9 The Night Watch by R.V. Branham

THE NIGHT WATCH: “Stella!” —

 

It was a field in Westchester under the approach path to LAX, the north runway.

 

Jet planes in the east sky lined up for eventual runway bellyflops, lined up under a red moon all the way to the Mojave Desert. — “Stella!” lost in the jetlanding wake.

 

This was the Nineteen-Seventies.

 

The Me Decade, The Decade That Fashion Forgot.

 

The night watch wore a pink polyester shirt and gold silk tie under his security guard jacket and blue bellbottoms that hid bright ruby leather shoes.

The night watch’s name was Sampson Bol.

 

— “Here’s looking at you kid,” at the next incoming jet.

 

In a field where Sampson sometimes caught local Westchester Romeos getting blowjobs from their Hermosa Beach Juliets.

 

A field rented out to other school districts by day so that young boys could slam into and fall all over each other, all this whilst Sampson slept or mailed out his portfolio or went to cattlecalls.

 

Sampson patrolled the field (maybe the last field without a FOR SALE sign), checking for breaks in the chainlinks of fence, each weeknight, careful of broken bottle shards littering the field’s edge and the buckling abandoned basketball court, and wary of descending jets fifty feet overhead with their landing wheels coming into position, all whilst pressing palms over ears against jetroar din.

 

Practicing dancesteps, spinwhirling MGM-musical-like around the hoopless basketball court’s poles. —  Singing In The Drought. — Shuffle, ball, change.

 

Twirl around the pole, ever alert. Toss in a demiplié.

 

When in doubt, listen to the music and dazzle them with ballet bullshit. (Per mom.)

 

Sampson’s agent had sent him a script and Sampson read for a part.

 

No cigar, but he read for a part in a Paramount film about the New York disco scene; his first reading for a decent part in a year, and the producer had liked him.

 

Even called him back for a screen test, so he got his long hair cut.

 

That producer really liked him.

 

But not the director.

 

A handshake instead of a part.

 

Maybe next time.

 

Shuffle, ball, change.

 

Careful.

 

Broken bottle shards could cut through a shoe sole.

 

Bottle shards flashglinted in the strobelight cast from just across the boulevard, the north runway.

 

Grab the pole, spinwhirl around it.

 

Sampson also patrolled the parking lot and filled in the night of his watch with row (after row) after of bright yellow specimens of school bus, two hundred in toto. — Follow the Yellow Brick Road Follow the Yellow Brick — When he touched a bus it took days to remove the soot.

 

Careful here too of bottle shards that cut through shoe sole, sock, skin, muscle.

 

Careful as he did the Cowardly Lion’s steps. — Follow the Yellow —

 

The abandoned school itself, peopled with people his age. — Non-natives, Sampson’s mom who herself came from Nova Scotia called them. — Barbarians at the gate. —

 

— Follow the —

 

Mother’s Day in a month.

 

As a nativeborn Southern Californian, Sampson was outnumbered.

 

Even as a child actor on The Tickle Monsters, a show long since in stripmine syndication…over eighty countries including Uganda.

 

Not that he saw a red cent of royalties, that was all years before SAG renegotiated for residuals.

 

Still the doubletakes when he shopped at seven in the morning.

 

Even then Sampson noted more and more non-natives on crews and as cast members.

 

Outnumbered.

 

Sampson understood, sort of, that all these people had to be from somewhere, even if somewhere else.

 

More and more non-natives moving into his apartment building.

 

Diaspora was the word for it, a word he remembered from history class.

 

All the same Sampson wished they’d go the fuck back where they came from.

 

They all made him feel a stranger in his own land.

 

Easterners were the worst.  Especially ones Sampson met at auditions. (At least beaner wetbacks busted their asses picking lettuce or bussing tables, and hell, all this had been part of Mexico.)

 

Easterners bitched that bagels weren’t as good here, Easterners who immediately signed up for food stamps and interstate unemployment bennies.

