Monday, February 25, 2013

Regarding the forging of columns, the kettle drum and tin flute accompaniment, without question, you are doing something wrong, he said, his hammer a blur and his beard moving back and forth like dingy curtains with the effort. This was an exertion toward which point and what whole, though? The shapes emerging from the marble and then disappearing again just as quickly as though they had been talked out of it by someone with a bowler hat on his head? With a gold tooth you could see sometimes when he smiled? But he never smiled. Reinhardt tried to keep the picture from his memory, a representation dredged up at a remove of twenty years, just as it was, without alteration, without so much as the inevitable addition of tin cans, of airplanes passing by overhead. He told the woman next in the progression, the one with the last name so similar to his own he believed for a while they must be related, that he swallowed any number of variously colored pills at night in an attempt to sleep without bothering to read the labels because he knew that it didn’t matter what was in the bottles exactly – nothing would work. Nothing would send him over the cliff and down to the floor of the waiting ravine, with its spongy yellow ferns and its inhabitants aiming their primitive iron weapons at anything that stirred. Of course he was lying. He wished to impress her and he badly miscalculated. When our desire is enormous we see around it only partial landscapes and arches supporting further arches which support what appears to be the lower portions, the tendrils and vines, of hanging gardens such as they used to include in lists of the seven or eight wonders of the world, depending on which portion of the world you happened to be living in or passing through at the time. What we see remains nearly impossible to make sense of because of the obstruction itself, because of the silhouette we have labeled desire because we don’t know what else to call it. But when that same desire (or something very like it) slakes itself and lessens, then what we see narrows to a pinprick and then winks out altogether, even though we were expecting exactly the opposite. We were expecting -- as was only logical given the above information and the matter-of-fact manner in which it was delivered -- an expansion, an opening out onto, if not unlimited vistas and ornate cloudbanks, then at least vistas without something standing in front of them like a hippopotamus, making our job that much more difficult. Imagine our disappointment, our anger even which, lacking an adequate outlet, we take out on the offending hippopotamus itself and the architecture of the building within which it is ordinarily housed. That is, when it is not out strolling about the grounds as if it owned them. We belittle that building’s minarets. We point and scoff openly at the arabesques that adorn its flimsy doorframes.          

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