Saturday, April 30, 2011

American Dream

     When you have a job long enough, and work hard enough, and care just enough about everything there is to care about and do the right thing just enough to get into heaven with the platinum invitation, you can say to yourself, “I’m ready for the American Dream!”
You work hard, very hard, and earn millions for the Boss, and for that he cheats you on your insurance, cuts your salary, and doubles your workload. You scratch enough money together to put a downpayment on a house, and when you look around for one, you find that there are more home’s you wouldn’t want to be murdered in than those you’d like to live in. The mortgage broker robs you, the previous owners despise you, the real estate agents - well, there are not enough words to describe that kind of disease - and the sub-contractors who will fix up your dream falsify their credentials, lie about their ability, deceive you about the scope of work, and are generally the kind of people you are trying to keep out of your home instead of let in. The car dealer is a thief,  who manages to admit to aspiring to ever deadly sin between the first handshake and the first pat on the back. The State the City and Town, will all put a home more than a hand down your briefs, the Insurance brokers will admit that they are not at all competitive, and the only people through the entire episode who seem nice enough are your new neighbors, who look as tired and ravaged as you do.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

another break for some - Big Art Business

“We want something light, L-I-T-E like, you know - you know?”
“I think I know. Like.”
“Things that are very big, that’s light, right? Those big flowers, or those big dolls, or those big toys...”
“Big sculptures. Big pop-sculptures.”
“We put them in front of buildings, in parks, on the medians, perhaps you’ve seen the most recent works on Park Ave - I love saying Ave...”
“...Giant cupcakes...”
“Is that what they are? Haha, I thought they were rocks. Giant rocks.”
“No, I thought they were, like, giant rocks.”
“Giant rocks are boulders...”
“Now you’re just teasing me.”
“Dick Dirkens.”
“Yes, fabulous.”
“He murdered his wife.”
“But he got off.”
“Ah, did she get better?”
“When he got off, did his wife get better, cause...”
“She’s dead.”
“How much are we talking about?”
“Forty-five thousand.”
“How big?”
“Make it touch the sky.”
“Everything touches the sky.”
“They said you were difficult.”
“Who are they?”
“Everybody in the program.”
“In this state?”
“Public Arts projects are valuable, they help society.”
“Eighty-five, unless I make it out of pancake batter.”
“Really? No! You’re teasing me again!”
“If I killed my wife would you give me Eighty-five?”
“Let’s meet again next week.”
“Wait, are you, Like, serious?”
“I’ll call you.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

that guy - Part 10

A memory, before the fear that came with Gus’s love - that’s right - It took a while  but that tiny crawdad got the best of the old man, and with love came the fear he never had for himself; fear of what the future had in store for his fragile boy, the hurt, the disappointment, the sharp promise of despair, failure and to top it off, the disease of death that already ran through his veins.
So Gus hadn’t killed Crawly, no, he slowly tortured him with his love. His was a promise to inure the boy against the pitfalls of life; a plan to keep the boy’s head as low as possible, eyes down, close to the ground, with bruises and stumbling incorporated. That was Gus’s love: Bruises and Stumbling Inc..
But before all that there was something else, a pleasant feeling, one that came without the residual violence after the vice. It was the nearness of that feeling and the close threat to it, in the form of that guy - suddenly that stinking, lousy guy sneaking out of Babe’s place - that made him go,
Crawly didn’t know any of that, but Babe did. And after that poor guy had his teeth in one hand and his jaw in the other she said this to Crawly:
“You want your Mama and that’s pathetic.”
That guy, he saw an opening in the startled look on Crawly’s face, made a weak fist and took a swing but missed. The weight of those two beads clamped in his hand was enough to throw him off balance, draw him forward off his feet and he went down a second time over Babe’s threshold, down into a bullseye of his own blood.