 

That was Hollyweird.

 

Here by LAX were kids with brown bags of cannabis or unbroken brewski bottles.

 

Usually Easterner kids. — “Badges. We don’t need no.” — And shuffle, ball, change.

 

Shout at them pleaseplease get the fuck out of there.

 

Aim the flashlight right at their fleeing pimply tushes. — “You talking to me?” —

 

And then to return to his office, formerly a nurse’s room, in a building formerly used by the maintenance crew and to store textbooks, return to his desk with its portable typewriter and drama books, postcards from his hydro-geologist dad.

 

Windmills and tulips, pyramids, onion domes pinned to a corkboard along with photos of his dead mom, one with zany aunt Saskia — up in Oregon now. — call Saskia a hippie, and she’d say, Go fuck yourself, I’m a beatnick… — and call her a beatnick, she’d say, I’m an unapologetic hippie, thank you…

 

Mother’s Day, he’d seen the ads.

 

Sampson stepped on black widows, always deliberately; constant fogging, spraying, fumigating no match for armies of the arachnid order.

 

And shuffle…Sampson stopped in midshuffle, no, not midshuffle, stopped postshuffle.

 

Holy shit.

 

Luckily, the bottle shard did not cut through worn shoe sole, dirty sock, freckled skin, tired muscle, even to pierce the first shaft of the metatarsal bone, not like last time.

 

Last time was ages ago, Sampson was a child, yet he remembered it as being recent, his mom alive, sane even.

 

(He’d seen ads.) Sane.

 

The infection nearly killed him and had even cost him an audition for a pilot remake of The Munsters, and his mom nursed him night and day, wrapped him in bright dampened towels, mommy wrapping him all mummylike. THE WHITE ALBUM: The first thing Saskia did when Dr. Deyman let her out of Portland Legacy Good Samaritan (rushed through black sheets of rain, wheeled from curb to car by her homecare nurse, the first thing Saskia did when she got down Glisan and across the river with her nurse and catheters and bags of in-fluid and out-fluid and protease inhibitors and 3TC, when she got home, when Willem went down in the basement…always down in the basement for something, and if not him, then her nephew Titus), the first thing she did was to pull her catheters out — pull, hell, she yanked them, really, yanked out her catheters…

 

And the second thing she did was to squat in a corner by the big oak diningroom table and pee blood.

 

This hurt, but not as bad as not peeing.

 

Bloody pee or pissy blood, in runriver rivulets on the new wood, would wreck the new wood floor if not cleaned up soon, stain, warp and ruin the wood utterly.

 

Handyman was to do final seal of the new floor next week.

 

Saskia grinned when she saw the Rembrandt tulips in a carafe on the table, redredstreaked uricyellow, and wondered if nephew Titus had brought them. — Tulips came from Central Asia, he’d told her.

 

She laughed when Willem came into the room holding up his trophylike flayed hand.

 

— “Caught it on the god damn effing fuse box…” Willem looked at the pulled catheters and pools all cranberry juicelike. “Saskia, what did you why did you…” — “Because the heart has reasons that reason does not know because they all hurt because it feels really good to pull them out…” —

Later back in hospital (just overnight, this time, just for batteries of tests, tests yes, and homecare, but no hospice care), Saskia had grown weary of teevee options, when a wheyfaced volunteer glided past with a cart overloaded with donated books and old magazines with subscriber address labels xXxXxXed over or hacked off, she requested a tattered paperback, an old collection of essays called The White Album.

 

— “Gimme that one.” — “Which one?” — “The Didion.”

 

The volunteer reached for a Bible.

 

“Not Gideon…one next to it…. Other one next to it, The White Album…I hate that book, psuedo-apocalyptic crap.” — “Why would you want to read a book you hate?” — “Why read a book I like? Pain’s all I got, sweetie. Thing is you always need new pain to kill old pain.” THE NIGHT WATCH: As quiet as mice they hid, during Occupation, during the War…it was all there, in the pamphlet.

