Friday, January 19, 2007
Flying Claw Meets Fourteen Dragons
Enlarge this, if you will, and contemplate for a few moments the worlds most elaborately decorated ceiling.
Michelangelo Buonarotti wrote of his efforts:
"I've grown a goiter by dwelling in this den-
as cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy,
or in what other land they hap to be-
which drives the belly close beneath the chin:
my beard turns up to heaven;
my nape falls in,
fixed on my spine: my breastbone visibly
grows like a harp: a rich embroidery
bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin.
My loins into my paunch like levers grind:
my buttock like a crupper bears my weight;
my feet unguided wander to and fro;
in front my skins grows loose and long; behind,
by bending it becomes more taut and strait;
crosswise I strain me like a Syrian bow:
whence false and quaint, I know,
must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye;
for ill can aim the gun that bends awry..."
Michelangelo's Poem: On the Painting of the Sistine Chapel
None of this passed through my mind as I sat in the ladies room toilet at Albertsons' supermarket yesterday and contemplated the meteoric decoration splashed across the acoustical tiles above me.
Oh yes. 'Ill can aim the gun that bends awry" indeed.
The method was at once apparent. I could picture this woman in my minds' eye as she slowly toppled from her seat atop the lavatory bowl, easing inexorably forward with hippopotamaic grace.
Midsection met knees and pressed. Forehead met floor tiles and rested there.
A huge and energetic noise like the last trump of doom must have burst forth then, one which by all appearances instantly liquefied her liver.
Above the plumbing, midway up the tile wall began what resolved into a vast and busy swath, a brown ululation of leaping ocher ichor bourne on high, comet trails of foul chunky soup, describing in the hectic loops of some secret postgastric cryptography a tragic tale of luncheon and loss.
Remember that one Andy Warhol movie?
Michelangelo and Warhol meet at last.