043.1: Zach Savich:: Portrait of My Death & Black-Eyed Lazy Susan & Inventory & Will
22 November 2010
My mom has it somewhere in the house. Although, she may not. It was a long time ago. Just a memory of an image, really. It was a school project, very early, maybe first or second grade. I took a bunch of crayons, different colors, and scribbled on a piece of crate paper. Over that, I rubbed a layer of black crayon. Then, I scraped an image through the black crayon to reveal the underlying colors. First, I drew an apple, and then using this shape as an outline, turned the apple into a knight’s sallet, carving breathing holes and arabesque designs. I titled the piece “Sir Applelot.” The teacher thought I was clever. I was reminded of this piece when reading Zach Savich’s selection this week. There is no direct connection, only perhaps loosely as “Black-Eyed Lazy Susan” begins with a meditation on the verb “to apple.” Rather, I was reminded of the process of relief: carving out an image by revealing what is below, or more to the point, what something is not. Throughout the work, Savich does just this: scrapes away. As “Portrait of My Death” begins, it is “not the angle/ of hill but light,” and the poem continues to move through a series of negations, almost every line contains a “not” or a “but.” What something is not or how something is complete seems to be the driving engine for Savich’s work, and with this process, something curious happens – I am given so much, yet something is always obscured, something is below where I haven’t carved. As in “Inventory,” he begins, “A drug I should’ve taken…” and I ask, what drug? A sign commands to apply within – again, for what? Each line is like taking the pen knife to the covering foundation and, so, provides its own revelation, but always with that revelation there is the rest of the field, so much just below, toying and teasing.