Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fluorescent Troglodytes

A gorgeous teenage girl is flicking her slender wrist
again and again, trying to catch a ball tied with a string
to a cup. Bleach-blonde, skin bronzed by the sun
she sits on a bench outside the museum
as the men load the piles of detritus
from the disassembled funhouse display
of Kenny Scharf's "Cosmic Cavern," his cave
of forgotten acid dreams, out of the gallery
and into the back of the rental truck to lug back
to Culver City. They haul out the plywood walls
of the installation, then boxes of toys, princess castles,
riding cars and motorcycles, old store display racks,
and various bits of trash, all of it festooned with jewels
and glitter and foil streamers, everything painted
fluorescent colors and looking cheap and garish
out here in the sun, without the black light
to give it all that otherworldly glow.
Dolls and action figures and most of all dinosaurs,
hundreds of little plastic dinosaurs glued
to every surface. There's a big plastic Frankenstein
with huge green hands held menacingly above
his head. The artist finds most of this stuff
washed up on the beach outside his house
in Brazil, one of the workers tells me,
before yelling at his companion,
"Hey, watch it with that big Fred Flintstone
head! That's one of the few things Kenny
actually cares about!"
They take a break to smoke some weed
and we all stand around and watch the girl
try to get the ball to land in the cup,
watching her miss over and over and over,
as we neanderthals try and fail to look away.

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