Painting (a riff)

     The making of art is a living story told through broken teeth, like the gears of a clock or some terrible machine, sucking holes in the fabric, telling little lies that add up. From Guston’s pink rooms to Armageddon, black as a respite, there is order in no space. Klansmen in little cars. The painting is a crooked journey of construction and destruction. Bacon’s screaming pope. All my clocks are stopped at one minute to five. Each brushstroke comes out of the very soul. It is painting with the mystery of a heart on sleeves. From the unseen to the whole wide world. The most that can be offered is honesty to pain, to lay out what makes us human. A celebration of defects, a benediction of malady.  

     Matisse’ red room to kiss my ass. Mondrian and Braque, to Gauguin and Giacometti, lovers of Cezanne, all of them. Picasso was Picasso. And Chagall went to Paris in the 20’s taking with him chicken heads and brushes. Paris, yes Paris was a bitch in heat.  

     It was a tacky road to Desolation steeped in fevered sleep. Kerouac would hit the road in the 50’s, taking a journey tramped out by Whitman a century before. And the American movement would swoop in to lay open the soul. A sticky mysticism. An open road to a song sung from deep in the belly. Buddha sitting beside the highway. Pollock ruined abstraction for all of us. New York stood upright in the world, and they all came, drawn to Be-Bop on the steps and the wide open doorways of Harlem. Cheap rents in a Greenwich Village flop.

     Cocaine, the 1980’s. The art market swelled up for any harebrained idea. Post-punk, MFA’s and college rock, fountains for The Factory. Andy painted soup cans and electric chairs.

     Chicago in ’86, all blues and scholastic blather, hit the streets running. The city that works, played a hell-of-a-lot too. The 4am caverns, stumbling home, pushing through hookers with the cherry lips. Working all kind of jobs with a mean time to paint. And the galleries will fuck you over, some fucked me too.

     Mania and alcohol exploded to night sweats, poems. I painted 12 paintings in 12 nights. Wrote a book in a week. Pissed away time and money in bars, and probably a fight too. The 90’s were a feverish dream.  

Blood and oil trailed down canvas, skeletons all bedded down in closets.

It’s all marketing, but I don’t give a good shit about money. What about the elephant in the room? All I want to do is paint. But the elephant requires attention, he sits where he wants.  

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