Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Of the 1000 or so paintings...

...I've done, precious few of them have been great but there have been numerous fortuitous artistic accidents I've had and so among the total there are several standouts, lots that are very good, all of them at least cute, and none no-good, because if they're no good I paint 'em over and start anew.

Several of them are very beautiful, beyond description I say - even if I did do them. They will be hard to eclipse; I may have already painted my masterpiece and don't know it. They are marvelous to behold some of them.

`Yes, yes they are,' Hartley used to say, Hartley the kindly tavern owner who ended up owning 26 of my paintings which in those days I traded more or less for drinks & tips and Ole George Hartley he ended up with a passel of them and used to tell me that it was `...nothing personal but the quicker you die the sooner these paintings will be worth enough to make up for your outrageous drinking habits on the house...' - a sentiment while I agreed with it in principle, was too close to home to really applaud.

Only a very few of the really great artists make it to the public eye; some of the best paintings I ever saw in one place were at an art show once in the Acworth Silsby Library some years ago; ya doesn't has to go to the Met to see world-class art, or hear world-class music, read first rate literature or bake bread for cryin' out loud. Our little community is heavy with talent.

Grudgingly, and only because of the accolades and approbation of the masses urging me on, I include myself...I'm an artistic guy, intelligent, witty, cosmopolitan, modest and a bit of a rogue and so on - but right now?

Lemme tell you...right now I'd trade it all for a six pack of Guinness...I kid you not. I need a drink. Sometimes you WANT a drink and others, you need one.


...has been lived in a somnambulant daze, that trying to recall some periods of it is impossible and if anything only serves to make it murkier still. Like I know I was in Waterbury visiting with Albee at some of his relatives and it was Thanksgiving or some holiday and I was so smitten by this adorable young girl sitting across from me that I just couldn't stand it any longer; my heart was breaking. I excused myself from the table as though to be right back, like I'd forgotten something outside in Albee's car and I walked out the door and kept going, never went back never saw any of those people again and I know they thought I was strange but this I think stayed with them, and I?

All I recall is being very cold and drunk and otherwise fucked up and stumbling along in the blustery Vermont hills late at night in hopes of a ride which apparently I got because here I still am somewhere else 15 years a way the entire 15-year gap has been still another long daze, and not to make too fine a point of it but all of life in general I may say is hazy in recall, sometimes making more of something than it was, or less, tailoring the memory to suit the needs of today. A minor justification here, an alteration there, shade the truth a little and things don't look so bad in retrospect after all...revisionist history at home, 101...


Speechless...well wordless anyway, if you can believe a verbose guy like me can't think of anything to write. Sometimes I worry that about the time I hit my stride you'll tire of me and send me sailing into the trash unread and all my consternation over being unable to write will have been for naught.


...behind the walls life goes on, I see, as in this letter I receive the other day from an inmate of X prison who sent along part of his rap sheet, to wit, a conduct report in which said inmate was reported to have tried in vain to smuggle in drugs to the prison in cans, well I'll let the report spell it out:

`While corrections officer LeClair was x-raying a food box sent to inmate (X) #172-849-1-c-115, he observed five cans that had odd shapes inside of them. Upon further investigation after opening 4 of the 5 cans, aone oz. balloon containing marijuana was found in each can. The 5th can was opened and it was found to have about 100 valium, 90 xanax, 9 grams of powdered cocaine & 7.8 grams of crack cocaine...'

Seems the guests of the state got nabbed in the act as two of these inmates are ratted out by high tech surveillance and both now doing solitary for quite a spell, plus an additional sentence tacked on to their already long stretches.

Crime doesn't pay. O sure you can make a few nervous bucks for a few years doing things outside the law but sooner or later it'll come home to haunt you and you could end up in Marion or Mansfield, Fishkill, Comstock or Rahway...

Mercy, mercy, mercy I would hate to do time! The noise is never-ending, 26 radios are tuned to 26 stations, all loud; the food sucks, your cellmate is a huge brute going to slap you around, the screws hate you, noise, noise, noise no end to the noise....aaahhhhaaarrrGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I wouldn't make a good convict. (`So therefore judge I ask you to set me free...I'm just not the kind of fellow who would do well in prison and I'd appreciate, your honor, the ankle bracelet and a spell of mandatory confinement to home, I'm sure will be sufficient punishment; I've learned my lesson you can believe THAT!...' Thin voice quavering, knees trembling, bowels turn to water, heart in throat etc.



`What's that you say your honor!? Eight years in the state prison!'

It's scary enough a scenario to make me behave almost.

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