Friday, April 17, 2009

More than correspondence.

It is noon.
There isn't much time.
But being here is important.
So no one pushes.
And no one yells.
Each waits their turn.

The air is filled with reverant whispers and the
echo of footsteps off marble flooring.

Is this the same group of people I see rushing by me at the super market?
Is that the same woman who was screaming from her car at a pedestrian?
Is that the same hot shot lawyer on TV, with his head bowed and his pride bridled?

Someone coughs. A mother hushes her baby.
A cell phone ring is quickly silenced.

A man leaves without his burdens,
just as two woman walk in with theirs
and seamlessly join the growing crowd
and our methodical liturgy.

We are not the first to partake in this ritual
and we won't be the last.
The art of balancing brown paper packages,
left arm, to the right, then to the left again.
Of the last minute licking of stamps,
the clicking of pens
the checking of clocks,
the tapping of fingers on ivory envelopes.

Bread doesn't turn to body,
and wine doesn't turn to blood.
But something is happening
as sunlight streams through cathedral windows.

Side by side, as we stand,
we become more than members of a community.
We become a congregation-
clinging fast to the written word,
dwelling on the ones we love,
and the ones that love us back.

I walk down the aisle,
with my offering in hand,
and lay it humbly down.
And in the letting go I realize,
that we are coming to this alter
with more that just our postage.

We are coming with our prayers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Struggle.

This is too big. Why did I ever think I could catch this?
A sunset, an entire sky…heaven itself…all with some horsehair and oil. And it’s setting, it’s all going so fast. I don’t have time, someone please press pause. I don’t have that shade of gold, the one in the lower left corner, where that portion of sky meets that portion of water and it’s dancing and it’s changing now, just in this moment, and there it changed again. I have a kaleidoscope of colors, but none for the most important part and I need this to be it.
I need this to be it, to remember why I fell in love with art in the first place, I need it to forget the Professors and their methods and the daily critiques, to forget any tear stained piece I’ve thrown away, to erase all the student loans, my parent’s disapproval, his screams to get my “shit” off the table… If I can get this, if I can just even come close, then things will change. I just know they will. So you see, whoever you are, I am sitting here silently, with a storm inside, pleading with you, for just this one break, to be let in on this one secret, please just let me find that shade of gold, please just let me catch this evening’s beauty, and please let me take it back and show the others…because somehow I think that things would be different…if not for them, then at least for me. Because I'll put all this splendor above my bed and escape each night in my dreams…

This is too deep. How do I plan to go about catching this? An entire being, an entire entity, an entire universe…all with a box and some film? And with so little time left…the sun is setting, it’s going fast. There, that look her face, I just missed it, someone please press pause. The light is dancing and it’s changing as reach for my bag. I’ve just asked her if I can take her photo. She said yes and smiled…or did she? The ocean isn’t behind me. It’s in that subtle smile…She is exquisite in her peaceful poise. Does she realize the favor that she has done for me, to have this chance? Because I need this to be it.
I need this to be it to remember that it’s more than just this. I need it to forget my desk job, the taxes, the fluorescent lights, super markets and stock markets. I need to be believe that time can be stilled, if only for a moment and that while everything keeps spinning at million miles a minute and aging and death and loss are inevitable, that perhaps I have some say in the matter. And I need this to be it because it’s another piece to the puzzle, the one I spend hours in darkrooms trying to figure out.
So you see whoever you are, I am not just talking with you, I am standing here hopeful, with a goal in mind, pleading for you for this one glimpse, to be let in on this one secret. Please just let me catch that look and that light and let me take it back and show the others. Because somehow I think they would look at her and see themselves and maybe understand…and if they don’t, then at least I will, and I’ll hang this Mona Lisa moment above the mantle and come to her whenever I need help with the mystery.

