Sunday, February 22, 2015

His face was dead. In the back alley that separates the bar called the One Lucky from a city Church, he was jumped from behind. His face crashed against the concrete. He was kicked. They cursed him and left him there to die. No police arrived to investigate the faceless, bloodied man. No one traced his life. No one followed his last footsteps into a dark alleys where he met the mad fury of others.
Sometimes I go to Thrift Stores and buy cheap Chinese art. Plastic, tasteless, fakeries with no pretense of the beauty of the great dynasties. I purposefully buy the worst I can find, with the factory strokes, the cheap wooden frames, the garish insult to the genius of creative labour. I bring them home and hang them on my wall. I order bad Chinese food and taste red sauce and fried, salty ribs. I'll drink Tsing Tao beer till I'm a little drunk. Then I'll call a friend to see how he's doing, even though I know he's dying. We'll talk about his cancer. But I don't tell him about the bad art or the bad food. I hang up the phone. Next week I'll do the same thing--buy more fake Chinese art, call my dying friend. Maybe, I hope, this strangeness in me can cancel out the sadness of life. Or maybe the mockery of beauty cancels out the importance of life, and I've been fooled by cheap plastic all along.