Waiting For Dante, Beatrice At The Inferno
1962, Wednesday night, the Orchid Ballroom. I am here with Virgil, a friend I knew from school. He left the previous year. I am still there, so he knows everything or, so he and I think at the time, about the greater world and its secrets. He is my guide as I attain to the limit of the night.
The entrance to the night is a cavern of the new order loud, bright and exciting, a cacophony of chaotic sensory overload, the luring nectar to adolescence. Like nothing I have ever come upon, the Orchid Ballroom blossoms, a temple of a new infernal religion whose adherents’ incantations are spawned by the ambrosia of spinning black vinyl.
Here, it is within the depths of the night one encounters an equivocal beast of legend. A shapeshifting being ascends from the deepest caverns of existence and legend, awakened by my faraway gaze through the bottom of a glass. It emerges and hypnotically lures me to its world
This world of the night, at first vital and invigorating as one experiences with a first rush of cold mountain air, soon becomes a stinking claustrophobic gas of the pit. Too late you discover there is no escape of its asphyxiating and bewildering miasma.
Deceived, you have been lured to ingest a poison you thought a road to the Gods.
It was then she appeared, Beatrice, she who would show me, just in time, the illusion of the beast and the spell to return it to the glass.
Virgil, who was able to bring me into this world but not out of it, because of his own self imprisonment in it, began to fade from view and as he paled so Beatrice seemed to absorb his substance and morphed into my new guide.
Oil on wood, 48 inches by 24 inches, 2014