Gina and the Stars


Jericho skull: a human cranium with a face modelled in plaster. One eye is made from a bivalve shell divided in two. The other has one, smaller, complete shell in place and is missing its twin. One of a number dating from the seventh millennium BC. Image © Trustees of the British Museum.

Hello Gina Cheri Haspel,

I locate you by odor print, by genitals, by stars.
There’s no eyeballing you as there isn’t one photograph of your face on the Internet or in a newspaper. When my mother was a child, one of my grandmother’s boyfriends would pop his glass eye out of its socket and place it in her palm. One side was the iris and the other was the US flag.
He’d pop it back in, flag out.
You are the glass eye, sweetie. You’re flag side out. The surveilling eye embedded in the head guts.

Cheri, cheri, cheri! Accordion your legs? No. Don’t.
I am US tax-payer and you are clandestine officer; my non-amblyopic eye fumbles against your web silhouette. You torturer you, literally; a soft executioner with a digital mask (you took Zubaydah’s left eye but not the entire head). What did the left eye reveal? Data in the mush.

Googling and googling you revealed you in negative. As an interrogator for the Central Intelligence Agency, the scale of your interrogation of living human bodies requires that you leave no scent trail, no form, no person. After recorded interrogations, you cleaned the tapes. Before or after the facts, the Internet was washed clean of you; what remains is your birthdate without place of birth or time of birth.

You, Gina, born Monday, October 01, 1956.

You and Theresa May share this anniversary. Libras. Nice scales.

To an astrologer 10/1/1956 is something and to a scientist it is nothing. For me, I smell the birthdate, like an empty hood, searching for the semio-chemical trail. It’s an executioner’s hood. You, Gina Cheri Haspel and the medieval executioner, who is also by trade the torturer, operate within the civic code iterated in de Hurensun de Henker (1373), meaning you are outside of legal code; meaning you torture without accountability. The medieval executioner is considered polluted by his acts. He is not allowed to test the ripeness of fruit at the market, to touch any food that he will not buy. He is required to stand in a separate place at church. I like to imagine church carpet around you. The carpet in the main auditorium at Saddleback evangelical megachurch in Lake Forest, California is patterned and brown. Do you stand separate in the aisle? Gotchya!?

I keep returning to the privilege of your anonymity. I live paycheck to paycheck and I am obscure, my fine details are plastered with and without consent throughout the World Wide Web. The nose of the drone, loaded with addresses, bumps against the bedroom window like a curious dog. But you are rich with invisibility. Trolls can’t troll. Maimed can’t maim back. You are so real. You jet lag between black sites.

Subadult hyena observed by US scientists. Michigan State University Mara Hyena Project, HoleKamp Lab, Kenya, 2016.

You respond to atmospheric differences in the transport between architecturally identical prisons.

As a real person you wear breathable shirts for true perspiration in an actual torture warehouse in Thailand with non-slip floors. I think about the Frankfurt Magistrate of 1543 forbidding the state torturer the wearing of sumptuous clothes, in case a foreigner accidently shows respect to the executioner. I disrespect you, virtually. I concentrate on a singular pearl of sweat in your armpit before it evaporates. Why has your dishonor melted away? Because you can stand next to me and Gina... I don’t even know it, you. I imagine you have washed yourself of all class signifiers that fall outside of your first and middle name. I imagine your teeth, bleached—because I have got nothing to go on.  I imagine a vulva and anus, all hair removed by laser—because I have nothing to go on. You as naked white lab rat; you run the wheel. Each torturer enjoys the technology of her day. But outside of the torturer’s electricity and language and outside of the tortured one’s self, the tortured locates a psychic crawlspace behind the torture. Gina, do you hate that? Your Jupiter is in Virgo 18. The corresponding Sabian symbol is two giggling girls seated and facing one another. Their knees touch. A Ouija board is balanced between their laps. The planchette careens from letter to letter.

Between 1953-1959, Modernist poet H.D. commisions Dr. Elizabeth Ashby to create an astral birth chart for her existential analyst at Klinik Brunner, Dr. Erich Heydt. Perhaps an indirect resistance to the power imbalance between analyst and analysand? One pours and the other gathers; this one leaks and the other staunches. But the delivery of the astrological chart for December 7, 1920 and her analysis of his planet alignments rotates their psychological positions. His details are leaked by the stars. Gina, the stars leak. They ejaculate. On the crust, the ocean, the mountain, the Klinik, the analyst, the poet, you, me, my hand and cell. Planets fuck.

