the death of jackson pollock
the death of jackson pollock
A DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE
“This is a fairy tale of obsessive love, the passion of IDEE FIXE: Ruth’s idealism and innocence in a rite of passage collision with Jackson—master of self-expression caught in his last masterpiece—his own death throes.”
))))))))))))) Alice Weiner re Ruth Kligman’s LOVE
“It was a great drama . . . the flame of explosion when the paint hit the canvas; the dance-like movement; the eyes tormented before knowing where to strike next; the tension; then the explosion again. . . . ”
))))))))))))) Hans Namuth quoted in POLLOCK AT
“According to the HERALD TRIBUNE, Edith Metzger was found dead ‘in the trunk of the car, presumably rammed there by the impact.’ Her death certificate lists the causes of death as ‘fracture of neck, lacerations of brain.’ Ruth Kligman was thrown clear. She suffered a fractured pelvis, back injuries, cuts and bruises. Pollock was also thrown clear, but his head hit one of the trees and he was killed instantly. The death certificate lists causes as ‘Compound fracture of skull, laceration of brain, laceration both lungs. Hemothorax—shock.’”
))))))))))))) B. H. Friedman in ENERGY MADE
[The entire sequence takes place in a 1950 Oldsmobile convertible facing the audience, Pollock’s incessant monologue moving from primitive to eloquent and punctuated by the fear and cries of the women, as the car progresses through drunken calm to focus, a frantic motion, howling and snaking its way into a projected NUMBER 32, 1950.]
THE TEXT (((((((((((((
I’m crawling along here,
And I reach UP for the mirror,
And there’s Jack and the 2 bitches,
And Lee is screaming
And throwing her arms around
Like fine black enamel,
Not much to look at, a hooked
[I’m pleading, JACK.]
And Ruth? She’s sweet
In her fear,
And POLLOCK the greatest since Picasso
(that sad sister who’d
Never had control)
And a 10th, nah a thousandth,
Of my anger, hatred—poison, furtive fucking fury!
Jack the last shit
I just took,
Wall eyes bulging out of the dark dark sockets,
With the fat hand scrubbing
The furrows of his face,
Sad sad Brunswick black,
Lamp black, smeared—
[JACK, I’m pleading.]
But weak, sickly, stubble, teeth
Bad, nicotine teeth and fingers hooking right
Ruthie in the big house, quiet, crooked.
And Lee? Shitting herself
Over the speed
Of a hopped up Olds.
And the biting macadam.
And the wailing nicotine teeth.
Fuck’em. Fuck Ossorio,
Little sad Rivers,
Rothko—THE WHOLE FUCKING THING’S
A field, Mark!
THE WHOLE FUCKING THING’S tragic.
Blotch on Ruthie baby,
Pretty, petty, pleading,
And Jackson nicotine grinning.
The Sky, the Sky—jet black!
Eating a magpie sky till macadam’s gray
With the flare, the flare of lights.
Bright lights white and scattered,
Almost as if nothing else
Slow DOWN, Jackson.]
Devouring, biting, chewing great hunks of foliage
Whipping past like Jesus.
Pissing it out.
Dribbling—16 years of dribbling.
The eternal Catheter.
Black, jet black, the human species.
[Edith, get back in the car.
Don’t go in there.]
[But Ruth, he’s drunk.
I don’t want to drive with him.
[Ah God, ah God
A hearse is a hearse is a hearse.
She’s cursing me.
[God, girl. Make him STOP!]
Blotting the webs with my backhand,
Them into me.
Poison—lamp black, Prussian blue.
Notch an aluminum can.
Soot in the flue.
NIGGER, I’m part of you.
Charlie Bird Parker kind of night
With Miles himself a billion miles of shit,
Fleck flicks taking.
‘Tis indigo, part of you, part of you.
Ruthie a fucking Jew.
Catch that rubber wail.
‘Tis truth, ‘tis true!
Hail of pebbles catching at my throat,
Grit on the glass.
Clicking off shots of a phony SCREW!
And I asked HER her heritage?
Getting the blood right?
Bury the little Kike bastard on the back 40.
Under a hook of moon
Starkly like Satchmo—
Bleak as a dead man’s teeth.
Under the shed.
Daddy, your daddy’s dread.
PLEASE slow down.]
WHERE THE FUCK IS Lee?
Ambition! Aye, there’s the NUB!
Picasso, Matisse, and Pollock.
And the greatest of these is POLLOCK.
Who hurtles like a curved carved
Carotid toward his demise,
Or simply to cram
Three figures in a trunk. Triptych!
Here on the bottom
We inch like slime
When 18 months, nah 36, I held it by the throat,
The nightmare hooking lyric
Simply baited. Baited all!
Knowing BEYOND all they’d never sense
The underlying shriek
Or view it total.
I’m pleading. Stop this car. Pull over.]
Ambition? Contrition. As if the word’s
A synonym for gift!
And how FAR does it take them, these
That moneyed Gentiles, Jews
Would carve the final throne, and wide enough that 20 thousand
And shit out ill-got gains they gloss refinement!
I EAT the sun.
I DEVOUR the night.
I spike the very dusk and milk the moon.
Wrest asteroids from
Their paths to cheat the void.
Little little Christ!
These worm-like fingers gripped a larger spike
And nailed him to the Cross
Of His own making.
Blue Poles, I swear by Satan, I’m above you.
White Light, I have Creation
By the veins.
[Jackson, I’m pleading. Pull over.]
[Jackson, you’re scaring her.]
[I’m going out. I’m getting out.]
[Edith, let him die.]
WHERE THE fuck IS Lee?
She knew and knew and knew.
I’ve frightened Christos
With my blacks!!!!
By little little God,
I AM ambition.
WHERE were the lisping Jews
At my first mural?
Even poor Peggy G. was deluded.
Greenberg himself had merely
I shit his fortunes.
I shit, a day and half a night—already, half the cosmos
Calls it myth!
“And WHY can’t your black and whites have COLOR?”
BLACK on BLACK on WHITE,
Their minds are crippled
With my darks that give them light.
Flick of the wrist,
I’d blotch in blue, bone, Brunswick black
And grays that cast their spell.
Draw thus-ness with enamel.
LEE AND RUTH AND POLLOCK.
It’s spattered on the windshield.
YOU suffer mild Jehovah.
I’ve tasted HOW he wrought
And spun HOSANNA.
[Jackson, Jack, Jack, Jack, I implore you.]
[WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!]
Then die release,
We burn, we burn in hell. . . .
There, the turn,
I’ll bring my painting home.
The hook, I’ve flicked it, burn.
FATHER, MOTHER, SON.
I’ve shown them
Where to turn.
[They vault the road and pinwheel
There is whitest space in the blackest black.
White. White. Black. Black. Black. Black. White. White. White. Black. White. Black. White.