Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the refinery

It stands one mile outside of town. The old refinery stands now in twilight. Many pieces have been taken for salvage, for scrap. But the vast skeleton is still there, darker than the evening now going deeper. No longer an architecture and alchemy for chemicals. No longer the pensive men, by day or graveyard shift. No more sound and vapor, dissonance and movement. No dull clicks of billiard balls in the smoky break room.

Down where Arkansas sleeps restlessly, on the fitful, dreaming outskirts of a town, that hulking and scarred refinery changes. It has been changing for many decades into a work of entropic art. A thing now self-sculpted into disturbing lineaments. But even this new thing, this jarring abstract artwork is haunted by migraines, sudden death, and memory.

In night hours, a strange wind will move through girders of the rusted catcracker and water tower, around storage tanks. It is always perplexing to observe this artwork when it wavers, when it takes on tacit skeins and rosy glow, becomes itself again.

Even a dead refinery has a ghost that comes out to breathe.

acrylics on paper, 18 x 24, by Tim Buck

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