 

The Anne Frank House was in the heart of Amsterdam, close to the Westerkerk.

 

This was Titus Koninck’s first time in Europe (after an interminable Spring on a kibbutz outside Tel Aviv, teaching English and calculus in a temp-to-perm position that crapped out after he’d gotten sick with hepatitis) and his last day in Amsterdam, and after all the drugs he’d ingested in all the parks, and hashish-and-coffee shops with stoned clientele and even more stoned waitresses, and storefront window whores who took American Express and who still made him wear a condom, after all that Titus had to get to the Anne Frank House, his flight left tomorrow morning, he’d promised aunt Saskia —even a secularized Yom Kippur Jew had to see the Anne Frank House, she’d told him repeatedly when he visited her in hospital — My Aunt Rosa was her age, too, she told him, you have to promise me you’ll make the pilgrimage—and he promised her, not that she’d be alive when he got back, but still, he had promised, and he hurt all over, especially in his abdomen, felt stabbing pains in what had to be his kidneys.

 

Titus remembered an uncle with kidneystones who got all sorts of goodies as compensation, even synthetic heroin.

 

Uncle Jacob.

 

Must call him up.

 

He wished he could forget his aunt Saskia going on and on about how Anne Frank wrote in her diary of plastering bare walls of the room she had to share with cranky old dentist Fritz Pfeffer, plastering bare walls with pictures of stars of silver screen, photos of family.

 

And his aunt always got really good and pissed off when he called Anne Frank a poster child, and told him to show some respect for a fifteen-year-old who died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. — March of 1945, he always added.

 

The walk from Central Station itself was twenty minutes…just as the pamphlet promised.

 

But when he got there Titus found the Anne Frank House had just closed, and the sign right there repeated what he had ignored in the pamphlet:

 

Opening Hours:

 

Daily from 9 am to 5 pm from April 1st until September.

 

He saw a guard, just inside. — Please, he shouted to the guard. —

 

The guard had a shock of red hair, as unruly as his, and wore bellbottom pants.

 

Fucking bellbottom, what was this retro shit, everyone compelled to upchuck three thousand years of Western Culture.

 

The guard shrugged, turned, walked away.

 

Titus heard music come from even further inside.

 

Skronky and abrading harmelodic Sixties jazz, loud even from out here on the street.

 

Listening closer, he realized that the music was that postbop klezmer techno shit he’d heard at Tel Aviv raves.

 

He detested, loathed, and hated that the music never settled into a gentle twohundredfortybeats per minute groove or even a single musical mode for more than a few measures max, and hated the waitress who’d laughed at him: Don’t worry stick around you’ll find something else to hate in fifteen seconds. —It all made Titus think of Hebrew hiphop soundtracks to nevertobemade monster movies.

 

There was a particular band that night he really hated and detested and loathed and just did not like, and Titus then remembered the band’s name, the Anne Franks. ALBUM ALBUM: Why these mountains why this sky?

 

Stations of a cross he no longer believed in.

 

Who he?

 

Just a brother from another planet, a brother with a mission, an Afro-Canadienne-Cubano-American from Long Island, via Havana and Quebec, Frans B. Cocq.

 

The Manhatteeny New Amsterdam route began in the West Village and Soho.

 

He avoided Bleeker Bob’s Golden Oldies, and focused on those stores with extensive vinyl inventory, and an interest in jazz.

 

Frans dressed like shit — his halfsister’s washing machine was broken, and everyone recoiled until they saw his vinyl.

 

Still, they were suspicious, snide even, carefully writing down his driver’s license number and wondering why someone who lived in Sag Harbor would hawk records in Manhattan.

