On reading “Capturing The Light Of Dawn”

David St.-Lascaux Tiffany ad, Grand Central Station

On reading “Capturing The Light Of Dawn” in The Park Avenue corridor Of Grand Central Station


Reading Tiffany’s new advertising campaign,
“Capturing The Light Of Dawn,”
stops you in your tracks.
It’s not on every daily fatalistic trudge for survival
that you encounter anything
even approaching transcendental poetry,
but here it is.

Still, of course, you remind yourself,
it’s not real, couldn’t be real:
It must be an illusion.
How, you ask yourself,
could an anonymous, talentless hack
write such sinuous, sensuous copy?
Could so confidently flaunt
– with such insouciant aplomb –
the conventions of capitalismic capitalization
(elevating the iotic of
to such Regnal, Offal status)?
How could a cubicled dunce
tapping on an iPad
coalesce these supernal, ancient morphemes
into congress so concisely –
into such alchemical, uh, alchemy?
Words which, when
their stellar selves align,
invoke Divine Pronouncement
approaching the profundity of
Saint-Simon’s Hand Of Greed,
Of Poverty, Despair, Depravity and Of Denial.
Of Indifference.

Software, perhaps, you speculate.
Maybe IBM’s computer scientists, or Google’s,
or other minions laboring in genteel urban campuses,
math Ph.D.’s devoting their cosseted, unconsidered lives
to the merchandising of consumer “goods,”
have written a new software program,
perhaps named, aptly, Bling-A-Ling or Mor4Moi,
for the Benevolent Marketing Computers
installed in the Lower Bowels of Madison Avenue
for the demons
who disrupt the unsuspecting world
with their honk-honk bozo ball horns,
telling the gullible what to desire,
what to buy.
That could explain it:
a mathematical formula
in which the input ennui, surfeit and selfish
yield ravishing rubine gems.

Or luck.
Maybe this humaniform nullity
– this purveyor of drivel –
won the linguistic lottery,
opening a thesaurus to random pages,
a monkey typing ermine, velvet, vetiver.
Glowing… luminescent… rose…
Jackpot !!!

Or maybe it was crowdsource datamined,
the culled contributions
of Tiffany’s Facebook fans
(Rubedo has 2,214 likes, and 79 comments,
including, “I want it and “… it’s SOOOOO Tiffany’s !!!”).
You can see it now:
“Help Tiffany name –
and position
our new product.
Win a genuine Tiffany peace sign charm and bracelet
(retail value $295 [really]
*employees of Tiffany and its agencies are ineligible;
offer ends at midnight).”

In a marketing faux pas,
Tiffany’s press release employs an inconsistent metaphor:

”In the medieval philosophy of alchemy, Rubedo was the title of the very highest achievement, when matter and spirit fused to create something of rare beauty.”

Nothing about “showing pink,” a post-orgasmic glow, or sun, or roses.
No suggestive sheath or handcuff.
Actually, rubedo refers
to the resurrection of Jesus Christ
and the mumbo-jumbo perfection
of the alchemist
from nigredo (blackness)
to albedo (white lightness)
and, finally, cinnabar rubedo.
If you missed the implicit racism and religious subtext,
please reread the preceding.

Then you realize that there’s another,
darker possibility:
a newly-minted MFA,
student of several prominent poets,
bringing Donne and Sappho to a day job
in the Global Shithouse,
while Hughes and Sandburg, Scott-Heron and Lorde cringe
in their graves.
Who knows?
Maybe this now-fabled literary alchemist
will rise high in the agency:
Maybe Tiffany’s CEO
will applaud this transmuter
of words to cash
a pedestrian trick
for the benefit of shareholders.

City life distorts one’s perspectives.
It’s easy to miss
the subliminal messages:
For example, the liquid
rubedo homophones libido
and the purpose of the purchase is
to get your woman to spread her legs,
to brand your chattel
to signal your status
and perpetuate your genes.
Whether blood diamonds or fool’s gold,
it’s all just a game, after all,
and anything other than self-indulgence
is time wasted.

Now hear this headline:

“Capturing The Nihilism Of Materialism
In A City, Country And World In Which
Poverty And Homelessness Are Ignored,
Food And Healthcare Are Denied To Children, Women, Men, The Elderly And Poor,
Economic Inequality Is Extolled,
The Earth Is Raped,
War Equals Profit,
And Ignorance Is Sold As Strength”

Too wordy, you tell me; waaay too negative; SOOOOO Unpoetic !!!
Who would buy That?

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Photo © 2012, David St.-Lascaux.

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