Sunday, February 10, 2013

Art is the Scar of Rain on the Curb of Desire

It never occurs to me to wear gloves in the winter. I stick my hands in the pockets of my coat and think to myself, why does it not occur to me to buy gloves? I imagine leather gloves lined with thick fur. Then realize, I can’t do that, not fur, they have to kill animals for that. So what then, wool? It will have to be wool. I feel my hands. A trifle numb. An abandoned color travels through my right hand. The ghost of a stupefying logic haunts the left one. This is what happens to hands when they rest in the pockets of your coat. Pockets are internal places for lint and money and old movie tickets. Sometimes a book if the pocket is large enough.  

The next day the sun spreads its beautiful propaganda over the mountains to the east and the day expands into an iron gray sky overhanging a Saturday of thumbs and tinfoil. The woman upstairs is still coughing and there is a huge snowstorm to the east, burying Massachusetts and Manhattan and humble old Hoboken and the Ground Zero Construction Site. I drag a crackling kiss of empathy to UPS and they mail it to LaGuardia Airport. 

I spend the next several hours writing phosphorous sonnets and undergoing giddy transformations of form and feeling. At one point I am a lobster with lobster thoughts and lobster eyes and lobster legs and antennae and then I am a wiggly blob of apocalyptic algebra. I begin a debate with myself. I argue Adorno’s point of convention. He says that whenever conventions are in an unstable equilibrium with their subject they are called styles. This makes sense. And no sense at all. There are art forms whose subject matter is as beside the point as a Paleolithic butterfly pollinating a Cro Magnon mazurka. I both win and lose the argument. Adorno continues his point that style is the quintessence of all art and that it is always chafing against the restraints of convention. I hear the metallic sound of a greenhouse crow fulfilling this theme with perfect sangfroid and avian individuation. 

The warm argument of a burning imposition assumes the flashing inconsistencies of a Parisian pigment on the canvas of a penicillin morning. Apples sag. Morning struts on big yellow stilts. I build a sawdust hop and languish in adaptation. I celebrate the secrets of a tidepool. My hands are impenetrable dreams. I throw coffee at the rain. I am staunch as electricity and think of myself growing old Whitman in a big floppy hat with a butterfly on my finger. A daft old poet full of useless wisdom and abandoned yardsticks. I cry dive! dive! and my submarine dives.  

Isn’t language strange? Look how these consonants mutate into slender mushrooms, their intuitive vowels steaming like cows in the Rio Tinto Zinc Mine. I stitch sentences together with the unfettered thread of a spectral needle and the energy of a shield during the elation of war. I have things in the closet that are perturbing and red and a summer sidewalk hugged in chiaroscuro. I have a Subaru clutch and an anguish with the weight of a sweaty invocation. Hills boil smears of experience in a complex ocean of bubbling emotion. It is time now to go outdoors and squeeze something. Anything. An oar. A canister of drugs. A contraption of words whose rails lead to a grove of whispering oak and a giant paper lobster skidoodling into a hole of safe haven and the foghorns of Portugal.




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