Monday, April 25, 2011

That Guy - Part 9

Of course it was Crawly on the staircase with half a mouth full of petrified bannister as that guy stumbled over Babe’s warmth and out the door. Crawly: one-half an angry inch from a dynamite-belt strapped to his own head, half that distance to dreams of explosive peace - a memory of something soft and compelling, a comforting space torturously tied, gagged and wrapped in fear. Ah, there’s nothing like a firm, well-ruled childhood! Tick, Tick...
“You, you’re that guy from the first floor - what’s the guy from the first floor doing with Babe there? Huh? Guy from the first floor?”
That guy still had his hand on the sweaty frame of Babe’s doorway, hadn’t even had a chance to expel the last breath of her surroundings from his lungs before he found himself stuck using that air to defend himself. And he did it, did that, using that very air, he said, “Crawly? You’re the son,” he said, quietly, nudging a soft cheek upward.  “The other one up there - Babe said so...”
“Babe said what!?” spat Crawly. “What did Babe say?” And Crawly had that guy up against Babe’s door, used his head for a knocker, banged it a few times until they both heard the footsteps, the bolt flipping, again.
“Hey Babe,” hissed Crawly, “This that guy from across the hall?” He drew a handful of that guy’s  hair into a bridled grip, and spun him around to face Babe. The blood and hair and sudden wash of sweat across that guy’s face blurred for a moment and the next moment that guy was marbling out two of his front teeth onto his blood drenched shirt.
It wasn’t the pain or the blood or the feeling like he was about to cry in front of Babe that had him stunned, no - it wasn’t even the head-smashing spit of teeth onto the tiled hallway floor either - it was the look Babe gave Crawly in reaction to the violence, the look that went right through that guy, straight through him as if he weren’t there. No shouting, no flinching, she barely moved those full lips when she said, “put him down, pick up his teeth, and give’em back.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Now, a quick interview with a famous artist of the day

“...Well, Thurmond Theery was unkind. My work, “String”, the first “String”, was a monumental statement about the inconsequential - or, more perhaps - a translation of the monumentality of the inconsequential - You know, as much as a room full of string can say about such a thing.”
“You speak about a work, “String Three”, this one, a work where you literally string the continents together, literally. How so?”
“Airplane and a big spool of string. Monumental spool of string. Strong stuff.”
“I see.”
“Do you? Really? Can you see it? The string, bakery string, draped hundreds of thousands of miles, over homes and forests, and tigers and little poor children starving to death - no one is absent in my art! - over oceans - give it a yank and draw up an ocean! Magnificent!”
“Theery says you are a buffoon...”
“I wrap time around my finger like one end of a yo-you string and bounce space up and down with a flip of my wrist, Theery can kiss my bank account!”
“Still, he claims that your work is past it’s prime, that you are reaching, that your show has become all showmanship.”
“I filled the Guggenheim with pink ping-pong balls, FILLED IT! Right to the top, do you know there is a chimney, not many people know that...”
“Ah, classic work - ah, you were arrested for littering...”
“At the opening. Who would have thought of it? All those ping-pong balls rolling down Fifth Avenue... We only got the one door open. The only show in the history of the world to be an instant success without a single person entering the museum! And closed before it even opened! Ha! Jail, so what?.”
“And “String Two, a bit racy for the family viewers; the critics say you shouldn’t have.”
“They didn’t have to look if they didn’t want to.”
“You performed it on the steps of the New York Public Library.”
“They could have turned their eyes away.”
“Some say you just don’t have any talent. That you’re just a pervert, a ham, and worse, simply filled with juvenile concepts that are without depth. Bad for the art world, bad for the world in general.”
“Oh, really? Where are these people? In Soho? Are they in Rudies? I don’t think so. I suffer for my art. I spent six years researching my last project by locking myself in five-foot wide fish-tank with a dead otter. You know what that’s like?”
“You did what? Which years?”
“I said I spent two hours staring at a fish-tank while thinking about a dead otter, do you know how hard it is to do that?”
“You just said...”
“Don’t listen to what I say, just watch me! Watch what I do - I can do this, can you do this.”
“Mash my fingers about?”
“See, to you it’s just mashing your fingers about, to me it’s making knots in time! Knots in time!”
“And speaking about time, that’s about all the time we have today. Thank you, Neery Theery, son of esteemed art critic, Thurmond Theery, artist, social critic, and by some accounts, buffoon and idiot of our time. Goodnight!”