 

— “This is just duplicates man or stuff I replaced with ceedees.” — “Yeah. Sure.” Then: “Why come into town why not stick with local shops.” — “Fucking provincial Long Island shylocks.” — “Got a problem with Jews?” — “Yeahyeahyeah, my uncle told me how Jews paid dues in Birmingham, marched and got beat by crackers, so don’t twist my balls I need money to see my grandma in Quebec, she’s dying.” — “Your grandma, in Quebec?” — “Canadians need maids, too.” —

 

At Multi Kulti, on Thompson St., the white dreadlocked and black skinhead staffers nearly fought over the items, and a few customers joined in.

 

— “Fuck it, manager’s at lunch, let’s have open bidding.” — “Art Ensemble of Chicago, $30.00.” — “Give ya $60.00.” — “I’ll give ya $70.00.” — “Because the white man has more money he’s gonna prevent a brother from exploring his American Classical Heritage.” — “Oh, fuck ya’self Donald, don’t even start with the Dutch Jewish Slave Trade shit.” — “Check this out, Miles Muthahfucking Davis, Directions. $50.00.” — “$75.00.” — “$100.00.” — “Captain Beefheart, Doc at the Radar Station, Virgin promo, give ya $15.00.” — “$50.00.” — “$150.00.” — “Frank Zappa, Lumpy Gravy, Promo/dj, Verve, $75.00.” — “$150.00.” — “$100.00 for the Sun Ra.” — “Sure ya want to sell that?” — “My granda put me through college and she’s very sick, I got to go see her.” —

 

Etherea Records on West Houston at 6th Ave, Golden Disc on Bleeker, were each robbed near closing time that night.

 

In the East Village, A-1 Record Shop (“All sales are vinyl”) was also robbed; one staffer pistolwhipped.

 

Adult Crash, the woman-friendly store, was robbed too; fortunately no one was hurt.

 

On the East Side a customer was shot dead after coming between clerk and assailant during a failed robbery at Disc-O-Rama on Union Square East.

Each shop had two things in common.

 

A good-to-superb selection of used vinyl.

 

And the name and driver’s license number of Frans B. Cocq, an Afro-Canadienne-Cubano-American residing in Sag Harbor who had once been admitted to Bellevue for trying to kill himself, after stabbing his girlfriend.

 

NYPD wondered what Frans had really been up to, after comparing ID logs, wondered over the next months while seeking their “Sag Harbor Fugitive,” as the Daily News came to call him.

 

Used record stores were required to log names and ID numbers of anyone selling used vinyl or ceedees; he’d sold vinyl to 28 stores and only seven were robbed, all at the same time. Even a bad lead was still a lead. They’d convicted on less.

 

Frans never got to know he was a suspect.

 

After selling all his vinyl, he met his halfsister at Grand Central.

 

They retrieved her Saturn from a nearby parking garage.

 

They had planned to share the driving.

 

But he wound up doing all the driving, insisted he was fine, didn’t need no coffee.

 

— “Going back to Cuba,” she said at one point. — “Which Cuba?” he laughed, “we were both babies when we left there.” —

 

Somewhere in Canada, on the Trans-Canadian Highway, mistakes were made, and Frans drowned in a territorial dispute between phlegm and vomit as his airbag suffocated him upon collision with a deathblack Porsche.

 

Frans was dead already when the Saturn burst into flame, so lay crisped, unidentified, and unclaimed in a Canadian morgue whilst his halfsister lay in a coma in a nearby hospital burn ward.

 

NYPD continued investigating the robberies and ran into dead end after dead end, but the ultimate dead end matchup was a vehicle ID number query from Ontario tundratown cops. THE NIGHT WATCH: The babyblue formica-panelled nurse’s station at Legacy Good Sam had ergonomically correct computer keyboards and chairs for the nurses who accessed patient files; also, gro-lites and an amplectic pothos.

 

A small photocopier, a computer printer.

 

And there was also a bank of monitors…not as impressive as the ICU’s.

 

A corkboard was buried with postcards and photos of flashbulb-blinded children and pets, and cheery pictures of smiling models or celebrities torn from magazines plastered the rest of the wall.

 

Tiger Woods, Venus Williams, Arthur Ashe.

 

The only sound other than pingbleeps of vital signs was that of a patient buzzing the nurse’s station.

 

— “You go.” — “No way, she’s a monster.” — “Oh, Saskia’s all bark, no bite.” — “Then you go, she threw her bedpan at me!” — “Was it full?” — “No.” — “Your turn.” — “And what if she spits at me?” — “Your turn.” — “Or bites me?” — “What if I bite you?” — “That’d be different, you, well, you’re not. You’re not.” — “Not what?” THE BLACK ALBUM: Julia looked at Professor Dada, her fading fatherinlaw, his IV and attendant paraphernalia looking caterpillar-with-hookahlike.

 

The old man could have been a Bourke-White Life cover.

 

All exiled prime minister or ayatollahlike.

 

Or Satyajit Ray accepting an Oscar from what was to be his deathbed. (No, strike that last image.)    Professor Dada saw her star, she could tell.

Old man never missed a thing, yet his attention was gentle for all its intensity.

 

— “You’re wearing that again. Good.” — “…I just wear it because it was my mother’s.” — “There are no. Empty rituals, you know.” — “…You sound Jesuitical.” — Her fatherinlaw smiled and she frowned and he frowned and she smiled.

 

— “…So, Professor Dada, what would like me to bring you?” — “Health?” — “…Would you settle for wealth?” — “That I’ve had my share of.” — “…Something to read, then. A book?” —

 

She saw the Qu’ran; a dogeared Viking Portable Blake; a Joe Leaphorn reservation mystery; Penguins peeking from hidden black, orange, and greygreen spines.

 

Even sick, just a few day’s reading.

 

Except for the Qu’ran, which Professor Dada told her he found himself returning to with increased frequency.

 

— “Grandchildren would be Nice.” — “…Oh. Yes, I’ll go get grandchildren first thing.” — “You know that won’t do, Julia, that’d make me a great grandfather, I wouldn’t want to skip the grandfather part. You know, you two can adopt.” — “…Yes, we’ll adopt a crack baby.” — “Those studies were premature, crack babies need Love, too. At least you spared me your Offensive gynecological Mariana Trench song-and-dance. Which you always put so crudely.” — “…Don’t be such a silly cunt.” — “I rest my case.” — “…Then would you like a Kaddish?” — “That I ’spose is ’sposed to be funny…” Then: “From a secular Jewess to an old wog I spose it is.” — “…You know I’d never call you that,” she protested. — “Finefine, then bring my great grandchildren next time, we’ll detox them together.” All the while Professor Dada coughed until he laughed and Julia laughed until racked by coughs. “You do know,” he finally told her before she left, “that you and Raza do have a special beautiful.” — “…Please, you’ll only make me get weepy.” — “…Friendship, too, not even I always had that in my marriage.” — “…We haven’t always either.” — “But you always seem to have more fun burying the hatchet.” — “…In someone else’s back, yes.” — “If that’s what. It takes.”

 

The following week Julia had returned from visiting her fatherinlaw in hospital and found a voicemail from her bookstore telling her the Chandra, Roy, Desai, Seth, Kureishi, Rushdie, Narayan, Naipaul, Kipling, and Prater titles had arrived.

 

She had been on the phone with the Pakistani consulate and State Department making arrangements to have her fatherinlaw’s sloughedoff mortal coil immediately sent back to Karachi for burial when that sooner than later happened (no question of if, Professor Dada had been born in Oregon but wanted to be buried with his parents in Pakistan and spoke of invisible threads pulling him back, to be laid where generations had lain upon generations, and had told her how his wife Doktor Mama now appeared in his dreams to say Yes He Must Be Buried with His Family and that Yes she was Still an Atheist but that she would visit for she Too Felt the Invisible Threads, then Professor Dada declared that he wanted to see that Hitchcock movie again, with the Dali dream sequence; again on the phone with clients who kept flippyflopping between finials and gargoyles; and with her broker about internet stock going from ninety dollars a share to ten cents). — “Think of it as an excellent Capital Loss,” the broker told her. —

 

And all those books she’d ordered (mostly for Professor Dada, but not all) had just come in.

