Issue 169, Spring 2004
The monkey is the only producer of pictures who imitates nothing
and recognizes only the unadulterated pleasure of the disruptive mark.
—Thierry Lenain, Monkey Tainting
That old scene—monkey see and monkey do—
is done. That organizing grind, the grid,
is barred. Guerilla movements must exclude
such cagey simian similitude,
banana republic exhibitions rid
the colony of artists. It’s a zoo.
Or New World Order? Pleased to trace our line
from theirs, the prim revere a primitive—
wrenching, illuminating—by Ape X.
Abstract expression climbing to an apex?
Creation thus evolving to outlive
our monkish copying? A monkeyshine?
We draw on our background, animals instinct
with second nature (God, the strain) in the dark
of which we—as the continent, prehensile
detailers and apologists, with stencil
and rule—make light, for this disruptive mark,
to miss it, feeling, in the missing, linked.