By T.R. Hummer
In Available Surfaces , T. R. Hummer explores the paintings of creating either poetry and song, and of the idea that of "making" itself. He attracts on adolescence stories and studies as an grownup, as a poet, and as an explorer of unworldly areas to check that "something ineffable concerning the means of making of which the poem is the exemplary artifact."
Hummer grew up within the deep South, and spent lots of his highschool years enjoying saxophone in a number of rock and roll bands sooner than he met poetry. This musical impression is noticeable in his paintings: he frequently discusses poetry including tune, or track with poetry, and his profession has integrated either writing and performance.
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I gathered my little trove of secrets and built a life raft of them. 43 ❧ Mr. G. faced the class. It was 11:45 on a Friday, almost the end of the period, late in the school year. The high school principal had just completed ten minutes of “announcements” on the school’s new intercom system, a device that allowed Mr. , the principal, not only to speak his mind to all of us at will, but at the flip of a switch to listen in to any classroom any time he chose. Mr. K. had at his disposal a calendar of famous events in history, and every day we would be treated to at least one historic event that had occurred on the date at which we were cursed to have arrived.
Before that, he had been ours somehow; now he was theirs. What Mr. G. had that the others lacked was an element of hipness. He was blandly handsome, slightly moon-faced but clear- eyed, with a sort of transparency about him: very white skin, blond hair kept close-clipped but not buzz cut like a coach’s. He cultivated a blasé irony that eleventh graders recognized and appreciated. He wore his own mediocrity lightly and forgave mediocrity in others, but he abhorred outright stupidity and was merciless in hostile pursuit of it.
Turning off the electric light he continued the conversation with himself. It was the light of course but it is necessary that the place be clean and pleasant. You do not want music. Certainly you do not want music. Nor can you stand before a bar with dignity although that is all that is provided for these hours. What did he fear? It was not a fear or dread, It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was a nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order.