Freddy Villalobos, tarah douglas, Carlos Valladares

Here, now, the dream of un chien on the loo: Two-fifty in the morning, and the blows begin.

Dry run for a spaghetti western. Set in crepuscular sepia tones, spurs that tumble into a weed-infested cell, flour, oats pouring into crevices unseen, glass bursting forth from inside pleasure domes where the johns and the whores bury their night shit.

The townsfolk: Mrs. Miller in the saloon with her eggs and his slobber pooling on the splintered wood floor, Zeke Washington hopped fresh off the stage with a Jew’s harp, Samson Corey in charge of the pound where some nights they gnaw out each other’s legs, most dawns they nap pillowed in piss and steak blood.

An auburnt stench, whipping rain, the sewage river into which sloshed cowboys will fall punched in the throes of desire stoked, sating delayed, some paradise that evolves into a tropical postcard’s mirage — and how hard the sorrow. How unmussed the banker’s anvil. You try to focus, and the scene escapes me.

Stumpy laughs in the wings, janitors marking the morals on the floor so the players can better see how to collapse. How to bend.

A stubborn jog-in-place, more mystical, more liberatory than if they had cruised forward like on the Southern thru-ways.

Inevitably, the cattle-rod emerges. For they refused the Cohere.

Some were asked at the scene of the crime what they saw. A few forgot. Most sipped their whiskey, crawled in closer with their furry ones. Almost none, however, thought to knife the king. By the time you read this, the knight will have been reborn. The mothers will brew their lemonade. Mrs. Miller will keep guard, gossip, reveal a relentless nothing.

The bandits have long gone. They’ll have left three-dollar bills, tentacles, arms with the cigarettes still attached, two business cards, a severed ball with hair, vomit, smeared mascara from the tornados, our canine incisors. Inward, inward: they parry’d, repelled. Squint with your might, you’ll sense that they left no key, barely a clue. Yet squint, we must.

written by Carlos Valladares



Freddy Villalobos received his BA at University of California, Irvine and MFA in Sculpture from the Yale School of Art. He is the recipient of the land’s edge Fellowship and Graduate School Research Fellowship with The Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including White Cube’s Tomorrow 2021, Human Resources LA, Vincent Price Museum, as part of Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, and The Underground Museum.

tarah douglas received her BFA at the University of Michigan and MFA in Photography at the Yale School of Art. her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including White Cube’s Tomorrow 2021, Marlborough Gallery, Casemore/Kirkeby, Harlem School of the Arts, Studio Museum of Harlem, the Gallatin at New York University, Project for Empty Space, Newark Arts Festival, and Winter Street Gallery.

Carlos Valladares is a writer, critic, and PhD student at Yale University in Film and Art History. His criticism has appeared in the pages of Gagosian Quarterly, the San Francisco Chronicle, n+1, Frieze, Film Comment, Criterion Collection, MUBI, and elsewhere.

Film Series

  1. The Green Room (1978)/Model Shop (1969)
  2. Ako: 16 ans: japonaise (1965)/Baby Boy (2001)
  3. Memoirs of a Strangler of Blondes   (1969)/Le départ (1967)

Mark