Fourteen Sculptures In A Room

by dschapman

I built a sculpture but it really looked like shit. So I built another. A build a dog and I called it “Darl.” I built a torso and legs suspended in a twist, using myself as a model. I used a picture of an embarrassed girl from a pornographic photo shoot as a model for a companion piece, called “Guilt” and “Shame.” Viewed from the correct angle, they are non-pornographic. But approach from the wrong angle, and you will see my penis.

Then I built a statue of Atlas getting tired and setting down his weary burden. I called it “Burden” because I was feeling melodramatic. I sculpted a pair of hands, one wrapped around the other, and called it “Consumption.”

A plane passes overhead and I run out of the basement and into the yard to watch it. “I should plant an apple tree,” I think. “I should plant some peaches. I am glad I have a fig tree. What a small fig tree. I should start eating figs. I should make fig newtons.”

That is how you live a life. But I grew overwhelmed by the possibilities of my thoughts and stopped thinking, and I sat out of life on my own little knoll by the seashore, counting sea shells, imagining that the sails in the distant harbor were giant fins of mighty underwater monsters, dinosaurs risen deep from the undersea trenches.

But that is just imagination. I am imagining that I am capable of imagining things still. It is not even imagination, then, it is just memory. Bad, lying memory. I could have been born in a desert. I could have drifted past the reeds. No one would have missed me; in the canyon, by the water’s edge, raised by the mud people with alligator jaws; and when I rose up, strong, like Samson, and I took my donkey jawbone like a hatchet and hacked my way back to the city, I immediately wanted to go home again; “I hate the city,” I said, “The city is stupid.”

Samson went to sleep and in the middle of the night a snake assassin bit his leg and poisoned him. In the morning he had a seizure and bit his tongue off and choked on it. The citizens of the mud people nation state threw the donkey bone away in the garbage, where it belonged.