juxta

Looking at Marshall while an old blue-hair scholar sort in a wheelchair wheels around, silent hard rubber on smooth stone floor, wheels around and up to wall-sized nail-hung canvases like tarps thick with paint and all kinds of consciousness—Stono, Rococo, Chicago—and offers half-whispered, breathless assayances to a shuffling handful throng of acolytes who’d surely love to tell me with subtly immodest derision that assayances isn’t a word and then top it off with some kind of obnoxiously accurate but packaged-up lifeless something about the tension between abstraction and representation on the tall tarp-hung walls around us boxing us in like inadvertent togetherness and my thoughts go back to her, scholar sort, her hands academic forged of practiced, even gesticulates and footnote reference-stressed by encyclopedic cadence and words wound and spun together like straw-to-gold and I watch for a little German imp to appear to collect someone’s firstborn or steal a wallet, her assayed thoughts overlearnedly critical, filtered through a decades-long sieve of bookstack and faculty researcher archive access like a roving rolling philosopher and I wonder if she can’t stand because she knows too much

—and I swear that sounded better in my head—

and I swear I can hear the handcuffed hummingbird wings of her school band of flying humming dim shimmering fish followers over the airy even din of museum—muse-ee-um, I think, it has its own sound—and I wonder what the guards think if they can hear past the syncopated dim din hum while I mill drift around and take too long to get to the point and ponder paint-by-numbers and turn around to count them, turn away from blue-hair wheelchair wheels and decide it probably all computes if you don’t try so hard to add it up, computes but may not equate, and I decide to call it a crisis of abstraction instead, a little abstracted refraction, decide he Kerry James must be behind a false wall or glass ceiling somewhere, artist in hiding, watching, listening, looking out and looking down, waiting to collect whoever’s terms these are and take them back to his studio back down by where I live and make more thick painted consciousness that’ll end up back in here and maybe maybe maybe change “theirs,” conscious terms, his, figured and darker with that distinct brighter lighter seen revealed side, relevant for now, he said, while for now the abstracted history of representation wheels through and whispers trite and trivial, white, congenial, and I have the nerve to feel even for just a moment phony?

And so a new old story begins.

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