Is Sentimental Humanism Too Possessive?

Dear Coach, or To Whom It May Concern,

I suspect Vachel Lindsay has already won. He’s already taken Illinois. The man traipsed about the country on foot, like a wild animal on the prowl, and wrote poems that’d get up and jump straight down your throat. When he finally curled back his hundred tongues and choked himself with Lysol, his final words spilt as such: "They tried to get me - I got them first!"

End game. Just the check, please. Thank you. Yeah, oh, and keep the change. I won’t be needing it where I’m going.

But that was forever ago, wasn’t it?

This is a work of art and, God help me, I won’t break character.

Rather, I always knew and have always known that I wanted to be an artist. The kind of artist who was sent to the guillotine. A social misfit, comparable to stray dogs and vampires. I wanted to live in filth, surrounded by degenerate writers who verbally abuse their prostitutes, attractive schizophrenics with supernatural abilities, idiot savants, Rimbaud, Picasso. Van Gogh. Cezanne. Titian. Good God, Titian! And Raphael. The real shopworn curs.

Somewhere, in some paradise, their heads still roll.

, //\\ ,
+ ( - X - ) +
‘ \\// ‘

My grandmother was immaculately conceived. No, I mean … I’ve been diagnosed as an indigo child. No, I mean … Believe it or not, I’ve been drawing since I was two years-old. I’d draw pictures of myself kissing boys from school. I’d draw pictures of myself kissing Disney characters. I’d draw pictures of cats having sex. Those were the autoerotic confessions of a maladjusted young female fated to a life of compulsive secrecy and covert perversion. But, about the drawings. I knew enough to be ashamed, so I hid them all in the playroom, behind my stuffed animals. They’re gone now. I don’t know who found them. Some I, myself, destroyed out of embarrassment. I’d fold them in half four times, cut them to pieces, and threw the remains in the sewer drain, out in the street in front of my house. It was a ritual then, and it’s a ritual now.

But, getting back to art … Here, please allow me a moment to flex my vocabulary.

Themes and traditions of painting. New work, your contemporaries, the gifted offspring of your contemporaries. They, the ones who are predisposed to genius and success. New York City fame. Milk, honey. Modern advertising. Theory and practice. Phlegmatic, the new sanguine. Capitalizing on soul-snatching. Bamboozling. Manipulation, however subtle. Alignment. Context. Manzoni’s eggs. Sculpture that eats salad. The overwhelming sensation of seeing something exactly the way it should not be. Post-, post-, post-this-or-that. I’ll name my pet cat Meowrizio Cattelan. I swear I will.

I think I got that right. Now, to put it into practice …

Luck being what it is, I happened to have had an original idea once.

I thought I might shear a sheep to wear wool. I had the purpose in mind a while ago, but didn't. I know those beasts, and they'd surely pinball all ways away. So I thought. I thought about thistle. Alert, perhaps alarmed, magenta, bristling out and up. Oh, no. No, not thistle. I thought about holly. I thought about hives and tusks. White hives. Ivory tusks. And dreamt it later, sensing also the disgusting smell of yeast, and deer that smell like dogs.

As you can imagine, it turned to a real fiasco. I began to consider the source.

It's got to be either God or magma, or the nude descending the staircase. Neptune, night terrors, negroes. Something, surely.

Even now, alchemical symbols recall the lamb. Her thick, black blood that swam straight towards Hell. South, that is. And the roots worked the soil more intimately then. I might have heard the Earth moan. They call that Southern Gothic, do they not?

But, see! It has a name, yet we haven't reached the end! Delicious! Here’s a new tray of new fruit! Gilded once, twice showcased, and ejaculated upon by a European dignitary. Delicious. Boticelli. Primavera. Sucking blood from the neck of a baboon. I would have approached the flock but, see, I'd already made plans to choke on the core of those golden, golden apples. Dear God, with your time machine ...

Shortly afterwards, my bee butler walked out. My master's party was sensational. The bishop blessed the chariot-crusher. The sun rose sideways and hung upside-down. The second I realized the convex of my eye, I cried. It was like Mars rising, his limbs flaming, up and up, lips poised to kiss. So I puckered and lay forward, extending into the divide and falling face first into a sick family of possums. I pressed against their bodies. I smelt their sweat. I felt them pulse against my cheek. Their hearts pounding and swollen from love and work. I’d been so stupid. They punished me with bites. The disease was catching, and I lost track of time.

I rose in a stupor.

But, you know, I figure I’m doing alright. I could guess that the errors I commit may possibly be recognized as stylistic devices. Thrifty and wry. My children might someday say, "What we miss most about mother is her clumsy touch!" For their sake, I must learn to make better mistakes! More colorful, cacophonous, dire, dire, dire mistakes.

I thought, for a moment, to set a popsicle upon the chest of my professor and watch it melt. "He must have a very warm chest," I thought. Warm, tight meat on a vertical rotisserie.

But the things I do aren’t foolish and heroic, epic and abrasive, cathartic and heady. I like to think I do them for fun, but that too is false.

Or perhaps because I can't make shoes. Because I can't lay brick. Because I can't chop wood. Because I can't hunt elk. Because I can't roost upon eggs. Because I can't fall asleep.


But It never hurts to be plucky.

Still a soldier, of sorts.

Lady Justice.

Joan of Arc.


Some fabled figure at home in epic solitude.

High above, higher than Heaven, the comet's heart is obscured. But if you were to inspire the same dark hand - if you were to cut across the membrane - you'd still find it twitching.

Let me in.

Trust me to guard your votives.

After all, you can’t call “Sanctuary!” from Hell.

With that having been said, please excuse me from gym today. I feel I’m simply lacking the patience to undertake such a profoundly specific task.

1 comment:

taylor martin said...

you might be a god, or a prophet. sylvia plath or james earl jones.