Aesthetic suicide

by Justin Clemens

My daughter, who loves Andy Warhol, was horrified

by your Super-8 re-enactment of his attempted execution

by Valerie Solanas, who wrapped her bullets in silver foil

and went after the bewildered bewigged bigwig like a bat

outta hell, ranting it up with the radical ratiocinations

of the SCUM Manifesto, wherein it is announced that there remains...

the rest following, because she didn’t understand the violence

even if she, being four years old, may have got the motivation

after I sat her on my knee and explained how the avant-garde

tried to undo the bourgeois divisions between art and life,

having, in the words of the philosopher, ‘a passion for the real’

such that performance and action were forced to become each other

to the point of inseparable indistinction today, although

admittedly she kept asking ‘why, Daddy, why?’ despite

my best efforts, and I was forced to linger frustrated awhile

in uncomprehending incapacity, the idea of revolution

somehow at once omnipresent and effaced, the chiasmus

of existence cracked into a chasm of refined befuddlements,

as if, angularly disposed behind the TV’s silvered cube,

as you cite on the wall inscribed in a great futuristic X

like the crossing of the arms of the Slade School students

Ezra Pound parodies in a typically-scabrous early poem, it were just

a desperate attempt to groove in an un-groovy world.

From Griffith REVIEW Edition 45: The Way We Work © Copyright Griffith University & the author.