Fresh Paint
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Ekphrasis and Cheese Corn
Did you know that ekphrasis is the term for writing about art? Nor did I, until I picked up the School of the Art Institute of Chicago summer school catalog and discovered a graduate level course called "Poetry and the Museum." Prerequisite reading list as follows:

Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters
Joseph Cornell, A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by Joseph Cornell
Guy Davenport, Objects on a Table: Harmonious Disarray in Art and Literature
James A.W. Heffernan, Museum of Words: Poetics of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashberry
Edward Hirsch, editor: Transforming Vision: Writers on Art

Interesting that Fresh Paint is not required reading. I perform ekphrasis quite regularly.

Good afternon, friends. Possibly you can't see this on the screen because of my grubby greasy cheesy popcorny fingerprints. Let me just lick my fingers one more time. There. Ooops. Let me just lick the screen for you.

Which brings me to Good Things about Chicago: Garrett's Popcorn "mix", something you deprived people living elsewhere must try someday. It is half deep-orange cheese popcorn made with extra trans-fats and half hard-as-a-rock chunks of caramel corn mixed together in a wax-paper bag, then stapled shut and encased in a brown paper bag and served with at least a dozen napkins. It is a close relative of the Spanish peanuts and candy-korn mix found in every Chicago home.

When I go to the Loop it's usually to go to the dentist, so I generally feel like I must keep my teeth clean for a few more days since I just paid for it, and so rarely indulge. The stuff is definitely not cheap. In fact I had a cash embarrassment (a small bag runs more than five bucks) and had to use plastic to pay, so got the really big bag, thinking it might last a few days. But it was still warm, so... oh well, better than dinner at Wolfgang Puck's any day.

Now I feel sick, but am thinking of other good-to-eat items I haven't had in awhile. Back when I was at the University of Chicago, this guy who didn't speak much English had a polish sausage cart. He also had fingers missing and scars all up and down his arms. The scars I didn't much mind, but always wondered where the fingers went.

The sausages were the best, however, and cheap, and probably responsible for much of the cholesterol that has lodged in my arteries and heart. Then suddenly the University purged the sausage vendors (maybe because they couldn't figure out how they could make a buck off these poor guys), but I still remember how the little sport peppers could lodge in my intestines and provide amusement for days and days.

Took the El down, since I wasn't hauling stuff around for once, and was quite surprised how improved the audio quality of the announcements (all emotionless recordings now) is. I miss the mystery and goofy quality of the human conductors though.

This is how they used to announce my old stop: "grwvi, grwvi, no [hiss hiss] drink-- or [hiss hiss] radi- plwing grwvi, grwvi nextop".

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