from Blood of the Sun...
Updated: 5 days ago
Jack is amazed. Everywhere, paint cans and rolled-up canvas, sticks from the yard in Maxwell House cans, ancient postcards on the walls, a yellowed map of the world, a dusty stuffed owl and a human skull, faded newspapers, an old Bible next to Being And Nothingness, a Dürer woodcut of Death on a horse, and everywhere the smell of paint, thick as humidity—caustic and overwhelming, but full of hope. And scattered amongst empty beer, whiskey, and gin bottles, paintings: complete and in-progress.
Dense webs of color. The bare branches of winter wood, limbs entwined against the cold.
The haze of a New York summer—sticky clouds of heat and sweat on skin.
The chaos of the Big Bang, God's breath blowing the cosmic debris across the void.
A snapshot of thoughts and memories swirled in a kind of double helix of neurons and electric-spark infusions.
A flash and flutter of impulse in the form of color and conviction and rhythmic ecstatic dance.
And this explosion of humanity rescued and resurrected from the dark depths of itself.
“This is the psyche, Odessa,” Pollock explains. He motions to a painting on the floor. “D’ya like Jazz, Jack?”
“I… used to.”
“I'm more into Nirvana.”
“Aren't we all?” Pollock smiles. “Charlie Parker, Diz, they approach what I'm doing, but…”
“They can't get past their instruments. This…” He holds up a brush, then tosses it aside as if throwing it across the Universe.
Jack shakes his head.
“Brushwork, Jack. Within those bristles is Leonardo, Michelangelo. Every time you dip it in the paint, your mind, your memory blocks it.”
“The flow. The Unconscious. The inner world. It's all we have left!” He shoots a glance around. “Boy, we shoulda got another bottle!”
“You don't have anything?”
“No more whiskey, no more rye,” he says in a sing-song voice, as he motions to the empty bottles strewn about the floor. “Where was I?”
“Oh yeah. Images are redundant! If you haven't come to that conclusion, you're either stuck in the last century or a Commie.” He gives Jack a wink. “So how does today’s artist express himself, in this Age of jet planes and the atom bomb? Of World Wars and Auschwitz? How, but with new methods that have evolved with the Age itself! People see my paintings, they say ‘This guy can't draw! What's that supposed to be?’ But they're stuck!” Pollock explains. “They think too much. I'm not painting a ‘thing’”, he says, with a defiant look of disdain. “I'm not even painting an idea or a concept. I'm painting something other, do you see? The inner world, Jack. But it's beyond even that.” A smile comes to his face, then as quickly disappears. “I'm painting God.”
(Blood of the Sun is my latest novel.)