Further proof that nothing is beneath me.
New column up at Artillery: Tottenham Corner.
Pass the salt… http://artillerymag.com/tottenham-corner/
Further proof that nothing is beneath me.
My sadness is deeper than yours. My interior life is richer than yours. I am more interesting than you. I don’t care about anybody else’s problems. They are not as serious as mine. Nobody knows the weight I carry, the trouble I’ve seen. There are worlds in my head that nobody has access to: fortunately for them, fortunately for me. I have seen things that you will never see, and I have feelings that you are incapable of feeling, that you would never allow yourself to feel, because you lack the capacity and the curiosity. Once you felt the hint of such a feeling, you would stamp it out. I am a martyr to futility and I don’t expect to be shut down by a pretender. Mothballs are an aphrodisiac to me, beauty depresses me. You could never hope to fathom the depth of my feelings, deeper than death. I look down upon you all from my lofty height of lowliness. The fullness of your satisfaction lacks the cadaverous purity of my pain. Don’t talk to me about failure. You don’t know the meaning of the word. When it comes to failure, you’re strictly an amateur. Bush league stuff. I’m ten times the failure you’ll ever be. I have more to complain about than you, and regrets: more than a few, too many to mention. I am a fully-qualified failure, I have proven it over and over again. My credentials are impeccable, my resume flawless. I have worked hard to put myself in a position of unassailable wretchedness, and I demand to be respected for it. I expect to be rewarded for a struggle that produced nothing. I want the neglect, the lack of acknowledgment. And I want the bitterness that comes with it too.
I am the stale receptor, the superfluous accumulator,
the redundant completionist trapped
in his cave of musty retention,
buried under years of absorption… unaborted;
decades of consumption… consumed,
sacrificed at the altar of other people’s art,
while everything else fell apart.
Pondering, at last, all the pointless consolation;
questioning if it was really necessary
to devour entire genres until I was crapulous
from gorging myself on culture,
As if it were some kind of achievment
to accumulate all this knowledge
that will die with me.
So that on my headstone it will read:
that I read and lived a lot of fiction…
that Art ruined my Life.
The footsteps of bored guards echo in the empty galleries.
A homeless patron wheels a laundry cart around.
Despite free admission, the place is empty,
these are the only sounds; and it’s easy to get lost
in the bleak, rural Dutch 17th century.
Beneath a cloudy, unforgiving sky,
two figures tramp down a muddy lane
toward a house half-hidden behind gnarled trees.
Cattle graze beside a river.
Beyond torn fencing fields recede.
Gazing into these serenely battered bygone scenes,
one is reminded of real life, real weather:
that it might still be out there somewhere.
Not here, far removed from European culture,
at the very edge of the western hemisphere.
Where, on a hollow, cloudless day
the collection’s fragile incongruity is quickly wiped away
by the umpteenth oblivious jogger running by
with a head set on.
There’s nothing in the air.
The sun, subtly vampiric, barely brushes against a world
where everything and nothing is in bloom:
a seductive vacuity, of lifeless trees
and lives of ease and loud complacency,
as soothing and beautiful as a cartoon.
A certain party was inspired to pay tribute to the great poet and paragon of male beauty, Anthony Kiedis:
As part of the Pacific Standard Time offensive, an ad campaign has been launched – to reel the kids in, presumably – in which celebrities are enlisted to endorse the work of their supposedly favorite artists. Posters around town depict a shirtless (as ever) Anthony Kiedis – yes, the semi-talented egomaniac best known for boasting about all the drugs he took 20 years ago – flaunting his impeccable pecs (and/or abs) with Ruscha Hollywood Sign-in-reverse typeface superimposed behind him. According to the press release, Kiedis “personifies the mood and attitude of Southern California… like no other artist today,” which suggests we’re in more serious trouble than we may have previously thought. We are best represented by a junkie who walks around naked with nothing but a sock over his knob. Yeah, I know, he’s moved on: I’ve seen his mature work.
So, as Kerouac suffers at the hands of Ruscha, so must Ruscha suffer the indignity of Kiedis’s seal of mediocrity. This addiction-flaunting braggart (bragging about art) is exactly the kind of ambassador the art world doesn’t need. In an accompanying three-minute video Kiedis and Ruscha drive around LA together (you get the idea), rhapsodizing about the city that has been so appreciative of their qualities. While Ruscha mumbles graciously, Kiedis, the celebrated wordsmith, discusses his special relationship with language: “I definitely relate deeply to the idea of words being art. When I see somebody else who’s got such a connection with words, I instantly feel connected to that person.” (Especially, one suspects, if that other person is famous.) It would be easy to point out the numerous solecisms contained in those two sentences, but why be petty? I have nothing against the guy, I just don’t like the look (or sound) of him. And surely by now enough people can recognize a Ruscha or a Baldessari (who receives similar treatment from the almost-as- irritating Jason Schwartzman) without the aid of some smug celebrity striking poses in front of their work, which seems to imply that LA art can’t quite make it on its own without the imprimatur of its Hollywood adjunct.