Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wanted, wanted Dolores Haze...


Who is the juvenile delinquent pictured on the right? I found this mugshot in a box of old photographs disinterred during my recent move from Connecticut to Jackson Heights.

Clearly a tough customer, as you can tell from the bald head, the bully-boy bill and the surgical stitching surrounding the circumference of her neck. It must have been quite a fracas that left her in the hands of the police. It looks as if someone tried to pull her head off--and nearly succeeded. How this act of violence might have affected her judgment, her subsequent views of Art or Life, we can only, with difficulty, speculate.

Still, there is something about that stitching--a homespun, homemade, almost child-like quality--which indicates to one disinterested observer, at least, that perhaps this odd little bird was not entirely a stranger to tenderness--to what, in a more civilized Age, we might have called 'Humanity.'

I understand her whereabouts are presently unknown. Luckily we are not concerned with her existence as a duck, but as a work of Art. I think that perhaps what is most striking about this over-exposed photograph is how debased in our dictionaries--how soiled with use--that word--Humanity--has become.



Dolly
Or, The Twins


The mouth reminds me of a platypus—
A duck—the last of the wild red mallards. Sure,
She might be stuffed like any one of us,
But could you survive a suit of raw velour?

Her origins are wrapped in mystery.
The tag stitched to this stump still reads, “Korea.”
One wonders—North or South? The DMZ?
Dolly does not discuss her past. I fear,

Nothing—noise—not even naphthalene—
Has prevented moths nibbling holes in her back.
(Moths, which I should add, I’ve never seen—
Except as powder, palpable as ash.)

A photo of the two of us exists
Somewhere. I look much smaller. She’s the one
Appearing to examine the goldfish
Swimming around their cool, ceramic sun.



3 comments:

::: TN ::: said...

"...perhaps this odd little bird was not entirely a stranger to tenderness."

A clear and perfect shot of the language. Francine Prose would agree with me.

Anonymous said...

lovely. and i've always loved Dolly, anyway, as you already know.

Shropshirelad said...

I know. And Dolly has always been fond of you...