Before I died

Before I died and was resurrected I believe I was a painter … and must’ve been successful cause there are still two studios (one in Switzerland and one in Ventura, California) filled with painter stuff such as easels, brushes, tubes and cans of paint, and in each a small black and white Hitachi TV. Today I teleported to the smaller studio in Basel on Reinacherstrasse 112. Random postcards, Polaroids and collages’re taped on all walls and doors. Two postcards of Patti Smith (poet? singer? writer?). Rip images off wall, read other side. Each mailed to Martin Qwert from Brooklyn, New York and signed with “Bunyan-N.6.” One Patti photo taken in 1978 by Annie Liebovitz, the other by Robert Mappelthorpe in 1975, both photographers officially “dead” but maybe back in the game like me, or maybe they got new bodies, or maybe they’re Ghost Operatives like Bunkie the Trucker.

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Patti Smith is a memory. I’m pretty sure she’s still alive, no certainty, just a feeling like a gentle buzz of certainty. Another information memory … Will Oldham the singer and songwriter wrote about poetry for Poetry magazine saying he can’t understand poetry, published June 1, 2012. Some music and poetry fans might say it’s good he’s so honest. As a songwriter he should but he can’t get it … he’s clinging too much maybe to life identity and to structure. In the end maybe he’s not an art-artist, rather a builder of lopsided birdhouses, each of his album titles being a little haiku birdhouse with crooked roof and old paint flaking and peeling off. This could have been his poetry, the poetry of the small-town American backyard in late spring or early summer, magnolia and elm trees and bedsheets hanging off a clothesline fanning like flags in a breeze that carries the song of trainwhistle with it. More not necessary.

 

When I was Martin Qwert I knew people who liked W.O. who called himself Bonnie Prince Billy. He showed something rustic and rural and raw and always just this side of okay … but always something missing, like he’s referring to Human Heart and Feeling without being the thing that feels. He’s in there and yet cut off and the same time. Some contradictions just make you stronger. Not his. He sings like a heart-wounded prairieman or homesteader and you hear the Louisville Kentucky soul in the music and he rides up dreamy and hypnotic and shows you a long-legged quarter horse and even as you stand there gawking Bonnie Prince is already slyly sliding off the saddle, goes behind the barn to smoke weed, disassociating himself from the trail of goat-bleat songs he’s left behind. So these songs on his records and CDs and internet downloads … they’re just half-finished landscape paintings hanging in a deadend motel in Montana? You bought it World not me. I tried to listen. Now tell us, who do you love Bonnie? Deserves credit at least to make it fashionable to grow old Ugly. We sure could’ve benefitted from more of a Voice, a Presence. Meanwhile Patti’s out there somewhere 67 years old halfhidden under a backyard shadetree melting into shadows, icedtea, bittersweet presence in tragic world like a melancholic Hungarian reading Blake (“Albion is mine!”) in the natural sweetness of a mild morning, today, June 1, 2014. . . . 

 

 

© Brett Davidson, 2014


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