Sunday, December 18, 2016

Lesson SEVEN : Darshan


In regard to the “Great Mask” of the Dogon peoples: 
Although a mask in name and form, 
the Great Mask is rarely worn.  
Instead its very presence 
transforms its surroundings 
into a place of mystical exchanges.

”10 more minutes,” said the guard and I thought I’d go say goodbye to Miro, Dutch Interior, but first I peeked into the next room thinking, Anything else to see?  And there she was, as I have for so long yearned to see her: Gertrude Stein, as Picasso painted her at 27 rue de Fleurus.  Acting normal is something that seldom holds much appeal for me.  On this occasion I forswore it entirely.  I received the darshan of Gertrude Stein.  I bowed.  I namaskared.  I totally would have done a full-length prostration, right across the floor of the Met, but the guard was already on full-scale freak alert.

      Last thing before bed, while brushing our teeth and stripping down, the angel and I, wandering by one bulb around the angel’s room, two dark blue walls, two orange ones, after the goldfish had succeeded at last in getting our attention and been fed, the angel tripped over my dropfoot brace.  Before I could stop him, he picked it up, and tried to put it on.  He got nowhere.  The angel’s calves are thick and strong.  He held it against his leg to compare.  The length is similar but the width of my leg is just that of the bone.  Thumb touched to forefinger neatly encircle it.  The angel nodded.  I always wanted someone to understand me, but now that someone does it’s unnerving.  
     For those 10 minutes I stared at Gertrude Stein as much as I possibly, humanly could.  I must record here that the famous portrait, about which so much has been written, is vastly more beautiful than the false, hollowed-out, and misleading reproductions you see in books.  The portrait is rich and sensuous, yes, with a resemblance to African masks, but the face is NOT mask-like.  Gertrude Stein radiates life, warmth, sensuality.  She is hugely seductive, which, as you likely recall, is invariably how people spoke of her, men and women alike.  “I want to fuck her,” said Hemingway, because, as a man, that was how he knew to understand things.

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