|As a kitten, he was all about the youthful
antics of the avant-gardes: Dada cabaret, Gérard
de Nerval walking a lobster
through the streets of Paris on a diamond leash, the Surrealist odes to
"l'amour fou," the parlor word game they called
"exquisite corpse." Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's
multivalent cinematic visual puns, the impetus "épater les
bourgeois" that issued in so many Left Bank scandals. Absinthe, of
course, and the ancient roofs of Montmartre against the Paris moon.
As he matures, he savors the melancholic verse galleries of Antonio
Machado and the filigree petit-four lyricism of Marcel Proust; he wonders,
along with the great writer of temporality, "will it ultimately reach
the clear surface of my consciousness, this memory, this old, dead moment
which the magnetism of an identical moment has traveled so far to
importune, to disturb, to raise up out of the depths of my being?"
But there is also the aphoristic flash of Oscar Wilde, and the empathy
with such simultaneously ironic and poignant dying pronouncements as
"Either the curtains go or I do."