spring 2012

giveawayboy


Giveawayboy

featuring the art of Bill Rogers


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The Snake In The Tree
spring 2012
giveawayboy


About two feet of a black buzzing swarm hangs unapologetically like a full goat's teat from the base of a rusty lamp which in turn hangs from the sagging bent branch of an oak tree you pass under twice each day. You spy a multitude of flies mounted on what appears to be a piece of masking tape swaying in the dewy morning air, under the swish of leaves. The branch hangs so low with the weight of the previous night's rain. No dew ever brought it down so.

Later that day, you pass and look again. Most of the flies have gone now, though one or two still buzz about. The tape hangs lightly now and only slightly sways in the warm breeze.

The next day the sun is not obscured and you can make out some business at the base of the tape. There is no mistaking the gaping mouth and indications of teeth and the the rounded spots where once eyes had been. It is a shadow made of wind and skin. This bronze ribbon -- the fading glory of some elusive emergent and shining king -- is baking into fragility in the moist heat.

You assume that the woman who lives here -- the one who hung the rusty lamps -- must have found it, picked it up and hung it here to dry. Or was it a passerby, a local school boy, dog walker or lawn worker perhaps? Did this person catch a glint in the grass or meet an alarming sight on the sidewalk and did this person, after stooping to observe, instinctively drape it across this lamp to let it air out for a few days? In either case, does the woman who lives here even know about this accidental and modified Caduceus? Or has it remained the private genius loci for the anonymous passerby? Who attends the mysteries here?

By the third day it is unmistakable and you wonder how long it will remain. Will it be removed as a novel trophy once fully aired out? Or will future rains, dews and humidity baking over the pavement break it down slowly and completely? Will the birds visit and peck and tear now that the flies have vanished? You know, not too long ago, people on this continent used to leave their dead in the tops of trees. Sky burials.

This is the kind of thing that a child would stumble upon and would remember years later on a hot lonely afternoon when the humidity and breeze hit just right. It is at once so atypical and so particular that it etches itself on the mind. It leaves a trace.

Bill Rogers 07/2010

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I can't believe it took me three days to recognize what it was.

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