Fisted. Oh, Africa (2008)

Acrylic on Canvas: Digital PhotoCollage: Son poing à l'intérieur du trou chaud.

Paris. Just before sunset.

My hands in his warm bowels.

Silent and starving. Pushed along by horses from the river. I arrive at rooftops.

Oh, Africa was the name we called our first apartment building at Pigalle Place; Boulevard de Clichy.

Another derelict hotel with the boys and the whores and the junkies and the artists and the transvestites and all the other throwaways.

The kind of place you can find almost anywhere. Even in some of the more remote parts of the planet.

A remote derelict hotel is still a derelicty hotel.

Taos. The Navajo Nation. Santa Fe. Key West. Manhattan. Hong Kong. Shinjuku. San Francisco. Especially San Francisco. Mexico City. Florence. Paris.

My derelict hotels.

Same horses. Same river. Same veins. Same fist plunged.

Into you. Bebe.

I'm not sure I could live in a building ...

Full Description

Acrylic on Canvas: Digital PhotoCollage: Son poing à l'intérieur du trou chaud.

Paris. Just before sunset.

My hands in his warm bowels.

Silent and starving. Pushed along by horses from the river. I arrive at rooftops.

Oh, Africa was the name we called our first apartment building at Pigalle Place; Boulevard de Clichy.

Another derelict hotel with the boys and the whores and the junkies and the artists and the transvestites and all the other throwaways.

The kind of place you can find almost anywhere. Even in some of the more remote parts of the planet.

A remote derelict hotel is still a derelicty hotel.

Taos. The Navajo Nation. Santa Fe. Key West. Manhattan. Hong Kong. Shinjuku. San Francisco. Especially San Francisco. Mexico City. Florence. Paris.

My derelict hotels.

Same horses. Same river. Same veins. Same fist plunged.

Into you. Bebe.

I'm not sure I could live in a building where I could not escape up to the rooftop. To get away. From people mainly.

The mohawk only is.

It puts people off. Green. Black. Purple. Just back off.

They'll step back exactly three slow paces. I walk away from the stares. These people are nothing.

No one cuts my hair. All that touching would drive me mad. Like ants.

There is something about the mohawk -- it's an easy buzzcut to do myself as I hate people touching me -- that is not unlike the blackness of the rooftop.

People ask me shyly why the mohawk. With that at-your-advanced-age intonation. Judgments. The tablets from the gods. Like the young gods among us are sacred. We worship at the feet of youth. Hungry for the liquid measure of their steps. Pushing us along like horses.

The young and their autumn's fruit. My cold dreams and fights against the land and winter conceals my lineage for we are the blind ones and like Lear, endlessly alone.

I do not envy them.

I do not envy the world they will inherit. Sniffing the vampire twilight as they do. Their tongues in my mouth like blood.

My tongues and languages licking out their holes clean of light and soup. I need a long black coat this year.

They can have their world.

Mine is simply a sovereign lashing of this old backbone of the whips. Come along, you, derelict. Their lovely pale white bodies with their blue arteries running hot like pumas in the street. The street is black again like me. Oh, Africa.

Bibleblack. Shattered where even death fails to fold its wings. My eyes are with the lunatics.

They tremble, too, the young. Between the vertical light and the darkening sky, their voices and their fingers drop away, their nocturnal skin and furious dreams, tangled in the hurt of a million midnights, their vast cities are machines, piercing the land of rags, shaking in fright out of sheer tenacity, nervously begging you to hold them lucid and heavy as their anxiety has now turned them inside out. Silent and starving. Pushed along by horses. Empty and carnivorous. The young are the condemned.

Long lines of them like convicts. Marching off to the slog of work.

Choked and smothering in their suits and ties.

There is no point in my history at which time I have ever once owned either a suit or even a tie.

Shoot me. Fist me. Fuck me like a pig.

I would sooner eat shit than wear a suit. Or be one.

The suits are the enemy. They always have been. They always will be. The rich own us all. The rich own every artist's soul ever born.

For we are their whores.

In the old days, the suits were usually older than I was. The suit was a statement of authority.

