Thursday, October 17, 2013

Friday Nights At The Met

Having had my fill of abstractions for the evening—I did not enjoy the special exhibit of turquoise dinosaur turds—I decided to take the escalator downstairs and spend my last few minutes among the clichés housed in the recently renovated collection of classical bric-a-Braque, to see what I could see.

In those days, I carried a black Moleskine everywhere I went and recorded everything I saw. I clutched my pen with the white-knuckled determination of a thief gripping the steering wheel of a Porsche: I would not leave the world empty-handed.

In truth, I really had no earthly idea what I was up to besides scribbling: joyriding from place to place, face to face, world to word, wasting time; hoping, in the course of my travels, I would unearth a reason to exist—something, if not exactly noteworthy, or new, at least something more diverting than doing endless donuts around Death in the vegetable aisle at the supermarket.
And so it transpired that I discovered myself on the ground floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City. In that vast glass-vaulted gallery, I found a garden of broken images that—taken together and carefully weighed—amounted to less than a worm in terms of its collective artistry, but nevertheless remained resolutely human, even beautiful.

For me, this was Heaven. I dipped my fingers in a purling fountain and flicked water at Poseidon. I flipped the bird at Julius Caesar. I peeped around the shattered ass of a faceless Nike. And I whistled at what I saw. For—basking under a beam of light bespangled with billions of starry motes that suggested this section of the Cosmos was still, secretly, under construction—I spied the alabaster corpse of a laughing Cupid impaled on an iron spike.

I saw a legless young man in a wheelchair sketching that sculpture with excruciating care.

That vision of Love changed my life.

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