October 22, 2010
Rarely does a photograph inspire me as much as the jaw-dropper above does. I found it at the Huffington Post, which in turn snatched it from what I assume is Trent Reznor’s Polaroid collection. Actually, I don’t have a clue where it ultimately originated, nor do I want to know. Because the primary source can’t possibly live up to my imagination.
I like to think that the photo was found some years ago in a dented metal lunch box, on the backseat of an ivy-hugged T-Bird, which was parked alongside an abandoned hunting cabin in the north woods of Quebec. I like to think that there was a journal enclosed in that lunch box as well. I like to think that the journal starts out innocently enough, with tales of teenage optimism and lumberjacking aspirations. I like to think that a man named Pierre Beaumont enters the story at a certain point and he has the laugh of a magpie and he carries a jack-in-the-box that he’s always cranking, though the thing never opens, and when the young author asks him if it’s broken, Pierre simply puts a finger to his lips and says “the trees will drink our secrets.” And I like to think that on a night of sleet and whiskey, the author boards a canoe with Pierre and the two go in search “The Norwegian,” a notorious hermit who is said to possess a radio which is perpetually tuned to the sounds of woman washing their feet, but they lose their way when they flip the canoe, then decide to follow an albino fox through a dark hollow, at which point they come upon the fore-mentioned hunting cabin. Then I like to think that the journal changes, and mutates into a series of sketches and scrawls, of riddles and limericks, which appear to make no sense at first, until paired with the photograph above, and then a foggy portrait of an endless evening emerges, of a burlap sack full of masks, of a victrola, of a boy sewing his own eyelids shut and clapping on one and three, of a meal of mutton and Tang, of a game of William Tell, of a moonlit tango which makes the men blush with jealousy, of a hissing teapot, of third-degree burns, of a monkey with a shaved head and lobotomy scar, of a old man who speaks through a hole in his throat and says, “when I was just a boy my father took me to the fish market and we bought the largest fish they had, a five hundred pound marlin, and when we returned home, my father burned my bed and all my linens, then he sliced the marlin lengthwise with a letter opener and he told me that I was to sleep inside of its belly, and so I did, for fifteen years, just me and the marlin and the moonlight, and I was okay with this because I was boy and boys don’t know what life is supposed to give them next, and what life gave me next was a bear, a snarling, drooling, furry beast who stole the marlin and me and took us to a cave and in the cave there was a bucket and in the bucket there were marshmallows, and as the bear ate the marlin, I ate the marsmallows, until my stomach expanded and rounded me out, causing my body to roll down into the caverns and onto dark underground river, in which I floated for a while, both afraid and delighted, until I reached an opening and poured out into the Rainforest Cafe, where they were serving Rumble in the Jungle Turkey Wraps, and I ordered one of those and a nice cold sarsaparilla, and I waited for the judgement, but the judgement didn’t come, no, the judgement never comes, and I learned that the hard way, just as we’re all learning that now, deep in the gut of the world, and it’s times like these that I wish, I pray, my friends, with every bit of bone and bile in my body, that one of you kind souls remembered to bring a camera, cause we really should capture this moment…“