“Those who do not want to imitate anything,
produce nothing”. Salvador Dali -- Dali on Dali
The sliced steep slopes of those cliffs could be anywhere--say, Yosemite--buttered by
the same sun, not battered by these calm seas, or bothered
by melting timepieces draped about the landscape.
Why does the artist’s head melt, deconstruct, feather into foreground loam— teeth, tongue,
lips fading nearly without notice, nose pillowed on his own ear?
Is there a reason a single housefly struggles against sky-blue stickiness--imperiled heroine
awaiting the locomotive crush of the sweeping minute hand--or why the bottom
of her golden prison melts in the sepia heat, its silver sisters hung limp
from a branch long dead, or laid carefully
as a blanket over the sleeping
What of the copper watch, alone in original form, though a cluster of ants spews from its center
in lieu of hands?
The artist provides no answer, perhaps presuming the question sufficient.
That dead tree—
the only thing vertical, unless you stand beneath the cliffs;
the only thing anchored, unless you allow the cliffs;
the only thing obviously dead, unless those buttered cliffs are someone’s skin—
that tree is Watcher and Scribe, the Presence of the World, and at its base
a face is embedded, of some Bosch-spawned horror, gaze trained beyond
borders, back to the Middle Ages, or maybe on its own shadow.
Straight lines are few enough to count. The horizon is one, or four, depending on how you tally.
Plain plank painted every hue of blue on the canvas numbers ten—again, depending—could be seven.
And the platform: four, or six? Are these tricks of the eye or the mind—or math? By the magic
of perfect draughtsmanship it works out to just the right number.
Note the placement of pebbles—gold right, gray left—for each side of the brain, he dreams; for balance,
for focus, for scale and distortion, placed with precision to escape first notice, the better to manipulate
mind and eye to see what isn’t there:
this universe collapsing,
howling open emptiness,
no stars, no cliffs, no clocks
wormhole of sleep which draws all from there to here,
bloated, belligerent Babylon of black consumes the bottom corner, far removed from ants,
beckoning the dreamer homeward--or Hellward?
In every direction lies fear or fulfillment,
each boundary spreads wide to possibility,
from this static domain where no breeze exists
to mar the surface of an ocean
Another ekphrasis piece, this on Dali's *Persistence of Memory*. Yeah, the one with the melting watches. That one.