THE MAIL




All artifact acts as a mirror,
each of us 
seeing reflections
of ourself
superimposed
upon all
other meaning.


"To be looking at “The mirror which flatters not;” 
to discover ourselves only as a skeleton 
with the horrid life of corruption about us, 
has been among those penitential inventions, 
which have often ended 
in shaking the innocent 
by the pangs which are 
only natural to the damned." *

And then Hamlet,
at the end of the
existential rope
of the question of being
or not being:
bestowing upon
the sweet and doomed
Ophelia the task
of memory
and absolution
through her
distracted orisons.
 whispered fragments of 
lullaby and song,
winding through
the constant prayers
of the river,
ever saturating
with the gravity of loss.





To catch the dragonfly when...


August 6, 1945

 Kengo Futagawa (59 at the time) 
was crossing the Kannon Bridge 
(1,600 meters from the hypocenter)
 by bicycle on his way 
to do fire prevention work. 
He jumped into the river, terribly burned. 
He returned home, 
but died on August 22, 1945.

 
Crossing the Kannon Bridge - 8:15 a.m. 


A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence.
I stood up, took my cap in my hands,
and was about to catch the dragonfly when...
 
- A Hiroshima Survivor


In a Wild Hand


In the B-29 Enola Gay, 
the copilot, 
keeping a flight log, wrote: 
"There will be a short intermission 
while we bomb our target." 
Next, in a wild hand, he wrote 
"My God!"


When Will I Be Blown Up?


Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear 
so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. 
There are no longer problems of the spirit. 
There is only the question: 
When will I be blown up?

Until he relearns these things, 
he will write as though he stood among 
and watched the end of man. 
I decline to accept the end of man. 
It is easy enough to say that man is immortal 
simply because he will endure: 
that when the last dingdong of doom 
has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock 
hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, 
that even then there will still be one more sound: 
that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. 

- William Faulkner's speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall 
in Stockholm, December 10, 1950


A tragic event had actually occurred there


Alexandra David-Néel tells of a rite 
practiced in old Tibet called chöd, 
which she had witnessed 
and into which she herself had been partially initiated. 

It is a kind of mystery play with one actor only, 
the celebrant. 
It has been so devised to terrify the participants 
that one hears of men who have suddenly gone mad or died 
while engaged in its performance.

It is performed in a cemetery, 
or any wild site whose physical aspect 
awakens feelings of terror. 
The place is thought even more suitable 
if it is associated with a terrible legend 
or if a tragic event had actually occurred there recently.

The rite is designed to stir up the occult forces 
or conscious beings which may exist in such places, 
generated either by actual deeds 
or by the concentration 
of many people's thoughts of imagined events. 
During the performance of chöd,
 the performer may see himself 
suddenly surrounded by players from the occult worlds.

- From The Dreadful Mystic Banquet by Alphonso Lingis


He really appeared to feel himself being eaten alive


"You appear to know Chöd, Jetsumma. 
Do you really? he inquired calmly.

"Yes," I said, "I have practiced it too."

He did not reply.

After a while, 
as the lama remained silent, 
and seemed to have forgotten my presence, 
I tried again to appeal to his pity.

"Rimpoche," I said, "I warn you seriously. 
I have some medical knowledge; 
your disciple may gravely injure his health 
and be driven to madness 
by the terror he experiences. 
He really appeared to feel himself being eaten alive."

"No doubt he is," 
answered the lama with the same calm, 
"but he does not understand that 
he himself is the eater. 
Maybe he will learn it later on...."

- Magic and Mystery in Tibet, Alexandra David-Néel.


His spirit eats away at my flesh


Charles "Bonesy" Jones was born on 6 August 1945.
I am the keeper of his flame.
His spirit eats away at my flesh
In every instant of every day.






I don't presume to ever know 
what Jones intended 
as to the meaning
for anything 
he created.

And here I join 
the rancorous ranks
of idle speculators,
my own thoughts only hedged
by passing comment
and long conversation
with Jones himself.

I stake no claim to authenticity
or authority as to what the author
of these strange images
desired within their effect.

But these words
I know, as all do,
fragments
removed from
a greater body
of Poem.

And I know Jones
found it amusing
and sadly indicative
of the mindless celebration
of these star-struck days,
that Auden's poem,
here remarked,
is now 
so solemnly 
and sincerely intoned,
granted such gravitas,
as if to express 
the utmost depths
of sorrow and grief
in our time -

when it was written
with high irony
and hyperbole
to mock the hollowness
and superficiality
of a particular grief
in the poet's time.

