Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Death Needs Time

Photographed as it rested in the dry mud next to Fats Domino's abandoned house, the one he was rescued from, in the devastated Ninth Ward of New Orleans: a clock.

And I stood there, the toxic dirt blowing in my face, all alone in this vast dead zone, staring through my camera at this clock, and I thought of this:

"Wait, wait. Time, a landing field. Death needs time like a junkie needs junk."

"And what does Death need time for?"

"The answer is so simple. Death needs time for what it kills to grow in..."
-William S. Burroughs


Anonymous said...

The full quote is, "Death needs Time for what it kills to grow in for Ah Pook’s sweet sake, you stupid, vulgar, greedy, ugly American deathsucker."

clayton cubitt said...

You can find an amazing, award-winning animated short film directed by Phillip Hunt here:

It features the Burroughs piece spoken in his own voice, called "Ah Pook Is Here", in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

Your photographs reminded me of a line from Eliot's The Wasteland:


Somehow appropriate too.

That animated short is amazing, and so damn true. Replacing Stalins with incompetents, an endless stream of one horror after another. How completely sad.

Anonymous said...

So beautiful, Clay.

Susie B

ailicre said...

ah, what the hell i'm drunk. all this makes me think of is the long hours, the dreamtime, the slowly dripping minutes my evacuee sister spent with me at my home in a hollywood-movie-California beach town while her beloved New Orleans melted away, wondering how/if she'd ever get home. Time stood still.

SwaG! said...

From further down Burroughs' words:

We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision.

They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of past.

There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers.

The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are rulers by accident. Inept, frightened pilots at the controls of a vast machine they cannot understand, calling in experts to tell them which buttons to push.

Anonymous said...

You are an incredible artist!

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So Clayton: when were you in the Ninth Ward? How did you get into the Ninth? What was your take on it?

Here's a link to a wonderful article about the Ninth: There seems to have been a deliberate attempt in the media to paint the Ninth as a hopeless shithole; the article addresses that.

I lived in NO from 1985-1991. Yes, the Ninth had its problems, as did all of NO. Now, living in north Alabama, I watch as new Smart Growth subdivisions try to artificially create what NO neighborhoods just naturully had: diversity, conviviality, connection, and atmosphere.

Whatever NO becomes as it is rebuilt, something intangible yet incredibly precious will have been lost.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Dreamy, awesome, poetic photos.

Poetry out of the devastation.


clayton cubitt said...


I was in the Ninth Ward in September, when it was still closed to everybody. We basically snuck in with a friend who was trying to get back to her place to survey the damage. Her section was badly flooded, but relatively intact, whereas the Lower Ninth was utter destruction. It was one of the neighborhoods in New Orleans that most resembled the Gulf Coast in terms of it looking like an atomic bomb went off.

Anonymous said...

You are making bounds and leaps. I was online looking at some other web pages, and came across a page that had a link to your blogg. I was so happy to see this!! The link was to the post "Death Needs Time" It is a big world out there, and you seem to be making a even bigger name for your self!!

^ that is the link, I figured you might want it, if you did not know about it before....

Cie Cheesemeister said...

Very poigniant. Thouroughly Twilight Zone with some Salvador Dali thrown in.
I'm always impressed not only by your photographic ability but by your intelligence. Wish there were more people like you.

Rachael T said...

OMG!!! I work with your mother... your ART is so beautiful... Your mother is an amazing person... You are blessed to have wonderful TALENT and a wonderful family... LOVE RACHAEL