Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cant resist your smile

In a third successive unrelated reading, Immanuel Kant scores a mention.

The book is Angus Trumble’s highly diverting ‘A Brief History of the Smile’ (2004) which discusses many intriguing topics around the central question: what is a smile?

For instance, is it a mating call or just a default position and how does it work and what does it mean?

Trumble notes that Kant is depicted as smiling on the frontispiece of his 1796 book ‘A Critique of Judgement’.

Kant is in illustrious company, ‘Smile’ also goes on to discuss such luminaries as Sid Vicious, AC/DC, Aristotle, Boccaccio, Camus, Grover Cleveland, Darwin, Disraeli, Elizabeth I, WC Fields, Tipper Gore, Ulysses Grant, hippies, Thomas Jefferson, da Vinci, Moses, Ozzy Osbourne, Walter Scott, Bon Scott, La Gioconda, Elizabeth Taylor and Margaret Thatcher.

Trumble is a Melburnian and was a curator of European Art at the gallery of South Australia. He joined the brain drain by hightailing it to the US where he is now the curator of Painting & Culture at the Yale Centre for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut.

I’m writing for the aged of the ages.
The old that that are not quite dead.
Those who have the wisdom of the pages and the era.
Night recedes from darkness and calibrating kind words
Shut doors, entrailed floors rife with sin
Missed the months of mindless love
Plants succoured by unnatural rain
Whether it becomes me to paint my nails
Or plant them in the hands of the wagon
Redemption from the schooner line
Tinpot predictions at ten past nine
Lord’s witness protection schematic
Kitchen soot and plainflour attic
Bamboo grove peniscillinslim
Hardwork fetish professional crim
Dipped in inarticulate honey
Foolish with someone else’s money
Possession rate is middling poor
But enthusiastic prepared for golden dig
Lumbering like blind venetian moor
Sucking blacklanding loading rig
My destiny is drilled in remnants of cold fatigue
Short icebergs traipse in the green sun
Collapsed moments don’t darken matter
Remind me of a time twenty billion years ago
Before time was brought to bear
Tealeaf condiments of the bushido code
Chessman tanks, freshman ranks
freely fermenting in the motherlode
Cheesecake cutters, mothers dementing
Concrete canyons dipped in union
Capital rattlers soundblasted communion
Carpet sideburns of a tulip lake
Chandeliers kingcrimson delicate fake
In the depth of my eyes I’m delivering feeling
Muddled translation and halflost meaning
Coffeeblast in triptych of reality
Tales of hoffmen feudal fatality
Losing my spiritual flatulence
In a playden of opiate opulence
Carted away on sylvan ambulance
Can’t stand fashion’s smoking ambience
Embers only entrance mirror marvels
Lost brother’s secret parlance of scalpels
Spread muckwise by sunblemished saints
Raked up by the church of the latterday taints
As the grammar queen’s sentence constabulary
Erects speed cameras around your vocabulary
Sockseated in the pantheon of nations
Throned in platform shoes cross stations
Tintinabulating campanologists hammer
While queasy half-fed vergers stammer
Ancient laws and prejudice dominates
Eighty percent approval common denominates
Seatbelt fastened at the tone
May the force be without the security zone
Airmarshalls, sniffer sheriffs and deputy dogs
Gather on magnolia street with raining frogs
Tipper and Tippi, Skipper and Chippy
Seek slender tender skinny dipping sickie
Slick one slide slim
Paratroopers light up in oil
Nigerian fry in puddles of inflammable black
Whitecollars euphemise in upturned sack
Dazzling infomercial death slay per view
Worlds collide on air in mulligatawny stew
Cabinet fates incurred all too soon
Caustic lives shambling to ruin
Thylacine dancers on the soap-o-matic
Ultraviolet mice click on syncopatic
Words on other worlds icecap
Penguin guano farms antarctic licetrap
Listening, glistening for alien wireless
Prisoners cells contort with virus
Magi floating on twenty camels
Packet steamers on canals untrammelled
While death came quickly for Jimi and Janet
Me? I’m slowly sliding off the planet

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