Prufrock revisited

Posted by @ 3:54 pm on November 7th, 2011

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?