I commission an Internet site to craft your natal chart.

Gina, Gina, Gina... biological matter was and is and will be hurled at Gaia like seed bombs; a falling star survives the fall to earth and RNA and DNA from outer space sometimes cling to that chunk of stony-iron. The stars spewed Homo sapien as crop. Denisova Hominin, sown. Neanderthal, fragile seed. You and I [GCH + MWB] are made of stars, RME. [Roll my [Lazy] Eye]. Every jackass wants to be made of earth and stars and I, jackass, too.

Feeding small sheep on White House lawn. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C., 1916-19.

Our astral commonality, our citizenry depresses me. In 1984, in America, I am brought to a fort dug underground in the middle of the woods between two farms. The farm boys have filled the fort with pornographic magazines. In my hand, I hold the image of a woman being penetrated by a German shepherd. She is kneeling on what appears to be the White House lawn. I give the magazine back and walk out of the woods, thinking:  How is this made? and  Is that a patriotic image? Me, twelve years old and you, twenty-eight. Do you remember the image? It is akin to a glass eye with a US flag. You, pre-drone, took it in, too. If so, we were in the guts together—where the flag hangs in a bloody cave.

GCH, you and I aren’t old enough to, together, have seen The Blob in a theater, but we are old enough to have watched it on TV; I pressed the metal ears way back and the transmission flowed. The Blob—its amoebic material piggybacking on a 1958 meteor, exponentially grows with each devouring. A crop of humans fill it. I think you are round and red.

Your Pluto is in Leo 30. The according Kozminsky symbol reveals a ship’s steward, in his arms, a bowl of white lilies. But I’m going to go with the according Sabian symbol. Into a letter is poured vital and confidential information. It is folded carefully, but the envelope is not sealed. Poured? Stars. Seeds. Aqueous humor.

Without protection,

Saturn discordant to Pluto* (power = 7.61 and this aspect is discordant = -11.42)

. . . You experience power struggles and roadblocks to your ambitions. Things or people always seem to get in your way of doing things. You must examine then, your reasons for doing the things you are doing. Do they help just you or are they beneficial for mankind in general? Competition with and through others is designed to teach you how to better cooperate with people. Great personal and soul growth can come about with this aspect, but you must be willing to put others first instead of yourself.

In previous lives you have been too domineering and now you must learn to listen to other people's viewpoints and opinions with an open mind. If you choose not to do this, then things will go from bad to worse. Power must be used wisely, for the good of all, not just for the good of self. This is why people are put into positions of power, so they can learn these lessons. Great reform and regeneration is possible but your selfish nature must be put aside first. Practice humility, patience and keep working hard.

Your revolutionary spirit needs to learn flexibility. You dislike change and want to be in a position of authority over others. Perhaps with all the emotional turmoil this aspect can cause, you will develop a hunger for the answers about life and this will lead you on the search for Truth . . .

*Excerpt from Gina Cheri Haspel’s Astrological Natal Chart.

Mary Walling Blackburn (born in Orange, California)  works on the Eastern US seaboard. In 2017, the work handles and is handled by optics (the lazy eye and the glass eye ), diagrams (contaminated logics), and Miscreant Class (politics); all is amputated/shaped by the Capitalocene.

Walling Blackburn is the founder of the Anhoek School, a pedagogical experiment, and WMYN, a pirate feminist radio station. Writing has been featured in publications including Afterall, BOMB, Cabinet, e-flux journal, Grafter's Quarterly, Pastelegram, and Women and Performance. Quaestiones Perversas, a rupture of the record examination, co-written by Walling Blackburn and Beatriz Balanta, was released in March of 2017.

Group exhibitions and events include Beta-Local, San Juan, Puerto Rico; New Museum, NY; Art in General, NY;  Sculpture Center, NY; Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY and Centre Pompidou, Paris and Tate Modern, London. Solo exhibitions include Momenta Art at Bravin Lee, NY, NY; Ulrich Museum, Wichita, Kansas; Sala Diaz, San Antonio, TX; University Arts Gallery, University of California San Diego; testsite, Austin, TX; and Southern Exposure, San Francisco.