 

But a footdragging heeldigging client’s succulent check had not.

 

Still, they could afford them, barely, so she had to go get them.

 

Julia almost crashed into husband Raza as she backed out onto the street and he drove in.

 

Her raspberry beret flew off.

 

Raza held up mail, from their PO box, smiling his annual dental checkup smile.  She honked at him and he backed out, parked on the street.

Julia shifted into park and set the brake, retrieving her beret and locking the door as she got out.

 

She wanted to see if he had the check, and just wanted to see Raza, wanted to hug her husband, bitch at him for not shaving, nuzzle against him while squeezing his butt…he had left very early that morning, while she still slept.

 

She needed to also do something with her hair, it was too long, all ratnesty and splitendsville, getting in her face, and indeed had almost caused her to get rearended on the Morrison Bridge. (The insurance.    Yes, she had to send them a check.)

 

Raza had beat her to the door, and she found him in the kitchen, nuking water in the microwave for tea.

 

He had not heard her and she was amused by the way he almost jumped out of his skin when she hugged him from behind.

 

— “…Did you drop off the peecee today, Raza?” — “No, hon, I forgot.” — “…Drive still making that grinding noise?” — “Of course.” — “…Then don’t come yelling fuckfuckfuck to me when the peecee fails to boot up.” — “I’ll just use your laptop.” — “…No you won’t!” Her vehemence surprised them both. — “Sorry,” Raza said. “’S just today’s been the shit pits.” — “…Professor Dada seemed better,” she lied. — “Don’t know anymore: On one hand I hate seeing Dada shrivel by the quarterinch; on the other I’m a selfish shitheel for wanting Dada to just get it over and die; and then I think: Why can’t Dada live forever?” — “…There there.” —

 

She hugged him, and when the microwave bell rang she took his favorite cup with the original Enterprise crew beaming aboard as the water heated and added a bag of Darjeeling, and she was tempted to say something about the hour and the time when he reached for the Glenlivet but he only poured himself a shot.

 

— “King Shit comes in for a loan, for his Evangelical Church, ha. Then goes on about being second generation Oregonian, come over from Idaho, Utah, where the genepool could be a Superfund Cleanup Site, and how Californicators ruined God’s Country.  Railing on about overpopulation, then abortion. Not a bad country preacher speil but not a triff one either so I got bored, and I let him have it.” — “…You didn’t,” she laughed. — “Yes. After telling him that his home might not be collateral enough for the loan he said he needed, I suggested that it was a bit too late for everyone to go back where they came from, and then confessed to being only second generation Oregonian on my Professor Dada’s side, that my Professor Dada had been conceived in Pakistan but born in Eugene, but that my Doktor Mama’s family had come from Lebanon in the 1890s, and finally told him that my Doktor Mama, as a gynecologist, did more to address overpopulation than he ever would.” —

 

She laughed, proud but at the same time not entirely approving Raza being so bold and shameless as to use a dead mother in dispute.

 

And the Native Oregonian shit pissed her off.

 

She was just a nice Tel Aviv girl gone to New York with mom when her dad died. —

 

Then swept off her postgrad feet at Columbia by a brash Pacific Northwest Pakistani.

 

Then:

 

Go West.

 

Raza crazy with worry over Doktor Mama being in and out of remission.

 

And Julia’s own mom killed by a taxicab on Fifth Avenue while shopping for holiday presents.

 

So West they stayed.

 

On the way back into town, where she went to pick up the books she’d ordered, words popped into her head: “…alf of wot I say is meaningless.” (What was that from? a song? something by the Artist Formerly Known As Prince?)

 

Or something mumbled by Professor Dada at hospital? — Raza said Professor Dada wanted to read a “Proper book by a Proper Paki, even an improper Paki…” — though he’d settle for anything by a Post-Colonial diaspora Indian.

