In art, the mass of people no longer seek consolation and exaltation, but [instead they seek] those who are refined, rich, unoccupied, [artists] who are distillers of quintessences, [the mass of people] seek what is new, strange, original, extravagant, scandalous.

I myself—since Cubism and before—have satisfied these masters and critics with all the changing oddities that have passed through my head, and the less they understand me, the more they admired me.

By amusing myself with these games […] I became famous and very quickly.

And fame for a painter means sales, gains, fortune, riches.

And today—as you know—I am celebrated. I am rich.

But when I am alone with myself, I do not have the courage to think of myself as an artist in the great and ancient sense of the term. Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, they were great painters.

I am only a public entertainer who has understood his times and exploited—as best he could—the imbecility, the vanity, and the greed of his contemporaries.

Pablo Picasso in Giovanni Papini’s novel Il Libro Nero (1951).

(one of the more interesting stories surrounding this quote, other than the myth about Picasso having said it, is that the ex-Fascist Papini was urged by NATO to publish the Picasso section of Il Libro Nero as a genuine interview in order to undercut Picasso’s credibility. Picasso being an unrepentant communist.)

god’s odor is pestilential


Fugue i.

Some nights I forget the kind of person I am, and I spend hours ransacking subway cars and metro stations looking for pieces of myself to put back together again.

Fugue ii

Logos = terror and a tendency toward narrative.

Fugue iii.

then I remember that I’m the kind of person who forgets the kind of person he is. the backward tragedy of unplanned encounters.

Fugue iv.

the priest’s name was Sogol.

he helped us climb backwards

over the mountain that could only be seen at sunset

and then, only at a certain angle.

Fugue #v.

this city sees books as a curse

and the city is right.

there are too many,

and if these notes someday evolve, become a collection,

it will be against my best wishes, for i never wished to pin butterflies against the wall

i only ever wished to imitate housecats addicted to their own affinities,

to set down the chronology of the heart.

the tragic beauty of unplanned encounters.

the charge that reaches the lowest urchins

who walk the streets among us.

mayakovsky’s anguished mares.

the irreducible laughter of unplanned encounters:

the only chronology that matters.

Fugue #VI.

can you remember the last time you laughed

to yourself while jogging,,

reading a book outloud?

the city is always one step ahead of us,

and here we are, we want it all,

running to catch up with it.