On sleeping in proximity to art in the room.
In the valley of Los Angeles I slept in a cot by the Bob Hope Airport in a vast studio without a shower. It was lit like a kunsthalle or not at all. The art of my hosts was my friend in the night. In the company of their inanimate forms I saw the welcome angular explorations and mid-phase prototyping in color and surface and shadow. Dreaming on the cot, I caught glimpses of four-inch bar steel diving from swimming pool starting blocks into concrete water. These little dreams of industrial materials used for the purpose of superfluous beauty dart across the screen of my sleeping mind. On this accumulated moment rests a pile of blanks, sanded and ready to be marked upon. They float in large cardboard box forests on cushions of scrap fabric, torn from shirts and pants and packaging scraps. Gessoed panels rest in the boxes and are shaped from off-cuts of constructed Amish pole barns. Trailing statements dangle from the branches of trees which are not even there. On the ground are birds sitting like anvils.
It is easy to get lost when you are by yourself all the time. In fact, you are lost all the time if you don't have friends. And being lost to some extent or another is common to the beautiful. Uncertainty is all right, the kids are all right, and so are the old shufflers taking all day to do the shopping, not because they need stuff, but because they need contact with the world before finally settling into that black lacquered maple box or before being turned into a pile of ash. If there is a point, it is best if it is nearly missed. It is the tiny and important divide between truth and less falseness which closely describes the divide between the meaning of art and the joy of experiencing art.
(Disclaimer) Our friend Fournrussel is getting a bit scatological of late since his old lady up and decided unilaterally to call thier relathionship "open." He figures that's fine and dandy with him because now he doesn't have to pretend to be sentimental and poetic all the time, and he can just do and say whatever he pleases. Well that's allright I guess, he always was a strange one, and we did tell him he could use this blog in exchange for fixing the roof. Enjoy.
The Legend of Chicken Island, based on truth.
There was one sliver of light that shot through the west window just before sunset last night. The clouds have been stubborn, but this morning was a bright one. It was all white snow on the ground and backlit flurries in the air, a real shock to the eyeballs. But this is not a forum for the Weather Report. I, Aurthur Fournrussel am here to tell you that last weekend a legend was born, the Legend of Chicken Island.
We were drinking beer under a bridge and talking some heavy shit. Geological shit, like when a spontaneous island forms in the toilet water and breaks the surface. A big island of steaming stench. “Suicide shits” and then a consciousness stream of hilarious band names, Ambiguous Boner and their big hit Slapstick Toilet. Mercutio offers up the band name F.A.G. (forget about girls) they have songs such as “Your Dad's a Pussy,” “Gimme All Your Cigarettes,” and "Here Comes the Archbishop." This is what you talk about when you are drinking under a bridge with dudes, and it's hilarious, and the sun is going down over the foamy river.
Looking at the structural underside of the bridge above we notice I-beams and diagonal struts and it all leads to the the pilings in the middle of the river where trees and trash collect as they tangle against the limestone block foundation. This is the zone of high froth; that sort of yellow merange stuck in branches with bits of bark and bottlecaps and menningitis. Our pal Vespucci the Explorer, who disappeared to piss is hanging from an I beam taunting us to throw him cigarettes. This is impossible because he is 60 yards away and dangling from a bridge with a tall boy crushed into his pocket. It turns out he has some climbing skills and manages not to fall, and continues to explore the upper portion of the blocks. We can't tell what he is scrawling in the rusty beam, but I bet it is either a spunky dick or “fuck off.” when he leaves our view we forget about him for a second and get back to the important business of looking at the horizon. Some joggers in conversation pass overhead with their dull thuds and incomprehensible breathy conversation. We pretend it matters if they hear us, and fall into a looking silence.
“Mercutio! Gimme all your fucking cigarettes.” Vespucci harkens. He dropped invisibly onto the small island formed around the foundation blocks of the bridge support and is now hunched like he's taking a shit and is looking at tracks in the soil. “Chickens!” he yells. “I hereby claim this land and call it Chicken Island. You all can suck it!”
“Vespucci! How did you get down there?”Mercutio yells.
“I dropped down on the other side. The ground is pretty soft. What a lovely place. Look at all this rotten stuff”
“Yeah it seems great with all the froth and trash and darkness coming. Oh shit! your beer survived? You are the greatest.” I say while I am secretly curious how this is all going to play out. Mercutio goes to the top side of the bridge and is now squatting on the top of the pier looking down at Vespucci. He drops a lit cigarette down to him.
“I'll come down here every day to read you Grimms fairytales and throw bread and blankets at you.” We all conclude separately that there are two ways out for him, a swim in the cold frothy chicken water, or a climb up. Sal goes to grab a tow rope out of his car.
Tying off the rope to the bridge, it is just long enough to reach Vespucci's waist. He tries a gymnasium climb but can't get a good grip. Sal asks us all “Does anybody know any knots?”
“Come on you pussy, you can't even climb with a rope?” Sal jeers. It is now getting really dark and I collect our empties and the dead battery radio and get up to the topside of the bridge, where we decide to switch to the upriver side of the piling. This is where all the condom branch grocery bag tangles stir the foaming swirls. It'll give us an extra 6 feet of height with an additional likelihood of an infected and broken ankle. Vespucci is so gassed at this point we decide on just pulling him up with our group strengths.
First attempt; crashing failure, but no snapping bones. With new gripping strategy and a foot in a loop at the bottom, tug number 2 produces a prostrate drunkard laughing his ass off on top of the pier. “Thanks guys. I'm exhausted. Its tough being an expeditionary.”
