Hieronymus Bosch Comes to Madrid [flash]

[A Short Story]

500 years ago this August, on the 9th day, Hieronymus Bosch was buried. Where was he buried? I imagine you ask. I say, I imagine, to you, as I make it up in mind, “I do not know where he was buried. In fact, I am not even sure if he died on the 9th of August 1516.” It has been said that an entry was made in the records of The Brotherhood of Our Lady in 1516; other accounts make note of a funeral mass held in his memory was performed in the church of Saint John.

What is most interesting about the current excitement about Bosch at the Prado in Madrid is how we impose–how everyone from everywhere has always imposed–the currents of our contemporaneity on what we look back to, as if we could look back . . . there is no line to history or to time or to how we think. Nothing in our post bourgeois conceptions or conceptualizations—not necessarily the same thing—is prepared for the psychology that Bosch presents, the residue of archaic mind, a metaphysics re-presented by the visionary company he keeps.

We do not look back at all. That is a lie we tell ourselves to maintain the illusion of being historical? We do know so very little about his life. Above, by archaic is meant what Eliade delineates in his Myth of the Eternal Return; or, Cosmos and History—the English language translation title; he wrote it in French—and that is a world where myth is true story, where time can only be cyclic and not opened and directional.

Now, here, I am imposing. What deposits on memory—in memory?—do I make? Time regenerates; the cosmos is populated with exemplary models in archetypes. This cyclic notion of time cannot be drawn—how? How is it not drawn? What lines do I or do I not use to say what I mean by what has been . . . here in this space . . . this poem as a trial?

The space of a writer writing and the space in the world the writer occupies with a body. But narrators and expositors do not have bodies, do they?

This notion of time I am attempting to construct, reconstruct as Eliade delineates, represents, articulates . . . is more consistent with the actuality of time as opposed to our custom of thinking about time as a line or a moving arrow. The tunnel we move through?All time is one, Einstein reminds us. Past, Present and Future are illusions, persisting.

How much more like an archaic conception of time could we imagine?

El Bosco is going to be at the Prado . . . I loved the Prado when I was in Madrid . . . we were in Madrid . . . we went to Madrid in July—who goes to Madrid in July?

I loved Madrid, I have said already, already having said even in July. The people in Madrid were better looking than the people in Barcelona, or so I thought thus said, meaning in general of course.

I flipped for the paintings by Goya, by Greco, by Velazquez, by Ribera, et cetera . . . it’s always the main museums we go to more than once whenever on vacation, several times to the best of them in every city we’re in  . . . Goya’s Blacks were astounding . . . the black paintings which were the several oils he had painted directly onto the walls of two of the rooms of his country house between 1819 and 1823 and were subsequently removed and are now held at the Prado. Since a boy in second grade learning Spanish from his teacher from Madrid I have held in my heart . . . Viva! Espana.

We ate as well if not better in Madrid than just about anywhere else we have ever been—summer, the wine we drank mostly was Albarino, a Galician white we learned to love from two Galician brothers in Brooklyn, running a restaurant we have been going to for a couple of decades, already. Our time is not cyclic; it is directional, opened, without regeneration, only hopefully able to sustain itself infinitely . . . but then this infinity is itself an avalanche waiting to bury us, as I have read in a poem by Jay Ruvolo.


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