‘Angel’, ‘Devil’ is also a concept.

Palenque des pendus

Palenque des pendus comes from many sources. ‘Strange Fruit’ by Billie Holiday, palenque songs, pictures of bullfighting – I never saw an actual bullfight and have no intention to go to see one during this life – inspired some of the movements that were expressed in black, red, blue, white. Slavery, inequality, discrimination (in the exclusive and narrow-minded sense of it), and death. The hazy yellows and whites were meant to soften it, a bit like magnolias and candle lights. There’s a lot of dancers in the painting, the ‘hanged devils’ and a few ‘angels’ lost in dark alleys.


Desperate moments can trigger desperate times, but in between:

“When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.”

– Maya Angelou



‘Just as heat dispels cold, loving-kindness counters anger. We need to learn how to counter our various emotions. Distraction is just a temporary measure. The longer lasting remedy is to be able to see positive qualities in something or someone you otherwise see as negative. Since there is rarely any justification for destructive emotions, we need to become aware of what gives rise to them and what the antidotes are.’

– Dalai Lama


It may still be possible to be in good company among fellow human beings. To add ‘No matter what’ may be pushing it too far, though. Then again… with a lot of efforts and decent teachings, appropriate remedies could function in desperate contexts, no matter what.


Published by chameleoniantimes

Chameleonian Times, works by Helene Vanderhulst

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