After Dutch Still Life by Anonymous
Torrid is your verdure, and you’ve a temperament of the untamed—
but staccatoed—eyed soft with a cloth-clot. Take the marrow of your flora:
tawny, taken-over, these tentacular leaf-tips turned upwards and way-
wards, but controlled. Wholly manicured is this quack-cure for rot. Moreover,
take the grottoed downplay of the greens—or rather—take the brunt of
the brights, how they’re maimed by an under-umber, a minute muting, so as not
to be too much. Take all that is lurid, which is to say, take in how the tropes
are scintillant and gloss-spilled and overdosed with scumbles: golden, precise.
Of course, the composition is skulled, and so we must wince once or twice
in our skin until we are fully skilled in its mastery of fruit, flower, wine, game,
glass, crustacean, insect, silver, velvet, feather, and background-growing vine.
This is when the altarpiece went piecemeal, and so, god is implied in the lobster,
the plucked peasant, and the farcical lemon, crisp-embittered, uncoiling
with the weight of its yellow-ludicrous gleam. Indeed, the idea here is to transpose
the rose and its bastard kin into a reliquary, tempt-equipped for both viewer
and maker, to implode the overgrowth into a grotesque bouquet at the liturgy
of one’s last breakfast. Lest that fail, here we have a lesson in hand-holding,
hand-withholding, a way to hold what the hand can’t hold, to have a way with it,
to say, this was my hand and here it toiled for a time, and Amen: everything can
be arranged, lifted, and licked, and yes, brevity is heavy. Take, for instance,
the result of candlelight: how it immediately annihilates the non-neutrals,
makes the leap from lush object to pitch black, a quick blight of negative space,
no gradations into, no greyscale, just a point blank, full-stopper bang into backdrop.
This is the zone of the insects, [save for one fly erect on another interim, seated
on the orbital bone of our ancestor, its prison while the half-sugaring, half-decaying
(perhaps these are the same thing) feast glitters around him. He, we can see, is humor-
less because he makes us think of our own eyes as thus. But ha: how he’d like to be
wet-legged on the suck of a cherry, charged with the heat of its tart] and how trans-
lucent their glowing bodies be, lined silhouette-like like the white larkspur yet fainter.
They occupy the corners: butterfly, dragonfly, second fly, and maggot.
They are the buffers before the void, before the bulge of the second act.
In fact, they take and turn their backs to it.