Arthur Sol­way

af­ter Joseph Cor­nell

BOMB Magazine - - CONTENTS -

He spoke of neigh­bor­hood thieves and his pas­sion for a singer whose name we’ve long for­got­ten. He lived on donuts. He prowled junk shops for pic­tures of ex­otic birds and bal­leri­nas, old maps, a tar­nished fig­urine. He looked like a hag­gard tramp. Tramp thin. His house was a fire­trap. He kept notes on his fix­a­tions. A naughty lit­tle man was how Duchamp’s widow de­scribed him. The ma­gi­cian of the sec­ond-hand. He was ob­sessed with the young girl who lived next door. There will be many loves like this, the gypsy for­tune-teller would say un­til her ma­chine went on the blink. Her pre­dic­tions were al­ways the same. Years ago he gave my mother a small gift, in­scribed and tied with a bow. She never opened it. He took it back feel­ing unloved and bit­ter. Back to the shoe­box theater of his mind to re­join a vast col­lec­tion of odd sou­venirs: a rab­bit’s foot, the pocket at­las, a de­fec­tive com­pass, the tiny hour­glass from some shabby penny ar­cade.

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