This is too intricate and the cycle is too complex. In what way did I think I could ever go about catching this? A theory, a concept, the creative spirit…and all with paper planes and pencils. I’ve never known this before, never seen it this clearly, never quite seen the story laid out in quite this way. The subject of a subject of a subject, the circular pattern of it all, all so unaware that while we are watching, we are also being watched, and while we are creating, something else is being created. But the sun is setting and it’s going fast. And I don’t have the right word yet, and the answers to my questions might not stick around long enough for me to find the sentences and stick them to the page, somebody please press pause. The stories are dancing but they are already changing as I reach for my pen. And I am praying as I scribble, because I need this to be it. I need this to be it to remember that it’s worth the mental torment and minimum wage jobs. I need it to forget the wastebaskets filled with rough drafts, forget the insecurities, bitten nails, and endless pots of coffee. I need it to know that the days ahead will be worth it, and that this path has promise.
So you see, I am sitting here crying to you with a task unknown, begging to have my eyes opened just a bit more, to be let in on this one secret. Please just let me catch this word and this Truth and let me take it back and tell the others. Because somehow I think the heart of an artist would recognize these events, these pleas, this desire, and know that it is their story too, that it’s always been theirs, and that maybe they will be as encouraged in their craft as I have been, to try and tell it.

photograph by sir james.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Woah Boy.

Lately I am finding that multiple rounds of caffeinated beverages are not particularly aiding my productivity and/or sanity levels. In fact, the past week or so this Arabica Bean nectar of the gods, seems to only be exacerbating certain"tendencies" that (I would like to think) are otherwise much more...dormant.

In a perfect world, so much ridiculousness could have been avoided if a simple surgeon general's warning was placed on the sleeves of each cup. Something to the extent of:


I have taken the liberty of listing a few of my own unwanted side effects, in the humble hopes that if my story of addiction can reach one person and stop them from making the same mistakes that I did, then it will have made all of this worthwhile...

Side Effect #1: Fits of anger and extreme rage.

Typically I consider myself a peace loving person...and while I find that there are many scenarios that I would like to give someone a piece of my mind, I will most often hold my tongue and turn my thoughts towards happy things, such as kittens and daffodils. However, today's train ride home, while under the influence of much coffee and little sleep, something happened and it wasn't pretty.

Mid-commute while enjoying the peace and quiet of a sun-filled car and a good book, a girl my age barged through the doors, dragged her 3 duffel bags through the aisle to the seat behind me, and proceeded to blast the speakers off of her cell phone, while simultaneously singing along with Fergy and the other Black Eyed Peas about humps and lady lumps.

A full two minutes went by, and as I watched my knuckles turn white with anger, I realized that clearly my pacifist ways had left the station...because by then I had already reached for my own cell phone. The one that came programmed with quite a variety of equally obnoxious hip hop songs. I cranked the volume up as far as I knew it would go and hit the play button, then held it above my head and scratched my ear. Passive aggressive behavior at it's best. But this time it apparently worked. DJ mix allot behind me got the picture and opted for her head phones.

Side Effect #2: Temporary Amnesia and/or mild retardation.

This morning I shaved my legs. Both of them. With a new razor.
Took a good 5 minutes.
Felt pretty proud of myself since winter doesn't usually promote this kind of shower habit.
It wasn't until I grabbed my towel however,
and put down the neon purple Lady Schick,
that I realized the safety cap was still on.
Had been on.
The entire shave.
And that the only thing
going down the
drain that morning
was my IQ level.

Side Effect #3: Hallucinations and conversations with non-humans.

Dr. Doolittle has nothing on me. While he may have known the secret longings of giant sea snails and baby rabbits, I not only talk to members of the animal kingdom such as my cats, but apparently this week, all other kinds of inanimate objects as well, such as plants, refrigerator foods, shoes, and park benches.
See recorded dialogues below:

Cat talk:
Fitz, what do you think? Should the Olympics come to Chicago? We won't be here then you know that right? No. We won't. How's that new cat nip working out for ya?

Plant talk:
HULLLOOO little thirsty plant. You are thirsty huh? That is why you make that noise when I water you. That little glug glug glug...that is quite cute...

Food talk:
Left-over lasagna, you are MINE....again.

Shoe talk:
You little purple b*(&WE$@. How dare you not fit me. There are going to be extreme consequences for your actions. Just you wait and see.

Park Bench talk:
Don't mind if I do...

So...the point.
The point is, while all this time I have been convincing myself that a mug of java for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the exact ticket for maintaining clarity and promoting energy for getting things done during this current schedule from seems I have fallen in the throes of many other mindless consumers and am now suffering extreme buyers remorse. Simply put: The girl's been duped. And from now on I am going to start seeing a "cup a Joe" for what it truly is:

"a cup a crazy"...