If Madonna died tomorrow we could all wait a little longer for our capital and possessions to
accumulate. Our world would be saturated in shades of white. Seashell. Ivory. Snow. Honeydew. If
Cyndi Lauper made a comeback it would prove that light was reflected from disjointed continental
masses. She is constantly telling people the story about how she disappeared and then came back.
“How quickly we adjust to the presence of physical pain.” She lifts up her arms to reveal a series
of cuts on the palms of her hands and up and down her forearms. “Generationally,” she declares, “I’ve
never felt more in touch.” Her arms make a casting motion. The people who decide such things tell us
that unbridled laughter is becoming less unbecoming. Their wealth distribution models rely on one way
traffic. Still, we can locate certain movements within them. Bone. Shell. Stone. If there are links within
the narrative it is only to confirm that that a story will not cohere. The people who turn over rocks are
the same as those who chase clicks. They are the same as those who offer up soundbytes as fact.
Apples do not signify desire. Smoothies are not good for you. A straw is there to be stirred.
IF MADONNA DIED TOMORROW . . .
If Madonna died tomorrow all the children of Sagniaw would inflate balloons with helium and let them
go. Illusion is a screen that distorts memory. Knowledge is a cautionary tale, in which the news is never
broken gently. If a gang of young boys gathered on our front lawn they would chase the dump truck
down the road. If dirt bikes were street legal they would impale the heads of small birds on their
handles. They would chew on roll after roll of Sweethearts during French class. Some of them would
pass out packs of black candy and ask, Poulet, s’il-vous plait? In the film, the balloons were all red and
the sky was draped in dark clouds.
IF MADONNA DIED TOMORROW . . .
If Madonna died tomorrow you would mean the world to me. You would tell me it was impossible that
you could find yourself feeling any more closely aligned and I would reply that not even tropical forests
and large ocean surfaces could get me to retrace my steps. I would stack my shoes in a particular
manner in a particular corner of a particular room in a particular house on a particular street. Our lives
would exist solely in a series of never ending precious moments. Historical knowledge would not color
our memories. There is but a single wavelength of light. There are glass jars with nails of varying sizes.
Nine-volt batteries whose remaining charges are undetermined. A long row of red buckets at the base
of a cinderblock wall. Many birthdays have passed. Signal flares have been discharged and then
extinguished. We have described these things using nothing but variables and coefficients. Issue: The
corner shop doesn’t sit on the corner anymore. Solution: Tinker with the controls of the sun and stop
pretending that such things aren’t possible. You adjust. It rains harder. Everything which has led to this
moment evaporates and then comes back.
Craig Foltz is a writer and interdisciplinary artist whose work has appeared in numerous galleries and journals across both hemispheres. He has released two books on Ugly Duckling Presse. Currently, he lives and works on the sides of a dormant volcano in Auckland, New Zealand. Send ideas for collaboration to: craig[dot]foltz[at]gmail[dot]com