Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chord to Plunge

Tree, Michigan


And so one long’d for
A tragedy-stain’d youth, smudge
Sullying its raw patina, the
Way a coronal splash of
Red wine, a greasy thumb-
Print, the billowing umber cloud
Of five centuries of insouciant
Handling, the cachet stamp of
Some cabinet de curiosités or
Ambrosia-odor’d biblioteca or cloister
Ripe with the sour renegade
Sweat of abstemious monks, or
The way dirt rubbed slowly
Into creases now uncreased marks
The sketchbook page detached by
The unscrupulous dealer in art’s
Ephemera and effluvia, sludge drawn
Down the unprovenanced river of Old
Masters, the drawings of three
Overlapping human parts, two muscular
Thighs, one hand cupping a
Poppy, wilt’d. That thigh, the
Pristine placard indicates, study for
That of the larger work
Depicting the minor goddess that
Comes next, the one with
The haywire mammaries uphanging, or
Cock’d sideways like curious birds,
Result more of the tradition
That allow’d only young men
To model than of any
Shallow or vacillant failure of
The august hand to see
Rightly what’s so palpably there.

Return’d up out of palm and balm (and lateral jut to New York for Anne Sophie Mutter at Carnegie Hall) with a slack sack (“nothing in the hopper”), and restless. Read Dos Passos in the various “terminals,” slung the camera around to point and bestill. “No nouns in nature.” Probably a little huff-puffery and gab-garrulity in the intervening, whilst my fingers flop about seeking a chord to plunge into.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)
Bust of a Woman, Head of an Old Man and Bust of a Child