For a brief moment you understood that time–the phenomenon we measure in days, hours, minutes–was merely an illusion that could be dispelled by a wish granted by a genie; dissipated into an eternity for a butterfly flying through the vast blue sky.
The roly-poly snowman with kitchen gloves for hands and a candy cane striped tie sits on the shelf covered with dust. No one remembers that his gloves are butter knife handles, perfect for spreading guava preserves. He is just another forgotten object, along with the curved Alaskan chopping knife resting in its wooden stand, and the Lenox candy dish, a wedding gift from so many years ago. The snowman was traded for an Andrea Bocelli Christmas CD I picked from a grab bag at a work holiday party. I winced when I took off the wrapping and gladly traded it for the snowman. I had the pick of the lot from the five gushing women vying for my CD. No wonder I can’t work in an office for long. The lumpy belly of the snowman is so different from the little delft cow salt and peppershakers sitting next to it. Can everyone see the difference? I am not that fond of figurines, but I like the cows. They are delicate, while the snowman, which I actually like too, mostly for the butter knives I never use, screams made in China on sale at Tuesday Mornings, under five dollars for the Christmas grab bag. A family heirloom, candidate for a garage sale, or maybe the garbage bin? A reminder of the north and another time? There it sits, mitten hands at its side, oblivious to the indifference that surrounds it.
A buzzing sound, like a big insect, precedes a rapid decent, as the hummingbird dives at the fire bush that stands about two feet off the ground. Hovering, its beak enters the fluted depths of the tiny red flowers that cover the spindly branches. Now we can see the red throat and green body as its wings beat rapid figure eights. A new world bird, found throughout the Western hemisphere, its greatest migration is from mid-July or early August through September. It flies backward, forward, up and down, from side to side, ever seeking out nectar to satiate its need to keep flying, its energetic quest to sustain itself.
The humming bird is a bird, not an insect. Its tiny feet, too small for walking, perch on the edge of the smallest branch. Its tremendous will to live belies its delicate frame. Why do we think we are so unlike animals and that our lives have a purpose beyond survival? That our every movement is not just sustaining life, for no other reason than sustaining life? Are our accomplishments or non-accomplishing anything more than that? Why do we delude ourselves by thinking that they have any more meaning than that of the hummingbird that beats its wings furiously, intensely using up the energy it has to work so hard to maintain. We interpret its tiny body, bright colors, attraction to flowers, ability to hover as meaningful, joyful, life affirming, light. But it only persists because it has to, it has no choice, and neither do we.
… si el tiempo real y el de los sueños coincidieran, cabría la posibilidad de que se encontrara conmigo un poco más allá, antes de llegar a las últimas rocas, se detendría, me preguntaría que por qué estaba dibujando una casa, un cuarto y una cama y yo le diría «si quieres que te lo diga, siéntate, porque es largo de contar» y al contarlas en voz alta, salvaría del olvido todas las cosas que he estado recordando y sabe Dios cuántas más, es incalculable lo que puede ramificarse un relato cuando se descubre una luz de atención en otros ojos…
El cuarto de atrás, Carmen Martín Gaite
Hardcore and slam dancing, blue Mohawks, combat boots with mini-skirts and ripped t-shirts, black leather motorcycle jackets with safety pins and bike chains, spiked collars and heroin; Bowery and Thompson Square, St. Marks Place and Avenue A; abandoned buildings and bodegas, punk squatters and Nuyoricans, pre tenants rights and gentrification; pre AIDS, post coming out and shooting up.
2nd and 2nd, black and white tiles leading to the elevator; a one bedroom apartment on the sixth floor, “We Three” on the turntable, pounding the silence, filling the space, expectant and let down, waiting for Craig, who just couldn’t wait, we two, you two, and me, before descending into the East Village night.
Capturing travel through space in time, evoking movement by making it static.
When divergent worlds converge, we pick up strands to weave a tapestry of something of our own making. When does art become art and an artist an artist? Who is meeting whom? Are they coming together or moving apart? Who is it that thinks these strands go together? Only I can know the connection of how the correspondences merged into one.
Reacting to life, creating images, with or without a camera: the video letters, a creative dialogue between two men; the tale of a trip, a creative dialogue between memories and the present, of one; and I interact with both of them, an inner dialogue that creates this. What was it that connected these two? The pace, the self-reflective narrative voices, the intimacy, the lighting, the intertwined bits and pieces of experience, intertwined with my own experiences, my own desires. Paris, Mendoza, San Juan, New York, the journey, the café, film, music, the streets, performance, a box with the same cover as a box I used to store stationary and old letters in; Jose Luis, Jonas, Francene, Antonio, friends who shared their interests, their lives, that I wove together to speak about mine, without them ever knowing.
“To rehearse over and over every moment of our lives until each one turns out right or at least comes closest to the ideal moment; with a stage or film director we could try out each situation, each moment, each circumstance several times, until it is comes closest to what we hope for.”
Reality is not, as Jonas says, what we interact with, touch, drink, know. It is not so much an attitude as a perception, what we make of it. It is not the object. It is the meaning we give to the object and that is not static, nor definitive. Nor can it be perfected or aligned with what we hoped for. Creation is done in real time, every time we interact with what is in front of us, each time is perfect, whether we hoped for it or not. And it is always our own.
All the best,
Let’s keep in touch.
De pescadores alemanes y mariposas monarcas. De viajar, migrar, mudarse de un lugar a otro, inquietarse, reproducirse, nacer, morir, descansar y tomar vuelo. De la comunicación directa, indirecta, cierta, incierta, a larga distancia y entre seres que duermen en la misma cama sin saludarse, sin mirarse. Enredarse y desenredarse con el amor, con el amado, con el ritmo de cada día, cada noche, cada semana, mes y año. La tierra gira, sin parar en su rítmica, lenta e infinita trayectoria. Las estaciones se van y vuelven. Lo material se renueve y se desintegra y nada cambia. Seguimos añorando, celebrando, enviando mensajes y esperando, sin saberlo, encontrarnos con alguna señal, alguna sorpresa que nos llega entre los pescados de nuestra red que lanzamos una y otra vez a las profundidades del mar.
It was 5:30 in the morning and the moon shone bright as I drove down Wiles Road. It was a waxing crescent moon, high in the western sky. I like getting up early in the morning. I fight it at first, but the fresh predawn air and quiet stillness is the best reward. 5:30 in the morning, sitting on the porch, drinking mate, my feet on the railing of the balcony, looking out toward the southwest. It’s the same moon you see setting over the mountains. Passion, Grace & Fire played from a cassette. A bag of them, circa 1990, sat on the floor behind the front seat of the van, circa 1998. The windows were rolled down and the traffic lights glared in the darkness. Sometimes I wish every moment was 5:30 in the morning and all that existed was the moment before anything was supposed to happen.