Sauntering the pavement, or riding the country by-
road, here then are faces!

Faces of friendship, precision, caution, suavity, ide-ality,

The spiritual prescient face—the always welcome,
common, benevolent face,

The face of the singing of music—the grand faces of 
natural lawyers and judges, broad at the back-
top,

The faces of hunters and fishers, bulged at the brows 
—the shaved blanched faces of orthodox citizens,

The pure, extravagant, yearning, questioning artist's 
face,

The ugly face of some beautiful Soul, the handsome 
detested or despised face,

The sacred faces of infants, the illuminated face of the 
mother of many children,

The face of an amour, the face of veneration,

The face as of a dream, the face of an immobile rock,

The face withdrawn of its good and bad, a castrated 
face,

A wild hawk, his wings clipped by the clipper,

of the
A stallion that yielded at last to the thongs and knife 
gelder.

This face owes to the sexton his dismalest fee,

In unceasing death-bell tolls there.

 

Those then are really men—the bosses and tufts of 
the great round globe!

 

Features of my equals, would you trick me with your 
creased and cadaverous march?

Well, you cannot trick me.

 

I see your rounded never-erased flow,

I see neath the rims of your haggard and mean dis-
guises.


Splay and twist as you like—poke with the tangling fores of fishes or rats,

You'll be unmuzzled, you certainly will.

 

I saw the face of the most smeared and slobbering 
idiot they had at the asylum,

And I knew for my consolation what they knew not,

And I knew of the agents that emptied and broke my 
brother,

The same wait to clear the rubbish from the fallen 
tenement,

And I shall look again in a score or two of ages,

And I shall meet the real landlord, perfect and un-
harmed, every inch as good as myself.

Sauntering the pavement, or crossing the ceaseless 
ferry, here then are faces,

I see them and complain not, and am content with 
all.

 

Do you suppose I could be content with all; if I 
thought them their own finale?

 

This now is too lamentable a face for a man,

Some abject louse, asking leave to be—cringing for it,

Some milk-nosed maggot, blessing what lets it wrig
to its
hole.

 

This face is a dog's snout sniffling for garbage;

Snakes nest in that mouth—I hear the sibilant threat.

 

This face is a haze more chill than the arctic sea,

 

Its sleepy and wobbling icebergs crunch as they go.

 

This is a face of bitter herbs—this an emetic—they 
need no label,

or
And more of the drug-shelf, laudanum, caoutchouc,
hog's-lard.

 

This face is an epilepsy, its wordless tongue gives out 
the unearthly cry,

Its veins down the neck distend, its eyes roll till they 
show nothing but their whites,

Its teeth grit, the palms of the hands are cut by the 
turned-in nails,

The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground 
while he speculates well.

 

This face is bitten by vermin and worms,

And this is some murderer's knife with a half-pulled 
scabbard.

FACES @ JAZZ IN THE HOOD

7 | 8 |16

by Dominic Inouye

"The approach to the face is the most basic mode of responsibility.

As such, the face of the other is verticality and uprightness;

it spells a relation of rectitude.

The face is not in front of me but above me;

it is the other before death, looking through and exposing death.

Secondly, the face is the other who asks me not to let him die alone,

as if to do so were to become an accomplice in his death.

 

Thus the face says to me: you shall not kill."

 

~Emmanuel Levinas, Jewish philosopher

The epigraph above has stuck with me ever since I encountered it in college.

The face of the Other declares: You shall not kill. 

To see the face of a stranger is an encounter that has

moral implications.

 

The story that accompanies the photographs, taken on 7 | 8 | 16

at the 4th annual Jazz in the Hood,

 is a poem written by Walt Whitman over 150 years ago, 

popularly known as "Faces."

I believe Milwaukeeans and all other Americans need to heed his words

and look into each others' faces. 

 

Where do you live?

What will it take for you to look into

the face of someone else in your city?

If we're to believe Levinas, 

we must figure this out--

otherwise, we just might be missing out

on a contract that could seal our survival.

 

 

 

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The Lord advances, and yet advances,

Always the shadow in front—always the reached 
hand bringing up the laggards.

 

Out of this face emerge banners and horses—O 
superb! I see what is coming,

 

I see the high pioneer-caps—I see the staves of 
runners clearing the way,

I hear victorious drums.

 

This face is a life-boat,

This is the face commanding and bearded, it asks no 
odds of the rest,

This face is flavored fruit, ready for eating,

This face of a healthy honest boy is the programme of 
all good.

 

These faces bear testimony slumbering or awake,

They show their descent from the Master himself.

 

Off the word I have spoken I except not one—red,
white, black, are all deific,

In each house is the ovum—it comes forth after a 
thousand years.

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Spots or cracks at the windows do not disturb me,

Tall and sufficient stand behind, and make signs to 
me,

I read the promise, and patiently wait.

 

This is a full-grown lily's face,

She speaks to the limber-hipp'd man near the garden 
pickets,

Come here, she blushingly cries—Come nigh to me,
limber-
hipp'd man, and give me your finger and
thumb,

Stand at my side till I lean as high as I can upon you,

Fill me with albescent honey, bend down to me,

Rub to me with your chafing beard, rub to my breast
and shoulders.​

 

The old face of the mother of many children!

Whist! I am fully content.

 

Lulled and late is the smoke of the First Day 
morning,

It hangs low over the rows of trees by the fences,

It hangs thin by the sassafras, the wild-cherry, and 
the cat-brier under them.

 

I saw the rich ladies in full dress at the soiree,

I heard what the singers were singing so long,

Heard who sprang in crimson youth from the white 
froth and the water-blue.

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Behold a woman!

She looks out from her quaker cap—her face is 
clearer and more beautiful than the sky.

 

She sits in an arm-chair, under the shaded porch of 
the farm-house,

The sun just shines on her old white head.

 

Her ample gown is of cream-hued linen,

Her grand-sons raised the flax, and her grand-
daughters spun it with the distaff and the 
wheel.

 

The melodious character of the earth,

The finish beyond which philosophy cannot go, and 
does not wish to go,

The justified mother of men.

Click to discover faces!

Click to discover faces!

Click to discover faces!

Click to discover faces!

Click to discover faces!

Click to discover faces!

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FACES by Walt Whitman