A Society of Artists
The second biggest problem is the dust that embeds into the canvases.Every piece has the distinction of the desert, every painting the same twoplanes of disparate infinite views. The nightscapes are the prettiest, thoughthe sun batters the paint into thick patterns. If a glass can even be filled,it’s a matter of temperature and culture that governs the adage-–that remnantof a wise world-–not the pessimist divide.The biggest problem is the receding grass. An Aboriginal woman says it’swormflies and the leatherfaced Sikh says the seeds are tired of battling theheat. Mouth’s Cradle is about to become a haven of embittered ghosts—no ethermenthol, no choruses, just the snail carrying wind and the steppe made ofbodies. Tired bodies, sickened by the bastardising of civilisation, given upfor this decreasingly fertile sand. Maybe it’s wormflies. The grass should havenever sprouted. It doesn’t matter how you die when you die an exile. Xenophobiaturned in on itself, this natural palace, natural prison.Germs on the side of a titanic sunbathing mammal and it waits to see howwe’ll cook, how quickly the rough skin can be scraped and shrugged away.Here’s a painting of Venus. Wishful thinking. I don’t remember how oldthis one is. All I’ve seen lately are squares of plain sand and boorish sky.Some sand is red, some sky is red. Every withering human weed here paints thesame thing with trivial differences. If only Venus would open up her cock andspray us with cities and rivers and the sound and smell of crunching dirt.Boyish Venus, this moodless dry yard.Another boom. The dry thunder’s going to roar later tonight. It soundslike an ill-tempered god is shouting Cock at us, as if we could fulfill Genesisand populate the earth again. No chance of that: le monde repeuple.Cuntmouth frequently tells me about her old life. It’s not a life I’dhave taken if I’d had a choice, but anything is better than being hung by athread. She was a seamstress.She’s friendly. Old, tired, like everything here. I call her Cuntmouthbecause she hasn’t had teeth as long as I can remember and her gums are black.Some shitty mash latches onto her breath but I don’t get close enough to smellthe worst of it. She’s Mother Earth.She waddles to me. I’m doing nothing. Should be enough to tell her Idon’t want company.You’re thinking of the grasses again.Yeah.You shouldn’t.Shouldn’t do anything here.
Thinking about that isn’t good for you. You’re lucky.We’re the unluckiest things left in this hole.There’s no reason to be dark about things. If you’re sure it’s ending,enjoy the time you have left.It’s already ended. I dread having to wait.Cuntmouth waddles back.I sit in the trim grass. It’s starving, it’s starving us. It’s at once aprecious sight, color so vacant in the beige melting horizon, that artlesspaper, but I want it to brown quickly, then waste back into the sand.Willpower’s keeping it alive. Not my willpower. I just don’t want to deprivemyself of luck. Such luck.If I had a cigarette, I’d scar myself something complex. Play connect thedots with paint. When I’d first come here, the constant sweating had bore acnein droves. I kept my mind off death by looking at the paths along my skin. Nowit’s hardened, flawed. Everything becomes the environment when the environmentis this lucky. Not even desperate enough to grow.Nature has become a narrow, patte eggshell. One sliver of nutrience to behad from it, so small as to be merely trivial, mocking. Sucking the air frombubbles when you’re drowning. Just enough to keep your body working, too littleto keep your heart working. But it’s easy to stop when the world’s so lucky.Saltpan becomes Bohemia, dust becomes warlock stripper dust, a pretty thing, abauble that reminds you of the cheap interior. It isn’t a sad thing. It’s noteven miserable. It’s the life essential and a reminder, or a punishment, howsimple life need be to test the limits of luxury. How far the world can extendits broken legs before it releases the stress of carrying a society of artists.If the sky is a father who pours its rain only when he’s generous, andthe unstill dusts of the ground is a mother who can’t stop shifting, thismighty quiet end is a peaceful marriage come to terminus because the kidscouldn’t stop fighting. Us kids got covered in blood too many times for Mum toclean up, fought her too much for her to keep caring and nourishing. Yeah, thatlesson: see how well you do with no food and excuses for humanity to keep youcompany.Doing well, Mum. Keep on keeping on doing absolutely nothing. Not evenproperly brooding. Make me as dumb as the sun you taunt us with, make me asnaked as the lizards and the lobos.Talking to the earth is a lonely endeavor, but it’s a rewarding endeavorand Cusser comes up to me, today seems to be merry-go-round and I’m the goround,and Cusser says: