Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Tomb of the Known Mortaljive



The signature image of Mortaljive was taken back in the 90s--I do not recall the camera except that it used some quaint little method of retaining the image--ah, yes, it was known as film. The tableau of the man in the chair, staring ahead as a large Buddha head rested in his lap, with a male and female bowler on either side of his throne, was displayed in the niche above our fireplace in our Atwater Village home, a home located 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. This 3-D mandala, with as its center the man in the comfy chair, lightly gripping his coffee cup, seemed to say everything and nothing about this life, and for some reason I found that agreeable--still do.

Alas, the man and his chair were shattered during a party over a decade ago--a couple of children could not resist playing with it, and soon thereafter it lay in ruins on the slate threshold of the fireplace. A few years later some other forgotten mishap occurred (something dreadful no doubt) and all that was left of the tschotske was the mask of the once comfortable and seemingly content little man. This tiny head now rests inside a hutch in the dining room of our Portland, Oregon home, forever looking up from its place of rest in the alligator ashtray, an ashtray that proclaims "Daytona Beach" in a cryptic font. I quit smoking for good a few years ago and so the little man head should be relatively safe in his ceramic tomb.

Bless thee, little man head! Dream a sweet dream inside your silent crypt!

p.s. The two bowlers and the Buddha head seen in the iconic Mortaljive image are doing just fine, unmolested by time and the random, spastic hands of little children.

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