Basement: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Summer 1996



Art, it would seem, is a nice way of
saying that everything resides in hell—
the pictures are anguish— the negatives,
hiding somewhere, ecstasy.

They’re mounted on plain grey walls.
Slow viewers puzzle themselves; sashay,
bug-like, into corners. I am not,
unfortunately, basking in the glow of
abundant creativity, but am thrashed
by a sense of impotence. How do I
let the images in? The blonde over
there: does she do penance by giving
head? Fractions, pinpoints of light distill
from low ceiling— footsteps, cacophony
of breaths being drawn. Eyes of an
artist, mine of a bloodhound. Staid types sniff the walls.

Art, it would seem, is
a nice way of saying that everyone
resides in hell— the people are anguish—
the spirits, hiding somewhere, ecstasy.