The Marker. There is a marker, of seeming importance, mounted on a granite boulder. The glacial stone is in the center of a large, greeny field. The field is worked for hay. A breeze carrying the wet heat of summer ripples the tall stalks. The field is bounded on two sides by breaks of sap maple. In the back the land rolls up and meets the sky. Blue green blending to a light blue, floating heavy clouds. The marker is a bronze rectangle, with raised letters, mounted at eye level. The bailers rakes around the boulder missing little. The laborers are too young to remember. They think of beer and pussy. The old farmer recalls but does not give it much thought. The farmer was born in town — suburbia has sprung up around him. He ignores it the same way he ignores the marker. After the old man dies the land will sprout poorly built, costly houses. It gives him reason to live. Hot work, they stop to take a break in midafternoon. The old man doles out a beer to each boy. On dog days there are two. It makes the farm wage seem worth it. It is something done across time, a rite of passage. Boys will do about anything to rush manhood and they can take the work. In their minds’ they get paid to take off their shirts and drink beer. The farmer sees a small profit and he gets to keep the land. They rest their backs against the boulder for shade. “What the fuck is that?” one of the boys asks, jerking his hand toward the boulder. “You’re too young to enjoy bad language.” The farmer shakes his head, the boy does not know the wealth of time he likely has. ”Ya, sorry,” says the boy. “Glacier left it.” “No, the marker.” “Bout something.” “Your land, you ought to know,” teasingly, the boy likes the farmer. “My boulder too.” The farmer seems to leave it at that, and then adds “Artist did it, Finish your beers, got work to do.” I was the artist. I also screwed one of the farmer’s daughters in the shadow of that boulder. The farmer does not know this. She was a lanky, firm titted country girl. Bright eyed and eager, the girl was lively in the hay under a full moon. A backlit werewolf flapping over me with great purpose. A whole lot of need, making the marker was a small thing compared to it. I think I did better with the girl, it was more pressing. Your needs are simpler when you are young, art gets you hot. At the time I toyed with the idea of recording the moment. Something akin to “Daniel Boone killed a bear on this here tree.” But granite is difficult to mark and I did not have the craft. This was fortunate, it would embarrass me now. The memory has become one of my myths. I wish the farmer’daughter well but do not want to know her life beyond that moment. The farmer’s stone still juts up straight from the field. It has not moved yet everything has changed. The marker was the result of luck and tenacity. My tenacity and the luck of the farmer agreeing. I could have hounded him for years without bending him. It only took two. There was no rational reason for him to agree. I believe he liked his rock and wanted marked as special. “Don’t make it look foolish” he stated. “I won’t.” “Don’t hurt it. No paint.” “Just a small bronze plaque. Four small holes to mount it.” “What’s it going to say?” “Glacial Boulder.” “No harm in the truth,” said the farmer. It was a questionable statement. I saw it all in a Duchampian way. Flip Duchamp’s conceits one hundred and eighty degrees and they can still be Duchampian. Clever boy, or so the farmer’s daughter thought. The farmer never said what he thought but he has allowed the plaque to remain part of his world. Making art is an affliction. It is like being a junkie, you just got to have it. I have spent a great deal of time trying to avoid it. The art world is a nasty place, full of art junkies looking for the special fix. That is ironic and the need seems to carry across time. Perhaps it is the need to leave a mark – art not irony. The glacier left a mark, I catalogued it, and the farmer possessed it – a connoisseur. Technically he presently owns the rock, and the plaque, I was simply an enabler. On the other hand the work is not going to hawked at a yard sale. It is of absolutely no use to anyone, except the couples who gouge their initials into the bronze plaque — many initials inside hearts. As I noted the boulder still juts straight up.


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