FAIRY DUST

Asked whether he would invest in the painting if he had $100m, Isaacson said: “The preponderance of the experts is that it is authentic, and so I would – but that doesn’t mean that I’d be absolutely sure.” from the Guardian.

Is it or isn’t it? At a converted warehouse in Dogpatch people are lined up around the building waiting to get a gander at a Leonardo, expecting, I suppose, to get some fairy dust enhancement of their lives by proximity to the greatest genius of all time. I’m in line, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping. I’m also curious, what does the Savior of the World look like? Would he appear up to the task?

The forty-five minute wait is made to seem short by the unexpected company of a journalist from the San Francisco Weekly. Jonathan Curiel wants to know if I intend to put in a bid on the painting, whether I have 100 million. Yes, I say, in my pocket right now. Pulling out his recording device, he asks what brought me to this place. I babble, not saying a word about fairy dust. Have I seen a da Vinci before? The Mona Lisa, on a flyby in the Louvre. There she was and there was the fanbase, snapping like a pond filled with carp (I’m making this up.) Whatever. Leonardo is a superstar.

The line is slow. Our conversation veers. Morocco. The architecture of synagogues. Death cafes. How Final Exit Network will come to your house and help you make yours. Gas immediate. They give practical support, free of charge.

Tempus fugit, the line moves.

A woman comes out, the white frame of her glasses two hearts. She is doing crowd fluffing. “I asked people coming out if the waiting in line was worth it, and they said,” her voice rising to be heard, “it’s worth it. They all said it’s worth it.”

But is it authentic, this experience? Would I invest in it?

Jonathan saw the painting yesterday. Today he wants to interview one of the security guards, find out what they see. Later, inside, I see him doing that. It appears the guard is not voluble. The interview is short. The crowd politely presses forward against the flimsy protective barriers. The closer you get, the more fairy dust.

There is a Pollock, a Thiebaud, a Diebenkorn ignored on adjacent walls. Chopped liver.

I don’t get closer than a few ranges of headgear and a picket fence of snaps. I take few photos myself, not that I know how to get them off my phone into this warble so you don’t have to imagine what I am talking about. Leonardo I ain’t.

Salvator Mundi. Where have I seen that smile? But the…hair. Put in the shade by the rippling black cascade of one of the female security guards. Like so many kids these days, genderqueer. Not the security guard, I mean Salvator.

What is it with the square neckline of the shift or whatever he’s wearing? That’s what I want to know although most scholars are more concerned about why the reflections in the crystal globe he’s holding are not upside down and curbed, as Leonardo,who knew everything, knew they should be. Evidence it can’t be a Leonardo.

Hence the fairy dust is ersatz.

But consider, wisenheimer, Leonardo did this on purpose because he didn’t want to show off how clever he was and take the focus off where it ought to be, on the Savior of the World.  A beautiful man, our Leonardo.

 

 

 

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What makes me smile today

1)In a spell of mid-afternoon calm, everyone waits their turn at 4-ways stops.  No,  no, after you.  Decency reigns, the implicit kindness more potent than law.

2) Roget’s International Thesaurus, Fifth Edition.  Unsurpassable elegance.  Ease of navigation.  Fantastic flourishes of juicy juxtapositions.   Once I found an erratum.  I can’t tell you what it was, it’s buried so deep in the past, like a blue marble under an avalanche, even though I was unsurpassably astonished when I found it.

3) Today’s garden find: not a marble but hanging from the Lady Banks rose: a black bra, a dewy web between its straps.

4) At yoga Da Gang has us doing a twist, “Turn turn turn,” he encourages.  That’s the song I’m trying to learn on the accordion.  To every thing, there is a season.

5) Rain predicted tonight.

 

 

 

from The Eumenides

The faraway wars, civil, uncivil, come home.

 

MADE OF DARKNESS

            CLOTHED IN DARKNESS

WE ROVE ALONG

            THE FLIGHT PATHS

OF TORMENT

WE FOLLOW WAR HOME,

AND WHERE THE KILLING WEAPON

          REFUSES TO REST

WHERE IT PERSISTS

          WITH ITS MADNESS

WITHIN A FAMILY,

BLOOD SHEDDING ITS OWN BLOOD

WE ARRIVE,

BRINGING THE JUDGMENT OF EARTH

DO NOT ADDICT THEM

TO THE DRUG OF DANGER—

THE DREAM OF THE ENEMY

THAT HAS TO BE CRUSHED

           LIKE AN HERB,

BEFORE THEY CAN SMELL FREEDOM.

