Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
A word that AA Bondy uses a lot is a color. It's the mightiest of the colors - or a counterpart of the two at the head table. Though mathematically, artistically and scientifically there's no rhyme to it, this color of crimson is equivalent to the water percentage of the two dominant colors that could cast beefy, dark shadows on all of the rest. Crimson makes up the majority of the colors black and white - arguably the most powerful and brilliant of all the hues. Crimson is blood, is life, is easily spilled and boiled. It factors into the presentation of the purity of white and the bleakness of black. Somewhere between the perceived good and evil that the two colors have been appropriately fitted with is this common thread of crimson-colored blood getting between them and driving them to stir, to act up.
This could mean that evil, or the darkness of a night, becomes passionate and forgiving or that the whiteness gets spotted with unfortunate blood. However anyone acts, wherever they were born, whatever they've done, whomever their parents are or were, no difference in what they possess inside that makes them tick, they're filled with redness, a crimson brand of oil that runs out of its veins as quickly for everyone should they be nicked. It flows through those inner canals, detouring into all of the spaces and muscles that need it, making roundtrips back to the beating hive in patterns upon patterns, sloshing around like red moles. It's always in there, sometimes cleaner and healthier than at other times, but it's always there, acting and reacting to the things we put it through.
Bondy, the Alabaman with a distinguished lurch in his sleepy speaking voice which translates into a worn man's valor in a singing voice, thinks of crimson angels and crimson clouds, thinks of those angels swimming in the deeps of murky waters, passing up against glass-bottomed boats just to make the half-aware exclaim that they've seen something of a fright. His acts - on his Fat Possum full-length American Hearts - is all his own heart and the examples of the many things that he lets pass through it, that get pulled into his infected life stream. You can perspire the things that you put into your body. The sad things come out as tears. The lonely things are regurgitated and spit back out in sweat and grease and body odor. They can affect your posture and droop your eyelids as if they were absorbing iron filings and despair in equal measures.
Bondy is a net and a filter, giving himself as many contact points as he can, then he regroups in solitude to decode all of the ways that he was affected by the touches and the drama. He goes through days of thin blood and thin skin, then establishes his immunity to the riotous outside, thickening himself up with a toughened coating and crimson blood that transports oxygen and nutrients like slow-motioned molasses. He slows himself down and works in the ambling sunset tones and down-keyed overnight hours that drift by so quickly and with a candlelit pallor. He questions all of the difficulties that seem to prevail, the many ways that man can find himself confused and in trouble, or troubling others. Sometimes there's a feeling that the best option might be to just work alone, to not be bothered and to not bother those surrounding. It would lack some of that crimson, that color that informs everything, that is the plot advancer. It would suck all of the intrigue out of doing anything, this act of selfishness, though no one will argue that it would simplify everything.
Bondy prefers the ebbs and the flows. His web site features what appears to be a created scene of three buffalo stampeding off of a cliff. Two are about that, pounding against the soil, watching as one massive animal is tits up falling to a rocky, bloody death. They see him go over the side and their chests must swell with doom, the recognition that there are no breaks in those hooves. It's a helluva way to go, out with the bluster and a long, drawn out howling, ending in an immediate lights out. A.A. Bondy fills in the holes to that tragic sort of ending. He stands at the top of the cliff, warning that there's a cliff, that there's nothing so terrifying that they need to get all suicidal. And he's there at the bottom as well, closing the eyelids of the expired beasts, still feeling their bodies as warm masses and wondering if they had any regrets because he'd bet they did. The crimson blood would be an obvious indicator. He'd see it and begin thinking about his own life, just to get it all straight.
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