Of Tools and Easels: Musings of You
“Build me a human…”
“…I know the pieces fit.”
“I am breathing so I know I am still alive”
We whisked past her that sunny day, with a cursory nod her direction. I would have liked to have seen her for the first time that day in the bright warm sun of your love.
Instead I spent my few brief moments with her on a drizzly day that was wet enough to stain my hands purple, the color of my worn leather gloves.
She is the first on my tour, a golden calf of our pagan worship.
The smell of diesel permeated my senses, accented by the fresh air of the newly washed pavement. She was brilliant against the dull grey sky: cold, oblivious to the drug deal going on literally behind her back while the school busses lined the street, awaiting the call from the teachers alerting the drivers that their eager pupils were finished with their tour of science and industry. Old art stood in the shadows of their progressive education…
“Build me a human…” Every artist’s goal. If I were to kiss these monuments which I have dedicated to you, would one of them eventually come to life and teach me to breathe again?
“Dream within a dream….a whisper….seems so familiar”
Brecht’s Mad Love: only impressions of a reading that made me realize I will never escape what had been a dream. Will I always be stuck in the nightmare of these memories?
Spring… Like Persephone, with the new blossoms, I will be free. I will walk away from you, my city, my love, released from what was my hell. Or you will turn the corner and warm me again with the smile of your sky-blue eyes.
Reclining Figures Beneath Nuclear Sheep
“Some day I will have to stop marginalizing myself and write the story I’ve scrawled in the hundreds of textbooks and novels I have read over the past ten years…”
I whispered to you my plot, the project I began researching as soon as I left you the first time, and you told me of Moore’s Energy.
I stood before him against the cold brick, pressing my head onto the bright pink steel fire door, resting my chin on the balustrade to steady my shaking hand. Yes, it was cold, but I always tremble when I am near a Henry Moore, just as I did the day you and I napped under his Sheep in the shadows of the Olympian Temple to the gods of art.
Hollow, cast, hard…cold fighting the memory of the warmth of your touch as you nestled your head in my lap after giving the homeless man a twenty. Muse, museum, my inspiration (spirit, energizing, animating breath), reclining, nuclear sheep.
The pencil takes life on the paper, grey, smooth, dark or light, depending upon the pressure.
Birth, womb, rods, history, steel. Our heritage. The form will always be partially shaped, frozen in my mind like a sculpture on the pedestal of what is our love.
It stands, tall, proud, erect. Our grandmother, our child the photographer described it in two words: “Strength, majesty.” The end of my path.
To the pregnant figure of Untitled, she added, “we're just a small cog in the wheel goes round and round....life.” And death.
When we met this autumn near where our love began, you said you didn’t want to know where I was in my journey. Through published photos, I know you have tracked me, following first those twelve miles I had walked to escape the shock, the ghost that has haunted me since my arrival. You have set out to publish what I have painted, that which I have created in remembrance of you. You found my cemetery, the one I discovered last spring, like Persephone emerging from her winter’s slumber with Hades, her dark lover. The one place that first summer where I had never explored. You discovered it near what had marked the third year of our separation. That Hallowed Eve, as when you searched for me as old Time 2011 slipped his laurel to the inexperienced infant of 2012, the monument you had “lost your cherry,” our city was enshrouded in fog.
Firsts… Too many of them for even you to forget?
You’ve discovered the spaces I inhabit. You have enjoyed the wild pursuit, the game of chase, the hunt for our next piece. As have I.
I am giving birth to what I will become rather than being able to embrace what I had always wanted to hold, to nurture, to watch grow. The formless lump of what had been and was to be our Valentine.
I am nearly finished with this particular path of yet another journey. I will take from our city at least memories of beauty and warmth that no amount of steel, concrete, rain, snow or Time can ever erase.
I will see you again, but only to say farewell. I know that now, as much as I knew I would spend a few years wandering your shore. You’ve protected me, watched me, taught me so many lessons, shared so many images.
The place where two trees meet, where their branches entangle, they share their roots, drinking the same water, feeding on their shared nutrients, each leaf falling from their branches molding, decaying, protecting each other, yet creating sharp angles as they vie for sunlight, at once reaching toward each other and again recoiling. On canvas, on print, Paint and pixel merge: our shared artistry. Forever feeding upon and with another. Shared communion. Shared unholy baptism.
Always in the shadow of our past, our history, and our future. Our destiny, in our shared space, even if never in the same place again. I love you.