Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"doleful and drat" (2010)
ted houghtaling

Monday, August 9, 2010

VOL. 1

early memories: wormy wood, doleful air hangs over the temple walls, strands of hair taped with sweat to our brows. the willow weeps, maude mourns, and the cypresses sup under a sun made black owing to the croaking gloom by the swamp. old aquariums left to ruins along its banks. we go out onto the abandoned stage looking over the estuary and we set up our props and actors. but as far as i can go, always we return to the neon green and black room. i remember the circular enclosure in which we read our books, on fifties visions of the future, our possible lives in space, the herbariums in the rotating cyclinders where we walked on the walls to water the ceiling ferns and grofths. the man in the mask who rounded the turbine hallway wielding a knife. waving it round, but i never saw his eyes, his true madness. it was left up to me, to use the green gator as the signpost to find my way back to my crippled mother at the abandoned food court. occasionally, a pagan god would appear on the foothpath to work, festooned with gold, ivory and fur and proportions stretched to the four corners of the fields. here we were, soaked in gauzy light, the edges blurred in whites and beiges, back then again, before i got here, where i saw the darkened rooms with illuminated display cases. there were old childrens books that came to life with immaculately handcrafted puppets and miniature men & animals. felt, buttons, coudoroy, wooden shoes, licorice rivers, honeypot eyes, yellow caps with blue stitching, little scenes of villages brimming with machinisme & artificial life. hurrying about, busying themselves with tasks they performed by clockwork at the start of every day. i went from one display case to the next and watched the dancing bear at play under panes of glass. looking below. life in miniature. dolphins, legos, crystalized men, rubies, sapphires, emeralds. we can never go back. why i am attracted to old auditoriums & concert halls. after the teachers go home the imaginary audience appears. the museum of shellached dinosaurs. the bones are painted red, blue and green. did i imagine that or actually live it? white gallery spaces on the riverfront. pulleys and levers, and giant doors that serve no practical function. favorite wings of tmonh in no particular order. the hologram primate, the giant mosquito, the dark depths. the hall of giant reptiles at the crystal palace. then back further to a white wall.