Monday, April 30, 2012

View to the West

   Arthur Rimbaud said, "always arriving, you will go everywhere."
   Seong-jun said, in the voice over, a fictional character in the movie - The Day He Arrives by Hong Sang- soo, "I have nowhere to go."
   They say aging is a spiritual practice. The boxed set of the years so to speak. And I imagine we'll all find out how that works!
   But in the meantime life is on the move. With or without us. Always recharging like weeds in the ground after a springtime rain. It seems practical and dumb enough to say it without feeling you having any smarts about it. And even though I'm a rather domesticated being, with regards to what my daily habits are in the world - yea - you could almost set your watch by me - it's a sentimental notion to try and occupy a fixed position. I remember a few years ago filling out a credit application to buy a bicycle. Questions like: how long have you been employed? How long have you lived at your place of residence?  I've worked at the same job since 1978.  I've lived in the same house since 1987. Whoa. What does that amount to? A good credit rating?  Walking away from a store with the bicycle that you want?  Good thing - bad thing - indifferent thing.    
   I remember driving to Florida from Philadelphia and sleeping in the trunk of a Chevrolet Caprice circa 1972 in Key West next to a circus because that was the furthest point on land and that's all we had to do.
   I remember after a weeks' hike in the White Mountains saying fuck getting back and hopping in the van and driving overnight to Acadia and sleeping there against the rules and watching the sun come up from the parking lot on Cadillac Mountain with instant coffee and a bong.
  I remember a bus station in Savannah and an elderly woman stealing my book while I went to get food out of a vending machine and my having to ask her to please give it up once I got back to my seat.
  I am afraid to let go of the days. I want to let go of those days so bad I don't know how.
  So in the interests of standing someplace forever, the pursuit of happiness and knowing something eternal in the bones, I painted the front room over the weekend. The room was a little beat up and dingy looking. It's funny. First you buy a house and that's like having this step into some established order. You feel cool to be there etc. Then you fix up the house which is like having a tag for others to see as they pass by your labors and ideas and designs. Over the years you maintain the house, which as the house gets along in years well, so do you.
  Did I imagine in that last third of life I'd be cutting in ceilings and rolling out walls? (!)
  But when it's done the room looks good and feels clean - the way blue sky in the morning makes you   want to fly out an open window and loop around the trees.
  There's always something next to do. It's worthwhile to look at things in their opposite and float around in the moves and strangeness and beauty of one's peculiar space. A crack in a wall needs to be repaired, and you begin to notice, the cracks elsewhere, and how they appear to be wherever you look...    

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Free Mints

    Maybe it's a regret. Maybe a celebration. Or a combination of both. Or a combination that we don't yet know about? But when I read in the paper that Levon Helm died well that was a bit of a page stopper. So I played some Band c.d.'s later that afternoon in the studio. Everything goes away. Despite a life, and a career that I followed in his music, and the sing-along with respect that happens afterwards. That's the real time leftover from the object lesson when things change. And running corollary to the sad news on the obit pages were the first tulips blooming outside in the garden as a kind of welcome news. And there was a song bird perched on a rose bush. A little bird passing through the yards that I did not recognize and who flew off too soon for me to grab the field guide and glasses and try to identify.  Ain't that the way we compile the world? Or at least for me. What we see we forget. And what we forget we look up as information about a world already having been there for the viewing in the first place. It's like trying to catch up to the past, playing with  the future, in the hopes that you establish a present?
   Sure it might have all been different. But how? More importantly, to realize, it wasn't different. And the weird thing was to take someone else's obituary and then start to think about your own life. That seemed fucked up but I did it regardless. Like some kind of advice.
   And fitting in I guess was the weather. The day was alternating sun and clouds, cold pockets to scare you, warm light on the skin. It was like all these earthly adventures I never had, and having a queer feeling of nostalgia for places I've never been. But if you've never had those experiences, how is it possible to long for them? Don't you need to have something already in hand before you lose it?
   Perhaps I should make a list. It's an odd brainstorm indeed to imagine yourself as being attached to regret. The blow to memory and all that. A kick in the pants as the body wears down. However, as a open link, beyond the permitters, where we die how we live, it was his music and listening to it and having my take upon it that seemed to say foremost get out of the way and stay tuned.  


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Epistle. To: Berlin Film Actress

       A morning dove was making its nest inside my neighbor's rain gutter. I watched the bird work from the bedroom window. And it was way cool to see the construction and watch little bits of twigs become the the overall pattern, but I had a thought, and the thought was, this is a bad plan. Making a home that's sure to be washed out?  Especially with all the storms we've been having...
   Must be that algebra of springtime again! Everything growing. Everything moving. Everything taking in light and giving back air. And then whatever. As long as you're engaged... Certainly the nurse said. But are you propositioning me about this she asked?
   Not really I said. I simply like it more when you're around. Than not I mean.
   Than not what she asked?
   A place I said. Somewhere to belong to and somewhere that's cool and somewhere kinda the opposite of trouble. If you know what I mean.
   Oh come on the nurse said. I can't be that.  What do you want me for, a situation? And let's say I enjoy the walks and talks. And maybe that's it. Maybe there's little more than that to get worked up over.
   Nature doesn't like a vacuum I answered. And so, what's rushing in to fill this void? So. Where is that?   And so, if there's nothing more to think about, but another bad night with more downpour rain for however many days counting that it's been falling down, and the cold air seeping inside at the windows that comes along with it, then this makes me feel like I have nothing else to talk about. In a sense I feel worse off than I did last week. And shouldn't it be the other way around?
   You have such a silly head the nurse said. Another day. Another bandage. That's how you take it. Now be still while I do this.
   Everyone's favorite metaphor I said is small steps.
   Not a bad thing to remember the nurse said finishing with the syringe.
   But I said that doesn't really get me anywhere. Where's that comic book sensibility? Able to leap tall buildings and all that.
   Look the nurse said don't let it work against you. At your recovery pace, I'll be around for over a year.
   I was afraid to ask and then what?
   Don't be sad the nurse said. Don't be the man who knew too much.
   Well maybe I was afraid to say it,  but I felt that way.  As soon as the bandage was changed, and the dishes washed, and the bed made, I'll walk downtown slowly for a newspaper and some peanut butter. Along the way I'll criticize everything I see as though I have something to say about it and live that way. And so I'll be happy to have gotten there and back again for having said it? Just curious I wanted to say.
Isn't that something we always want? The place after what we have and we don't get any further? A light hearted touch dedicated - again - again - to a moment and so folded over by the big sweet world that even if there was nowhere to go you might have the nerve to say I need to be here. To sculpt time from nothing but the air.    
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