Four for a Quarter by Michael Martone

 Reading left to right: Roosevelt. The Modernist whose medium is stuff, stuff like mountains, like canals, like painting battleships white and sending them on a performance piece around the world. Probably his idea to create the thing itself, this wacky stunt in South Dakota. Or at least it was in the air he breathed, expelled. His is the spitting image of the contemporaneous Zeitgeist, the modesty of the placement of his visage tips off the self-consciousness of the facade. The least equal of these equal giants but nonetheless the Great Sculptor of the ideal of giants. The last of firsts but the first of lasts. There is real artistry in the rendering of the pince-nez. The glasses are there but not. A transparent reproduction of Transparency. Transparency the dominant ideology of the age, our age. The trick of Realism, its tricklessness. See, these busts bloomed on the mountaintop, a spontaneous generation like maggots appearing on rotten meat. WYSIWYG is what you see and what you get from this point on. No bull. The eye is drawn to those eyes magnified by the invisible glass. What are you looking at? The writing of novels, I think, is so beside the point, isn't it? The book itself does not last, is not carved on the side of a mountain, is not printed on money. Funny, the New Critical transparency was to focus on The Work and not The Author of The Work. But it is always Marvel's "To His Coy Mistress." Every work comes with that apostrophe of possession. The Author ain't dead. The Author ain't even ain't.