxiously for its nipple

even a little.

Here I am again, don’t

Forget about


So certainly

Every mask

Save (the) one


On the wall


Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 24.07.08




The Thorn Tree of Obatala


In the sky, the glans of, (let us reserve whose phallus, what god of the sky,
his standing statue, measuring, from its intricacy,
the intricacy of intimate sensation,

rigorous, loose sensations,
their colors and their movements

throughout such rich domains:

all of space overwritten
by the subtle vectors of his ecstasy.


A cat at the head, performing string games, string magic, cat’s cradle, say,
the cat’s hat is a city; its sub sub basements, as well, in celebration of The Night Games.

And these are no public conformation rituals imposed upon the human mass-
neither bread and circus nor the marshalling of hopeless energies for state purposes-

The vibrancy of victory feeds back into the Night Song-the shadow epinecian-the sun
beyond the rim-a secret celebrant of the Hermes Stalk

whose bug-eyed priests restrain their jiggery,
dancing inconsolably,
who would console an officient of such mysteries?
The sacerdotal circumstance, yet inconsolable

Still, a singular moment’s performance, late night cult dance-

particles of light stream down
and earth is changed


Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 23.08.08




The Forest of Oshun (11/2008)
In the Bush of Ghosts (for Amos Tutuola) 01/2009




Ogun (05/2009)




Neria & the Ngoni

“Neria” (Oliver Mtukudzi) / “Ngoni” (Guillermo Gonzalez Phillips)


This will have
A long run
On The Strip
And the whole family too
Won’t be able to keep it
IN the family
Or the Family
In anything
At all
After the opening
Glance at the heart
Of such darkness
As awaits us
(Doesn’t it)
The glance
Is just a glimpse
But a glint
Off the intimacy
Of that which rises
Through the thickets
And infinitely
Other such…

Now it is the case that we
Somewhat possess ourselves
Through the images we propagate the images
We dare to look At
Inquiringly after the first
Shock of attraction
And there we are
On the other side
Of the perilous
Line we
Swore we
Could not cross

Invert the terror of it
(And only a glance can do that)
And the strange remonstrance
Is but the call
To joy
Charles Stein, Barrytown, NY, 21.07.09

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