Today, the suits are mainly younger than I am. The younger generation has embraced the suit with electrified enthusiasm. They are neither different or unique. I despise most of them.

Anyway, a mohawk and a suit rather clash.

There are young people who don't wear suits. I work with a lot of artistic types who don't wear them but I have this sublime suspicion that there are secret suits packed away somewhere in hidden closets and ready to be worn in a suit emergency.

On my back. Looking up at the milk-pink sky. Imbued with the pastels of its heavy metals. My shirt soaked in sweat from the tar of this roof and glued to it tenuously.

"I thought I'd find you up here."

"Well, you have."

I do not look at him.

Only the sky going quick to lead.

"I see you've had another major convulsive fit right on the pages of the New York Times."

I wish he did not care. Stop caring.

"They're the only publication that hasn't banned me."

"They probably will."

"In time." We both said it.

"I don't hear back from any of the book people."

Good.

"You might have asked." I have now prohibited him from sending my work to anyone but I suspect he does it anyway.

"You would have said no."

"I would just as soon burn the lot of it. Publishers, editors, gallery owners, agents of this and that, curators; they all make me quite sick to my gut, you know."

"I know."

for what is it that they make I growl and growl.

There is a long silence between us as the earth below us hurls furious quantities of hot fog into the frigid air. Hot. Cold. Pushed along by horses.

"Do you care about anyone."

"You. A few others."

"Most people would never understand our relationship."

"Do you need them to."

"Sometimes people look at us as if we might be slime."

"We don't have that kind of relationship."

"But they don't know that. They assume..."

"People assume. It's what most people do. For a living, I mean."

"You mean, like a job."

"No. Like a life. They assume they have one and you don't."

"Well, I don't."

"You don't what."

"Have much of a life outside of you."

"How is that my fault."

This is the part where I am old enough to know to never look into their eyes as this thing now unfolding unfolds.

You learn not to do it.

"It is your fault."

"I know."

"You pretend not to but you keep me a prisoner in this place. I hate you for that."

"You could leave."

I know he's looking at me now. He could never leave.

I don't see it because I am not looking. But there's a quarter of an inch space between his lips right now gone dry. In about thirty seconds he will lick his lower lip with his tongue.

I do not need to see it. I just know.

"Don't tell me what to write. Don't tell me what to paint. And don't tell me what to do with it."

"Someday I'm going to be all alone. You're going to be dead and I'll be lost. And I'm going to wish I had the stuff of us -- this stuff we're always making -- to remind me of a time I was not alone. I want it treated carefully. But you just shrug it off. You could throw it to the wind. You could make great bonfires of us."

"There is no us."

"There is definitely an us."

"It's only stuff. It's film emulsion. It's as ethereal as a digital image. It's a stone carved to seem like a face. It's a bunch of paint on a canvas. It's a bunch of words on a page or a computer screen. It's meaningless."

"But not to me."

"No. Not to you. But to me."

"You're never going to just let go of me, are you."

"Probably not."

"Outwardly, it looks like you keep me around because I keep you organized."

"But we know better than that, don't we."

He did not say yes.

"You're here because it excites you and so do I." He knows.

"I get so angry with you for not trying."

"You and half of Paris. If I'm here. With you. Now. I'm trying. Usually, I'm giving it all I have."

"Sometimes I feel like I'm up here because it keeps you from jumping off this roof."

"Roll us a great big beautiful fat joint, please."

I don't know why he always does what he's told even when he does it with a brooding blackness that leaks from his own eyes grief to grief. He could rebel.

I do not make rebellion easy.

No. I make that one quite, quite difficult.

My own easily overwhelms any facsimile he might have had. Wits about you, boy.

He touches the mohawk with his fingers. He knows how I feel about being touched. But I do not move. Their tongues in my mouth like blood. I need a long black coat this year. The milk-pink sky. Imbued with the pastels of its heavy metals. Superfluous movement so unnecessary.

When you are being pushed along silent and starving by horses from the river. Come along, you, derelict. The street is black again like me. Fisted. Oh, Africa.

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