The Eyes of the Night Creatures

My people were all shot
by a camera, framed,
before I painted them. They didn’t know that I’d do this to
them. They didn’t know by what names I’d call them.
They might even be disgusted by words like evil,
forgiveness, genes …
They weren’t payed. They weren’t directed.
They harbour (passive) tensions. Mental aggression in a
passive body. No harm done. Death must be destroyed.
This is the Space Age. It is difficult to distinguish
between sadness and hatred.

Seemingly no-one believes in the capturing of ‘souls’
anymore (the Devil has become a type of playmate,
the product of a Playboy culture).
The occult has become a tame game. Artworks are seen
and made as art. A structured language of fiction. These
attitudes ruling – my faces cannot be dangerous.
(I cannot be sued.)

I like putting myself down. It’s a sort of arrogance.
Girls do that.
But BEWARE – I can see – you have long dark tunnels,
warm damp holes.
The truth can not be held as a cold bridge weapon,
to ward off pain.
I am not a cynic. I am touched by our bruisability.
I laugh a lot.
My mouth is a small pink wound that needs airing.


The Eyes of the Night Creatures was originally published in The Eyes of the Night Creatures (cat.), Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, 1985; and is included in Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts, first edition Galerie Paul Andriesse and De Balie Publishers Amsterdam, 1998; and second edition (revised and expanded) Koenig Books London, 2014.