Friday, October 21, 2005

A Tonalist is a long poem or a manifesto, a poetics, a utopia, a movement, a daybook or maybe it is simply me addressing you. Or us addressing each other. What is it that we do?

From the poem:

“Magnificent pink roses, chrysanthemums in a Greek vase, the color spectrum’s rhetoric in an untranslated book, apocalyptic wallpaper for the classroom. Patience. There is a comet tail, a yellowish drip of unconscious brush stroke to the right. Have a drink. Blackness is before you and black is your favorite color. Honk. A customer will haul the installation away. Even now this gravedigger cruises on an ocean liner. He teeters on the edge of your work. Objects unrecognize you. The East is empty, there is nothing left to the West except the past, which is groundless night, a mass solution (like panic) to solitude, an imperishable escape. Let’s go to Paris. Let’s live, therefore we’ll think. We’ll be admitted to the best seats at the Opera, indicted for treason, encouraged to seduce our new enemies, become diplomats, say grace with trackless courtesans. There are dull beatitudes and reanimated brains. Houdini. The art of dissemination is the sign of the prodigy.”

[Jerry Estrin, “Citizen’s Dash,” Rome, A Mobile Home]

The inward present. The indefinite maintained as a kind of discipline. Abstract simplification. Not arcane and yet there is a suggestive darkness. A realism of forms which melt into each other. Spiritual realism in which spiritual is defined as a formal practice relating to a belief in love but not of a person. Or of a person. And realism is verisimilitude in drag.


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