"Genuflect" the column by Gordy Grundy will not appear in this magazine for the first time since 1996. Grundy is currently in Iraq, serving as a 'volunteer' in the Halliburton Arts Group Division 390. In an email greeting, he writes:
"Dear Coagula Readers,
Happy Thanksgiving. Hello to the Holidays.
I'm beginning to think this was a mistake. With the date palms and all, I thought Iraq would be closer to Palm Springs in climate, but no go. It's like lower Baja Mexico in the dead of summer without a Corona. Bullets buzz like flies. There is no rockin' this casbah. I should have read the brochure more closely.
The Halliburton Arts 390 is OK. The crew that just shipped out were all great people, all American painters and sculptors, a lot of recent MFA grads. (Where else can they get a job?) The newly rotated crew is Chinese who work a lot faster and labor for less than Wal-Mart wages. We've been repainting the Saddam portraits with Bush portraits but the Chinese are making Bush look more like Mao than Bush, so it's a challenge.
Luckily, we're stationed near Al Discreet, quite an oasis. It's not all-hard work. Last night we clandestine'd a special ops and held a midnight rave for the locals who were like-minded. All these kids were sneaking out of the houses, just like we did in high school. Unfortunately, the local mullah was smarter than my mutha and kept his eye open. Just one RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) took out the BPM (Beats Per Minute) and that was enough to end the good vibe.
Whenever there's a break, I'm reading a short story about the South Pacific because that's where I'd rather be. I'm gonna try and make it's message my Holiday own. Somerset Maugham writes in 'The Fall of Edward Barnard', a story about a young man who finds his soul in the Tropics:
"...Do you know that conversation is one of the greatest pleasures in life? But it wants leisure. I'd always been too busy before..."
Something we can use in these difficult times: small and true pleasures.
Gotta go. Complications everywhere. Graffiti's a big problem. After Bush's Thanksgiving visit, all the locals think he's gonna come back for Christmas. So the taggers are painting Santa hats on all our Bush portraits. This will delay our Norman Rockwell-esque 'Lifestyle' campaign two, maybe three weeks.
GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based painter. His visual and literary work can be found at www.gordygrundy.com.