Sidney Nolan, a painting
ripolin enamel on hardboard1
While still a child, I admired the obdurate convict on whom the prison gates always close. I visited the inns and furnished rooms she hallowed by her stay. With her mind I saw the blue skyafter I set her free a child
Rimbaud's words intertext with the helmeted man looking into the window where a woman is being molested. In the courtroom the policeman's guilt, the courtroom's guilt, a nation's guilt ... all seems to melt together with the outlaw's guilt to fill the air. For the woman, though, there is no courtroom: in that legal systemshe becomes the helmeted one, without face: both accuser and accused.
The word hallowed embodies the confusion for the child.
The room/s were both hallowed and hellish.
The child is hollow, filled with confusing messages of the most horrible kind.
Often the person bringing with them incest is their most hallowed, their most esteemed friend. That hallowed convict(ed)-person-lover-non-friend is never convicted in any sort ofcourtroom belongingto an established system of criminal law, but s/he is imprisoned inside the human psyche of a captive child, one who is locked inside the most appalling and impossible memory. This text, this (inter)text is one which must be edited out. But how? Can the child set both herself and the convict free?
Diane Caney, 1998
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