02 January 2011

another fascination, not sick

[click image]


I can't get over this guy. On the one hand, he represents everything I do devotedly despise about people, but on the other, he is such a work of deeply humane art, himself, and so much of what emanates from him, that I feel I could forgive him for residing amid the despicable.
By the Lagoon

There is a bridge in Prospect Park that is
now condemned.
But I walk over it anyway
and I go beyond the collapsed fence that
wards you off from its edges
and I peer over the bannister at the
beautiful lagoon below
with its shallow yet mysterious water
which is a world unto itself —

a world of sky and turtles —

for water and sky are one —

and turtles and birds within them.
And I remember a long time ago —
when I first looked down into this
lagoon and saw it leading away
and I was young and ready to follow roads —

as I still do.
But I used to go there and become almost

mad with being lost by the lagoon

mad with the woods —
mad with the day and its gold and my

solitude among it.

Mad with my own young murderable beauty —

like some crazy screaming bird —

yet silent – exultant —

pale and screaming with solitude beside

the water —

the silent song of solitude surrounding me —

with its splashes and flutters of wind

and strange shrieks of birds.

And then through the leaves black boys
on bicycles came crashing —

shrieking with laughter —
and I stood still, frozen with terror —

“They are going to kill me” —

feeling myself so murderable there among
the woods —
on the black side of the park —
so murderable by teenaged black boys

on bicycles —

how could they resist murdering me —

a boy trying to be a tree among trees —

but a tree who has not stopped being a boy —

a young man in love with himself as he was

at seventeen —

when he first set out on his wanderings.
This was where his wanderings had led him —

to this abandoned place.
I imagined living there by the lagoon —

that I was that boy I once was,
still living there among the trees.
When night fell, though, terror overcame me

and I left the park and went home.
But that boy stayed there among the trees.

I imagined his life —

that I had been alone all these years.
I was a man of twenty-seven who lived in a

strange rooming house with his sister

and drank and went to night clubs.

But I was that boy I once was.

I lived by the lagoon.
I had not spoken in years.

I had drifted away from humanity.
I peered out from among the leaves.
I look out of my eyes.

I am alone.

This all took place long ago —

in the summer of a book I began to write,

but a real summer as well —

the summer I first found that abandoned place.

That was years ago.

The book is written.
The book is long since finished.

The boy lives in the book.
But I think he is still there by the lagoon.
I think I must have thought that I could

be that boy again.

I still do.
If I spent one night by the lagoon

at dawn I would be gone
and that boy would be there, watching
from the leaves.
But in all the years since I first found that
place I have never dared spend one night

I have always been too frightened.

Edgar Oliver
The kind of honesty here is not worn like a designer shirt, something crafted to show off, and so not honest at all, as is the immortal wont of "artists". I don't think the man could be more different from me, and yet I recognize in my cells so much of what he shares. This is true to such a degree that I feel a sort of rejoicing in listening to him speak in his utterly unique mode—something so universally creepy being to me like an heirloom, a little treasure from people who were old when I was a toddler, echoes from the other side of my own galaxy, nestled in a little tresure box on my desk.

love, 99

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