Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Secret Infatuation with Robert Maplethorpe

(William Burroughs with typewriter)
Standing in the bookstore killing time. People walking around the shelves lined with books. High heels on creaking wooden floors. The kid next to me is sketching beside a backpack slumped in the corner. I'm at the table thumbing the Robert Maplethorpe, remembering his trial.
(Barefoot Truman Capote)
A skilled photographer can make anything look good. Drab? Listless? Still life with the mundane. Here's where Maplethorpe distances himself with others. He took his skill and shot the profane. Yes, that word actually existed at one time. Now you ask people about personal shock levels and their shoulders seem to shrug in the same way flowers picked from the ground wilt inside vases.
I remember the Maplethorpe trials on TV when I was a kid... witnesses taking the stand. Reporters outside the courthouse. It was on the National News which was different than watching the local stories after. There was a reverence to National and Global events: car bombings in Israel, a plane crash in Argentina, student protests in Beijing... and then there was the Maplethorpe trial.
(William Burroughs shooting a gun)
When I was working in Korea I roomed with this teacher named Patrice whose father had been a witness in the trial. He had lined his little room in the middle of no where with all these provocative images of screeching animals and outstretched bodies and exposed ... well, yes. He kept telling me how glorious it was until I closed the door and went to bed. Goodnight, Robert Maplethorpe. I've never in my life taken one picture as good as you.

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