art shows and the returning from that journey

16 November 2009 § Leave a comment

I spent the day at the library in Lunenburg, the size of which rivals the center of town for prominence. But they allow two hours on the computers, which is longer than any other library I’ve been to in months, if ever – and for a twenty three year old currently staying with his Grams, let’s just say it’s a nice getaway.

When the library closed, there was an art show with cheese and crackers and wine – and pepperoni, which I took to be a normal thing around here. I tried not to make it obvious that I was there for a free glass of shiraz, so I rounded the room a few times, enjoying a couple of the pieces, but passing some others as quickly as I learned to from a cynical high school photography teacher, whose advice I think about every time I take a picture or, as I found today, go to an art show for free alcohol and snacks.

But really, a couple of the pieces were good, and the artist tried to pawn one off on me for ‘just 300 bucks’ before I told her that I didn’t have a place to live to put it. I could carry it in my backpack, though, and maybe give it to someone I hitched with later on. The organizer of the event challenged my pour by asking me if I was twenty one. I said no, I was twenty three, but thanks for the compliment. He was unimpressed by my being from Alaska – here I take a grateful bow – and even less impressed by the stories of my travels – kiss the floor – so I told him I was a writer, and he starting talking about his beautiful, half-Cambodian daughter writing for some magazine in D.C. with a little more than parental pride. His tone made her seem like someone’s dream girl. Hopefully not his. Oh, my other daughter is beautiful, too.

I walked home in the rain. I wasn’t after the wine. The wine was after me. I played with the umbrella my grandmother let me borrow, the kind with the curled handle, like in the movies. I spun it with the wind and it must have looked damned cool to the passing drivers. My hat kept me dry. I am a poet, but cabs make me a little nervous. I am not New York material, and the cookie cutter was left on the baking sheet on the batch before me. Unlucky: the baker was the cheapo sort, and bought the plastic ones. I’m still searching for the shape, and I think I found it once, tucked into a pile of papers that were tossed after the flood. Destroyed, she said, so I thought it noble to take one last look, in honor of their lasting this long in the basement – but I don’t think it was me that I found that day, it was just an outline of this person that once was, that may have done a lot of drugs but kept it simple.

I read a hundred stories, all soaked in rainwater and shame for his reclusive ways, but could he help it – oh, I‘ll let you type this, watch the ribbon, and make sure the arms don’t get caught up in the machine, I don’t want to fix it yet again. That was his reaching out to a daughter that never understood, but tried to, tried to be the same as him and failed as far as Switzerland and France, more recently with painting images that belonged to the estate of some poor royal family that butchered all their slaves for food in the late fifteenth century. Something about parliamentary pride, looking lush and fed in front of troubadours standing in the court. One of them was me, and I can’t say I liked the scene much, though I could put it to a film now and it would make sense like some old Johnny Depp film, before everyone knew his name and had his face on all their desktops.

There weren’t computers then, come to think of it. Not even ipods or compact discs – oh what history is there! Take a picture, all you tourists, and pretend you know the ending of the legend when you get home and tell it to your friends. You’re the smart and traveled, now, you’ve been on a plane and all, and we’ll never get out of this little hashfield town, ripe with corn and old growth trees, with swings built when your great grannies were your age, and where are we headed now, what era will we usher in when words are banned and freedom is found in office supply stores, free with any purchase of this lovely desk and chair!

The calendar has fooled you, my old friend and ally, that tower’s not really leaning after all, it is just returning to where we all belong, getting paid quite handsomely to look as if he’s dreaming. We should all be so fortunate.

The lightposts and the gates are caught up in the conspiracy, the one involving horses being some clever folks disguised, and someone got the paintings to reveal that we all cheated, however that was done with care and I must admit that I’d never seen it coming. So we gave into this final wish, and delivered death just as requested, though it pained us so to do so, as he was such a godlike creature, reverent to the population and caring toward the mice – this little version of a man was just like Hugo said.

This, of course, was before the monster took her to Russia, and before that terrible experience on holiday, the pancake house in tow. I remember wondering if time would ever catch up with me, as I sat there on the bench, looking rather smug. I have to be at work soon, said the conductor to his friend. I don’t care, you’ll get me there, you will or else you’re dead.

But he never said anything about the bull or his horns or hands, which would probably kill you if this was twenty years ago, but now I’m sure it is by the book, and you’ve got nothing to worry about, as long as you play ball with him – just watch out for all his tricks.

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