The Rialto Books Review vol.005 -- Out Now
The Rialto Books Review vol.005 is now available (https://www.broadaxepublications.com/rialto-books-review/the-rialto-books-review-vol005). The following pieces are printed in this edition —
The Enigma Variations by Alex Ranieri
The League of Berries and Laurels by Russell Block
Mon frére, mon semblable by Daniel Bossert
The Enigma Variations by Alex Ranieri —
[August 27th, 2073, Chicago: Transcripts from my conversations with Leslie Jackson. (Rather one-sided!) I just started recording her at the bus stop cause she was talking to me and was such a weird old lady, and, voila. Thought you might like to have them. Can’t wait to see you on the 5th. --Your loving Henry.]
L.J.: You know Eva Westerlich, no doubt? Eva Westerlich, the painter? No? No, of course, no one of your generation knows art anymore, I should have known. What do you do with your time? Google Glass. No, that’s too old, isn’t it? Whatever the fashion is. I don’t want to be recorded. Are you recording me? Good.
She died recently. Eva. I only found out through the news on my email page. Why do they put the news on the page before you sign in? I’d forgotten about her completely. No, I had. But then, the fucking news page. It’s immoral. Disgusting. And the way they sang her praises, already a museum piece. That’s some consolation; she would’ve hated that. [Laughs].
Anyway, they had a picture of her. Have you noticed that once an artist dies, they start only showing pictures from when they were young? She was very young in the picture. With her little face, her dark hair and eyes. She was bending forward, in her red turtleneck, over the ashtray on the table. Smoking shamelessly. That little mouth, sneering. No, no, she wasn’t sneering. That’s something I’ve added out of spite.
Teenagers for years will be falling in love with that photograph. They’ll see it before her paintings and love her at once, whether the paintings are any good or no. I fancied I liked Hemingway from his picture. But his writing was too insufferable; the illusion was shattered. I’ve always hated it when someone doesn’t live up to their aesthetics. It’s much worse to be a beautiful waste of space than an ugly one.
She smoked like a chimney. We could never stay at hotels, they got rid of all the smoking rooms, and then you couldn’t even do it on the balcony anymore. That was a triumph for me towards the end.
The League of Berries and Laurels by Russell Block
The fever broke seven days ago and through the night. Outside his window, the stillness perfect, sky black, glints by moon cast tendered hallucination against the leaven snow. The morbid curiosity of a brother or sister, ushered away from the crack in the door by those same noises which now we hear, were then the only familiar sights. Throughout an interminable darkness, even the assurance of daybreak was lost deep in the dreamy fever. A hand pressing to the forehead, motherly encouragements to eat sparing heard, and the passing of water from his father’s hand to his hands had been welcomer intrusions. Mostly was he left alone, alone and sick in bed. Who sledded past in ancient equipage; and what resolution looked up to where the boy observed the team’s delay, lingering before the animals were dashed, driven, restless as this fur-clad figure was to continue through the night? What shadow departed climbed from the escutcheon and scaled along in the golden wash of stones lit high atop the distant bell tower? The trees mingled their reaches with it, their movement vanishing when from the tower the shadow leaped downward, and the branches quit their rapping on the window. What medicine was offered in a vial by beauty, speaking of how her shrouds were formed of vapor? It disintegrated near the touch of glass, as he reached wearily, and she slowly, until the beatific lips were the only brief remnant. How shaped these and more forgotten besides?
Mon frère, mon semblable by Daniel Bossert
He probably wouldn’t recognize me today. I look the same—with longer hair—and my soul (at its core) probably looks the same, but most everything between the two has changed: the way I talk, the way I write, the way I live. If we were to see each other today, what would we even have to say? (And how should we begin?)
(It [the artist’s work] is always aimed at least partly over the heads of your fellow man...)
We knew each other in high school, when passion was still the highest value—the more foolish, the better. We weren’t any sort of high school hedonists or lotharios, though. We were artists, who (at least as we saw them) are constantly seeking their own sorts of excesses—life, death, creation, and the most spiritualized, unrealizable love you could ever imagine. We didn’t really have friends, outside of each other. (At least I didn’t...) And we weren’t really friends, either—more like the person you talk to as if you were talking to yourself. If we needed each other, it was only with the most unabashedly self-centered need. (At least for me...) If we ever got something from each other, it was the same as if we had been reading a good, insightful book. (Like that pivotal book, which first brought us together...) If we cared about each other, it was only because we would have been lost without having that book—one which had ears, and could talk back to you...
Song of the Broad-Axe Publications will be available for purchase at an event at the Pilsen Art House on 10/19/19. Details can be found by clicking the calendar button below.