Rose

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People assemble Fragonard rooms compulsively. You never see a Fragonard alone. Some spore comes down with Fragonards, full of instructions; every museum with a Fragonard all at once has a room of them.

And so you think of Fragonards spatially – the room at the Frick is green, the reflecting green of the glass conservatory, because its paintings are a total environment rather than individual paintings and figures of ash-purple, poppy-red, rose.

I have a rose outside my window which has changed color overnight. Yesterday it was so pink it hummed. Today it has paled, but it is as if it has been swapped for another, lighter-toned rose – its color doesn’t suggest paling or loss or retreat from a whole. I try to call it rococo, but looked at directly the rococo pink is cold, laminated, far from its surface. This rose’s pink is at once as flush with its surface and as deep-through as a peach is. A peach goes from its utmost on every side as a peach and may be encompassed by a hand, or two hands if you are small like me. This I think is the measure of earthly presence: if a thing can be at every possible line itself and can be surrounded by another thing, it exists on earth by earthly metrics.

Human bodies are not like this. They occur and participate in the past and the current and the yet-to-come, in a way I think other organic things (which admittedly are begotten, which ripen and rot), cannot be said to. The human body is like a gigantic object which has sunk down from space into a small room, and is enormously inside the room and through the room’s walls also, and in the next room and in the room on the other side, and the walls are not broken. You can’t say this thing is not complete but by the rules of the room this object is a thing which persists impossibly.

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