Seen, Written is filled with fluid and poetic dissertations on a wide range of artists and their work, standouts among them the essays on Carroll Dunham, Brice Marden, and Louisiana shaman Keith Sonnier.
Two huts on the tundra,
one inhabited by well-scrubbed boy scouts,
the other by drunkards trying to get clean
in a lonely place
My daughter offered me a hundred
dollars to eat a dead moth
Walking out of the pharmacy
I felt the bones in my daughter’s hand,
In the winter of 1971, as a mandatory phase of my ongoing homage to the Beat generation, I hit the highway out of New York, bound for San Francisco, “See America First” the motto tattooed on my backpack …
The last time I saw my school cap it was in a plastic bag on my mother’s dressing table, a venerable fetish of my misspent youth.
I love the shiny, pristine teeth that most Americans keep behind their lips, pearly immaculate rows of ivory, often capped in precious metals, brilliant they seem and impervious to decay, and their children’s teeth, wrapped in steel for years so they too, will grow in straight and flawless.
Advice from the good doctor on how to survive in this Babylon
this “garden of longing sown with the seeds of ruin”
this unrequited howling for more
more of everything, of anything …
“People will always recognize themselves, no matter what you write. You could write a complete fantasy and people would think you were writing about them. It’s always the case. I’m not too concerned about that, unless somebody sues me.”