Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

“Why” by Bob Flanagan, 1985

Dec 13, 2019 - Tyler Landes


Because it feels good.

Because it gives me an erection.

Because it makes me come.

Because I’m sick.

Because there was so much sickness.

Because I say “fuck the sickness.”

Because I like the attention.

Because I was alone a lot.

Because I was different.

Because kids beat me up on the way to school.

Because I was humiliated by nuns.

Because of Christ and the Crucifixion.

Because of Porky Pig in bondage, force-fed by some sinister creep in a black cape.

Because of stories of children hung by their wrists, burned on the stove, scalded in tubs.

Because of Mutiny on the Bounty.

Because of cowboys and Indians.

Because of Houdini.

Because of my cousin Cliff.

Because of the forts we built and the things we did inside them.

Because of what’s inside me.

Because of my genes.

Because of my parents.

Because of doctors and nurses.

Because they tied me to the crib so I wouldn’t hurt myself.

Because I had time to think.

Because I had time to hold my penis.

Because I had awful stomachaches and holding my penis made it feel better.

Because I felt like I was going to die.

Because it makes me feel invincible.

Because it makes me feel triumphant.

Because I’m a Catholic.

Because I still love Lent, and I still love my penis, and in spite of it all I have no guilt.

Because my parents said “be what you want to be,” and this is what I want to be.

Because I’m nothing but a big baby and I want to stay that way, and I want a mommy forever, even a mean one, especially a mean one.

Because of all the fairy tale witches, and the wicked stepmother, and the stepsisters, and how sexy Cinderella was, smudged with soot, doomed to a life of servitude.

Because of Hansel, locked in the witch’s cage until he was fat enough to eat.

Because of O and how desperately I wanted to be her.

Because of my dreams.

Because of the games we played.

Because I’ve got an active imagination.

Because my mother bought me Tinker Toys.

Because hardware stores give me hard-ons.

Because of hammers, nails, clothespins, wood, padlocks, pullies, eyebolts, thumbtacks, staple-guns, sewing needles, wooden spoons, fishing tackle, chains, metal rulers, rubber tubing, spatulas, rope, twine, C-clamps, S-hooks, razor blades, scissors, tweezers, knives, pushpins, two-by-fours, Ping-Pong paddles, alligator clips, duct tape, broomsticks, barbecue skewers, bungie cords, sawhorses, soldering irons.

Because of tool sheds.

Because of garages.

Because of basements.

Because of dungeons.

Because of The Pit and the Pendulum.

Because of the Tower of London.

Because of the Inquisition.

Because of the rack.

Because of the cross.

Because of the Addams Family playroom.

Because of Morticia Addams and her black dress with its octopus legs.

Because of motherhood.

Because of Amazons.

Because of the Goddess.

Because of the moon.

Because it’s in my nature.

Because it’s against nature.

Because it’s nasty.

Because it’s fun.

Because it flies in the face of all that’s normal (whatever that is).

Because I’m not normal.

Because I used to think that I was part of some vast experiment and that there was this implant in my penis that made me do these things and that allowed them (whoever they were) to monitor my activities.

Because I had to take my clothes off and lie inside this plastic bag so the doctors could collect my sweat.

Because once upon a time I had such a high fever that my parents had to strip me naked and wrap me in wet sheets to stop the convulsions.

Because my parents loved me even more when I was suffering.

Because I was born into a world of suffering.

Because surrender is sweet.

Because I’m attracted to it.

Because I’m addicted to it.

Because endorphins in the brain are like a natural kind of heroin.

Because I learned to take my medicine.

Because I was a big boy for taking it.

Because I can take it like a man.

Because, as somebody once said, “he’s got more balls than I do.”

Because it is an act of courage.

Because it does take guts.

Because I’m proud of it.

Because I can’t climb mountains.

Because I’m terrible at sports.

Because no pain, no gain.

Because spare the rod and spoil the child.

Because you always hurt the one you love.