Monday, February 4, 2019


for Bruce Tone 1931-2019

Fixations wear fables like sables: compulsions sport dreams
in luxurious reams of distraction, a lavish display, a ravishing
ravaging of all the scattering remnants of their sterile schemes:
the brutal stings they bring when they are after you. Doesn’t matter
if they’re true. The fable’s dream apotheosis might be Moses –
that enfeebled fabled star, the major focus of the hocus pocus,
leads our skeptic souls to promises he promises to keep,
although he takes a leap, a dive, he dies before he can arrive.
Whatever jive requires that the soul pretend it’s in the Promised Land
becomes a holy history, a sacerdotal fact. Which we use to crack our
heads like coconuts and pray for Moses’ ghost to come down here
again to rummage ‘round inside: however he divines its shreds
and juice is truth. “My advisors are infallibly invaluable,” reports
the altered icon, now surrounded by three floating disembodied heads,
whose expressions range from vacancy to sarcasm, ever-widening
the chasm between them and him. Moses knows he has no friend,
he’ll meet no one who in the least agrees with his great theses,
but he begins to thrive in their dislike: he knows far more of life
now he is dead: it is the strife that foments art, and art is thrilling only
when it courts its vast opposing flood, the army only after blood,
its blood and Moses’ blood so it and he and we can know what we are
made of. Anyway, that pretty much describes the mediation that
this artist fellow, Marvin, dressed in cloth stained violet and yellow
on the lower right discerned had been the point in his last meditation:
mediating fluidly between the traces – tangled laces – of his memory,
and this event of seeing savagely beleaguered Moses on the day
he went away, and maybe after sitting down with God for tea,
discovered his identity. But now the meditation’s tiny spider
delicacies start to blur. Marvin can’t make out the lines that separate
the blessings from the curses very clearly any more. He wonders if
he sees a thaw. That’s when he sits down to draw, begins to hum
and sing. Right now Art’s the point of Moses, him and everything.

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