November 7th, 2011 / 3:54 pm

Prufrock revisited

In 1919, Marcel Duchamp drew a mustache on Mona Lisa and titled it “L.H.O.O.Q.,” phonetically Elle a chaud au cul, or “she has a hot ass,” and more loosely, “there is fire down below.” He made multiple versions, including one called “L.H.O.O.Q. Shaved”; that her mustache was not shaved directs our attention elsewhere. It is a cynical piece, as with most of his work, though if one considers the fury of cameras as cicadas coming out in the Louvre, their masters’ faces sharing the frame with hers, then maybe that’s warranted. In 2011, Urban Outfitters would sell a sort of non-functional shade (Sunstache, $8.00) adorned with a plastic mustache, mostly a gag gift. Its wearers would be seen going to or coming back from a party, ostentatiously on public transportation in that loud oblivious yet confident twenty-somethings manner, saying to the world #toomuchfreedom. The one time I went to the Louvre, I waited in line for three hours while the soft balm of French spoken by young girls behind me inspired me to “hold on” a little longer for the fleshy canvases awaiting inside. To render light loyally finding the full contour of an arse ends the argument of what is art. That night, I ate a crepe along the Seine, gazed up at Notre Dame, and felt an odd bulge growing on my back; some hours later, three Irishmen would find me in our hostel room, on the top bunk, another odd bulge growing from under the sheets as I imagined the slender pale hands which had made my crepe, reconfiguring each finger around my poetry. I was sure to peek, and did, inside the Mona Lisa room for good measure, of grave responsibility almost. Her smile could only flicker in between mounds of black asian hair in front of me, the entropy of a million languages as a car bomb under the Tower of Babel. In the room the asians come and go, talking of Michelangelo (which rhymes better than da Vinci). I’ve always wondered where that winding road past her right shoulder leads to, ideally a monk’s hut, if we consider the asian landscape-y vibe, paper light and flecked with ink. “Let us go then, you and I,” is the solicitation to come back to my hostel which I never used. She handed me the crepe, said voila and smiled. And should I then presume? And how should I begin?


  1. Erik Stinson

      dammnit jimmy i was abt 2 post

      this better get a gawker reblog

  2. Merzmensch

      Oh yes, the LaGioconda-area in Louvre is pretty surreal. I think, all the people from all over the world are so bumping into the glass sarcophagus of Mona Lisa just in order to un-find the Duchampian mustache. Perhaps Beckett worked as guard in Hall 6.

  3. Mr. Ian M. Belcurry

      The Barefoot Contessa was killed by the Count she married, who had lost his penis in war, when she was pregnant with another man’s child. This is the movie from the 50’s starring Ava Gardener (supposed to be Spanish?) and Humphrey Bogart as the director of her 3 films. It made me think of “The Sun Also Rises”–considered cliche now with the bull fighting, drinking and machismo–but I picked it up and read the book with voice of Humphrey Bogart in my head and fucking loved the shit out of it. Especially when he travels into Spain and then goes fishing. The drinking. And I hate that fucking Brett character. She reminds me of the feme fatales young men always want with no-hips and no-love or pleasure in life other than drinking and breaking hearts. I had watched the movie with the GF and read the book in the morning while she was sleeping then later after 2 or 3 gin and tonics and bong loads and stopped drinking and she was baking mini-bundt cakes with grand marnier at 1 am, and I was reading about excessive drinking in Pamplona and my GF kept repeating the proper way to pronouse the spanish names and helped me translate some of the spanish Hemingway uses. Hemingway utilized his prose in a terse but trance-like writing, which I’ve only gotten now at 33. And he mentions that he can’t have sex, or love, and his war accident only a few times. The title is funny when you know the main character’s penis is damaged from a war accident, and can’t be Brett’s lover. It almost seems like a NOFX song name “The Sun Also Rises.” It’s funny; I thought I could meld all this togther like a Jimmy Chen piece, but I’m trying to write something else. So instead wrote this long comment, that I hope doesn’t annoy, while I’m working, kind of, and suffering from a monday mood swing of life hatred.

  4. Erik Stinson

      sorry i was mean earlier jimmy :-(

  5. deadgod

      In the room the Asians eat kimchee
      Talking of Leo da Vinci.

  6. Jimmy Chen

      it’s ok erik, i didn’t think u were mean :-)

  7. Jarrett Haley

      L.H.O.O.Q. currently has a role in this morning’s episode of “Arthur.” Strange.

  8. Dole

      “in that loud oblivious yet confident twenty-somethings manner, saying to the world #toomuchfreedom”

      I wasn’t cool in my 20s but also I wasn’t this guy #thanksdad

  9. Anonymous
  10. laura noname