by Mark Salerno
press, San Francisco
the polarizing noise of our time comes Salernoís 29 page reverie,
linked or interrupted by page turning and/or titles . Themes, word
clusters, torn images meander through "For Revery": our just born
century looks at its aged face. Like leaves carried into the present
from the symbolist tree, O-s, a sound, a conceit, and a breathing
wander from one poem to the other. A bit absent minded, a bit nostalgic
they carry a Verlaine-like rococo flavor: "O reverie of my truest
encounters," O journey of desire O elsewhere reverie." The "O" appears
also on Jill Koetke Thompsonís cover, a sign floating in a sky smeared
with charcoal clouds on top of a windy horizon, a black cutout framing
words which appear in the text: "famous nicknack," befuddled longing,"
"probative experience." An injured world of "non plot followed by
plot followed by etcetera" escapes itself in these disjoined choreographies
of daydreaming: "Do human beings sing as not to hear the simple
smash-up of anything around?"
Exercising reverie is a Pierrot-like
persona, sadly gay as all Pierrots are, a foolish jingle man "famous
for airy." Closeby is his double. Together they are in search for
the irrecoverable, "the most simple world," "a non rigid airship".
A troublesome sheriff and cowboys are there too, and a painted girl
:"the way she held her hand in the picture"Ö "a skated elegance
never to be still." And painting is to be given up: "quitting painting
was like breaking a leg" as busy political amnesiacs think "luckily
there are more important things / every day one wonders what they
could be." Salernoís "Pinkís" is dedicated to R.B.Kitaj one of the
few modern painters who seized tradition in order to visualize and
understand the (always political) present. Paraphrasing Kafka, Kitaj
noted on one of his paintings:"with oneís posterior legs one is
still glued to the world of the father and with oneís waving anterior
legs one is searching for new ground." Possibly one of Salernoís
questions at the back of his reveries.
Posing and refined, yet fresh and
moving in their theatricality, these reveries are aerial, fragile,
with matter out of the way. Kierkegaard: "This is the profound secret
of innocence, that it is at the same time anxiety. Dreamily the
spirit projects its own actuality, but this actuality is nothing,
and innocence always sees this nothing outside of itself." We liked
to think of Revery as a person, to whom reading talks.