Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter My Art Project
It was Tuesday in the desert. The hottest part of the afternoon. I was sitting on my favorite couch in BMIR when a woman I’d never met before came in and asked for the Rockstar Librarian Guide.
“Box,” I told her.
“What?” she asked.
“Box,” I said again. This was a little game we played: when someone asked for the Rockstar Librarian Guide, sometimes we’d just keep saying “Box” over and over, until they realized it was in the box they’d already passed on the way in.
She got it fast. Satisfied, she looked around and realized that there was no shadier spot to be found anywhere on the playa.
“Hey,” she asked. “Can I sit down?”
“Sure,” I said. She took her tool kit off from around her waist and sat down next to me.
I don’t remember her name now, but we got to talking. She’s 23. Third year on the playa. I asked her what she’d seen so far, and she rattled off a list of art projects. I asked her what she wanted to see, and she rattled off another list. Mostly things I’d heard of.
“But what I really want to do,” she said, “is meet the poet.”
“The … poet?”
“Yeah. There’s this amazing poet.”
That was interesting … but … “I have no idea. I’ve never heard of that.”
She nodded. “Some of my camp mates met him. Nobody knows where he is. I hope I can find him. I’m looking.”
“Well, good luck.”
We kept talking. Burning Man stuff: how do you like the Man standing on a UFO? What do you think of the theme? Goddamn there’s a lot of cops around. That kind of thing.
Eventually Ken Griswa, the Mad Artist in Residence at BMIR, came over and wanted me to sing somebody a song. For … some reason. I can’t remember now and I might not really have known then. It can be hard to tell with Ken.
“Sure,” I said, opening up my bag and pulling out a book in which I had a list of songs. It was part of an art project I’d brought to Burning Man. “Let’s see if I can find an appropriate one …”
“Wait …” the woman next to me gaped. “YOU’RE THE POET!”
Ken and I stared at her. I blinked. “I … I don’t think I am.” Read more »