Palimpsests

Something comes out of your hand. It begins in your mind, in your heart. You can feel it like a pulse, it wants to speak, it has no mouth but it wants to speak. It tingles, electric and humming. It courses through you via some peristalsis of the subconscious, the collective subconscious perhaps, a cry, a yawp, like your first breath in the cold new world outside your mother’s womb. I am here. I am here. Scrawling away with a pen. Sketching. Drawing. Leaving indelible marks. Carving your name in the bark. Cutting out hearts in the tree of life and chipping out your initials there with a jack-knife to prove you exist. Your write stories and take photographs. You put your name on them. You claim them as your own, telling whoever – I did this, I made this, hoping for a witness, searching out a witness, assembling a collection of witnesses that will, by virtue of their seeing, reading, reacting, verify this illusion of yourself, this master snowball of a story you’ve been rolling around since you first began to hear and talk and understand. I am a thing who makes things, like a hornet or a carpenter ant, I create, I leave marks. But more than that I am an artist. My things stand for other things. They are compressed and reticulated ideas that will set their teeth in you and alter your mind. They may even change you. A book can change you forever. JD Salinger is just another eugenicist in disguise. Van Gogh. Mozart. Walt Whitman. Rilke. Your mind was over-run long ago (how much of it is yours?). Is there even a you inside you?

Urge and urge and urge. always the procreant urge of the world, out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex, always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life. 

Why do you do what you do? Leave symbolic marks in strategic sequence so as to evoke the same emotions in them who might witness? Must they feel it too? Must you force it on them? Think about all those boys who skulk around the train yards, the abandoned buildings, painting, nameless, painting, fameless, painting, anonymous, Rustoleum rebels with their fingertips blackened and their clothes spattered, the heirs of the Navajos, masters of the ephemeral, art for art’s sake, ego-jockeys, names on top of names on top of names, the layers and layers of alter-egos, the cracking, peeling palimpsests, read by whom? Dust on top of dust. Jockeying for persistence, fighting it out with each other for a little more time, another century of name recognition. The Beethovens and the priests of Lascaux. The biggest tombstone. A pyramid, a sphinx (more mentions = more time, higher page rankings). Immortality! Proof. Evidence. Expression! Kilroy was here.

o O o

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