Dirty Gerty's Hurdy Gurdy


Only the poem knows what's true

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ocean(ic) Thoughts...

Dear Reader(s)?,

I love late-winter days when there are vernal intimations, and you can almost cup the zephyrs catching cold. This was such a day, spring-like, sunny. I took a walk on the shores of the Ocean (to those of you unfamiliar with my geography, I'm on the North Shore of Long Island, abutting The Sound, and the ocean is on the South Shore, 25-40 minutes, by car, from my home); there were breezes, there were slight waves, a few surfers in the water, and the smell, as anyone who has experienced the ocean would expect, exquisite! And it was here, walking, that something came back, to me. A girl etched her name in the sand, "KENZIE," and it reminded me of something from Ulysses. I think, in the Nausicaa chapter, it was Leo.(pold) POLDY (!) Bloom who wrote his name in the sand, after viewing Gerty McDowell on the beach. And this wasn't a crude, humdrum, girl in a bikini viewing. This was the early 1900's, when men were still crass, but alas, there was still more... class. And don't get me wrong, I know Ulysses was censored...banned, for a bit, in America, and I also know how horrid that is, because it offers so much to the artistic sphere. But, my point in this matter, is that, viewing Gerty, getting an ever so slight imaginative glance into her knickers, his stream of consciousness, albeit masturbatory, ensued. I think what people misconstrued in Joyce's era, was the necessity of making his stream of consciousness liquid, masturbatory, fertile, as opposed to eunuch-like. And the "I AM A" being written in the sand signifies so much. Hoe things can so easily change, the ineluctable modality of form, the cuckolding, Molly cuckolding him in action, he cuckolding her in this moment in thought, (and remember Molly is meant to be Penelope's "other," meant to embody a perversion of Penelope, Odysseus's fair, loyal companion/wife), the fact that I AM A will be washed away. Leopold leaving his imprint, what some would call a name, would be washed away, simply shows how prone to re-creation every form is. Particularly art. So, walking on the ocean, when I saw "KENZIE," I realized, yet again, the re-creative capabilities of all art. How a signature is left, somehow, but like the primordial, can only be conceived in imaginative mercy. Life can grow from the primordial, yes, but the primordial can never grow from life. Just as we can't color the primordial with anything save our endemic, human hues, so a reader or viewer can only capture a portion of an artist's emotion and impact. So much of it must be re-created in the readers' eyes. And I'm by no means espousing a misconstrued Barthesian "Death of the author," but a Descartesian, "Cogito Ergo Sum." THe author will always be there, incontrovertibly; what we must realize, to be good readers, good viewers, to be even deserving of what we encounter, is that we are responsible for the work being born, again. The artist is the fire that kills and reborns the phoenix, we are the dream of the phoenix's re-creation. *I also, mind you, indulged in the beautiful ocean winds, the again, lovely, smell, and collecting sea-shells and watching peoples' footprints in the sand, knowing they too, like "I AM A," would be washed away.* Bonne Nuit!

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