Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Rags of Fever

The rags of fever are thirsty for absorption. Mania defines the moment. Rags define the coast. Rags of rock. The rage of the sea. Rags of water. Rags of foam. An image that can slosh around in the mind like water in a bucket. Like the twang of a guitar during the rag of a moment. An e minor oscillating through a room. An e minor in rags. Like Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor. Like Niccolò Paganini’s Caprice No. 3.
Stickiness eludes me. What makes a thing sticky? A thing is sticky when it sticks. A thing is metal when it’s literal. No metal is metaphorical. Except gold. Gold is always metaphorical. That’s what makes it gold.
Gold is imperial. Silver is empirical.
Gold has a reach beyond the temporal. The halos of Christ, Mary, and the Christian saints are often gold. There is the golden ratio and the golden rule. Gold is the shine of the divine in the cold creeks of the Yukon. Gold is the face of Tutankhamun staring out of eternity.
Silver is the metal of propriety. It belongs on the dining table. It shines like gold, and is regal like gold, but is humbler than gold, less grandiose than gold. It’s worldly. It’s social. It’s convivial and polished.
Then there’s platinum. Platinum is a rare and noble metal. It deserves some mention. It doesn’t ring in the mouth like gold, doesn’t dazzle the eyes like silver, but it’s fun to say, pleasant to say platinum, amiable to mutter platinum, plausible to put forth platinum. As, for instance, “our album went platinum.” Platinum is to silver what silver is to gold: a humbler version of luxury. Not really luxury at all. Who thinks of luxury when platinum is mentioned? Platinum is enduring. Platinum is the enduring metal, the perennial metal, the stubborn metal, the metal of perpetuity, the metal of  everlasting luster.
The Rolling Stones have 36 platinum albums. Out of Our Heads went platinum and so did Aftermath and Exile on Main Street.
Goats Head Soup: platinum.
It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll: platinum.
Sticky Fingers: platinum.
The word platinum comes from Spanish platina, diminutive of plata, neaning silver. The Spaniards thought platinum was an inferior form of silver.
The communion of spheres is a resistance to the rigidity inherent in order. The spheres are silver and are in continual motion. This makes everything tidepools and arms.
Disorder is a form of order that has gone all iron and war.
The phenomenon that is crumpling is a quality inherent in grocery bags and cardboard boxes. I won’t mention these except in passing. Consider them passed.
And crumpled.
I feel myself increasingly chilled by the frosts of the zeitgeist. What is desired, what is most strongly needed right now, is an art that generates itself out of the yolk of the moment. Out of the nucleus of sensations and thoughts that surround an arch of sandstone, a Mongolian yak, the smell of soup in a yurt, the heft of a sack of potatoes, a knowledge dropped on the mind like moonlight.
Like the integrity of a rag.
The lack of any immanent necessity for being produced makes art a rag. A shirt once worn and now soaked in paint and turpentine.
Yet the impulse to make art continues. It can’t be stopped. It’s as vital as a pulse. As natural as a pulse. The rag is stiff and frozen. But it smells of sacrifice.  

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