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The Mast-Head: Mere Coincidence?

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 11:33

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner standing by a cross-like iron object hung on the wall of their Springs house as photographed by Hans Namuth was on my mind one morning last week as I walked west along the bay shore.

A long period of northeast wind had scrubbed down the last of the summer sand accumulation. Moving along the lower portion of the beach, I picked up a deeply rusted portion of what seemed to have once been a clam fork from among the recently exposed rocks. It was thin enough to be nearly abstracted, suggesting to me Jackson and Lee’s wall object. I thought about hanging the fork remnant and how I would like to find something like their cross, which I had always assumed to be part of an old anchor.

A hundred paces farther along the beach, a rust-crusted anchor lay among the stones. I stood, staring at it, not moving. The serendipity seemed too much.

One thought about the mechanics of dreaming is that neural memories are tossed out in no particular order for the mind to assemble as best it can. On the beach that morning, the Giacometti clam fork, thoughts of Jackson and Lee’s iron cross, the anchor all came out of order. It was too much to be coincidence, but could have been nothing else. I set the anchor aside up the beach, as I had the clam fork, to carry home on my return.

Set later against the kitchen window, the clam fork looked for the world like a Picasso Don Quixote on horseback or a Giacometti perhaps. The anchor, about three feet long and clad in rust-wrapped stones, remains in the back of my pickup truck, bathed by the rain.


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