Thus, 
what was once 
written 
courting jest
and irony
is now 
embraced
as a
profound
truth
of
human
sorrow.

Such are the signs
and wonders
of a shallow age,
said Jones.







By some 
twist of fate, 
 some caprice 
of chance, 
 you are 
on 
The 
List. 



 About every month, 
depending upon 
whim and fury, 
you will receive 
something 
beautiful and strange 
from the
digital archive of
Charles B. Jones
delivered to you
by a,
hopefully very gruntled,
U.S. Government
employee,
who will 
reverently place it
into a box or slot or 
certified hole
 reserved 
for 
your 
mail.



 If this 
in any way 
vexes you, 
you may be 
happily removed 
from 
The List 
by sending a 
tersely worded 
email to that effect: 

iamnotanyone@gmail.com 

 However, 
if you are not,
and wish to be, 
on The List, 
or know of someone 
who would appreciate such, 
you may send
what,
I am certain will be,
a refulgent email 
to that effect: 

iamnotanyone@gmail.com


If you have
inadvertently
stumbled upon this page
and have no idea 
what is happening...

Pay this no mind.

As the always wise Vergil
said to Dante 
as they were 
passing through Hell:

Just keep walking
ever deeper down...





Artist’s Statement

The words that I have collected around these images are like vultures following the living presence into the desert. The language has no hope of feeding upon this flesh. My desire is that they will merely trail along behind the images, occasionally circling, never descending. They are not captions. They are not descriptions. They would not exist without the images. And the images will always endure beyond the predatory attempts of language to grasp hold of their manifold meanings.
Benjamin stated that “at the base of every work of art is a pile of barbarism." If we are to take this as fact, then most of what is called art in our culture is mostly a radical turning away from the pile of bones at the barbaric base, in short: kitsch. As such, the range of response we might have for something as terrible as the death of God has become epitomized by a generic Hallmark card expressing sympathy through the a soft focus photograph of a kitten on a pillow.
Clearly, the vocabulary, the imagery, must be extended.

- Charles B. Jones


 


Biographical Note 


 Charles B. Jones (August 6, 1945 to November 15, 2005) was an American graphic artist, writer and poet. Reputedly born in Little Hope, Texas, much of his early life is shrouded in mystery and misinformation. 

 In 1962, Jones was graduated summa cum laude from the Steiner College of Ontological Osteology where he studied Legerdaemonic Epistemology and Allegorical Cetology. 

He then briefly attended the University of Oxford, but left after a dispute with one of the Dons over the Nature of the Hesychast Controversy. 

He traveled to Mexico in 1964 and lived with the Nahuas of La Huasteca, near the small agrarian village of Aquismon. He conducted ethnobotanical research on entheogenic plants native to the region, traveling often to El Tajin, where he helped to uncover the Codex of Little Hope. 

From 1965 until 1972 he lived in an international art colony north of Abiquiu, New Mexico, working as a surrealist painter and poet, receiving some money from his family. There, he carried out anthropological research with the Penetentes and was involved in several controversial crucifixions. 

In 1973, he traveled to Mt. Athos in Greece where he studied the teachings of Theophan the Recluse under the guidance of Archimandrite George, Abbot of Holy Monastery of St. Gregorious. 

He returned to the United States in 1983, settling in Austin, Texas, operating a small bookstore near the University for many years. 

Just after the first of the year of 2005, Jones was struck by a car while riding his bicycle home one night. He suffered extensive head injuries. Shortly after, he began to experience selective retrograde amnesia and a progressive anomic aphasia (grammatic, but empty, speech). 

In October of that year, realizing he did not have long to live, he asked me to assist him in the journey back to his "where his bones belong." 

He died beside the fire under the full moon of November 15th in the hills above the Chama River in New Mexico, not far from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. 
 

 










Legal Notice 

Due to ongoing litigation between myself [Scot Casey] and the estate of Charles B. Jones [Nora Boney, executrix], EST Case #19620319 TX, Boney v. Casey, I am hereby required to state that I am not in any way, shape or form representing any work from the Non-Digital Archives from the Estate of Charles B. Jones. It was the expressed will of Mr. Jones that the Digital Archive is under my custodianship and that I have full right to display and/or present any work from this archive in any manner that I see fit.