The Death of a Sculptor
'Art is nothing but mortality, and in vain.' Paul Celan
Skylarkingly along a moonlit path
as if we didn't care; as if Gilbert
and Sullivan costumes were cool; as if
the giant beetles were not there beneath
our feet - an inch-thick carpet with a pile that crunched
revoltingly; as if Kurt could be fooled who mocked
our squeamishness. 'They feel no pain,' he cried,
'remove a beetle's abdomen, it eats on
unaware.' He drew his sword. Our last
few days together at that school, a week
in which he'd slay a score of demons in his head
slicing beetles by the thousand clean in two.
Years before we'd hear of him again. On T.V., interviewed
by Melvyn Bragg.'The world is broken, friend,' we heard,
'a photo booth that judders when we smile. The flash explodes,
the shutter sticks, light melts the reference points, the visual clues
of body language, poise, tensions in the forms, their auras
and their vibes - the subtleties that point behind the pose.
The gestures now are those of fear, the faces frozen, unaware
of what lives on within. So when I threw
Bisected Beings from the hayloft door
(or crushed another with the tractor or the four-by-four)
I had in mind: a fist, a fractured rib;
electrodes on a lifeless chest,
a sudden surge, the tissues seared;
a heart kicked into life by stress.
But that which lives dynamically, dies at last
and traumas lose their grip...'
From that seed-thought his Sculpture Clinic grew.
Came Lotte Pinkhorn, mystic, phantast, seer,
with Pterosaur With Lateral Splits (mysteriously healed!)
for Stress Replacement Therapy.
For hours Kurt worked with hammer, thermal lance and saw
until once more the final touch: the hayloft door.
Free fall. The flying pterosaur
plunged through the narrow space of his imagination
to spread itself in pieces on the floor.
Wings flapped and buckled wildly, fragments soared
like scraps of paper from a bonfire
as the ground turned black with beetle, crow and pterosaur.
He saw an angel with its palate cleft and cloven hoofs for feet
as whores in clouds like locusts flew
with crooked mouths and broken staves
to lacerate the backs of men who staggered to their graves.
His mind was broken by the sight, his body by the fall.
Last updated 11.9.2006