 

She parked her car and in her windshield saw reflected a ziggurat shadow’s dance across a tall mirrortomb; her first internship there.

 

Weird nightmares.

 

While the clerk got her order she examined new books, saw a trade paper and the author’s back cover photo.

 

She knew Professor Dada liked him though he did not strictly, she thought, fit the list, so she considered getting it for Professor Dada anyway but then remembered he’d read it in hardback. — Not my cup of hemlock at all, he’d said, still a welltold wellwritten story. She peered at the photo, he could be Eurasian or Slavic. No bio info in this title or in three different reprints stacked beside it. — “Isn’t he yummy?” the clerk Prudence said, over her shoulder. Julia had met the author, and agreed — “…Yes…” (up to a point:) “…But women aren’t his thing.” — “Oh.”  The clerk looked as if she might cry. — “…There was just no sexual energy. I was at this publisher’s party back East a few years ago, my second cousin’s in marketing; and he,” pointing at the back cover photo, “he was surrounded by women, all these women adoring him, dropdead gorgeous women, too, and he was really very very nice, but not a spark.” — “No pheremones?” — “…Not a single trace element.” — “Talk about buggered by religion.” —

 

Julia noted the clerk had just seen her Star of David and was surprised to find herself both amused and offended by the clerk’s blasphemy.

— “…’Snot religion doing the buggery.” THE NIGHT WATCH: Mechanoidal purr of a carousel projector.

 

Click of carousel turning to present the next slide.

 

— “Rembrandt van Ryn’s group portrait, best-known as The Night Watch, was completed in 1642, the year his wife died, and a pivotal point in his life.” —

 

Click and carousel presents next slide. — “His wife Saskia had brought to their marriage an impressive dowry and even more impressive connections, had posed for many of his most opulent High Baroque paintings. Note how drama is heightened in The Blinding Of Sampson by a brillant shaft of light entering the dark tent. Glare of the glare. Cruelty of the Orient. Rembrandt at this time used his extensive collection of Near Eastern paraphernalia as props.” — Click and on to next slide.

 

— “The previous decade had brought many commissions and great prosperity and they had avoided the ruinous 1647 tulip market crash but at Saskia’s death all Rembrandt had was a son Titus and mounting debts.”

 

“The actual title of the 1642 group portrait was The Company of Capt. Frans Banning Cocq. The group portrayed, a company of Amsterdam defense volunteers. Sitters each paid according to position; some few kvetched over artistic license taken in their depiction, especially those plunged into stygian shadow or hidden by other volunteers.”

 

“The group portrait, whether known as The Night Watch or The Company of Capt. Frans Banning Cocq, was found to be much much too big and was cut in half.” — Click on to next.

 

— “Commissions declined. By 1656 Rembrandt was bankrupt.” — On to next.

 

— “He returned to Protestant Biblical iconography, as well as studies of the Dutch Jewish ghetto, often using Jews as models for Biblical paintings. Light and gesture became less dramatic, even tender. Just look at Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph.” —

 

Click to next. — “Those signature shadows deepened, his work matured; analytic powers that missed not one fallen sparrow, subtly evoking moods melancholy or bitter. No selfsatisfied burghers here.” — Click click next next. —

 

“The School of Rembrandt was just that, a school. Note here works of his students: Bol, Flinck, Eekhout, Gelder, Koninck.” — Click next click next. —

“Rembrandt, who had been born in 1606 along with Holland’s independence from Spain and its Inquisitions, died in 1669.”

 

“By no means forgotten during these final years, Rembrandt did receive important commissions, Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Deyman in 1661 and Conspiracy of The Batavians in 1656. But they too were ‘altered’ and now only fragments remain for display.” —

 

Click click click next next next click click

 

 

 

 

NOTE: Titus Koninck’s comment about the compulsion to culturally upchuck inspired by an Eliot Weinberger essay, Vomit, in Jacket #2.

 

 

 

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