Do not be in a club. If you are going to be in a club at all, Be in many clubs. Be a schizoid about clubs. What's interesting is not who is in the club, but how many other clubs each member is in, and how might he or she be a leader of that club? The more clubs, the fewer self-validating falsehoods. This may include "night" clubs and the codes of dress/door guy bribe required to get in.
A multi-club person might not be an asshole, has an understanding of subjectivity, and is not afraid to be laughed at when entering a fresh room for a good cause. A hazard of multi-clubbing though is that you might also be an over scheduled, over-achiever obscuring a lack of genuine achievement.
Some clubs exclude people who belong to other clubs. For instance, people who are members of the women club could not, until recently, also be people who fight in front line combat situations in the American military. Exclusive clubs should be excluded, and this calls into question the entire enterprise of clubs, via the Woody Allen Regress.(“I wouldn't want to be in a club that would have me as a member”)
However, being in a club could show a capacity for dealing with contradiction and paradox, which is required for membership into the Well-Adjusted Club. It is true that many of our great talents are not well-adjusted, and this conflict with by-laws and mediocrity could be the initial step in a hero's journey to wisdom or at least a sense of humor. I would like to offer here Jack Kerouac's enlistment mug shot
He lasted 10 days at boot camp before being netted up and sent to the psych ward for 67 days for a proper evaluation. Think of the khaki clad naval doctor's nuero-psychiatric examination which disclosed “auditory hallucinations, ideas of reference and suicide, and a rambling, grandiose, philosophical manner." Jack tried. Not a member of the Navy club. Commenting on his diagnosis Kerouac said “I see no reason to be ashamed of my maladjustment.” and regarding independent thought... "now go ahead and put me up against a wall and shoot me, but I stand by that or stand by nothing but my toilet bowl, and furthermore, it's not that I refuse Naval discipline, not that I WONT take it, but that I CANNOT. This is about all I have to say about my aberration. Not that I wont, but that I cant.”
If you want to read more about this episode in the young Kerouac's life check out Miriam Kleiman's revealing article at the National Archive.
I have been in the most forsaken bathrooms where the patterned hardboard is etched with names from the 80's and Van Halen logos rendered in old sharpie. Each one a distinct variation of gag-inducing stench that needles you right below the eye with a base of ammonia and a bouquet of 120 mph methane beef explosion.
There is a diner/ lounge bar bathroom in Blythe, California that did a really good impression of a hot summer exploded deer carcass. As patrons sip bloody Mary's through a fist punched luan door you are left dreaming, reminiscing even, of the good qualities of a good clean air drop next to a dumpster. Usually a public shit is not the way to go, but compared to you, Blythe diner/lounge bathroom, its all aces.
Moving on to the bathroom of Ted's hideaway in a secret Miami location. This is the place where Flipper the TV show was filmed. It is also home to a primordial foul beast that belches ammonia and brackish drool through shaking pipes and weeping orifices throughout the property. One never knows when or where the sneaking stench will kill the conversation. I am convinced that the clay of the bocce ball court is going to be important to future scientists who want to know the source of the odoriferous black oil scourge of misery that took back the swamps of Florida from the pitiful citizens who once inhabited the area.
On a more structurally intriguing tip there is the the miraculous feat of physics that is the bathroom floor of a Chicago shithole passing for an English pub. In this under the stairs wonder-closet next to the toilet in a soggy worn through hole in the floorboards, one can see kegs stacked in the green light of the basement. You could almost imagine that you were pissing into a toilet next to a soggy log. Conjure up little bit of moss and trash, some trees, little deer and chirping birds and its almost a good forest preserve piss, until that dreadful stench bring you right back to disgusting reality, a reality that somehow includes standing on boards that have the structural integrity of a kitchen sponge.
Let me tell you good readers, that I have been in some legitimately deadly rooms, but the worst was tucked away in an Alice in Wonderland hotel with cabanas and pool boys and towel boys and string bikinis and $30 seven and seven, which I said should be $49. Walking through the 25 foot tall fantasy curtain billowing in the air conditioned wind, anyone can walk into the heart of the lobby where there is a bathroom discreetly tucked to the side. In this bathroom, each hole has its own air-locked door and fresh flowers on a delicate ledge. Outside of the stall, there is a sink so large that you could take a bubble bath in it, and next to that, a teak platter with fresh white hand towels and hand lotions. This bathroom is so nice that you could easily forget that you have ever done any offense to anyone and that nothing was ever your fault, and that yes you do shit ice cream; lavender and sea salt ice cream dropped with a sprig of mint into a tiny little boat.
The board here at the analogyshop barn have met the most fantastic fellow, namely, Aurthur Fournrussel. We owe him a favor for fixing the gutters on the barn and he has a particular want of displaying bufoonery in public.
Well, isn't this a win-win! Anyway, the board has other things to tend to such as the rodent that is rotting up the well- water and the shaft that went all catty-wompus when the truck went sideways in the mud slick. Everybody, meet Aurthur, and say hello in the comments if you like. Give him a minute, or a corner.
The Aurthur Fournrussel Story Corner, or Minute, (001)
I have been to the seat of the republic for which it stands.
There was a circumcision.
I saw the George Bellows canvases
I saw the atrium of black marble pillars
I walked slowly in the rain.
This has been the Aurthur Fournrussel story corner, or minute, thank you. tune in next week.