inside Margaret Greenham
AUTOPSY OF THE PATRIARCH - Al Razutis

(Mr. Razutis is a member of the Theatre Crafts & Design Faculty,
currently teaching holography and application of laser to theatre).


5:02 p.m.
The staff has left for
The Solarium is throbbing --
we remain behind overcome with silence and a pungent odor;
the sense of morgue
descends upon the Theatre lobby -- lifeless dead skins
useless excercises in graphic
plagiarism
adorn the walls. On any other day this could be the Art Gallery
of Ontario or Art Bank.

But here our setting is complete.
Finality is staged; an autopsy must be performed
since the cause of death is in question.

The Old Man's corpse is wheeled in, still bearing the marks that testify to His night before struggle and the photorealist wrath. His wounds are open, blue and bloodless; somehow abstract, expressionist (to use his very own words) upon the pale shroud of hard skin. The lighting is poor.

Yet how we remember the last days.
They wanted more government subsidies to keep His artificial voicebox and pneumatic limbs in order for another century (to stretch that tall tale of history as it were) and how they clamored for more costumes and makeup to hide His rheumatic withered limbs from sight but the telethon fell through and the wildworld sports fans couldn't be bothered with another Loto, so now it is we, the ones who knew him well, who are left to witness this unwholesome examination.

The pathologists have arrived. His eyes are pried open. They are empty.

His beard, grown long in the late 60's, as hip fashion once demanded, is shorn. He is undressed. The emperor laid bare without his new clothes.

Scalpel.

His left testicle is noticeably enlarged, as due to one of His profession. Such were the vices & virtues of the arts. We didn't know that when He brought in the models that they were to be His after-hours nor did we know how big His appetite truly was and when He invented perspective before our impressionable eyes we didn't know that He would rape us with habits but it was always under the pretense of telling us of the falconer and history and that the Centre must hold and even then while showing us those late night graphics and moaning for another Lisa we remember the way He told of a new age built on ancient principles and He brought forth the singular imminence of born again that only He could describe with promises that only He could conjure up but then we thought He would live forever.

But when He ran from the atrocities of war burned in His esoteric manifestos still praising God the Fuhrer and the Singular Cause and when He sold us to the limp gallery dealers with further promises that we could have a show in the following year or was it the year after we didn't know we would have to seek welfarebe because even the dealers had conspired against us and the Old Man 's number was now unlisted but we still hung on with the faith that He was with us writing cultural policies for a tomorrow that we would surely inherit but that one night while we were talking of Van Gogh and Artaud when He showed us the marks on His wrists we began to wonder

Yet we went on believing that all things would somehow be good if we had patience and humility that there was a cause and meaning outside of ourselves and then we began to fear for ourselves.

And when we each came to our own separate crisis or the edge of our world no one not even He had hinted at the possibility that we had been lied to that the earth may not be flat that there is no singularity or purpose outside our own actions and we began to fear death for the Old Man had never taught us the aftermath of our existences and we had believed that, through Him we would live forever.

And now the pathologists have cut out His Rennaisance eyes and sold them to the uptown gallery and they have cut off His impressionist fingers and expressionist tongue and put them on tour
but when they opened up his chest cavity
and instead of a heart found only a petrified
dadaist turd
which was also Promptly installed in an
Art Bank

And it was then yes
that the marks on the corpse could be
clearly discerned
(we had always known them as our professors
but yes it was there undeniably
those 40 thousand plus a year boys had got to the Old Man first and in pursuit of their own immortality -- corpse chewers!)

and then we finally saw
the answer.

It was when the pathologists finally
cut off those exhausted enlarged testicles

tossed them to the pigs

it was then that we finally knew how he
had died
those eyeless sockets still
held that look
of utter surprise the shock
that there is no one else
and that the world is

and then they pulled his face off.


Banff, 1978.




Writings - Essays - Manifestos