Jul 25, 2006

Who is the what why Walrus?

Why Lennon? I wanted to ask.

She sat in the middle of the coffee shop on a Saturday like an unofficial art display. She bent over the white canvas stapled around onto the pine frame and the white paint and the black paint were puddled up on a palate. The palate was newsprint bent up as a bowl and balancing on the edge of the couch. She seemed somehow to be the middle or everything, a space of silent absorption. She seemed somehow to be the middle and in the middle of that was John Lennon.

Lennon looked out. He looked through round glasses painted black with white highlight glints. He looked iconic, in mussed hair and a t-shirt. Something looked wrong with his skin, the way she’d put it down, and I wondered how long this was before he died. He looked done like a Warhol as realism. He looked a pop poster pinned up on the wall but instead of airbrushed he'd been painted. He looked but his eyes were blank, drug dazed or fame glazed or dulled by something and he was lost to me. He looked like an empty mask, like some copy of a copy of a copy of a copy losing it’s shaded shape and I wanted to say, why Lennon?

I didn't say it, didn't ask because I couldn't without seeming to flirt and really I just wanted to know. The older guy with the stack of philosophy anthologies set on the high stool next to him had already moved down to the couch to ask her something. She sat silent and he talked.

I invented an answer. I remembered someone else's answer. I invented another. Then I gave up. To me Lennon means nothing. I don't know what she's looking at, smudging, brushing, bent over furiously. He means something to her and I don't know what or why and I can't get there from here.