DO NOT INFLAME THEM

WITH THE FOOLISH TEMPER

OF THE FIGHTING COCK

THAT SETS FACTION AGAINST FACTION

WITHIN THE ONE CITY OF FAMILIES

ALL FOR NOTHING

THE NUMBERED AND PITILESS CARNAGE

OF CIVIL WAR.

BUT WHEN THE BLOOD

           OF SOMEONE HE HAS KILLED

SPILLS INTO HIS CONSCIENCE

HE SINKS INTO THE BLACK

CLOUDS OF OUR TATTERS.

THEN THE LIVING BLOOD

            THAT BEATS IN THE HEAD

IS THE DRUM OF VENGEANCE.

HIS OWN HAND, DARKENED BY BLOOD

COVERS HIS EYES.

HIS BRAIN WHIRLS IN DARKNESS.

VOICES OF THE DEAD

DEEPEN HIS VOICE AS HE GROANS.

(trans. Ted Hughes)

BUTTONS POSTS PETITIONS COMMENTS TO THE NY TIMES

don’t cut it. The canaries in the coal mine are gasping for air. Every minute, it seems, a new travesty coupled with another (un)natural disaster. Making america great again. Why isn’t everyone out in the street protesting? It’s baffling.

FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

This Friday, part of LitQuake, I’ll be reading with cohorts in my writing group.  Be there or be hapless.

 

didn’t you expect

didn’t you expect

when you got to this age you’d

have a better idea of not who

but why you are

that you would

have more stable friends

that each day when the bluejay

steals a blue marble

you unearthed in other gardens

and re-buries it with his beak

placing a brown leaf over the grave

for remembrance or ceremony

you’d recall your debts to praise and

praise again

WHAT’S MAKING ME SMILE TODAY

In the morning I am a bouillabaisse of irritation, for no obvious reason. No major threats or hassles, just the usual, the drive across town to work, construction everywhere (NOW WHY are they ripping up the street?) Uber double-parkers, garbage trucks (future) and UPS trucks (present) further contributing to the vehicular thrombosis. At Arguello and Fulton many cops misdirect traffic, a smog of sizzling flares, a bus up the curb, a smashed SUV and a motorcycle on its side. Well, at least that wasn’t my morning.

Today’s peace quote in my inbox: There’s nothing about content that’s going to change. Turn attention to joy and joy is what you experience. Turn attention to ego, to something wrong and something wrong/suffering is what you have. Cheri Huber.

Naturally this irritated me further.

My body’s tired after a strenuous season of gardening. Maybe that’s it. Reading the news is not joy-inducing; today’s understatement. I read it anyway. Venom and bile. My inbox is a blizzard of exhortations, pleas, and petitions. It’s too much, an excuse to do too little. When do we march?

After work I take my phone to the ATT office. The durable protective glass ($40) is disintegrating in snowflake patterns. Lifelong warranty. I’ve had the damn thing less than three months.  I detest it, and it knows it.

Glad to be home though before nightfall I am on the 49-Van Ness, on my way to see Dolores before it disappears.

The list: I almost forgot. Six or seven candidates, pretty good, when, like Ishmael, “I find myself growing grim about the mouth.”

1) Da Gang’s yoga class. Feels good, even the next day.

2) Rita’s getting her casts off today.

3) This cartoon in the New Yorker: a couple sitting up in bed, covers to their waists, the wife on the phone saying, “The parking is terrible, so we decided to never do anything again.” More than a smile, I laughed out loud.

The issue is The Style Issue. Every year when The Style Issue arrives my inner unfunny uncle gets stirred up. Why am I reading about The Beautycon Cosmetics Festival? Pictures too! On page 69 we have the plumassier Eric Charles-Donatien napping on a swan. That 4) merits a smile and a single raised eyebrow.

Some rabid honking yanks me back from ateliers and icons and Donatella. Van Ness Street is setting a record for being torn up. Now it’s a duet, a laying on of the horns. There’s more of that lately, a lot of it from bus drivers. I think they’re being trained to blast at the Uber ubstructors. That kinda makes me smile. Queasy though it is, I put it 5) on the list.

At the theater waiting impatiently for the movie to start, I remember why I decided to never do anything again. Preview after preview. One, fittingly you might say, is about the shoemaker, Manolo Blahnik. Just Manolo to the cognoscenti. There must be a less poverty-stricken word than “shoemaker,” something French with five syllables.

On the way back home, this 6) made me smile: “The dress looked almost like something that a Catholic schoolgirl might wear, except that at the waist the fabric had been cleverly cut and folded, like origami, to reveal glimpses of midriff. The fabric, from Japan, was made partly from paper. When I asked her how the dress was washed, she looked surprised, as if the question had never occurred to her.”

Lately Muni buses have been reliable. Smile 7) of amazement.

Home again. Glad again.